Day 1 Mandalay
We’ll have our usual get-aquainted meeting about 2:00PM in our hotel. Then we’ll board our coach and visit the “world’s largest book” at Kuthodaw Pagoda. The entire Buddhist canon is recorded on large stone tablets totaling 729 in number. Next stop is Shwekyaungdaw “Golden Palace Monastery” to see Myanmar’s finest wooden architecture. Dinner together.
Day 2 Mandalay
Our first order of business today is a visit to the revered Mahamuni Pagoda. The highly venerated Buddha statue here has grown knobbly and thick with tons of gold leaf applied by the faithful over centuries of worship. We’ll continue to the ancient capital of Amapura, meaning “city of immortality,” to visit Mahagandayon Monastery. Have your camera ready when 500+ monks in their maroon robes line up for lunch with their alms bowls. Your afternoon is free.
Day 3 Bagan
Today demands an early morning departure but we are immediately rewarded with a stop at photogenic U Bein Bridge in the morning light. After the morning’s drive and a lunch stop we’ll visit the famous Thanbottay Pagoda. This unique temple is beautifully decorated with stuccowork and boasts no less than 580,000 Buddha images covering every wall and archway. Our next stop is Bodditataung Pagoda with its immense reclining and standing Buddha statues and “grove” of 1000 umbrella-covered Buddha statues. We’ll arrive in Bagan in time for dinner together.
Day 4 Bagan
Our morning bicycle tour (alternative transport available) will start with Ananda pagoda. Then we’ll visit several other famous Bagan pagodas and finish in Min Nan Thu, a local village. We’ll observe a traditional blacksmith workshop, visit a loom, and learn about cheroot making. You will have a free afternoon to explore Bagan by your own or relax at the hotel pool.
For those interested, Imprint can arrange for an optional hot air balloon ride this morning.
Day 5 Bagan/Yangon
After breakfast we’ll depart for Mt. Popa, a thin, temple-topped plateau. Actually the core of an extinct volcano, Popa is considered the abode of the most powerful local nats (spirits) and is therefore a major pilgrimage destination. For the energetic, there will be time to climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top. On our return to Bagan we’ll stop at local farms to observe local activities such as toddy palm juice extraction and candy making. If time allows we’ll continue to nearby Kyansittha cave and Wetkyi Inn Gubyaukgyi temple and its 12th-century Mural paintings. At the end of the afternoon we’ll be transferred to Bagan airport for the flight to Yangon, the capital of Myanmar since the British transformed it into their administrative center. Its impressive colonial and spiritual heritage makes Yangon one of the most fascinating capitals of Asia.
Day 6 Yangon
Our Yangon city tour starts with a short photo stop at Karaweik Park. Then we’ll visit the amazing reclining Buddha at Ghaukhtatgyi. Next we’ll proceed to the city’s colonial center to admire both the colonial architecture and Botataung Pagoda. After a leisurely midday break we’ll conclude our Myanmar sightseeing with its holiest and most famous shrine – Shwedagon Pagoda. The most important religious site in Myanmar, it is said to contain 8 hairs of the Buddha. Surrounded by a sea of spired and gilded shrines, Shwedegon’s central stupa glitters with gold, diamonds, and hundreds of other precious gems. Come sunset the lights go on and the impressive structure shines like a beacon over the city. We’ll share a farewell Burmese dinner together tonight.
Day 7 Tour Over
Tour over after breakfast. Imprint will assist with transport to Yangon’s airport for those returning home today.
For those intrepid travelers with energy and time, Imprint will continue on to one last spectacular option: The Golden Rock
Golden Rock extension
Day 1 Kyaikhtiyo
After breakfast we will depart for Kimpun, gateway town for the Golden Rock. Upon arrival at Kimpun we’ll take time for lunch and then transfer in an open truck (the only option) up the steep but well-paved road to the renowned Golden Rock site. The Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda itself is a modest, gilded cedi. But it is built on one of the wonders of Myanmar: an immense boulder, 80 feet in circumference, itself precariously balanced on a tabular rock jutting out from a mountain ridge. The rock is also gilded gold and the faithful take turns rubbing more gold leaf on its accessible surfaces. The terrace that has been built below the rock is covered in oil lamps and Buddhist mandalas each evening. It is an intense visual spectacle and evokes a deeply spiritual vibe. Our guide will explain the religious activities and behaviors in a late afternoon visit. We’ll stay well beyond dusk to enjoy the whole experience.
Accommodation: Mountain Top Hotel
Day 2 Yangon
For those early risers among us, our hotel is a few steps from the temple complex and sunrise is another amazing experience. At mid-morning we’ll “truck” back down to Kimpun and begin our return journey to Yangon. En route we’ll stop at the ruins of 13th century Bago and the wonderful modern marble Buddha at Kyaut Tawgyi Pagoda.
Day 3 Tour Over
Extension over after breakfast. Imprint will assist in airport transfer arrangements.
6 nights accommodation (8 with Golden Rock); All breakfasts, 3 dinners; All tour transport by bus, minivan, and airplane (truck for Golden Rock); All tips for guides, drivers, group meals, and hotel staff; Full-time services of a professional Myanmar escort; All entrances: Kuthodaw , Mahamuni, Thanbottay, Bodditataung, Ananda, Ghaukhtatgyi, Botataung, and Shwedagon Pagodas; Shwekyaungdaw and Mahagandayon monasteries; U Bein bridge; Bagan archeological zone; Mt. PopaOther included activities: Bagan bike excursion; countryside handicraft visits; and more. Golden Rock extension – Golden Rock; Bago; Kyaut Tawgyi Pagoda
Important exceptions: Tour participants are responsible for the cost of drinks, free-time sightseeing, Myanmar visa and possible baggage charges on domestic flights. See our Terms and Conditions for important details regarding everything listed above.
[Itinerary details & hotels subject to change]