|from $5,120* per person||9 Days||Year-round
Exertion level: 3
|Operator: Artisans of Leisure
12 people max
This classic tour of Myanmar (Burma) begins in the capital, Yangon (Rangoon). Stay at the famed Strand Hotel, a British colonial period hotel with teak windows, marble floors, rattan chairs and lacquer ceiling fans. With your private guide, tour the Shwedagon Pagoda, a 300-foot tall golden Buddhist reliquary and the city's most spectacular landmark, the sprawling Scott Market and the National Museum. Visit neighborhoods that reflect Yangon's Burmese, British, Indian, Bangladeshi and indigenous influences.
Next, fly to unforgettable, awe-inspiring Bagan, where thousands of pagodas and temples stretch from the Ayeyarwady River out across miles of arid plains. Tour the structures, built between the 11th and 13th centuries when Bagan was a major Buddhist center of Southeast Asia, and learn about the history carved in their layered facades, painted in their interior frescoes and sculpted in their Buddhist statues. Also visit local markets and villages. If desired, take a memorable hot air balloon ride over the temples as the sun rises. One evening, ride in a horse-drawn carriage through Bagan at sunset. Another night, take a sunset cruise on the river. If desired, also visit Mt. Popa, a place of pilgrimage for over 700 years that is believed to be the home of Myanmar’s powerful nats, or Burmese spirits associated with natural features.
Continue to fabled Mandalay, the cultural heart of Myanmar. Visit craft districts throughout the city and watch a procession of monks at a monastery in the silk weaving center of Amarapura. Also, tour pagodas and ruins in Ava, Mingun and Sagaing—all ancient capitals.
Next, tour Inle Lake, home of the Intha people, and the surrounding countryside. Take a canoe ride down Inle's canals, pass through floating villages built on stilts, and see how the Intha grow crops on reed islands. In nearby Pindaya, venture into limestone caverns to see over eight thousand Buddha statues set among stalagmites. Visit local crafts villages to shop for distinctive textiles, ceramics and lacquerware, and tour In Dein, where ancient pagodas overlook the lake. Also visit a local vineyard for wine tasting. Spend a final night in Yangon at The Governor's Residence before departing Burma.
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