next 4 days
Welcome to Yangon! Transfer to hotel to check-in.
Begin the city tour with the 2000 year-old Sule Pagoda and Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda with an impressive 216 ft-long reclining Buddha image. Continue to Bogyoke Market, formerly known as Scott’s Market, where there is time to browse through the dozens of stalls and shops. This is Yangon’s best market for handicrafts and other goods. (Note: Market is closed on Mondays and public holidays). Return to hotel. Late this afternoon, visit the spectacular golden Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the most sacred Buddhist pagodas in Myanmar. Enjoy the sunset view over Yangon city and across river from the platform. The rest of evening is free at leisure.
Morning, transfer to the airport for flight to Mandalay. Start your tour to visit Mahamuni Pagoda, one of Myanmar’s most religious monuments housing the revered Mahamuni Image. It is said to have been sculpted in the presence of the Gautama Buddha during a visit to the Kingdom of Arakan. Transfer to the Santuary Ananda for check in. Lunch will be served onboard as we cruise towards the pagoda-sprinkled hills of Sagaing, an important religious and monastic center, home to some 554 monasteries and 6,000 monks and nuns. Make a short stop at several of the monasteries and pagodas, but it is the views from the top of the Sagaing Hill on the terraces of the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda which are truly breathtaking. Before returning to the ship, we will visit a silversmith workshop in the village of Ywataung where the craftsmen are renowned for their engraving skills. The RV Ananda will depart Sagaing at 4 p.m. First stop is at Amarapura, known as ‘The City of Immortals,’ which, in its heyday, held some 200,000 inhabitants. We will visit one of the textile workshops, followed by the U Bein Bridge at 5:30 p.m., a spectacular place to enjoy the sunset. This long teak bridge snakes across the Taungthaman Lake. After sunset, catch a boat up the Ayeyarwady River and return to the RV Ananda. A welcome dinner will be served on a sandbank overlooking Mingun, home to the ruins of King Bodawpaya’s folly--a pagoda which, if finished, would have stood some 500 feet high.
The RV Ananda will then sail to Mingun, a journey that will give you a wonderful glimpse into river life on the Ayeyarwady. On arrival in Mingun, an ox-cart will be your mode of transport through this sleepy, attractive village. The first stop will be at the unfinished Mingun pagoda. Construction began in 1790 and today a hugepile of bricks is all that remains of King Bodawpaya’s grandiose scheme. Nearby stands the massive Mingun Bell that measures more than 12 feet high (3.66 meters) and 16 feet wide (4.88 meters).
Lastly we come to a most unusual white pagoda known as Myatheindan (Hsinbyume). It was built by King Bodawpaya’s grandson, Bagyida, in memory of his senior wife, the Queen Hsinbyumei. Return to the ship at 10 a.m. and start sailing south. Visually Myanmar is unique, the eye is constantly delighted by scenes of casual, almost unintended beauty. Ladies perched on rocks chatter as they do their daily wash. An ox-cart waits on the banks for a boat to arrive and unload its goods. These scenes are set against a backdrop of soft browns, rich tamarind trees with white and golden pagodas gracing the distant hills. There is no better way to enjoy this river picture than from the Kansipanorama lounge. After lunch a variety of onboard activities will be offered, including a longyi (sarong) and thanaka (cosmetic) demonstration, a cooking school with the chef, cheroot and betel-nut tasting and a talk on Myanmar – covering the country’s incredibly rich history, the recent controversial decades to the outlook for the future of The Golden Land.
For those who wish, a meditation and yoga training session will be available before breakfast.
