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Essential Burma

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Essential Burma

1-Join tour Rangoon (Yangon); Afternoon sightseeing
Arrive in Rangoon and check-in at the hotel. Later this afternoon we head for the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda to enjoy the serene atmosphere this temple affords as the sun goes down. The gold leaf covered central stupa stands 90 metres tall and dominates the city skyline. Locals gather to make offerings and pray at this most revered of Buddhist temples in the country.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Rooms Available

2-Fly to Bagan; Full day sightseeing
We take breakfast boxes with us as we fly early this morning to Bagan. This architectural wonder can sometimes be seen from the aircraft as we come in to land. After visiting Bagan’s colourful morning fruit and vegetable market, we spend the day discovering some of the most impressive of the thousands of temples and stupas that are dotted across the vast plains including the gilded Shwezigon Pagoda; Wetkyi-in Gubyaukgyi Temple with its paintings of the lives of Buddha; and Ananda Pagoda, Bagan’s best preserved temple, along with the brick Ananda Ok Kyaung Monastery within its grounds. We end the day on the upper terraces of one of the temples to watch as the last of the sun’s rays light up the red soil of the plains.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Rooms Available

3-Optional sunrise excursion; Morning cycling in Bagan; Free late afternoon
This morning there is the opportunity to experience Bagan at sunrise. This optional excursion returns to the hotel for breakfast joining the rest of the group as we head out on two wheels to cycle around Thahtay Kan Village where we can see traditional methods of cotton weaving and grinding peanut oil using oxen. We then head on to explore some of the lesser visited and more ruined temples and stupas, to enjoy the atmosphere and serenity of these places away from the tourist track. The remainder of the afternoon is left free to relax. This evening we can cycle to a nearby temple to enjoy the sunset, returning to the hotel by bus.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Rooms Available

4-Drive to Mandalay; Afternoon sightseeing in Mandalay and Amarapura
As we head out by road this morning to Mandalay, a journey of approximately 5 hours, we can watch daily life unfold along our journey. The afternoon is spent in the city first seeing some its most important monuments including Mahamuni Pagoda, Mandalay’s holiest temple; the wooden Shwenandaw Monastery, also known as the Golden Palace Monastery, and Kuthadow Pagoda, home to the world’s largest book. We also have the opportunity to see how gold leaf is hammered at a local workshop. We then head to Amarapura and walk through the serene confines of the expansive Mahagandayon Monastery complex, occasionally spying monks going about their evening rituals. We end the day at the 1.3 km long teakwood footbridge of U Bein, a wonderful place to visit at the end of the day as the sun is going down when locals take their evening promenade along the bridge across the lake.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Rooms Available

5-Morning sightseeing in Inwa; Afternoon boat trip along Irrawaddy River to Mingun
This morning we make our way to Inwa. Crossing the river by local ferry we are greeted by horses and carts to take us along the bumpy dirt roads around the village. Of note is the Leaning Tower of Ava, the Manu Ok Kaung yellow stucco monastery and the atmospheric teak monastery of Bagaya Kyaung. This afternoon we take to the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwaddy) River to the village of Mingun. As we cruise for around an hour we can sit back and watch as boats pass by. In Mungun we find what would have been the world’s largest pagoda, had King Bodawpaya not died during construction. Nevertheless the surviving 50 metre high base is very impressive albeit now cracked after an earthquake in 1819. We also see the world’s largest un-cracked bell at 13 feet high and 16 feet across. We arrive back in Mandalay in time for the evening fish market, a bustling and busy street lined with locals frantically selling the evening catch – a sight to behold.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Rooms Available

6-Fly to Heho; Sightseeing on Inle Lake
This morning we fly to Heho, from where we head to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway to Inle Lake. We board a small flotilla of local boats and take to the waters of the lake. Set at 900m on the Shan Plateau, Inle Lake is surrounded by hills and predominately populated by the Intha people with a mix of other Shan, Taungyo, Pa-o and Danu ethnicities. The devoutly Buddhist local community is mainly made up of fishermen, artisans and farmers. The local fishermen are known for their unique rowing style which involves using one leg to handle the oar whilst balancing on the other. We visit some of the cottage industries that had developed in stilt buildings on the lake such as silk and lotus weaving, and cheroot (cigar) rolling. We also visit Phaungdaw U Pagoda and Nga Phae Chaung Monastery. Along the way we take in the fascinating and ever-changing sights of this ‘water world’ including rickety stilt houses, floating islands that are used to cultivate vegetables and of course the leg-rowing fishermen. In the late afternoon we drive to the Red Mountain Winery where we have the opportunity to walk around the vineyard and see how the wines are produced as well as watch the sunset from the mountain, and perhaps even sample the vintage!
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Rooms Available

7-Morning sightseeing on Inle Lake; Free afternoon
We take to the water again to explore Inle Lake further, perhaps visiting a floating market along the way. Making our way to Indain Village we walk a short distance to the Indain Pagoda complex, a collection of ruined and overgrown pagodas and stupas dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Now in a state of picturesque disrepair, we can still see beautiful bas relief carvings and glimpses of Buddha statues. We return to Nyaung Shwe by boat. The afternoon is left free to relax or perhaps hire some bicycles locally to explore the village and its surrounds.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Rooms Available

8-Fly to Rangoon (Yangon); Sightseeing; Free late afternoon
Today we fly back to Rangoon. We have the opportunity to explore the city further and take a walk along Pansodan Street we experience local life as we pass by street markets. Modern edifices interspersed with crumbling Colonial buildings are the backdrop. We also visit the impressive 70 metre long reclining Buddha at Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda. The head of which is decorated with a crown encrusted with diamonds and precious stones whilst its soles are beautifully ornate. Later we head for the riverfront to visit the gilded Botahtaung Pagoda, before taking a walk around Kandagyi Lake. We make a final stop at Bogyoke Market, formerly known as Scott’s Market, for last minute souvenir or gift hunting (closed on Mondays, full moons and public holidays). The remainder of the day is left free.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Rooms Available

9-Tour ends Rangoon
Tour ends after breakfast. If there is time before your flight home you could revisit Scott’s Market, parhaps take a walk through the very colourful fruit and vegetable markets of China Town or treat yourself to lunch at The Strand, a grand Colonial hotel in downtown Rangoon.

Tour includes:

8 Breakfast
Bus, Boat, Ferry, Flight
8 nights Standard Hotel
Tour Staff:
Explore Tour Leader, Boat Crew, Driver(s), Local Guide(s)
Group Size:
Generally 12 – 18

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explore holidaysExplore have been running small group adventure holidays throughout the world since 1981 and have a vast array of experience, knowledge and well established close personal contacts in all the countries in which they operate, which makes them stand out as one of the most trusted adventure tour operators in the UK.

They are passionate about what they do, and above all, simply love nothing more than to travel. The founder directors ran overland trips through Asia, Africa and the Americas in the 1960s and 70s prior to setting up the company, and were determined that the spirit of adventure that was such an important part of those early pioneering days, should continue to play key role as part of the driving ethos of Explore.

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It is little wonder that over 60% of all Explore customers who travel each year have travelled with them previously, Explore are clearly committed to the “travel experience” and their itineraries are always offer that slight “Explore Twist” which makes them even more appealing.

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