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Home > Suggested Myanmar Itineraries > Optimum Classical Journeys > BOM12DPA

Best of Myanmar Tours

Tour Code: BOM12DPA

12-Day 11-Night – BOM12DPA
Yangon- Bagan-Mandalay-Monywa-Amarapura-Inwa-Sagaing-Mingun-Pindaya-Kalaw-Inle Lake-Golden Rock-Yangon

Itinerary Overview

Day Itinerary Transportation
1 Yangon – Arrival in the morning and sightseeing Car
2 Yangon – fly to Bagan early in the morning and full day tour of spectacular 11th & 13th century archaeological wonders Car / Flight
3 Bagan – another full day visit to the remaining highlights of Bagan’s monuments Car
4 Bagan – fly to Mandalay in the morning & half day exploration to two ancient cities before Mandalay period: Amarapura & Inwa – then 2.5hrs drive to Monywa Car / Flight / Boat / horse cart
5 Monywa – visit Po Win Daung Caves, Thanboddhay Temple, & Bodhi Tataung before returning to Mandalay and visit some monuments of Sagaing Hills Car / Ferry boat / local jeep
6 Mandalay – half day excursion boat trip to Mingun village and continue visit In-City highlights of Mandalay in the afternoon Car/Boat
7 Mandalay– fly to Heho in the morning – drive 3-hrs to Pindaya and tour of famous caves, study life and enjoy sceneries on the way – continue drive to old British hill resort town Kalaw by 2hrs drive Car / Flight / Boat
8 Kalaw – half day trek to nearby Palaung tribal villages – transfer to Inle Lake in the afternoon Car / Boat
9 Inle lake full day visit to see local 5-day market, floating villages, interesting pagodas, and impressive Inn Dein ruins Boat
10 Inle Lake – fly back to Yangon by earliest available flight, and drive to Golden Rock base camp direct from the airport – transfer to middle camp and begin 30-mins hike to the summit – visit of Golden Rock (Kyaikhtiyo) temple Car/Boat/Flight / local pickup truck bus
11 Golden Rock – return to Yangon in the morning – optional visits can be made to some religious highlights and Kanbawzathadi palace of old Mon & Burmese capital Bago on the way (or) 5-hrs direct drive to Yangon to visit Bo Gyoke Market and other minor pagodas Car / Local pickup truck bus
12 Yangon – free and easy visits, departure out in the late afternoon Car
Operating Period: Year-round (though less comfort to do Golden Rock visit from June to September due to some rainfalls)

