170111 WEA Burma 2017 Tour MapDay#1   Thu 19 Oct 2017                                    Sydney – Yangon

Our Thai Airways International flight TG476 departs Sydney mid morning and arrives in Bangkok early afternoon. Here we conveniently connect with TG305 and arrive in Yangon early evening. We are met and transferred to the Sule Shangri la Hotel, our longstanding 5 Star Yangon base.       (Meals in flight)

Day#2   Fri 20 Oct 2017                                                     Yangon

After a morning walk to introduce you to the local area, including Bogyoke Market (sometimes known by its British name Scott Market) with over 2000 shops containing the largest selection of Burmese handicrafts in the country. 300 metres from our hotel , we proceed in the early afternoon to Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda housing a massive reclining Buddha. Following this will be a highlight of our journey to Burma - Shwedagon Pagoda. Kipling called it ‘a golden mystery …   a beautiful winking wonder’. Considered by many as the world’s most impressive Buddhist shrine, a visit here is a magical travel experience, one of those atmospheric places in the world that you feel as much as see. The entire precinct is a Buddhist fantasyland: dazzling golden spires; enigmatic Buddha images; cheerful nats; extraordinary temples of imaginative design; and all the mystery and magic of South East Asia. Dominating the spectacle is the magnificent golden pagoda soaring over 100 metres into the blue sky. Burmese royalty over the last five centuries has donated tons of gold and thousands of gemstones and today the pagoda is entirely sheathed in gold leaf and studded with bricks of solid gold. The tip is set with thousands of diamonds, rubies and sapphires and topped by a gigantic 76 carat diamond. Saffron robed monks and devotees constantly circle in a clockwise direction and, as sunset approaches, the Shwedagon offers the traveller a spectacular show of lights and shadows. Most meals are included on our trip but, as this is a free morning, your lunch today is up to you – Bob or our guide can recommend tested, good-standard local eateries near the hotel. Welcome dinner at our hotel.   (B D)

Day#3   Sat 21 Oct 2017                                                  Yangon

Breakfast at our hotel precedes a walk through some more of Yangon’s major highlights, all in the heart of the city: serene Sule Pagoda; and the classic colonial buildings of the old business centre, which are gradually being restored. We lunch at a local restaurant. Dinner this evening is at our hotel.       (B L D)  

Day#4   Sun 22 Oct 2017                                        Yangon – Sittwe

We breakfast at our hotel before transferring to the airport for our late morning flight to Western Myanmar and Sittwe, the port city of Rakhine State. Until its capture by the Burmese in the late 1700s, Rakhine (formerly called Arakan) was an independent kingdom with a distinctive language and culture. The Mrauk-U dynasty, which lasted 352 years and succeeded two earlier kingdoms, was potent and powerful, feared by its neighbours in the Indian subcontinent and Central Myanmar;  all three kingdoms blended elements of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism with Hinduism and Islam. After lunch at a local restaurant we settle into the Shwe Thazin Hotel.  In the afternoon we explore Sittwe.  Dinner is at our hotel or at a local restaurant depending on seasonal catering arrangements (B L D)  

Day#5   Mon 23 Oct 2017                                 Sittwe - Mrauk-U

After breakfast we embark on a long riverboat cruise upstream on the mighty Kaladan River and some narrow tributaries to Mrauk-U. The riverboat is equipped with a western toilet (just in case you were wondering). En route we plan a lunchtime visit to Ponnagyun Island, the site of a great 16th century naval battle between the Arakanese and the Portuguese. On arrival we check into the Vesali Hotel.     (B L D)

Day#6   Tue 24 Oct 2017                                                   Mrauk-U

Today, subject to time constraints and road conditions, we begin our exploration of the spectacular pagodas, temples and sacred buildings of old Mrauk-U.  Visits during our stay here may include the Shittaung Temple (the most well known, containing over 80,000 Buddha images and sculptures), Pizi Taung, a hilltop ruin with its Buddha images still open to the sky, and the Htaukkan Thein Temple with its vaulted passages lined with Buddhas. We will also visit the newly-discovered ‘Back to Back Buddhas” east of the city- one of many sights on our tour you are unlikely to find in the guidebooks. Lunch is at a favourite local restaurant; dinner is at our hotel.   (B L D)

