FEP-009 (Cultural Trip)

(Day 1) ARRIVAL YANGON

Upon arrival at Yangon International airport, welcomed by our tour guide, transferred to and overnight at the hotel in Yangon.

(Day 2) YANGON-BAGAN SIGHTSEEING (B)

After breakfast & check-out at the hotel, transfer to the Yangon Airport to take a morning flight to Bagan. Morning visit there starts with Shwesandaw Pagoda to enjoy the panoramic view of Ancient Bagan archaeological site, the massive 11th century Shwezigon Stupa, Nyaung-U farmers’ market, the most beautiful Ananda Temple, Myingaba Gupyaukgyi Temple with early 12th century murals, time for lunch. Afternoon visit to Bagan’s unique lacquer-ware cottage industry to observe the process of making lacquer-wares by hand without using any machines, then horse & cart drive for an hour or so in the ancient archaeological site through a local village to one temple to enjoy the sun down from its upper terrace, then drive back to the hotel, time for dinner and overnight at the hotel. B=Breakfast

Remark: For conservation reason by Archaeological Department, going up to the upper terraces of the pagodas in Bagan may not be permitted & in this case, man-made earth- mounds are to be used for panoramic view & sunset.

(Day 3) BAGAN-POPA -BAGAN-SIGHTSEEING (B)

After breakfast at the hotel, a morning country car-drive to Mt.Popa, the oasis in the dry zone in the central Burma & the home for the pantheon of 37 Nats worshipped by most of the animists & Buddhists in Burma. It is 45-km to the south-east of Bagan, at least one hour by car. On the way, stop at a toddy-palm climber's hut to see how to tap sap from the toddy palm's fronds, how jaggery or palm sugar, liquor are made from toddy palm sap, how to make ox-pressed edible oil of sesame & peanut, and making toys from fresh tender toddy leaves, at Mt.Popa, walk up and down Popa Taungkalap, which is in the shape of a wine-glass  caused by a geological formation  during a volcanic eruption & a part of Mt. Popa and time for lunch, before driving all the way back to Bagan to be in time there for enjoying  a private local sunset cruise with light refreshments on the mighty Irrawaddy River and then time for dinner and overnight at the hotel. B=Breakfast

(Day 4) BAGAN-PAKOKKU-MONYWA (B)

After breakfast & check-out at the hotel, about 45-minutes car drive to Pakokku Township across the Ayeyawaddy ( Irrawaddy ) river, explore the busy daily Pakokku rural market to observe the everyday people there before 3 - hour car drive to Monywa, lunch will be on the way at a simple restaurant and visit the rock-cut caves of Shwebataung & Phowingtaung, the latter boasting the Nyaungyan-dynasty-17th-century mural paintings of the Jataka stories on the ceilings and on the walls of the caves, beautifully designed Buddha images of different sizes carved out of the natural lime stones, it's also a home to a troop of semi-tamed monkeys, then stop to see the site where the copper is produced by traditional way, check-in at the hotel, time for dinner and overnight at the hotel in Monywa. B=Breakfast

(Day 5) MONYWA SIGHTSEEING- SAGAING- MANDALAY (B)

After breakfast & check-out at the hotel, morning visit starts with such well-known places of interest in Monywa as Monyinthanbudde pagoda, which houses the 582,375 Buddha images in different sizes, Boditahtaung pagoda complex where the 130-m high standing Buddha, 100-m long reclining Bhddha plus over 1,000 Buddha statues sitting under the Banyan trees, can be seen in a huge compound, then proceed by car to Mandalay, photo stop at Kaunghmutaw Pagoda, time for lunch  in Sagaing, enjoy the 360° jaw-dropping  bird’s-eye view up there on the Sagaing Hill, then visit silk weaving in Amarapura before sunset at the world famous longest U Pein teak bridge of 1.2 km long built on the Taungthaman Lake, proceed to the hotel in Mandalay for check-in & overnight at the hotel in Mandalay. The driving hour between Monywa and Mandalay will take 3 hours more or less. B=Breakfast

(Day 6) MANDALAY-AMARAPURA-MANDALAY -SIGHTSEEING (B)

