Hidden Secrets of Myanmar 11 Days 9 Nights(2014)[RAY]Tour Code:RAY

Visiting:Yangon(2 nts) - Bagan(2 nts) - Mandalay(2 nts) - Pindaya(1 nt) - Inle Lake(1 nt) - Yangon(1 nt) 

Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar is an exotic land that spent decades under military rule and has recently taken great strides towards democracy and economic development. A visit to Myanmar is like taking a trip back in time to experience the old world charm and culture of a nation rooted in spirituality. The many Buddhist temples that adorn the plains of Bagan, cultural capital Mandalay, and the political capital Yangon are among the destinations that you will visit in Myanmar.

Please be advised that with effect from April 25, 2014 there will be a change in the complimentary travel insurance coverage and benefits provided with all our Vacation Series. All guests with full payments and bookings made after 04/25/2014 will be covered under the new travel protection plan that shall encompass benefits as detailed as in this link.

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Itinerary Date/Pricing Features Hotel Extension Optionals

Day 1   |  USA – Yangon, Myanmar 

Depart the USA on a trans-Pacific flight bound for Myanmar. Spend the night aboard the plane as you anticipate exploring the wonders of this fascinating country formerly known as Burma.

Day 2   |  Arrive at Yangon 

Arrive in Yangon where we’re met by our tour guide and transferred to our deluxe accommodations to rest and recuperate before beginning on our city tour the next day. Yangon is a characterized by tree-shaded boulevards flanked by architecture of British colonial inspiration.

Day 3   |  Yangon  (B)

After breakfast we start to explore the sights, beginning with the city center at the golden octagonal Sule Pagoda, a pivotal point of all major religious and political events throughout the nation’s history. Take a stroll around Kandawgyi Lake and visit the reclining Buddha at Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda. Discover the various artifacts, jewelry, opium weights and royal relics at the National Museum. Continue on to the Botataung Pagoda, constructed as a tribute to those who escorted relics of holy Buddha from India over 2000 years ago. The day’s sightseeing draws to an end as we’re afforded the opportunity to shop for handicrafts and bargains at the Bogyoke Aung San Market.

Day 4   |  Yangon – Bagan  (B)

Bagan is a vast empty plains area where 13,000 temples once stood. Today only 2200 remain, all in various states of ruin and disrepair. We arrive at Bagan by plane and spend the day visiting some of the more significant temples and holy sites. The 11th century Schwezigon Pagoda contains some relics of Buddha and its stupa’s graceful bell shape became the model for all subsequent stupas built in Myanmar. The 12th century Gubyaukgyi Temple at Myinkaba is significant for its well-preserved stuccos on its outside walls, considered to the oldest original paintings in Bagan. Other sites we’ll visit during our stay include Ananda Pahto Temple, Manuha Temple, and the Shwesandaw Paya Monument. Rounding out the day, we visit a Lacquerware Workshop to learn about this skilled art and in the evening admire the panoramic vista from one of the pagoda platforms of the sun setting over the Bagan Plains.

Day 5   |  Bagan – Mt. Popa – Bagan  (B)

Situated about 30 miles outside of Bagan, Mount Popa is an extinct volcano with a mountain top temple believed to contain some of Myanmar’s most important spirits (nats). We can walk up the winding covered staircase encircling the mountain and during the climb observe the curious monkeys that populate the region. Finally reaching the top we find a monastery and temple complex containing shrines to the 37 nats. From the top of the mountain we also enjoy a sweeping view over the city and the pagoda-studded countryside.

Day 6   |  Bagan – Mandalay  (B)

Depart Bagan on a flight bound for Mandalay, considered to be the cultural and religious capital of the nation. Mandalay was the capital of old Burma under King Mingdon and is today Myanmar’s second largest city. Start off by visiting the Mahamuni Paya (pagoda) and its Mahamuni Image, which is highly revered and covered by 6 inches of gold leaf. See the Shwenandaw Kyaung (Golden Palace Monastery), built entirely of golden teak with intricately carved wood and was once part of the Mandalay Palace. Continue on to the Kuthodaw Paya where we can see the slabs of marble that are inscribed with the entire Buddhist scriptures (Tripitkata), forming the world’s largest book. Take an easy climb up the sheltered steps of Mandalay Hill to take in the panoramic vistas below.

Day 7   |  Mandalay – Amarapura – Sagaing – Inwa - Mandalay  (B)

Today we’ll visit three former royal capitals of Burma, each possessing its own unique essence. Amarapura was the capital in the 18th and 19th centuries and here we observe the monks and novices line up at the Mahagadayon Monastery to receive their daily offerings of alms and food from faithful Buddhists. Next we head to Sagaing and visit some of the temples that crowd the numerous hills running along the river. Take a ferry to cross the river to Inwa, a quiet rural oasis, and enjoy a leisurely ride in a horse-drawn cart to visit the Bagaya Kaung Monastery and the Maha Aung Myay Bon Zan Monastery. Observe how local artisans fashion alms bowls out of iron. The day ends when we head back to Amarapura to watch the sun set over U Bein’s Bridge along with hundreds of monks.

Day 8   |  Mandalay – HehoPindaya  (B)

Board a flight to Heho and continue on by bus to Pindaya to visit the network of limestone caves in the ridge overlooking Pindaya Lake. The caves house thousands of images of Buddha which have been put there over the centuries. Finish off the day’s sightseeing tour with visits to the Shwe U Min Paya, a cluster of low stupas, a local market, and also a paper umbrella workshop.

Day 9   |  Pindaya – Inle Lake  (B)

Board our motorcoach as it takes us to Inle Lake, a beautiful and calm lake surrounded by high hills, nestled amidst the Shan Mountains. The lake is dotted with idyllic patches of floating vegetation, fishing canoes, floating markets and fish farms. The lake’s islands and shore contain numerous villages built upon stilts, inhabited mostly by the Intha people, famous for their one-legged rowing technique. Take a cruise of Inle Lake to enjoy the spectacular local scenery, then continue on to visit Paung Daw Oo Pagoda and Inn Paw Khon Village where we see the art of silk weaving. The day’s sightseeing concludes with the Nga Phe Chaung Monastery, a wooden monastery built upon stilts over Inle Lake.

Day 10   |  Inle Lake – HehoYangon  (B)

Take a boat to a stairway at the edge of Inle Lake, which leads to the hidden ruins of Indein’s ancient temples and pagodas. The site consists of hundreds of small moss-covered stupas in a jungle-like setting. Some stupas are in a crumbling, deteriorated state, yet ornate stucco carvings of mythical animals and celestial beings can still be seen on some parts. We depart Inle Lake and transfer to Heho where our group boards a flight back to Yangon. Transfer to the hotel upon arrival.

Day 11   |  Yangon – USA  (B)

Our Discovery of Myanmar at and end, we check-out of the hotel and transfer to the airport to catch our flight back to the USA.
AB = Full American Breakfast  B = Breakfast at hotel or on cruise
L = Lunch  LH = Lunch at hotel
D = Dinner at Local Restaurant  DH = International Buffet Dinner at Hotel  DP = Special Dinner Party  
DS = Dinner and show