Day#7   Wed 25 Oct 2017                                                 Mrauk-U

After breakfast at our hotel we continue, over very challenging road conditions, more exploration in and around Mrauk-U. We travel 10 kilometres to Vesali, including a walk through a section of Vesali village that is not accessible by coach, then proceed a further 22 kilometres to the site of the ancient capital, Dhanyawadi. Here in the old city we find the Mahamuni temple, the original location of Mandalay’s famous Mahamuni Buddha (which we visit later in our program), with its magnificent collection of First Millenniium AD sculpture  Lunch is at a local restaurant.  Our afternoon agenda includes visits to the Bandoola monastery and the old city gate.  Dinner is at our hotel.       (B L D)

Day#8   Thu 26 Oct 2017                                                 Mrauk-U

Today we visit the old royal palace site, the nearby small and charming museum, and the recently excavated Kothaung temple. Road conditions permitting, we will also visit the old Portuguese trading post. Lunch is at a local restaurant; dinner is at our hotel.   (B L D)

Day#9   Fri 27 Oct 2017                  Mrauk-U – Sittwe - Yangon

Early breakfast at our hotel. Back on board our riverboat, we return downstream to Sittwe, watching fascinating local scenes on and beside the Kaladan River as the new day comes to life. We have brunch aboard our riverboat before our arrival in Sittwe. We transfer to the airport for an early afternoon flight to Yangon.  Dinner and overnight at the Sule Shangri-La Hotel.   (B L D)

Day#10   Sat 28 Oct 2017                             Yangon - Mandalay

After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for an early flight to Mandalay.  Mandalay was the last capital before British Raj control and consequently retains importance as a cultural and religious centre, a place that many regard as the heartbeat of Myanmar. Our day begins with a highlight: a visit to the recently uncovered Tamut Shwegugyi, a late Bagan period pagoda that was buried for centuries under another building. After lunch and an early afternoon break, we visit Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite wood construction and carvings; and Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as the ‘World’s Biggest Book’ for its massive stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures situated around a central stupa. We proceed to Mandalay Hill (the natural focus and vantage point) for a panorama of the city and a spectacular sunset view.  We stay in the comfortable Hotel Shwe Pyi Thar.       (B L D)

Day#11   Sun 29 Oct 2017                                           Mandalay

After breakfast we visit Amarapura, 12 kilometres south of Mandalay. Here we see the renowned U Bein teak bridge, on Lake Taungthaman, a seasonal body of water that dries up in winter leaving fertile land for cultivation. Highlights include glimpses of Mandalay’s traditional silk-weaving industry; gold leaf making, marble carving and bronze making. We also visit the superb Mahamuni Pagoda which contains the venerated Mahamuni image, taken from the Mahamuni Temple in Dhanyawadi (which we visited on Day#7). Like Shwedagon, there is an aura here that is very apparent. Dinner and overnight at our accommodation Hotel Shwe Pyi Thar.   (B L D) 

Day#12   Mon 30 Oct 2017                              Mandalay - Bagan

One of Asia’s great brown rivers awaits us. After breakfast we transfer to the jetty for a memorable day cruise in our private riverboat on the mighty Ayeyarwady River from Mandalay to Nyaung U, the riverbank landing near Bagan. The scenery and river life is fascinating. Lunch is served on board. We arrive at Nyaung U in the evening and transfer to the Hotel at Tharabar Gate Our evening arrival time depends on seasonal river conditions. Dinner is at our hotel.   (B L D)

