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A Journey Through the Sacred Sites of Myanmar 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.

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DURATION

12 days | 11 nights

DESTINATIONS

Myanmar

INTERESTS

Spirituality

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore one of Mrauk U’s top destinations - the revered Koe Thaung Temple
  • Experience enchanting Buddhist rituals and sights along the road from Yangon to Mawlamyine
  • Marvel over the largest reclining Buddha in the world at Wein Saw Taw Ya
  • Soar over Bagan on an unsurpassable hot air balloon ride during sunrise

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A journey in itself, the Buddhist religion has fascinated religious and nonreligious minds for decades. Buddhism in the Myanmar region (formerly Burma) is said to date as far back as the earliest centuries of the Common Era. In present day, the sacred sites throughout the country inspire amazement in any traveler lucky enough to visit them. Experience the heart of both Buddhism and Myanmar’s enriching heritage on this 12-day expedition across the country, whether you are witnessing a breathtaking sunset at the golden Shwedagon Pagoda, marveling over the carvings decorating the walls of the Kawgun Cave, or discovering enlightened Buddhist meditation practices at the Pha Auk Forest Monastery.

DAY-TO-DAY

DAY 1: Yangon

Upon arrival in Yangon, take the rest of the day to refresh at either the refined Strand Hotel, a major Colonial landmark in the city, or revel in luxury at the stunning Belmond Governor’s Residence; both offer guests a five-star experience. If you like, spend the evening exploring downtown Yangon’s dynamic streets, Myanmar’s most adventurous metropolis, for a whirlwind introduction to the country.

DAY 2: Mrauk U

In the morning, embark on a one-hour flight to Sittwe. From there, a scenic boat ride organized by the Mrauk U Princess Resort will ferry you upriver to its picturesque hotel location, nestled within mangroves and serene lotus ponds. In the afternoon, visit the vaulted stone passageways of the Koe Thaung temple, a Mrauk U favorite. Literally translated to “shrines of the 90,000 images of Buddha”, this temple provides a reverent experience for the religious and nonreligious alike.

DAY 3: Mrauk U

Begin your first full day in Mrauk U with an early start at the Shittaung Temple, or “Temple of Victory”, built in 1535. Known for the bell-shaped stupas that define it, this temple houses hundreds of different Buddha images and fascinating obelisks. Afterwards, expeditions to the the Andaw Thein Pagoda - meaning “Tooth Shrine” - situated just behind Shittaung, and the Laymetnha Pagoda will follow. If time permits, tours of the City Palace Ruins and Archaeology Museum will also be undertaken.

DAY 4: Yangon

Take the resort boat back downriver to Sittwe, where you will return to Yangon via the one-hour flight. In the afternoon, enjoy spectacular views from the Shwe Phone Pwint Pagoda, where you can engage in a fun bout of fortune telling before heading over to the gilded, golden stupa of Shwedagon Pagoda - one of Myanmar’s most sacred Buddhist sites - just in time to witness a sweeping sunset.  

DAY 5: Yangon

Start the day with a stroll through the 2000+ shops of the vast Bogyoke Aung San Market - where you will find all the souvenirs you will ever need - before visiting a local nunnery for a fresh glimpse into another aspect of Myanmar’s religious culture. Lunch will be enjoyed with the monks at the Bayathokehti Sarthintike Monastery, after which you’ll have the opportunity to experience the downtown Botataung Pagoda and admire the 65-metre-long reclining Buddha the Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda is famous for.

DAY 6: Mawlamyine

Settle in for a comfortable, five-and-a-half hour drive to Mawlamyine. Along the way, towards Bago, you’ll experience a blessing ritual at Shwe Nyaung Bin Nat Shrine, where roses and thapye are tied to the car’s grill, after which thanaka-scented water is sprinkled onto the hood three times. Later you can enjoy the sight of another expansive reclining Buddha at Shwe Thar Laung, discover more Buddhist monuments at Maha Kalyani Sima, marvel over the towering, 114-metre Shwemawdaw Paya, and gaze up at the four back-to-back Buddha images at Kyaik Pun Paya.

