Spiritual Myanmar

Description

Be captivated by the inherent spirituality that makes Myanmar so special. Take a pilgrimage trip to the sacred Golden Rock, meditate with monks at a famous monastery and wander amid thousands of ancient pagodas in Bagan to learn about Myanmar’s Buddhist culture. Wander the streets of Yangon and visit local pagodas in Mandalay to see how spirituality is entwined in daily life.

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Min ga la ba! Welcome to Yangon, Myanmar. You are greeted by your guide and driver at the International airport for your transfer to the hotel.

  • After freshen up we'll take a tour around the city center which is filled various historical and colonial buildings partly by car or partly on foot. Stop at the Sule Pagoda which is a 2200-year old temple surrounded by government buildings.

  • Then, head to Mahabandoola Park, where Independent Monument stands.

  • Continue your tour by passing City Hall on the way to the Botahtaung Pagoda. It is situated downtown beside the Yangon River.

  • Next, visit the Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda, one of Myanmar's more beautiful reclining Buddha’s which is topped by a crown encrusted with diamonds and other precious stones. The feet of the statue is carved with traditional symbols and often many locals gather to pay homage and pray.

  • Complete a day with a visit to one of the world’s most spectacular monuments, the Shwedagon Pagoda, a gleaming bell dome structure that dominates the city’s skyline. Legends state that the sacred hairs of the Buddha are enshrined here. The Shwedagon is an iconic symbol of the country, a sight not to be missed. The entrance is always very busy with sellers and local pilgrims. You'll learn about the daily life of the local people who reside in the immediate surroundings and gain a deeper insight into the Buddhist religion as you provide offerings to the monks.

  • Then, walk along the pagoda platform clockwise, as is tradition, around the main Pagoda. During this interactive walking tour of the pagoda, explore walkways and hidden gems that are unknown to most visitors.

  • Continue through the back door of Shwedagon Pagoda and discover its fascinating history. There is also the possibility to visit a local fortune-teller and learn about the ancient spiritual beliefs.

  • Overnight in Yangon.

 

Day 2

  • After an early breakfast visit the Mahasi Sasana Yeiktha Meditation Centre. Mahasi is renowned as an ‘Educational Spa’ throughout Myanmar, and many pilgrims come here to learn, study, and practice Vipassana Meditation.

  • This meditation centre was opened in 1950, with the Most Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw as its Principle Preceptor. The most Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw started the teaching of the Mahasi method of insight in 1947 and taught for 33 years until his death in August, 1982. The center has prospered with up to 500 meditators (yogis) practicing intensive meditation daily at the center.

  • After depart Yangon for a journey by road to Kyaikhtiyo and the Golden Rock. The drive to Kyaikhtiyo Base Camp takes around 5 hours.

  • Then, travel by local, open-air truck along a winding road (45 minutes) and be dropped off at the top, just a few minutes away from the Golden Rock. This huge boulder is covered by gold-leaf and delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff and considered to be one of Myanmar's most holy pilgrimage sites. The pagoda here is said to hold a hair of the Buddha, and Buddhists from across the country come to pay homage to it.

  • Overnight at base camp.

 

Day 3

  • After breakfast, return to the base camp by open-air truck and begin the return journey back to Yangon.

  • En-route, stop to explore the mysterious 16th-century capital of the Mon-Kingdom.

  • First, visit Shwethalyaung Temple for a look at the beautiful 55-meter long reclining Buddha.

  • Then, visit a nearby Mon neighborhood to experience the unique and quiet charm of rural Myanmar.

  • Continue to the Mon-style Shwemawdaw Pagoda, one of the most venerated religious structures in Myanmar. Its 114-meter tall spire is even taller than the one at Shwedagon Pagoda.

  • From here, take a 15-minute walk to nearby Hinthar Gone Pagoda. The walk passes by many monasteries and nunneries, providing a great opportunity to see the simple, peaceful lives of monks and nuns in this area.

  • At Hinthar Gone Pagoda there is an extravagant nat shrine with dozens of statues and offerings. Depending on the day, it may also be possible to witness a traditional nat dance.

  • Next, visit Bago’s strangest, and some would say creepiest, sight. Nearby Kanbawzathadi Palace, the Snake Monastery is an important pilgrimage site where visitors come to see the 9-meter long, and reportedly century old, Burmese Python. The monastery is devoted to a Buddhist abbot who is believed to have been reborn as a python.

  • On the way back to Yangon, if time allows, stop at the Allied War Cemetery near Htaukkyan. This beautiful, peaceful cemetery is the final resting place for over 27,000 Allied soldiers.

  • Overnight in Yangon.