After breakfast at the hotel, a morning car-drive to Amarapura aka the City of Immortality, to explore Mahagandayon Monastery, a home for more or less 1,500 Buddhist monks, to be in time there for their preparation of the last meal of the day in long lines, before or after visiting Mahamuni Bronze Buddha Image believed to be cast during the Buddha’s life time, then visit such unique cottage industries as wood carving,  Gold Leaf Beating, the only place in the world where the thinnest handmade heavy hammer-beaten gold leaf of Burma, is produced and time for lunch, Afternoon visit to the Shwekyaung teak wood monastery aka Golden Palace Monastery with beautiful woodcarvings, which is the only remaining building in good shape, from the last royal palace almost totally destroyed by allied bomb during the 2nd world war, Kuthodaw Pagoda (The world biggest book of the Buddha’s complete teachings in Pali language, recently in the list of UNESCO world memory) and the Mandalay Hill to enjoy the panoramic view up there, time for dinner and overnight at the hotel in Mandalay. B=Breakfast

(Day 7) MANDALAY -MINGUN-AVA SIGHTSEEING (B)

mingun

After breakfast at the hotel, morning visit to Mingun Village. It is about 10-minute-drive from the hotel to Mandalay jetty, take a private chartered boat there for 1-hr cruise up the Irrawady River, then on foot to visit such sites as Mingun Unfinished Pagoda, 90-ton-weighed Mingun Bronze Bell, Myantheindan aka Hsinphyume Pagoda with nice view up there, an Ox & cart drive for fun, then cruise back to Mandalay for 45-minutes, time for lunch. In the afternoon sightseeing, visit Inwa aka Ava village from Mandalay, it takes more or less 45-minutes by car to a small river, cross this river by a small ferry for 5 minutes or so, then explore Ava by horse & cart to experience the villagers’ way of life, together with some ruined but preserved 19th century religious monuments, such as Bagaya Teak wood monastery, the leaning watch tower for photo, Menu Brick monastery located in the palace complex in the paddy field, then back to Mandalay, time for dinner and overnight at the hotel in Mandalay. B=Breakfast

(Day 8) MANDALAY-HEHO-PINDAYA SIGHTSEEING (B)

After breakfast at hotel, transfer to the Mandalay Airport to take the morning flight to Heho in Shan State and drive to Pindaya, from the Heho airport to Pindaya, it's 2-hr drive in Maximum, the scenery on the way is breathtakingly beautiful and the whole land is seasonally covered with rice plants, wheat, mustard, yellow, white sesame, potato, cauliflower,cabbages, chayotes, gingers, taro, various kinds of beans, etc., before or after lunch, visit Pindaya limestone cave with circa 8000 Buddha images in different sizes, most of them are carved out of the natural lime stone cave, Shan paper umbrella making, a grove of huge banyan trees of more or less 500 years old, the beautiful Pone-ta-louk Lake, which is part of the beautiful story of the evolution of the Pindaya village& its people. Dinner time and overnight at the hotel. If every- 5- day market is on the way , it's to be visited. B=Breakfast

(Day 9) PINDAYA TREKKING- KALAW SIGHTSEEING (B)

After breakfast and check-out at the hotel, a few minutes drive to the starting point to trek, begin to walk to a tribal village for more or less 1 hour through the tress of mangoes, crab apples and other seasonal crops in the cultivated lands, arrive at the Tha Yet Kone Danu tribal Village, where one can observe the villagers making hand-made Bamboo Hats. Continue to walk, for half an hour uphill by enjoying the plantations of tea, cabbages, cauliflowers, potatoes, mustard, garlic, etc., crab apple trees, the beautiful panoramic view of Pindaya with its beautiful lake, to Kyae Dwe Kone Village, situated on the hill and surrounded by big Bamboo forest, where local Danu people produce potato chips and one can study the way they make the chips & the villagers' way of life. Then walking downhill for 30 minutes more or less to the Pindaya Shwe Oo Min Cave, enjoying again, on the way, the plantation of tea, coffee together with the other seasonal crops, the picturesque Pon-ta-loke lake in the distance, proceed to walk for half an hour so back to the car and time for lunch before 1&1/2-hr-car drive to Kalaw, which is also one of the hill stations designated by the British in their colonial days and many Nepalese who came to Burma with the British, can still be seen there. Kalaw is also called the Pine Hill named after its thick forest of pine trees and it's 1320 m above sea level, higher than Pindaya and the weather is as nice as Pindaya. The places of interest to be visited there in Kalaw before or after check-in at the hotel in Kalaw, are Thein-taung, which is a view point overlooking the city, central market, a nice short walk to explore Kalaw, time for dinner and overnight at the hotel in Kalaw. B= Breakfast

