Day 1 - Arrive Yangon, Myanmar
Arrive in Yangon, where you are met and transferred to your
Day 2 - Yangon
Today, enjoy your first taste of Myanmar, a profoundly Buddhist country, where many ancient traditions still flourish. Visit Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott Market) to see where locals gather, socialize and shop. After lunch, see the Reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, a 213-foot-long statue with an expressive enamel face. This evening, transfer to Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar, for a sunset oil-lamp lighting ceremony. Standing nearly 330 feet tall, the venerated stupa is covered in gold leaf and topped by a finial encrusted with thousands of precious gems. View this mesmerizing wonder firsthand, as your local guide explains the history behind the holy relics it enshrines, which include strands of hair from the head of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. Tonight, gather for a special welcome dinner.
Day 3 - Bagan
Fly to Bagan, a city with more than 2,000 Buddhist pagodas
and temples, the first of which was built by King Anawrahta
in 1044. Upon arrival, you are taken to a local restaurant for
lunch before continuing to your hotel. After a short rest, visit
a local lacquerware workshop. This evening, sip in a Scenic
Sundowner from a special viewing platform overlooking
Bagan’s temple-dotted landscape.
Day 4 - Bagan
This morning, explore Nyaung Oo Market and observe locals
selling and bartering for goods. Then, witness a shinbyu
(novitiation ceremony), a coming-of-age ritual celebrating
an aspiring young monk’s first entry to the monastery. Enjoy
privileged access to this time-honored tradition and the
village festivities. Visit the well-preserved Ananda Temple,
built in 1090. Next, Ride Like a Local by a horse-drawn cart
to see the wonderful Kubyaukgyi Temple, renowned for its
murals. Board luxurious all-balcony ‘Sanctuary Ananda,’
your home for a three-night cruise on the timeless Irrawaddy
Day 5 - Cruising the Irrawaddy
Rise early for an exhilarating hot air balloon ride (weather
permitting) over Bagan, as dawn illuminates the gold- and
sand-colored stupas. After breakfast on board, listen to a
special onboard talk about Myanmar’s history and vision
for the future, followed by demonstrations of the longyi (traditional Burmese cloth worn by men and women) and thanakha (a white cosmetic paste made from ground bark).
Day 6 - Cruising the Irrawaddy
Today, learn the secrets of Burmese cuisine during a cooking demonstration at a delightful Chef’s Table experience. After lunch, disembark to visit Sagaing, a former royal city renowned for its monasteries, pagodas and stupas. Proceed to Amarapura, where you embark by boat to view the picturesque U Bein Bridge — the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. Watch locals riding bikes, carrying crops and commuting from work cross this tall, iconic landmark for an insight into everyday life here, as well as an ideal sunset photo opportunity.
Day 7 - Mandalay
After breakfast on board, explore a gold-leaf workshop,
where the metal is hammered paper-thin and prepared
for use in some of Myanmar’s holiest sites. This afternoon,
visit the Shwenandaw Monastery and view the more than
700 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist religious texts at Kuthodaw Pagoda, referred to as the biggest book in
the world. Later, witness evening prayers at Shwe Kyin
Day 8 - Inle Lake
Fly to Heho and drive to Nyaung Shwe to visit a Shan paper workshop. Enjoy a firsthand look at the artisans who produce this distinctive paper, using fibers from the mulberry tree, and craft a wide range of items from it, most notably Burmese parasols. Enjoy a special lunch on board a floating restaurant set on Inle Lake. This afternoon, board a boat and explore the lake’s ingenious floating gardens. To create these gardens, used for growing fruit and vegetables, fishermen gather together lake plants, such as water hyacinths and seagrass, and anchor them with bamboo poles embedded in the lake bottom. Layers of mud, ash and more vegetation are then applied to form a farmable surface strong enough to stand upon. Transfer to your lakeside boutique hotel for the evening.
Day 9 - Inle Lake
This morning, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities:
Enjoy an Artisan Visit to see cigar-like cheroots handmade at a local workshop, and tour a weaving factory.
Bicycle Through the Countryside in the company of a
local guide, taking in the lush surroundings and local life.
Attend a Cooking Class led by a local chef for the hands-on
opportunity to prepare traditional Burmese dishes.
After lunch, privately witness an Intha boat race with
afternoon tea. Marvel at the coordinated effort required
by the 20 participants per boat, each using the traditional
single-leg rowing technique that local fishermen still employ.
Day 10 - Yangon
Fly to Yangon and transfer to your hotel. Later, savor
afternoon tea with a local writer, artist and intellectual who
shares her insight into contemporary Burmese culture and
politics. Tonight, toast your time in Myanmar at a special
Day 11 - Depart Yangon
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and depart.