Yangon – Bagan – Inle Lake – Yangon (6 days/5 nights)
Day 1: Yangon
Welcome by the Grand Lotus Tours representative on arrival at Yangon International airport and transfer to your hotel. After a brief freshening up at the hotel, we begin the orientation tour of Yangon.
Explore the commercial capital Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar with a population of over 5 million. Its tree lined wide avenues, its shady green parks and the beautiful huge lakes give Yangon the reputation of one of the most charming and lively cities in Asia.
The orientation tour of Yangon includes Sule Pagoda, quite unusual in that its octagonal shape extends right up to the bell and inverted bowl, the City Hall and colonial buildings, Chaukhtatkyi Pagoda – which houses a spectacular reclining Buddha, photo stop at the distinctive Karaweik Hall and Royal Barge on Kandawgyi Royal Lake.
At sunset, visit the marvelous Shwedagon Pagoda, the glistening golden stupa that towers over the metropolis and one of the wonders of the world. This pagoda is the spiritual centre of the country.
Day 2: Yangon – Bagan (Flight)
Early morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Bagan.The Bagan archaeological zone is one of the richest historical sites in Asia and the main tourist attraction in Myanmar. Bagan is considered by archaeologists, historians and photographers alike as one of Asia’s holiest cities along with Varanasi in India and Angkor Wat in Cambodia as it displays the greatest collection of Buddhist sculptures, lavishly decorated monuments: temples and pagodas with mural paintings and plaster carvings from the 11th to 13th centuries. During its Golden Age in the 12th century, Bagan was known as “the City of Four Million Pagodas”. While Kublai Khan and several massive earthquakes have reduced that number drastically, what remains is quite incredible.
Over the next days, we will visit several small villages, the museum and the principal pagodas including: Shwezigon Pagoda, the first monument built in pure Myanmar style, a prototype for later pagodas, it is one of the oldest and loveliest temples and remains an important place of devotion for the Burmese; Ananda Temple, a masterpiece of the early style temple architecture. Built in 1066, the gilded and whitewashed Ananda is among the most elegant temples, with delicate decorations in glazed tiles along its base and terraces; Gubyaukgyi Temple, strongly influenced by the Indian culture; Shwesandaw pagoda, which displays a clear affinity with the Mon civilization with a steep stairway directed to the terraces and a superb view from the upper level.
This evening you will enjoy a sunset cruise on the mighty Ayeyarwaddy river that will provide you with different views of the amazing archaeological sites as well as a glimpse of the local people going about their daily lives as the sun goes down.
Day 3: Bagan
This morning after breakfast, visit Nyaung Oo Market, then proceed to Sulamani temple, Shwegugyi Temple, and Minanthu village.Bagan is also famous as the centre of Myanmar’s thriving lacquerware industry. In the afternoon, the tour includes a stop at a local lacquerware workshop to watch the skilled artisans at work on the various stages of production.
Then proceed to Old Bagan for a pony cart tour among the temples; Tayokpye, Htilominlo and Thatbyinnyu temples before sunset. This evening, ascend to the top of one of the tall temples, watch the sun sink into distant hills and experience peaceful, tranquil moments and the indescribable magical power of Bagan.
Day 4: Bagan – Inle Lake (Flight)
This morning you will be transferred to Bagan Nyaung Oo Airport for the flight to Heho, the gateway to the Southern Shan State. Upon arrival, an hour drive to Nyaungshwe followed by one hour boat transfer to your hotel at Inle Lake. Natural and unpolluted, famous for its scenic beauty and the unique leg-rowing of the Inthas, the native lake dwellers, Inle Lake is a hidden spot of scenic beauty.You will have the rest of the day for explorations of the lake and environs by longtail boat.Amongst the highlights today, in addition to the beautiful mountain scenery that surrounds you, a visit to the venerable Phaung Daw U Pagoda, probably the holiest place in the southern Shan State. The Intha and their unique fishing method, the floating gardens and villages, the friendly hill tribe people will leave you a lifetime of memories.
Day 5: Inle Lake – Excursion to Indein
This morning, spend a full day aboard a boat exploring the breathtaking lake, surrounded on both sides by high hills. You will visit the market, which is held once in every five days. It is one of the best opportunities to see hill tribe people coming down to sell their products and to buy provisions.Situated on the western shore of the lake, the Indein temple complex is often referred to as a mini Angkor. After a short and pleasant walk through a bamboo forest, the mysterious monuments appear, some still covered in vegetation. The internal wall of the ruins, dating back to 1054 AD and nearby shrines will take you back in time and make you feel like explorers.In the afternoon, visit Impawkhone, a silk weaving village, a traditional blacksmith workshop, a cheroot (the Burmese cigars) making workshop and surrounding villages. Return to the hotel in the evening.
Day 6: Inle Lake- Heho/ Yangon
Breakfast at the hotel and last moments to enjoy the beauty of the lake until the time to transfer back to Heho airport for your flight to Yangon. Once in Yangon, if time permits before your international flight, don’t miss a visit to Bogyoke Market also known as Scott Market where you will find a vast array of antiques, arts and crafts goods and the largest collection of handicrafts from all over Myanmar. This is a wonderful opportunity to pick up last minute souvenirs. You will be transferred back to the airport in time for your flight back home.