(Day 10) KALAW-ELEPAHNT CAMP-INLE LAKE (B)

After breakfast & check-out at the hotel, about 2 hours drive to the elephant camp near Kalaw where such activities as planting as a part of campaign for reforestation, feeding elephant, bathing them in a nearby stream, observe the paper making process from elephant's dungs, elephant clinic and a museum where a remaining skeleton of the dead elephant is displayed, etc., welcome drink plus lunch are given as a part of the package of the elephant camp visit. And then drive to the famous Inle Lake, cir 880 m above sea level, 22-km long and 11-km wide, noted for its floating gardens, unique leg rowers, fishermen fishing by traditional way, etc., on the way, make a photo stop at Shwe Yanpyay wooden monastery, built to commemorate the spot of the 1st meeting between the British Officials and the Saopha of Nyaungshwe in 1886, before proceeding to Nyaungshwe on the north bank of the Inle Lake, check-in at the hotel, dinner time and overnight there at the hotel in Inle lake. B=Breakfast

(Day 11) INLE-INDEIN SIGHTSEEING (B)

After breakfast at hotel, about 1-hour boat drive to Indein tribal Pa-O village dotted with almost 2,000 pagodas in different sizes, which can be dated back to 17th, 18th centuries, then time for lunch, after that visit Silversmiths’ village, arts & crafts shop  where the Shan paper making process can  be observed & where Padaung ladies dubbed as long-necked, can be seen/taken pictures together, then Phaungdawu Pagoda, which is well-known for its 18-day-long pagoda festival held yearly with great pomp and ceremony, in a long procession of beautifully decorated barges plus traditional long-flat-bottom racing boats roaming in the lake to the villages, making overnight stops there, then drive all the way back to the hotel through the villages in the lake including the beautiful Kaylar village, traditional houses of it, are built on the stilts in the middle of the lake, arriving back at the hotel, time for dinner and overnight at the hotel. B=Breakfast

(Day 12) INLE SIGHTSEEING -HEHO-YANGON (B)

After breakfast & check-out at the hotel, by boat, visit every-5-day market of the tribal people living in & around the lake to observe their ways of life before proceeding to explore the villages of weavers (fabric made from lotus fibre thread, can only be seen in Inle Lake), blacksmiths, cheroot makers and boat-builders, then Phaungdawu Pagoda, which is well-known for its 18-day-long pagoda festival yearly, traditional way of fishing can be seen on the way and time for lunch, after that a slow boat drive through the Kaylar village, which is built in the middle of the lake, also through the floating gardens of mainly tomatoes together with seasonal vegetables plus flowers, visit almost 200-year-old-ancient-Ngaphechaung-wooden monastery formerly known as jumping cat monastery ( no more jumping cats there ) to see the unique beautiful collection of Buddhist shrines made of intricate designs of wood-carvings & glass mosaic before transferring to the Heho Airport to take an evening flight to Yangon, transfer to check-in, dinner time & overnight at the hotel in Yangon. B=Breakfast

(Day 13) YANGON SIGHTSEEING-DEPARTURE (B)

After breakfast at the hotel, start the full-day sightseeing in Yangon City, the name given by the
founder of the Third Burmese Empire, King Alaungphaya, in 1755, symbolizing " the Peaceful City ", by paying a visit to a street market in China Town, Synagogue, walk in & around the downtown near Sule Pagoda dotted with the remaining British colonial buildings such as Yangon city hall, High Court, Mahabandula park, Telegraph Office, Post Office, etc., explore the Yangon river shore around Sintoutan Jetty by the Yangon River for the scenery & for observing the people at the grassroots level, time for lunch. Afternoon visit to the Bogyoke Aung San Market aka Scott's Market to see the everyday people life, 68m-long Chaukhtatkyi Reclining Buddha Image, 100-m-high Shwedagon Pagoda towering the sky line of Yangon, heavily gilt, decorated with pure gold plates, other precious, semi–precious stones & the best sight of Burma, then transfer to the Yangon international airport to take your international flight to your next destination. B=Breakfast