Myanmar Kingdoms – 8 Days
Route: Yangon – Pyay – Magway – Salay – Bagan – Amarapura – Sagaing – Mandalay
This Myanmar tour will introduce you rich cultural heritage and ancient Burmese kingdoms. Tracing the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwaddy) River where many of the great kingdoms flourished during their heyday. This is essentially an overland journey from Yangon to Mandalay, the last kingdom of Burma.
This tour can be combined with an excursion to Chin state from Bagan, or/and with a river cruise from Bagan to Mandalay.
DAY 1. ARRIVAL TO YANGON
Hotel in Yangon
Arrival to Yangon. Warm welcome by your local guide at Yangon International Airport holding sign board with your name. After checking into your hotel rest of the day is for exploring Yangon. Visit gold and gems decorated 100m tall Shwedagon Pagoda, take a stroll through the quaint old quarter of Yangon passing colorful art galleries, street stalls and tea shops. Marvel at tapestry of boutiques at the Scott’s market and gems traders doing deals in a tea shop sitting on small plastic chairs. End the day with savoring local cuisine at the Chinatown evening street food market and sit down for a drink at one of the BBQ and beer stations of 19th street for people watching.
DAY 2. YANGON – PYAY
Breakfast | Lucky Dragon Hotel
Morning drive (5hrs) to Pyay or Prome as some may know it. Pyay is bustling riverside town on the eastern bank of Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River. It is site of old Pyu Kingdoms that flourished between 5th and 9th Centuries. Unfortunately much of the old glory was lost after decline of the kingdom and only some parts of the old city wall and some prototypes of Burmese stupas remain. Enjoy a local way of travel by trishaw, a bicycle taxi, through local neighborhoods and market streets to Shwesandaw Pagoda rising above the town. This is the most revered highlight for the locals and offers panoramic views over the city.
DAY 3. PYAY – AKAUK TAUNG – MAGWAY
Breakfast | Nan Thike Thu Hotel
After breakfast short drive to Htone Bo village where you will begin private boat excursion on the Ayeyarwaddy River to Akauk Taung. Site of peculiar Buddha carvings and niches on a cliff side by the river which can only be seen from a boat. During the boat excursion you have the opportunity to see local village life by the river. Ladies washing laundry, river prospectors searching for wood and metal scrap and fishermen working their nets.
Return to Pyay for lunch and drive (4hrs) to Magway capital city of the Magway Division situated also by the Ayeyarwaddy River. Magway is relaxed paced trading center of the region. Complete the day with sunset views over the river from Mya Thalon Pagoda’s viewing platform and mingle with friendly locals who are keen to practice their English with visitors.
DAY 4. MINBU MUD VOLCANO, TEAK MONASTERY OF SALE & BAGAN
Breakfast | Hotel in Bagan
Morning stroll at the Magway market before short drive across Ayeyarwaddy River to Minbu known for its mud volcanoes. Your journey will continue driving north to Yenangyaung and Chauk Burma’s oil producing region where small pumping stations have been producing crude oil for a century. Your next stop will be Sale village with well-preserved Yokesone teak wood monastery. The monastery is decorated with intricate wood carvings and houses a collection of antique items. Late afternoon further 1.5hr drive to Bagan.
DAY 5. BAGAN TEMPLES
Breakfast, Dinner | Hotel in Bagan
After breakfast, start your journey to Ancient Kingdoms of Bagan. First visit Shwesandaw stupa for a panoramic view of the temple studded plains of Bagan and infamous Dhammayangyi temple built by cruel king. After stories shared by your guide continue to the Archeological Museum of Bagan and magnificent gold gilded Swezigon stupa purported to contain a holy tooth relic of the Buddha. Enjoy the most well preserved mural paintings in Bagan at Myingaba Gu Byaukgyi Temple and learn how Bagan’s famous lacquerware crafts are produced in Myingaba Village. Your temple highlights tour includes Htilominlo temple built by king’s favorite prince. If lucky you might find here local artists making Bagan style traditional sand paintings on canvas. Conclude the day with a visit to beautifully symmetric Ananda Temple with its four standing Buddha images inside and a horse or bullock cart ride to witness a magical sunset behind the temples (weather permitting).
In the evening dine in one of Bagan’s best restaurants with puppet show performance.
DAY 6. MT POPA, AMARAPURA, SAGAING
Breakfast | Hotel in Mandalay
Morning drive 1,5hrs to Mount Popa, the center for worshippers of the pantheon of Burmese ‘Nat” spirits. Visit the Nat shrine at the foot the Popa mountain and climb 777 steps to a pagoda at the top of the mountain for great views over the surrounding farming land and plains.
Continue drive north and visit Amarapura one of the ancient royal capitals preceding Mandalay. Photostop at the iconic 1.2km long Ubein bridge spanning Taungtaman Lake in the heart of Amarapura.
Short drive crossing Ayeyarwaddy River over bridge will bring you to Sagaing, yet another former kingdom which has become one of the most important Buddhist centers in Myanmar. Monasteries, nunneries, meditation chambers and white washed stupas dot the forest covered Sagaing Hills. Enjoy sunset vistas from the top of the hill before driving 1/2hr to Mandalay City for the night.
DAY 7. MANDALAY HIGHLIGHTS & MINGUN CRUISE
Breakfast | Hotel in Mandalay
This morning you will visit the Artisan Quarter, where some of the oldest craftsmanship are showcased dating back to last kingdom of Myanmar. Next, proceed to the major highlights of the city: the sacred Mahamuni Pagoda, housing one of the most significant Buddha images covered in several tons of gold leaf and the crown prize in wars between competing kingdoms; the Golden Palace Monastery, the sole surviving Royal Palace building in Mandalay, offering a glimpse of the original style and architecture of the Myanmar royals.
After lunch break in Mandalay transfer to jetty and board a private river boat for leisurely river cruise to Mingun (1hr). In Mingun you will visit the unfinished Mingun Paya cracked by an earth quake. The king took this as bad omen and never completed this biggest to be brick pagoda. Short walk away are the Mingun bronze bell and the beautiful Hsinbyume pagoda resembling mythological Mt Meru, the Buddhist center universe. Enjoying sunset on board cruise back to Mandalay.
DAY 8. DEPART FROM MANDALAY
Breakfast | Hotel in Mandalay
Breakfast at your hotel and transfer to Mandalay airport for your onward flight.
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