 

Day 4

  • Yangon – Mandalay by flight – Ava – Explore surrounding of Mandalay Hill.

     Suggested flight: Yangon – Mandalay ETD 0700 ETA 0825

  • Today, you will be met in your hotel lobby and transferred to the airport for your domestic flight to Mandalay.

  • On the way into Mandalay from the airport, before heading to the hotel, drive to the city of Ava, the ancient imperial capital of successive Burmese kingdoms from the 14th to 19th centuries, where a short ferry ride heads across the river where a horse and carriage are waiting.

  • Visit the Yadana Shemee and the old wooden Bagaya Monastery, a typical Burmese monastery with two buildings - one for the Buddha and another for the monks living there. There are many small villages located amid Ava’s ruins. While exploring the area by horse and cart, get an up-close glimpse of local life in the Burmese countryside.

  • Continue towards Mandalay for lunch and check into the hotel for a quick refresh. 

  • Later in the afternoon, head out to explore the surroundings of Mandalay Hill.

  • Stop at Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung, the Golden Palace Monastery, which is decorated with exquisite wood carvings. The walls are decorated with wooden figures such as nats (spirits), zawgyi (alchemist) and Hanuman (a mythological monkey). There are also strange Christian angels there, which are worshipped by locals as nats. Nat shrines and nat figures take on important roles in the daily lives of Burmese people, and can be found blended in with the art of Buddhist figures.

  • Then, visit Ku Tho Daw Monastery, which is most well-known for housing ‘the world’s largest book’ and its 729 inscribed marble slabs. Each slab is housed by a small temple, making for a surprisingly impressive complex.

  • The day’s final stop is 63rd Street where, in the late afternoon, dozens of stalls set up on the street to serve snacks and other offerings to the locals.

  • Visit the impressively named Maha Lawka Yan Hnain Aung Daw Mu Myat Swar Paya to witness Buddhist pilgrims grinding thanaka, which is used to scent water that’s used for washing Buddha statues. There are also many other symbolic spiritual places at the temple, including a small pond with fish and turtles.

  • Overnight in Mandalay.

 

Day 5

  • After breakfast head to Sagaing, a 45-minute drive. Located just across the Irrawaddy River, Sagaing is considered by many to be the Buddhist center of Myanmar.

  • Drive up Sagaing Hill to Umin Thonzeh, a long hallway built alongside a hill with thirty recessed entrances giving it the appearance of being filled with caves. Inside the building are 45 Buddha images, one for each of the 45 years that Gotama Buddha was enlightened as a Buddha.

  • Then proceed to Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda and enjoy wonderful panoramic view of Sagaing Hill and its hundreds of stupas. Be sure to check out the ceiling at Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin for a look at the incredible 16-scene dream sequence of Kawthala King.

  • Finally, continue to Kaung Mu Daw, an unusual hemispherical dome stupa that’s 46 meters in height. At the bottom of the dome are 120 niches, each with its own guardian nat.

  • Return to the bottom of the hills and visit a local nunnery. Here, learn about the unique lifestyle that Burmese nuns have while observing some of their daily activities and learning about their beliefs.

  • Next, head back to Mandalay for a visit to the famed Mahamuni Pagoda. This pagoda is home to one of the country’s most revered Buddha images which, over the years, has been covered with meters of gold leaf, giving it a distinct ‘lumpy’ texture. Because of its importance in the lives of local Buddhists, Mahamuni Pagoda is a fantastic place to witness the living culture of the area.

  • Afterwards, begin a tour of traditional craftsmen workshops and learn about the city’s booming cottage industry. Also, get a look at the production of wood carvings, kalaga tapestries, and gold-leaf where the techniques remained unchanged from those used centuries ago to craft items for the Royal Court.

  • The final stop of the day is in yet another nearby ancient capital, Amarapura. Here, visit Bagaya Monastery and find a collection of Buddha images made between the 16th and 20th centuries, each reflecting a different period style. While here, learn about mudras -symbolic hand gestures used in Buddha images which have unique meanings. There is also a library with a collection of palm leaves etched with various sections of Tripitaka or Buddhist scripture.

  • Before departing Amarapura, head to U Bein Bridge for an unforgettable walk along this 200 year-old teak wood bridge. The bridge was constructed from 984 teak wood posts that were once part of the deserted Inwa Palace. At 1.2 kilometers in length, it is the world’s longest teak span. Ubein Bridge, silhouetted by the setting sun, is a magical experience and a photographer’s dream.

  • Overnight in Mandalay.

 

Day 6

  • Mandalay to Bagan by flight – Incredible Bagan Tour. Suggested flight Mandalay – Bagan ETD 0700 ETA 0730

  • Today, you will be met in your hotel lobby and transferred to the airport for your domestic flight to Bagan.