DAY 7: Mawlamyine

Begin the day by exploring and learning the history of Colonial architecture, before continuing on to the Queen Sein Don Monastery, a Buddhist community that was once the residence of the beloved Queen Sein Don. Afterwards, you’ll visit Mawlamyine’s Mahamuni Pagoda - a replica of Manadalay’s - and then bask in the panoramic view of the city presented by the Kyaikthanlan Pagoda, before concluding the day at the Ahtet Lan Ma Zay Gyi Street wet market, where you may find it a challenge to identify the fascinating fruits, vegetables and flowers on display there.

DAY 8: Mawlamyine

Commence your second full day in Mawlamyine with a visit to the town of Mudon. A trip to the picturesque Pha Auk Forest Monastery will follow, which is known for its meditative Buddhist traditions of tranquility and insight. Afterwards, at the Win Sein Taw Ya, you’ll stand in awe of the Giant Buddha of Mudon - the largest reclining Buddha in the world. Round off the day with a full immersion into Mon culture and heritage at the Mon Museum.

DAY 9: Yangon

A return road trip from Mawlamyine to Yangon via Hpa-an will include stops at the village of Kaw Nhat for a glimpse of the monastery there, as well as a highly anticipated visit to the mesmerizing Kyauk Kalat Pagoda - a limestone pinnacle surrounded by lake and paddy fields. In addition, enjoy a tour of the Kawgun Cave - the tiny clay buddhas and carvings covering its walls are a celebration of seventh-century art - before a stop at the pilgrimage site of Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, which is characterized by its perch atop a granite boulder.

DAY 10: Bagan

Following an 80-minute flight to Bagan in the morning, discover the Manuha Temple before exploring the Ananda Temple, Bagan’s best known and widely considered most beautiful temple, and learn the intriguing history and legends surrounding the Nanpaya Temple afterwards. Finish the day with a spectacular sunset at the gold-plated Shwezigon Pagoda, one of Bagan’s oldest landmarks.

DAY 11: Bagan

Start your last full day in Myanmar with a much-coveted, and truly unparalleled, early morning hot air balloon ride. Follow up this adventure with a visit to the local Nyaung-U Market, before continuing to the Shwesandaw Temple. Next, visit the Sulamani Temple, which boasts of beautiful terraces designed pyramid effect-style. Afterwards you’ll explore the Indian-influenced Gubyaukgyi cave temple, and local villages of Phwar Saw and Myinkaba. In the evening, savor a private temple dinner.

DAY 12: Departure

Loaded with souvenirs and rejuvenated by the blessings offered by this immersion into the serene Buddhist lifestyle, depart back to Yangon or Mandalay as needed, to head home or continue your journey through Asia.

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TRAVELOGUES

TRAVELOGUES

George Orwell’s Indian Days and Burmese Nights

George Orwell’s Indian Days and Burmese Nights

Author : James Newman
George Orwell's extraordinary talent for understanding the human race was born from the streets and back alleys of British India and Myanmar; these Eastern lands informed one of the greatest literary minds of the Western world.
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Author : Elisha Donkin
A trek through the Shan Hills of Myanmar leads to incredible scenery, historical perspective, and a deep, abiding understanding of the Palaung of Northern Myanmar.
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Balloon Safaris Loikaw: New Activity for Travelers to the Kayan State

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Author : Tyler Roney
Regular Myanmar travelers will be familiar with the Balloons over Bagan, and now there are Balloons over Loikaw, a much lesser traveled Burmese destination.
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Chin Tsong Palace: Yangon’s Odd Mansion of Conspiracies

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Author : Ronan O'Connell
It's Chinese, it's Western, it's filled with sordid stories – Chin Tsong Palace is one of the stranger sights to find in Yangon and well worth a quick stop.
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SEEDS: Yangon’s Fine Dining Haven on Inya Lake

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Author : Tyler Roney
Travelogues speaks with Lucia Eppisser – restaurateur, sommelier, and one half of the team that created the most romantic fine dining location on Yangon's Inya Lake, SEEDS.
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The Jews of Yangon: A Look at Myanmar’s Smallest Religion

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The Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue serves a small, tight-knit community of 20, but the story and heritage of this site draws travelers from around the globe.
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