• Discover the important monastic centre of Sagaing, its undulating skyline punctuated with white and gold pagodas
• Explore the serene Inle Lake, surrounded by hills, home to markets, temples, and the famous Nga Phe Kyaung or ‘Jumping Cat’ Monastery
• “One of the finest sights in the world”, the protected archaeological zone of Bagan is a sublime remnant of the legacy of its kings, home to a vast number of remarkably preserved temples
Depart Heathrow 0915 on Singapore Airlines for overnight flight via Bangkok to Yangon (Rangoon).
Arrive Yangon 0920 and transfer to Inya Lake Hotel for overnight stay. Afternoon in Yangon: cathedrals, colonial architecture, Strand Hotel, markets followed by first visit to Shwedagon (300 foot high golden pagoda).
Transfer to Kyaikhtiyo (Golden Rock), via Bago’s Great Golden God (Shwemawdaw) pagoda for overnight stay at Kyaikhtiyo hotel. Evening viewing of Golden Rock pilgrimage site and pagoda.
Descend to Kinpun base camp and continue to Mawlamyaing via Kawgoon Cave (early Mon sculptures) and U Na Auk Monastery in the village of Kaw Hnat. Two nights at Mawlamyaing Strand Hotel.
Thanbyuzayat: WWII cemetery (for those who lost their lives building the Burma-Siam railway). Mudon: Win Sein Taw Ya reclining Buddha (the largest in the world) and Pa-Auk Forest Monastery. Mawlamyaing: Mahamuni Paya, Kyaithalan Pagoda (Kipling’s pagoda) and Seindon Mibaya monastery.
Transfer to Yangon for overnight stay at Inya Lake Hotel via Nwa La Bo Rock (believed to encase a strand of Buddha’s hair between the rocks) and Htauk War Cemetery.
Morning: transfer by air to Bagan and continue to Thazin Garden Hotel for three nights. Morning: Nyaung-U and Wetkyi-in areas of Bagan including Shwezigon Pagoda (building initiated by King Anawrahta in 11th century). Afternoon: temples of Ananda and Gadawpalin, archaeological museum (Buddha images of bronze, stone and lacquer).
Bagan’s Pwasaw and Minnanthu areas including Lei-myet-hna monastery complex, Tayok Pye (two-storey temple with stunning panoramic views over Bagan plains), Paya Thonzu (three temples conjoined by passages, Mahayana frescos).
Further visits in central Bagan including Dhammayangyi (largest temple in the area), Mahabodhi (built after the Indian temple of the same name, unusual pyramidal spire), Pitaka Taik (library built with a cave style to protect light sensitive scriptures) and Thatbyinnyu (impressive white stone temple which towers above the other monuments).
Transfer by air to Mandalay for three nights at Shwe Pyi Thar Hotel. Morning: Golden Palace Monastery (superb example of 19th century Myanmar teak architecture), Kuthodaw Pagoda (containing the world’s largest stone book), reconstructed Mandalay Palace. Afternoon: by boat on Ayeyarwady River to Mingun (Hsinbyume Paya, 90 tonne Mingun Bell, Mingun Paya).
Amarapura: Pahtodawgyi Pagoda, U Bein teak bridge (built from materials of the Amarapura Palace). Continue to Sagaing: Kaungmudaw (enormous dome-shaped pagoda), Hsinmyashin Pagoda, then by horse-drawn carriage to Bagaya Monastery (impressive wood-carvings), Maha Aungmye.
Scenic drive to Pyin U Lwin (the former British hill station of Maymyo). Return to Mandalay for Shwe In Bin Monastery and Mahamuni Pagoda.
Transfer by air to Heho then drive to Pindaya Caves (unique site with thousands of Buddha images), Nyaung Shwe (pagoda). Continue by boat to Golden Island Cottages (built on stilts) on Inle Lake for overnight stay.
Whole day excursion by boat on Inle Lake: Inn Thein (pagoda complex), floating gardens, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda (one of Myanmar’s principal shrines), Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, Inpawkhon (weaving village) if time permits. Transfer by air to Yangon for overnight stay at Inya Lake Hotel.
Second visit to Shwedagon Pagoda, National Museum (Golden Lion Throne, Mandalay Royal Regalia). Depart Yangon for Bangkok, arriving 1735.
Depart Bangkok 2345, arriving Heathrow 0555.