Two countries, with two different cultures and histories but having at the same time many similarities. Such as their cultural and spiritual backgrounds of Hinduism and Buddhism, the past colonial era, the recent exposure to modernization, and the two main archaeological sites of South East Asia with the two largest rivers and lakes to be found in the whole region. And everywhere there’s magic and mystery, an exotic atmosphere, and the fascination that this part of the world creates, with its history and its culture. A rare journey that is both unusual and unforgettable.
Arrival at Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon. Meet the guide and transfer to hotel. Visits begin with the colonial quarter and Chaukhtatgyi Temple which houses a colossal reclining Buddha 70 meters long, and the great Bogyoke Market (Former Scott Market: open daily until 17hrs and closed on Mondays, holidays and full moon). Continue on to Kandawgyi Park and the famous Shwedagon pagoda, one of the most beautiful temples in Asia, famous for its gold covered stupa that almost reaches 100 mtrs high.
Transfer to airport and flight for Bagan. Arrival, installation and visits begin. Hundreds of pagodas and stupas of stuccoed brick extend out to the horizon over the plain on the east bank of the Irrawaddy. Touring the heart of the Old Bagan, visiting among others the famous temple of Ananda and that of Thatbyinnyu which, from its height of 67 meters, dominates all others. By late afternoon view a magnificent sunset from Shwesandaw pagoda. (Or from another pagoda, depending on the sun’s direction).
Dinner with puppet show
In the morning a visit to the colorful and lively market of Nyaung Or. A walk through the Myinkaba village takes you to the Temples of Manuha and Nanpaya. Then visit the Shwezigon Pagoda, the most revered in Bagan, with its magnificent gilded stupa. Visit to Kyansitha Umin, the temple of Gyu Byauk Kyi in the village of Wetkyi whose walls are decorated with paintings relating the Jakatas or stories of Buddha’s previous lives. In the afternoon, a visit to the lacquer factories in New Bagan and eventually the archaeological museum. Finally a Horse-drawn carriage ride towards the Mingalazedi Pagoda Temple to view the sunset from the top terrace.
Flight to Mandalay, with immediate departure for Sagaing by crossing the metal bridge of Ava. City tour; a royal capital from 1315 to 1364. Stop off at U Ponnya Soon Shin Pagoda which offers a panoramic view of the hill. Back to Mandalay and crossing a tributary of the river by local ferry that allows access to Awa Island, formerly known under the name of Inwa, capital of several Burmese kingdoms between the thirteenth and eighteenth century. Visit the ruins of the Royal Palace, the watchtower and the beautiful monastery made of teak from Bagaya-Okkyaung, and then continue to the center of Mandalay. Visit of Mahamuni Pagoda. Then Kuthawdaw pagoda. See the craft workshops which made the reputation of the city and who also once supplied the royal court: sculptors of wood and marble, puppet manufacturers and drums in gold leaf. Sunset from Mandalay Hill where you will have an exceptional view of the entire Irrawaddy valley.
Excursion to Mingun, a site a few kilometers upstream from Mandalay, on the other bank of the Irrawaddy. Continue to Amarapura, royal capital from 1782 to 1857, located 12 km south of Mandalay.Visit the collection of Buddhas in the Bagaya Monastery, then take part in the daily meal service for the 1000 monks from Mahagandayon Monastery, one of the most important in the country. Then a walk on the U Bein Bridge, built entirely of teak in 1782, using wood from the old palaces of Ava. 1km along, it crosses the Thaungthaman lake and it is the longest teak bridge in the world.
Transfer to Nyaung airport and then flight to Heho. Trip continues on the road to Kakku (About 4:30hrs), beautiful site in the heart of the territory of the Pa Oh tribe, with over 2000 small stupas that form together a well drawn plan which has only recently been opened to tourists. Transfer to Taunggy, the capital of Shan State situated at 1500m altitude and booking into the hotel. There are possible stops in small villages along the road and includes Ayetharyar vineyard that produces one of the first wines in the country.