  • On arrival, you will be met and visit a range of sites to gain a better understanding of Bagan’s unique history, culture and the lifestyles of locals living in the area.

  • The journey begins with a visit to another elevated viewpoint temple to enjoy spectacular views over the surrounding plains in the morning light. This is the perfect introduction to the grandeur and scope of Bagan’s architecture.

  • Next, continue to Ananda Temple, one of the most revered temples in Bagan. Arrive early enough to enjoy this fantastic site in peace, well before all of the tour buses arrive.

  • Afterwards, head to Myinkaba Village and visit Gubyaukgyi Temple which is noted for the beautiful mural paintings of its inner walls and well-preserved plaster carvings on its exterior. Nearby are Manuha and Nanpaya Temples. Although relatively small in size, they house impressive Buddha statues and stone work.

  • Then, learn more about local culture with a visit to two workshops producing some of Bagan’s most famous products: lacquerware and woodcrafts. Watch as skilled craftsmen use techniques passed down through generations to create beautiful local goods.

  • Check-in at the hotel and have a short rest.

  • Later in the afternoon, head to the Irrawaddy River, board a private riverboat, and set off upriver toward Kyauk Gu U Min. Throughout your Irrawaddy River cruise you will be treated to fabulous scenes of life on the water: fishermen, local ferry boats, riverside villages and views of the Bagan temples

  • Arrive Kyauk Gu U Min on the eastern side of the river and take a five-to-ten minute walk to the amazing temple here. Take time to admire the exquisite stone carvings depicting religious figures and flowers on the door. The temple itself is built against the side of cliff. After passing through the temple, head to a cave entrance just behind the main wall. Inside the cave there are several small niches where individuals can practice meditation. Legend states that the cave was built during the 13th century when locals used it to hide from invading Mongols.

  • After exploring Kyauk Gu U Min, return to the boat for a relaxing cruise back to Bagan (around 1 hour).

  • Upon arrival, transfer back to the hotel for a well-earned evening of relaxation or head out to do some last-minute souvenir shopping.

  • Overnight in Bagan.

 

Day 7

  • Minnanthu village – Monasteries – Bagan to Yangon by flight. Suggested flight: Bagan – Yangon ETD 1750 ETA 1910

  • This morning visit Minnanthu village by horse cart.

  • Visit Tayoke Pyay, Payathonzu and Nandamanya Temples (noted for exquisite 13th century murals) and Kyat Kan Cave Monastery, a famous meditation center in Bagan.

  • Visit farming houses around Bagan.

  • In the afternoon, enjoy an excursion to the beautiful Nat Htaung Kyaung, a monastery famous for wood carvings, built in 1781 by a group of monks. Admire the monastery's collection of ancient Buddha statues and lacquer boxes.

  • Transfer to the airport for a late afternoon departure.

  • On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for check in.

  • Overnight in Yangon.

 

Day 8

  • Today, you will be met in your hotel lobby and transferred to the airport for your flight home.

Myanmar

May to September 2020 From

R 15 775.00*

per person sharing

October 2020 to March 2021 From R 16 234.00*

per person sharing

8 Days / 7 Nights

Validity: Immediately - March 2021

* All above pricing is based on 3* accommodation and 2 pax groups, inquire with us for 4* accommodation and bigger groups.

Including

  • 7 nights’ shared Accommodation in twin/double room with daily breakfast at the indicated room types (see hotel category list) (check in and check out around noontime)

  • All transfers and transportation with air-con vehicles (types of vehicles depending on the number of pax):

    • 1-2pax: Saloon car or similar 

    • 3-5pax: Hiace car of similar

  • Local ENGLISH speaking station guides 

  • All entrance and zone fees as program

  • Meals (B/L/D) (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner) as indicated in the program (local food) 

  • Added value from 16 Paying Pax up: 1 tour leader free of charge based on twin-sharing room (exclusive of airfares and other surcharges)

Excluding 

  • Airfares (international and domestic)

  • Meals (other than mentioned in the program)

  • Drinks 

  • Visas to Myanmar

  • Mineral water beyond that supplied

  • Tips

  • Early check in or late check out

  • Insurances

  • Optional excursions and activities

  • Additional transfer required due to any emergency situation

  • Items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, beverages…)

  • Peak season surcharges if any

  • All not mentioned above

Surcharges apply for high season or late bookings. Prices are in ZAR, subject to availability & tax fluctuations.

+27 (010) 035 5205

1st Floor, 65 Knoppiesdoring St, Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg, 2156

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