A Christian Tour Leader throughout your holiday plus Daily Devotions and time for worship.
Return economy airfares from Australia.
Quality accommodation with private facilities.
Entries to attractions. All tipping and gratuities included.
Luggage assistance at hotels.
Our wonderful adventure begins when you meet with your CFT Tour Leader in Sydney before boarding an international flight to Yangon (interstate passengers will fly into Sydney prior).
Myanmar’s capital city is the country’s spiritual centre and whilst primarily Buddhist, it is a real melting pot of ethnicities and religions. On arrival in “the Golden Land” we will be transferred to our hotel where we will enjoy our first meal together.
After breakfast, we'll tour Yangon’s charming city centre which is filled with many historic buildings. British colonialism left behind an architectural legacy of hundreds of late 19th century building and today Yangon has the highest number of such buildings in all South-East Asia.
We visit one of the wonders of the world, the great golden Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s most important spiritual site. According to legend, the Pagoda was constructed more than 2,600 years ago making it the oldest Buddhist stupa in the world. Enjoy breathtaking views of the gold- plated stupa with the 99-metre-high structure dominating the Yangon skyline. We will also visit Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda, one of Myanmar’s more beautiful reclining buddhas which is topped by a crown encrusted with diamonds and other precious stones.
Along the way experience a bit of multicultural Yangon in Little India and Little China before browsing Bogyoke Market (Scott’s Market) for a the wide selection of Myanmar handicrafts and other goods.
In the evening, we will visit the royal palace of Karaweik Hall, a huge golden barge floating on tranquil Kandawgyi Lake. Relax and take in the splendor of “Garden City of the East.”
This morning we fly north to Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city and its cultural capital. On arrival, we’ll drive a short distance to Amarapura, a former capital of Myanmar whose name means ‘City of Immortality’. Here we will visit a silk weaving workshop to see how they craft their exquisite handmade products before travelling to the famed Mahagandayon Monastery. This monastery is the largest in the country, housing over 1000 monks including many novices who follow strict religious observance during their education in the teachings of Buddha.
Back in Mandalay, Myanmar’s last royal capital, we will visit Mahamuni Pogada, with one of the country’s most famous Buddhist statues, as well as Kuthodaw Pagoda, whose 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures have earned it the title ‘World’s Biggest Book’. Mandalay was the country’s last royal capital and we will visit the only remaining building from the 19th century Royal Palace; Shwenandaw Monastery is a grand, teak building known for its exquisite woodcarving.
Our memorable day finishes with magnificent views of the city and Irrawaddy River from the peak of Mandalay Hill.
Today we leave Mandalay for a scenic two-hour drive to the former British hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin (also known as Maymyo); located on a plateau 1,000m above sea level the British used this as their summer capital to escape the heat of Mandalay. Pyin Oo Lwin is a real cultural melting pot as it home to many ethnic tribes as well as considerable numbers of Nepalese and Indians who helped build the railway during the British occupation.
A tour of the town will highlight the numerous reminders of this era including Christian churches, colonial mansions and colourful wooden horse drawn carriages.
Outside Pyin Oo Lwin we will visit the intriguing Pate Chin Myaung Cave, an extensive Buddhist cave complex. In the cave, we will walk alongside an underground stream to view a series of colourful scenes from Buddhist scriptures interspersed with stupas and statues of Buddha. We will also make a brief stop at Maha Ant Htoo Kan Thar Pagoda, a very striking looking building, and the very beautiful and serene Chinese Temple.
We will visit the popular BE Waterfalls before we end our day in the glorious Botanical Gardens, 432 acres of leafy gardens. Relax and enjoy the beauty of this peaceful spot, home to botanical species from around the world.
This morning we will attend a local church service at historical All Saints’ Church – built in 1912 this was the church of the colonial government as well as housing the main Christian Cemetery.
After worship, we will return to Mandalay and Inwa (Ava). Inwa is an ancient city that was the nation’s capital over several reigns from the 14th to the 19th centuries. Enjoy the sights of Bagaya Kyaung, a wonderful teak monastery, the large, brick-and-stucco Maha Aungmye Bonzan royal monastery and Nanmyin, a leaning watchtower.
This afternoon we will travel to the world’s longest teak bridge, the 200- year-old U Bein Bridge. Soak up the sunset as you take a stroll along the bridge and enjoy the fabulous views of the surrounding farms and streams.
We are in for a treat today when we begin our two day cruise down the famous Irawaddy River. Relax and take in the sights from the deck of RV Paukan, our boutique luxury craft. During our cruise, we will stop at the Mingun Pagoda Complex, a massive unfinished pagoda from the 18th century, before we moor for the night on the river.
We cast off early in the morning to enjoy the natural beauty of the river and the sight of the riverbank inhabitants waking to a new day. Relax on the sundeck or sit outside your own cabin and delight in watching the sun rise over the stunning beauty of Sagaing Hill.
After breakfast, we will visit Sagaing, an ancient capital famous for its many hundreds of white, silver and gold pagodas and monasteries that dot its hilly landscape.
In the late afternoon, we stop at Yandabo, a village specialising in the making of the big terracotta water pots that are sold all over Myanmar – see each phase of the production from mixing clay, turned on the wheel and fired.
Yandabo is also known as the site where the peace treaty of the First Anglo-Burmese war was signed on February 24, 1826. We cruise further downstream before mooring near the village of Shwe Nann Tint.