Lunch at the restaurant and dinner at the hotel.
Transfer to Nyaung Shwe on the shores of Inle Lake. Minibus and boat tours around the lake, to discover the ethnic villages of the Intha’s and their wonderful floating gardens. Visit the great Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda home to five golden statues dating from the twelfth century, and the Monastery of Phye Nga Chaung, or Jumping Cats, named after the cats which the monks have trained to jump through hoops: difficult business, knowing the independent mind of small cats. Then a craft workshop visit (silk and silver).
Lunch at the restaurant and dinner in the hotel.
Possible market visit, a place where mountain minorities meet dressed in their finest traditional costumes to sell their produce of fruit and vegetable.
Excursion to Pa Oh village on the western shore of the lake near which is located Indein, the site of a set of XVI century stupas on the top of a hill with a magnificent view over the lake. Crossing the village and its market on foot to Alaung Sitthou monastery; reached via a long covered colonnade guarded by hundreds of pagodons. Nice view of the lake from the monastery. Walk through the bamboo forest to visit a cigar “cheroot” factory and a boat building workshop.
Lunch at the restaurant and dinner at the hotel.
Tours continue around the lake by minibus and boat. Back to Heho during the afternoon and flight to Yangon. Booking into the hotel. Depending on the time available, a walk along the busy streets of Chinatown or for shopping.
Transfer to airport and direct flight to Siem Reap. Arrival, immigration formalities, meeting with the local guide and transfer to hotel. Afternoon, early visits to the group of temples called Roluos. Located 13 km southeast of the city, this resort boasts the oldest buildings, which are the cradle of classical Angkorian art. Visit the three main temples: Lo Lei, Preah Ko and Bakong before approaching the site of the Golden Age. Sunset at Pre Rup, one of the last brick temples, built in 961. It marks the end of an era and offers a superb view of the entire site and the towers of Angkor Wat.
Matinée consacrée à Angkor Wat, le plus majestueux et célèbre des temples-montagne du site. Après-midi excursion au Banteay Srei, appelé aussi le « Temple des Femmes », car une légende le veut gardé, à un moment, par une garnison entièrement féminine. Sur le chemin du retour, avant d’arriver à Siem Réap, visite du Banteay Samré, un petit temple très attrayant dans le même style d’Angkor Wat.
Angkor Thom visit in the ,The Big City”, entering by the southern gate via the alley of giants and demons. Not far from the Baphoun. From here we go along the Elephant Terrace and the Leper King. In the afternoon a visit to the four temples of the Grand Circuit, as conceived by Henri Mouot during the re-discovery of Angkor in 1859. First Preah Khanh, one of the largest and majestic, with paths lined with ancient trees probably all original.Then to Neak Pean, Hindu inspired, the only sacred building surrounded by a moat, and the plan originates from a mandala. Ta Som, buddhist temple topped by a tower of faces, now almost engulfed in vegetation as in the next one:Ta Prohm, certainly the most romantic, with roots from the huge kapok trees entangling the galleries and its sculptures.
Excursion to see the Tonle Sap. The largest single site of fresh water in Southeast Asia.
The site was placed under the protection of UNESCO for its ethnological interest.
A walk amongst some houses to see the life and the daily activities of the locals. Arrival, after 1h30 of travel, to a second village, this time inhabited mostly by Khmer and Vietnamese fishermen. Landing a little further on, and returning to Siem Reap. Transfer to airport for flight to Phnom Penh by late afternoon.
Picnic lunch on the boat or in the village.
Half day city tour starting with the Royal Palace, which faces the Tonle Sap. Not far from here, the National Museum of Fine Arts: An elegant red sandstone building in Khmer style which houses a superb collection of sculptures, as well as everyday objects, mostly from the Angkorian period. Then on to Wat Phnom, which gave its name to the capital. Depending on the time, a visit to the Central Market or Russian Market or shopping. Transfer to the airport in time for the departure flight
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