Pakokku, just south of the confluence of the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin Rivers, is RV Ananda’s next stop. Trishaws will take you to the local market where mouth-watering fruit and vegetables are laid out with consummate style, an extra touch is provided by sprigs of flowers on each stall. Then to the cheroot factory, watch the girls roll and make the cheroots with great speed and dexterity. Return to the ship for lunch while we sail on to Bagan. The afternoon will begin with a drive to the southern area of Bagan, Myinkaba village and the Manuha Temple. Built by deposed Mon King, Manuha in 1059 this two-story temple conveys a melancholy message. The three Buddha images therein are uncomfortably large for their enclosures, thus illustrating his captivity and mental stress. Beside the Manuha Temple is the charming Nanpaya Temple, King Manuha’s residence, which boasts some beautiful stone carvings. Close by, is another Mon-style temple, Gubyaukgyi, built by Prince Rajakumar in 1113, the inner sanctum is decorated with frescoes, which have been restored. Return to the RVAnanda at 6:30 p.m. for dinner and a local performance onboard.
Begin your day by watching the sun rise from amidst the plain on a temple terrace in the company of a meditation expert.
Alternatively, at 5:30 a.m. you can take an optional balloon tour (an additional charge applies) to capture a birds-eye view of the Bagan plain. As you rise through the sky, you will be able to admire the magnificent pagodas through the morning mist. As the light dawns and the sun illuminates the landscape, the scene becomes alive.
RV Ananda will set sail at 8 a.m. passing Chauk, one of the original oilfields where the nodding ‘donkeys’ (oil well pumps) stand by the river bank still working away. The ship will arrive at Sale (Salay) around 11 a.m. Sale is a perfect small community to wander around on foot or by trishaw. We will visit Yoke Sone Kyaung monastery, a fine teak building with some beautifully crafted reliefs. A host of small white stupas interspersed with some Italianate monasteries, stand near Yoke Sone Kyaung. Then on to a small temple, Tha-ta-na Kyaung, to look at a Buddha image made of bamboo. The afternoon will be spent sailing, with a range of onboard activities available for guests to enjoy a traditional Shan dinner with our Captain tonight at 6:30 p.m..
Leaving at 9 a.m. we will visit Minanthu village in the heart of the Bagan plain, to see the way of life of the local people, before progressing to Paya Thone Zu. Discover the local craft of lacquerware making in a workshop in Myinkaba where the traditional methods are still used. Bagan has been producing fine lacquerware since the time of King Anawrahta in the 11th century. Lunch will be served onboard at 1 p.m. This afternoon we will first visit the Ananda Temple. Completed in 1091 AD, it is commonly referred to as one of the four great temples in Bagan. The Ananda is regarded by folklore as one of the most beautiful temples in Myanmar. The temple is shaped like a perfect Greek cross and rises in graduated terraces to a height of some 170’. Inside stand four magnificent golden Buddha statues. Within the temple grounds is the Ananda Oakkaung, the well preserved remains of a monastery complex with murals depicting Burmese life from the 11th -13th centuries. A traditional horse-cart will then take you to Htilominlo Temple, a two-story red-brick temple built around 1211 A.D.. It is a magnificent structure, though now heavily restored. It stands 150 feet high and 140 feet wide at its base. Inside four Buddha images face the cardinal points on both levels of the building. Some of the old murals can still be seen as can a number of the friezes. Several old horoscopes, painted to protect the building from damage, can be found on the walls. End the day with a quiet moment on the terraces of the Pyathatgyi Temple. Admire the light change on the pagodas which exude antiquity and mystery. Finally, the sun sets behind the hills on the far side of the Ayeyarwady, filling the sky with a reddish glow, a truly magical moment. Dinner will be onboard followed by a local performance.
Begin your day by watching the sun rise from amidst the plain on a temple terrace in the company of a meditation expert.
Alternatively, at 5.30 a.m. you can take an optional balloon tour (an additional charge applies) to capture a birds-eye view of the Bagan plain. As you rise through the sky, you will be able to admire the magnificent pagodas through the morning mist. As the light dawns and the sun illuminates the landscape, the scene becomes alive.