Day#13   Tue 31 Oct 2017                                                  Bagan

It would be difficult to find a traveller unimpressed by the magnificent ruins of this 12th century empire. With some 5000 stupas and temples strewn across the dusty plains of central Burma, Bagan stands as one of the world’s premier archaeological destinations. Many experienced travellers are of the opinion that this is the most impressive sight of Myanmar, if not South East Asia. A must-see for any visitor to Burma. During our stay in Bagan visits are scheduled to a variety of important structures which - time permitting - may include Shwezigon Pagoda, a prototype of later Myanmar stupas; Wetkyi-in Gubyaukkyi Temple with fine mural paintings of Jataka scenes; Manuha Temple with its gigantic Buddha images; Nanpaya, an earlier shrine with fine stone carvings; and Ananda Temple, superbly restored with four 9.5 metre standing Buddhas facing outward from its centre. We lunch at a local restaurant and in the afternoon our exploration continues, including a visit to a lacquerware factory.   Dinner this evening is at a local restaurant. A puppet show may be involved.      (B L D)

Day#14   Wed 01 Nov 2017                                                 Bagan

After breakfast, we drive 50 kilometres to Mount Popa, the Mount Olympus of Myanmar and the spectacular abode of nats (spirits). On top of a volcanic core at the edge of the mountain is a picturesque assembly of monasteries, stupas and shrines in a variety of styles. Following lunch in Popa village, we return to Bagan in the afternoon and perhaps explore as many temples en route as time permits. We dine this evening at a local restaurant .  (B L D)

Day#15   Thu 02 Nov 2017                                                    Bagan

Our exploration of Bagan’s unique environment continues, guided as usual by Bob’s familiarity with the area and opportunities that may present themselves. Cultural show this evening at a nearby open air restaurant.       (B L D)

Day#16   Fri 03 Nov 2017                                Bagan – Inle Lake  

Shan State and Inle Lake are next on our itinerary. Our morning flight takes us from Bagan to Heho. We are met on arrival and transferred by coach (about 45 minutes) to the small town of Nyaungshwe, the main service centre of the Inle Lake area, where we check into the View Point Eco Lodge. Lunch is at a local restaurant. High hills surround this beautiful 22km long, 11km wide waterway.  Dinner tonight is at our hotel, nominated as one of Myanmar’s leading restaurants.     (B L D)

Day#17   Sat 04 Nov 2017                                                Inle Lake

This morning we embark on a boat excursion to the Inle Lake village of Indein, an important centre for the Pa-o people, one of Shan State’s main tribal groups. Over 1000 decaying temples make this one of the most picturesque ruins in Myanmar. After lunch at a local restaurant (if enough cat fanciers are in our group this will be Heritage House, which has a Burmese cat breeding program- the human food is good too) we continue our Inle exploration. We cruise down a nearby channel to Phaung Daw Oo Paya, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State. Within this huge pagoda are five ancient and revered Buddha images, transformed into amorphous gold blobs by centuries of gold leaf applications by devotees. Visits to lakeside workshops - silver, cheroot, lotus cloth, cotton and silk – occupy the rest of the afternoon. Of course, there will be opportunities to purchase the work of these skilled local artisans. Dinner this evening at our hotel.      (B L D)

Day#18   Sun 05 Nov 2017                                Inle Lake - Yangon

After breakfast at our hotel, we transfer to Heho airport for a morning flight to Rangoon. On arrival we transfer to the Shangri-La Hotel and settle in before lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon is unscheduled, perhaps enjoy a drink at the glorious colonial Strand Hotel, the Raffles of Yangon. Farewell dinner tonight at our hotel.   (B L D)

Day#19   Mon 06 Nov 2017                              Yangon - Bangkok

Breakfast. We transfer to Yangon Mingaladon airport for our Thai Airways afternoon flight TG302 to Bangkok. Our flight TG475 to Sydney departs early evening. (B   meals in flight)

 Day#20   Tue 07 Nov 2017                                        Arrive Sydney

Sydney arrival scheduled for 7:40 am.  
  • Tour Cost per person twinshare without  international airfare:  $7200.00

  • Tour Cost per person twinshare including international airfare:  $7995.00

  • Single Supplement:  $1800.00 

    If you are a single traveller and ‘willing to share’ we offer a cost effective option: if another ‘willing to share’ single traveller of the same gender joins the tour, you will twinshare with them. If no other ‘willing to share’ single same gender traveller joins the tour then you will have the sole use of a room at no charge.

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