We set sail early morning to proceed downstream to Bagan, one of the world’s greatest archeological sites to rival the better known Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat. The Bagan Kingdom (9th-13th century) was the first kingdom that unified the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar; at its height over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains. Today the remains of over 2,200 temples and pagodas still survive and they are a truly wondrous sight to behold.
During the day we will visit numerous of these ancient temples, many superbly preserved or restored by UNESCO: Shwezigon Pagoda, built in Myanmar style in 1087, Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple at Wetkyi-Inn Village which is well-known for its exquisite jataka mural paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.
We will take a break from temples when we visit a traditional lacquerware workshop where you can observe the production of one of Myanmar’s best-known handicrafts.
We visit Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece and one of Bagan’s most beautiful temples; built in the early Mon-style, Ananda contains two unique Buddha images whose expressions seem to change depending on the distance from which the statue is viewed.
As we tour this extensive site, we pass Thatbyinnyu, the highest temple in Bagan, the massive Dhammayangyi Temple, noted for its remarkable brickwork, and Sulamani Temple.
Enjoy an unforgettable sunset over the plains from the upper terrace of one of the temples as a truly memorable day comes to a close.
*OPTION: BALLOONS OVER BAGAN
Start your morning with an incredible hot-air balloon flight over Bagan’s temple-studded plains. This is a truly unforgettable and unique experience. $490pp*
After breakfast, we will visit Nyaung Oo Market where we can mingle with the local people as villagers gather to sell their fresh produce and handicrafts. From the market we will continue to Myinkaba Village and take a short walking tour to explore the temples of Manuha and Nan Paya.
We will return to our hotel to relax for a couple of hours – why not enjoy a swim in the hotel’s lovely swimming pool.
This afternoon we will journey to the rural village of Minnanthu, one of Bagan’s least visited areas. Here we will explore temples such as Payathonzu, Lemyentha and Nandamannya before boarding a local boat for a slow cruise down the Irrawaddy River. As you cruise the waters, observe the lifestyle of the fishermen and riverside villagers as well as enjoying the unique perspective of Bagan’s temples.
Today we fly east to Heho where we journey by bus 2.5 hours to Pindaya. Along the way we will pass a patchwork of fields and hedges; expect to see buffalo carts and toiling farmers dressed in their traditional black Danu tunics and checked Pa-O headscarves.
When in Pindaya, be amazed by the famous Shwe Oo Min Natural Cave Pagoda, a massive limestone cavern filled with thousands of gilded Buddha statues. We will then head north to visit the impressive teak monastery of Kan Tau with its large collection of antique Buddha images on ornate plinths. We visit a local workshop and see how they produce umbrellas and souvenirs made with recycled paper.
On our drive to Nyaung Shwe we will stop at the ancient Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, an elegant wooden monastery with unusual oval-shaped windows. Once in town we will do a short walk around Nyaung Shwewe before we board a boat to transfer to our hotel on Inle Lake.
Inle Lake is one of Myanmar’s most anticipated destinations and the vast serene freshwater lake is well deserving of its fame. After breakfast, we will visit the lakeside morning market which is visited by lake inhabitants and surrounding hill tribes who come to sell and trade their wares.
Board a private motorboat to head out onto the lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular sights. Pass the famous “floating” villages and gardens, observe the leg-rowing fishermen and the unique way of life of the local Intha people. see their floating gardens built up from strips of water. Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, famous for the 800 years old Five Buddha statues which are covered in gold leaf.
See first-hand the local crafts of Inle Lake when we visit the weaving village of Inpawkhone and stop at a cheroot factory, where the typical Burmese cigars are made by hand.
From the middle of the lake, continue down a small canal leading to Indein populated by the ethnic Padaung (“long neck women”). In Indein we will walk along a covered alley, lined on both sides with a thousand pagodas, before climbing a covered staircase to discover the magnificent pagoda complex.
Be rewarded for your effort with a the vista of ancient stupas backdropped by a panoramic view of the lake.
Today we will travel to glorious Ngapali Beach, travelling via Heho and a flight to Thandwe. Ngapali Beach is a picture perfect 3 km stretch of white sand lined with coconut palms with warm, clear waters perfect for snorkeling. This afternoon we will join together in worship, giving thanks for this beautiful part of the world.
After breakfast, we take a short drive to Thandwe to visit Thandwe Market before travelling onto the fishing village of Thann Ba Yar. Meet local fisherman and enjoy a relaxing boat ride with lunch onboard; make the most of this glorious location and swim, snorkel or kayak along the beautiful Maung Shwe Lay beach. Return to our hotel for an afternoon at leisure in this tropical paradise.
This morning enjoy time at leisure before we transfer to Thandwe and fly back to Yangon.
Today is a free day in Yangon but our guide and transport is at our disposal for any additional sightseeing or shopping that you may wish to do.
Our last day but a morning full of sightseeing as we visit Kaba Aye Pagoda (World Peace Pagoda) and Mahapasana Guha, the “Great Cave”. We also visit the Bogyoke Aung San Museum – Aung San (father of the current leader Ang San Suu Kyi) is considered to be the founder of modern Myanmar.
It will then be time to be transferred to the airport for our flight back to Australia, via Bangkok.
We arrive back in Australia after a wonderfully memorable holiday – a holiday full of spectacular sights, incredible history and new friendships made with likeminded people.
7 November 2018
22 November 2018
*Departs Tuesday 6 November 2018
** Returns Wednesday 21 November 2018
*Departs Tuesday 6 November 2018
** Returns Wednesday 21 November 2018
7 November 2018
22 November 2018