After breakfast at 8:30 a.m. visit Bagan to see the bustling Nyaung U local market. The market, which takes place every day, is where the farmers meet to buy and sell a variety of goods, ranging from fruit and vegetables to china and lacquerware. The day continues with a visit to the great golden Shwezigon Pagoda, begun by King Anawrahta and finished by his son King Kyanzittha, in 1087 A.D. The Shwezigon holds a special place among Burmese pagodas for two reasons--it was the first major monument built in the Burmese style (as distinct from Mon style) following the country’s conversion to Theravada Buddhism, and it was the first pagoda to have nat (spirit) images allowed within the precinct. The Shwezigon is said to contain important relics of the Gautama Buddha, two bones and a copy of a tooth. Return to the ship at 11 a.m. and begin sailing north. An afternoon for peaceful reflection of this beautiful country where time itself moves at a different pace and enjoy more discussion on its history and what lies ahead for Myanmar while enjoying the comfort of the RV Ananda. Once the ship has reached her mooring for the evening, a sunset cocktail reception and dinner will be served on a sandbank.
For those who wish, a meditation and yoga training session will be available before breakfast. The morning will be spent sailing and enjoying the passing countryside. At 1 p.m. you will arrive in the once mighty capital, Ava (Inwa), which is now a rural and quiet village that is best visited by horse-cart. Ava has many unique sites to offer including the imposing Bagaya Kyaung pagoda, famous for its 277 teak pillars. Then drive onto Amarapura, once known as ‘The City of Immortals’ which, in its heyday, held some 200,000 inhabitants. Today, the leisurely ‘clack-clack’ from the looms of the cotton and silk weavers has replaced the noisy bustle of this former capital. You will visit one of the textile workshops, followed by the U Bein Bridge at 5:30 p.m., a spectacular place to enjoy the sunset. This long, teak bridge snakes across the Taungthaman Lake. It was constructed in 1847 by Mayor U Bein. The cunning mayor pocketed the money allocated for the bridge and re-used the timbers from the abandoned Ava Palace. The king saw through the ruse and the mayor was charged with fraud. After enjoying the sunset, you will catch a boat up the Ayeyarwady River and return to the RV Ananda. A sandbank dinner overlooking magical Mingun will be served at 7:30 p.m., followed by a local performance on the banks of the river.
Begin your day with an early morning visit to the village of Sin Kyun. This wonderful community will show you the typical life of the villagers. You will see a way of life seldom viewed by outsiders. At 8:30 a.m. you depart for Mandalay, arriving at 9:45 a.m. for check out. Meet your guide at the pier and transfer to hotel for check in. The rest of the day is free at leisure.
Transfer to Nyaung Oo airport for departure to Heho by a morning scheduled flight. Arrive Heho airport and drive to Nyaung Shwe Jetty by passing through Shan Plateau and green fields which are ringed by the cool green hills of the highlands of the Shan State. At 1300 meters above sea level, Inle Lake is seemingly a world apart from the rest of Myanmar. Explore the lake by boat to see 'one-legged rowing' fishermen, floating markets, and villages and temples that sit on floating islands. Visit the 'Ancient monastery - Ngaphachaung', the cottage industries, and the colorful hill tribes in the mountains for their special handwoven silk fabrics. Transfer to hotel check in by boat.
Breakfast at Hotel. Today begins with a visit to the morning market, which rotates locations on a 5-day basis.
(Note: there are no markets on full moon or dark moon days)
This daily market attracts people from all over the lake’s shores who gather to buy and sell their wares- if you are lucky, you may see Pa-Oh, Inthar and Shan people in their traditional outfits. Wander amid the stalls where your guide will explain the local produce and goods for sale. Stop at Inthar Heritage House to learn more about the history and culture of the lake’s indigenous people. Enjoy lunch here or at one of the other restaurants in the area . Proceed to the village of Inpawkhone to observe the traditional silk-weaving techniques of Inthar people. Inpawkhone is also known for its weaving from the stems of lotus flowers, a time-consuming process that results in high-quality materials, famous throughout the country. You also visit a cheroot factory where local Burmese cigars are rolled by hand. Then visit silversmiths and blacksmiths still using ancient techniques to create their wares. Return to hotel, at leisure for the rest of the evening.
Morning, free time before transfer to Heho airport for a flight to Yangon. Arrive in Yangon and transfer to your hotel.
Free time until transfer to the airport for your flight home.
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