Detailed Program

Day Description
1 Arrival Yangon in the morning & sightseeing
Arrival Yangon in the morning welcomed by your guide from Santa Maria Tours and led to your hotel. Sightseeing in Yangon will be commenced after a brief rest at the hotel. You’ll be taken to the downtown sections to see the colonial buildings; the 'Botataung Hair Relic Pagoda' on the bank of Yangon River; the Sule Pagoda located at the heart of the city & the City Hall; and the Chauk-htat-gyi colossal reclining Buddha Image. In the afternoon, visit will be made to the World Famous Shwedagon Pagoda until sunset.
2 Yangon – fly to Bagan by early morning flight and sightseeing
Leave hotel early in the morning for airport around 5:00am and fly to Bagan, a world heritage archaeological site, by one private airline. On the way to your hotel, visit will be made to Nyaung Oo Market, a place where you can observe various staffs used for Burmese kitchen, seasonal fruits and fresh vegetables to bamboo baskets, Thanaka wood and souvenirs . Then, commence your great exploration of Bagan archaeological zone by visiting Shwezigon pagoda, a must for everyone visiting Bagan. Today’s temple highlights will be included of Kyansitther cave, Htilominlo & Anandan temples before taking a short afternoon break. In the afternoon, you will see a lacquer industry, where you may study steps of making unique Bagan style lacquerware and see impressive finished products. Afterwards, you will see a few more temples of Myinkabar village area such as Manuhar, NanPaya, Gubyaukgyi and Abyeyadanar temples. Depending on the time of visit, you could see a few more or less but Santa Maria’s driver & guide will always on hand to fulfill clients’ satisfaction. Then enjoy watching the stunning scenery of the breathtakingly impressive Bagan's sunset over the legendary Ayeyarwaddy River as an aesthetic joy while in Bagan.
3 Bagan full day exploration
Have your breakfast at the hotel. Today, a deeper insight to the remaining highlights of Bagan’s temples and pagodas. It is highly recommended to take a short bicycle ride in the morning or late afternoon horse cart tour along the trails dotted with 800-years old temple ruins. This can be arranged on the spot or with a short notice. You will see some beautiful temples inside walled old city, such as the Library, Shwegugyi & Thatbyinnyu temples, Natlyaung Kyaung, and Pahtotharmyar before taking a short afternoon break. In the afternoon, continue visit the monuments around Minanthu village including Dhamayangyi, Sulamani, Payathonzu, and Damayazika. Depending on the time of your visit or your interest, a village tour can be made. Enjoy your last memorable Bagan’s sunset from a temple top.
4 Bagan – fly to Mandalay, full day tour of deserted cities around Mandalay: Amarapura, Inwa, & Sagaing
Have breakfast at the hotel and transfer to Nyaung U airport at about 7:15am. Then, 25min flight to Mandalay, and upon arrival Mandalay airport, drives to directly to Amarapura. If time permissible, visit to a typical Burmese village on the way to Amarapura, in time to visit Mahagandayon Monastery with over 1000 Buddhist monks while they queue for their last meal of the day at 10:15am. You will also see one of traditional Burmese silk weaving looms that have been the major production center in Amarapura for more than 150-yrs. Afterwards, drive to Inwa ferry port, where you’ll take a short ferry ride across “Small River” and take a horse cart ride along bumpy jolting trail passing scenic farms dotted with pagoda ruins and typical Burmese villages. In Inwa, you will see an old huge wooden monastery, the site of the Inwa Palace and the leaning tower of Inwa, and the beautiful masonry monastery of Queen Maenu. Return to your car on the other side of the river and take around 2.5hrs (114km) drive to Monywa, a sizeable town on the bank of Chindwin River, northwest of Mandalay, passing through typical Burmese villages, pagodas and monasteries dotted along the road into the semi-desert land. Overnight in Monywa.
5 Monywa – Po Win Daung Caves visit – return to Mandalay with Sagaing Hills visit
Have your breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the jetty and take ferry across the Chindwin River and an hour local jeep ride along the narrow hilly road 25km west of Monywa to visit Po Win Daung Caves, where nearly 500 cave-temples are built inside the limestone cliffs between 14th and 18th centuries. Most of over 2500 Buddha images are carved out from the living rock and cave ceiling and walls are filled with bright murals dated to Inwa period. After a round walking tour of Po Win Daung Caves, return to Monywa to visit the magnificent and unique Thanboddhay temple. This brightly painted temple has enchanting atmosphere and some 582,373 Buddha images can be seen inside the nooks and the archways. Then, visit to Bodhi Tataung (1000 Buddhas), 4km to the east from Thanboddhay, to see one of Myanmar’s biggest reclining Buddha image (92km) and the world’s tallest outdoor standing Buddha (132m) before heading back to Mandalay. In Sagaing, visits will be made to unusually shaped Kaungmudaw Paya, the silversmith of Ywahtaung village producing impressive Burmese traditional silverwares, and some pagodas of Sagaing hills. Lastly, enjoy watching an unforgettable sunset view at centuries-old U Bein Bridge, known as the world’s longest span built by the teak wood. Proceed to Mandalay for overnight stop.

Mandalay – Mingun half-day tour by boat, and continue visit In-City highlights of Mandalay
Have your breakfast at the hotel before transfer to the jetty at about 8:00am. Then take a private boat on the legendary Ayarwaddy River for around 1-hr and visit some amazing monuments of 18th & 19th centuries, such as the huge unfinished Mingun Paya, the world biggest working Mingun Bell dedicated to the gigantic Mingun paya now known as the world’s biggest pile of bricks! Finally to the beautifully proportioned Myatheindan (Sinbyume) pagoda built to depict the heaven of Buddhist cosmology. Return to Mandalay about lunch time and continue visit the In-City highlights of Mandalay: the Mahamuni temple, the most important religious site of all upper Myanmar, the intricate wood-carved Golden Palace monastery: the world biggest stone books: the huge Kyaukdawgyi Marble image carved-out from a single block of stone: if there’s time, optional visit can be made to King Mindon's Myanansankyaw Palace site of Kaunbaung dynasty: Wind up the tour by visiting Mandalay Hill pagoda where you can enjoy the panoramic view to the city, palace & surrounding area atop from it just before sunset.

