DAY 1: Arrival and Highlights of Yangon
DAY 2: Flight to Mandalay & Cycling to Royal Kingdoms
DAY 3: Highlights of Mandalay
DAY 4: Flight to Bagan & cycle tour
DAY 5: Back roads of Bagan
DAY 6: Flight to Yangon, end of tour
Upon arrival to the Yangon international airport, you will be welcomed by our Myanmar guide and transferred to hotel. Today we visit colonial-style city center of Yangon starting from one of the landmarks Sule Paya stupa – built over 2,000 years ago. We continue to the quaint Yangon old quarter, built during the British colonial era where many charming historical buildings are still located. During our stroll through bustling Market streets full of merchants and food stalls, we visit a local pharmacy and learn about Myanmar traditional medicine, stop for a tea and snack in the fashion of locals, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Yangon. We continue to one of Asia’s architectural landmarks, the elegant Strand hotel built by the Sarkies brothers. Passing old port buildings on Strand road we head to lively Chinese and Indian quarters before reaching bustling Bogyoke (Scotts) Market, where hundreds of gemstone, handicrafts, art, clothes and food stores are tucked in a maze of color.(Please note that the market is closed on Mondays and on public holidays)
After lunch in the afternoon, we walk to nearby Yangon Central Railway Station where we embark on the Yangon circle line train and travel as the locals do. The rail line ambles in a leisurely, 3-hour loop around Yangon and surrounding neighborhoods and is full of character. We disembark the train after few stops and approximately 30 minutes of travelling to continue sightseeing by our own vehicle. Late afternoon we complete the day with a sunset visit to one of the world’s most spectacular monuments, the Shwedagon Pagoda, a gold covered bell dome structure that dominates the city’s skyline and is frequented by pious locals. The Shwedagon is an iconic symbol of the country, a sight not to be missed.
Breakfast at hotel and transfer to Yangon domestic airport for (1hr) Flight to Mandalay, the last Royal Capital of Burma. Our biking journey starts from Mandalay airport. We ride first 8km on a quiet airport road before turning to smaller unpaved road leading to the ruins of ancient capital cities and Ava/Inwa kingdom situated on an island between Myint Nge and Ayeyarwaddy Rivers. We make photo stops at Nan Myint watch tower, last remaining structure of the palace compound in the heart of the area, old Bagayar Monastery constructed entirely of teak wood well over 100 years ago and the beautiful yellow colored decorative Maha Aung Mye Bonzan Monastery After lunch at Ava we cross Myint Nge River with small ferry and ride across bridge to Ancient Capital of Sagaing, home to 6000-7000 Buddhist monks, nuns and novices, one the most important religious centers of Myanmar. From Sagaing we cycle north along the shores of Ayeyarwaddy River through rural farming communities to Mingun. The road is paved and has very light traffic and part of the journey is travelled over rolling hills. In Mingun we make photo stops at huge unfinished Mingun Pagoda cracked by an earth quake and at the world’s biggest bronze bell before catching 1-hour sunset cruise across Ayeyarwaddy River to Mandalay. Upon arrival to Mandalay jetty transfer to hotel for check in.
In the morning we cycle to one of Mandalay’s popular tea shops and join locals for breakfast. From here we start our Mandalay exploration. Our first stop is the lively Zegyo Market in the heart of the city where we take a stroll to experience authentic local life. We continue to the Jade Market where blocks of raw jade is being traded and explore Artisan quarters, where some of the oldest craftsmanship is showcased dating back to last kingdom of Myanmar. We observe the process of pounding gold leaf, detailing teakwood carvings and embroidering Myanmar tapestry. We also see how bronze and marble Buddha statues are carved, cast and molded. Next, we ride to visit the major highlights of the city: the sacred Mahamuni Pagoda, housing one of the most significant Buddha images covered in several tons of gold leaf and the crown prize in wars between competing kingdoms; the Golden Palace Monastery the sole surviving Royal Palace building in Mandalay, offering a glimpse of the original style and architecture of the Myanmar royals; and lastly a photo stop at the Kuthodaw Pagoda, a compound housing Buddha’s teachings carved in the sacred Pali script on stone tablets and regarded the world’s largest book in terms of surface area. We end our day with sunset panoramic views over city skyline on Mandalay Hill, the highest point of the city.
Morning transfer to Bagan by express coach 4hrs. In Bagan check-in to your hotel and begin our cycling journey into the Ancient Kingdoms of Bagan. The Dhamayazeka Zedi is our first visit, providing panoramic views of the temple studded plains of Bagan. We continue to the Manuha Temple, built by the Mon king in the 1300s to represent his time in captivity under the Bagan king; Taung Bi Village, a typical Bagan neighborhood where we visit Rice noodle and local cigar “Cheroot” workshops. Enroute to Nyaung U Market, the largest market in Bagan we stop by the Thanaka Museum to learn about this unique Myanmar beauty product. After lunch break we cycle to gold gilded Swezigon Stupa, purported to contain a holy tooth relic of the Buddha. Not far from the stupa, the Myingaba Gu Byaukgyi Temple is a sight to behold, housing Bagan’s best preserved mural paintings of the Buddha’s Jataka reincarnations. We can also make a visit to a Monastic school that provides disadvantaged children with free primary level education; we have the opportunity to interact with the school children. Late afternoon we visit beautifully symmetric and majestic Ananda Temple with its four standing Buddha
After breakfast at the hotel, we continue cycling for exploration of Bagan through smaller back roads to experience the feel of local way of living. On our way we make stops to learn about making of unique Bagan lacquerware and interact with local craftsmen. We encounter local people going on with their daily businesses and make a lunch stop at a local restaurant. After lunch we continue to cycle around the beautiful side tracks getting the feel of magical Bagan. Late afternoon, we ride down to Ayeryarwady River for a Private sunset cruise where magnificent views of the riverside temples and bustling shore can be accompanied by cocktails on board.
All touring schedules and activities can be adjusted according to guests’ wishes.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for domestic flight to Yangon. On the arrival, you would be welcomed by our guide and assist for your international departure. HG Travel will happily assist with any additional travel plans.