7 Mandalay – morning flight to Heho, Pindaya caves visit – proceed to Kalaw, old British Hill Resort
Have breakfast at the hotel and transfer to Mandalay airport at about 7:00am. Then, 25minutes flight to Heho by one private airline. Afterwards, about 2.5hr drive to Pindaya, a small town of Danu, Taungyo and Bamar lies in one valley of Shan Hills. The road to Pindaya is renowned for its scenic beauties: the landscapes, colorful vegetations, and tribes working in the farms, whole lots of village life to see en route …and its quite refreshing with cool & fresh air of all seasons. In Pindaya, you will see a 200-million years old natural limestone caves, filled with over 8,000 of ancient Buddha images in different style and materials. Before heading back towards the junction town of Aungban and turn west to former British Hill Resort Kalaw, you will see one of parasol industries in Pindaya. Then, transfer to your lake hotel by the boat. The drive to Kalaw will takes around 2-hrs. You may take an evening stroll around the cozy old British Hill station to stretch out your legs after a considerably long drive.
8 Kalaw – half day trekking trip to Palaung tribal village – transfer to Inle Lake
Have your breakfast at the hotel. A full day trekking tour (or a half-day trek depending on your strength and determination) to the nearby hill tribe villages, where you could stretch your legs, fill your lungs with fresh air and go closer with the nature while walking through pine clad hill tops, orange farms, fields of raps, tea plantations, or the rice growing valleys . You will mainly see the Palaung tribe from Mon-Khmer stock, renowned for their tealeaf industry, and their eye-catching red & blue strips costume and the beautiful bonnet. Visit some village houses, chat with the locals, and enjoy great views of Shan range. Return to Kalaw at about lunchtime and transfer to Inle Lake, via the gateway town called Nyaungshwe by 2-hrs drive. Short visits will be made on the way to see Shwe Yan Pyay monastery and a few other places depending on the time availability.
9 Inle Lake full day visits
Have your breakfast. Full day tour on the outrageously beautiful lake by private boat to see a colorful 5-day market where the hill tribes come to exchange their goods with the lake people, the Jumping Cats (Nga Phe Kyaung) monastery, region’s most revered Paundaung Pagoda, traditional silk weaving looms at Inn Paw Khon village, the silversmith village, and the impressive ruins of Inn Dein village. While on the boat tour, you will also observe the unique lifestyle of Inn Thar people… the leg rowers, floating gardens, fishermen with strange fishing gears etc. Hotels can be chosen from the ones on the lake or on the land in the town Nyaungswe depending on your taste.
10 Inle Lake – fly back to Yangon – direct transfer to Golden Rock
Have your early breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Heho airport and fly back to Yangon by one private airline (1hr.20min). Upon arrival Yangon airport, maximum 5-hrs drive to Kimpun base camp, passing through Bago, the capital of Bago Division and the major timber industrial city, the former capitals of the Mon and Burmese founded 9th century AD. Just north of Bago, turns off from main Yangon-Mandalay highway to the east taking the only accessible road to Kayin (Karen) State capital Hpa An and Mon State capital Mawlamyaing, the first British settlement in Myanmar. Before the road reaches up to Sittaung River Bridge, it parallels to a scenic small river filled with lives and passes through fisherman villages and rice fields that as far as your eyes can see. The road gets hilly and the terrains look different so as the vegetations as you entered into the land of Mon people just after crossing the Sittaung Bridge. At Kyaikhto, the road turns again to north off the main road, and after a short drive through the lush rubber forests, you will reach to Kimpum base camp, where you going to change into local public bus for a short 45-mins drive to the middle camp (Yathae Taung or Hermit Hill camp) along the winding steep road passing through dense tropical rainforests, gorges, and waterfalls. From the Hermit Hill camp, a strenuous 30-mins hike will begin all the way to the summit (from 600m to 1150m). If you hate of climbing, the sedan-chairs (palanquins) are readily available. After taking a short rest at the hotel near the summit, visit to Golden Rock temple, a magical site of perfectly balanced rock boulder topped by a sutpa containing hairs of Buddha. Enjoy stunning mountain sceneries and thrilling sunset view before start strolling around the platform and examine this awe-inspiring site. Stay overnight at the hotel near the summit.
11 Golden Rock – Return to Yangon with optional visit in 9th century Mon Kingdome Bago
Have your breakfast at the hotel. It will take around 3-hours to Bago, an old Mon and Burmese capital and the site of world’s tallest stupa Shwemawdaw.
You will have two options:
  1. Visit in Bago to see attractive Bago open market, one-thousand-years old Shwethalung Buddha image, towering Shwemawdaw pagoda, King Bayintnaung’s 15th century Kanbawzathadi Palace, and chic Kyaikpun Buddhas. You will arrive to Yangon in the late afternoon
  2. Drive direct back to Yangon (you may visit the local market in Bago) and continue visit the Yangon’s biggest Bo Gyoke market and other minor pagodas
12 Yangon – free and easy visits before departure out
Have you breakfast at the hotel. Depending on the time of your departure flight from Yangon, you can visit some remaining highlights or stroll around the bustling city center on your own (or) transfer to Yangon Intl’ airport in the morning.

End of the tour

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