Yangon – Lashio – Hsipaw – Maymyo – Monywa – Mt. Popa – Sittwe – Mrauk-U
DAY 01 YANGON – LASHIO – HSIPAW ( -, Lunch, -)
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Lashio. You will arrive in Lashio in the afternoon. LASHIO is particularly beautiful from November to February, the cool months when the trees are in bloom. Visit QUAN YIN SAN Chinese Temple, possibly the largest Chinese temple in Myanmar and always busy with Lashio's many Chinese residents. Continue to the local market and browse the stalls selling products from China. Drive by road to Hsipaw for approximately 2 hours and check-in at your hotel. Dinner is on your own account and overnight in Hsipaw.
DAY 02 HSIPAW (Breakfast, Lunch, -)
Later, embark on a boat for 1 hour ride enjoying the scenery along the Dukhtawaddy River. Continue on foot (30 minutes) through the plantations to visit the 150-years old Shan Monastery. Picnic lunch is served. Return to the boat for the continued boat ride to the confluence of Dukhtawaddy River and Namtu River. Here you will take a brief stop and a swim if one wishes. Later, you will glide down the river and stop at a charming Shan village and discover their simple ways of life and culture. Return to Hsipaw and the balance of the day will be at leisure. Lunch is served at a local restaurant. Dinner is on your own account and overnight in Hsipaw.
DAY 03 HSIPAW – MAYMYO (Breakfast, Lunch, -)
This morning, you will visit the Palace of former Shan Chieftain (Hsipaw Haw) if the landlord would be at home at time of visit. Later, you will drive from Hsipaw to Kyaukme and, if time permits, you will visit the local market which is a melting pot of Shan, Chinese and Indian traders. Afterward, continue to the train station to enjoy a train rider for approximately 2 hours including a part crossing over the Goikteik Viaduct, built in 1903 by Pennsylvania Steel Company across a 300 meter deep gorge. It was the second highest bridge in the world and the view from the train is fascinating and the scenery is beautiful. The train stops at many local stations and passes, very slowly. Get down at Naung Cho Station and continue by road to Maymyo. If the train is not operated, alternatively we can also take the car all the way to Maymyo.
After lunch, visit the Kandawgyi National Garden, which was laid out by Sir Harcourt Butler, the former governor of Burma – flower beds are similar to those one would find in an English country garden. Stop and go for short walks, for example the “jungle” walk; a wooden path which leads through rain forest trees. Drive through this small town on a horse drawn "Stage Coach", giving the chance to admire the brick and timber houses, complete with English style chimneys, gables and turrets. Dinner is on your own account and overnight in Maymyo.
DAY 04 MAYMYO – MANDALAY – AVA – SAGAING – MONYWA (Breakfast, Lunch, -)
After breakfast, you will continue to drive to Monywa via Mandalay. Beyond Mandalay, you will cross a rivulet by ferry and continue the excursion by horse cart in Ava (Innwa) enjoying the rural scenery and visit the monasteries and a waning tower from Konebaung Dynasty. A lunch is served at a local restaurant in Ava. Continue to visit SAGAING, a retreat for Buddhist devotees and KAUNGHMUDAW PAGODA, with its huge egg-shaped dome in Ceylonese style. En route, you will visit THANBODDHAY Pagoda, which is about 20 kilo-meters away from Monywa. The richly decorated central stupa has no less than 845 smaller stupas around it. Inside the patio, you will see thousands of Buddha images (reportedly over 500,000) decorating every wall, archway and niche. The buildings in the compound have interesting jataka reliefs. Dinner is on your own account and overnight in Monywa.
DAY 05 MONYWA – PAKOKKU – BAGAN – MT. POPA (Breakfast, Lunch, -)
After breakfast, you will cross the Chindwin River by ferry and continue by overland drive to the Caves of Po Win Taung, numbering more than one hundred, which are full of Buddha statues and mural paintings. Most exhibits are in the Innwa style, but some may date from the 14th Century. Later, visit SHWEBA TAUNG which features unique pavilions cut from the surrounding sandstone and filled with Buddha images. Return to Monywa for a lunch at a local restaurant. Later, continue to drive for approximately 2 hours to Pakokku , a trading town on the western bank of Ayeyarwaddy River. From Pakokku, you will cross the Ayeyarwaddy River on the longest bridge in Myanmar. The continued drive to Bagan and Mount Popa will take approximately 2 hours. Dinner is on your own account and overnight at Mount Popa.
DAY 06 MT. POPA – SALAY – MT. POPA (Breakfast, Lunch, -)
Breakfast. Today is a day to explore the countryside. First, you will drive to Kyaukpadaung and visit the local market Later you will continue to SALAY. Visits are made to PAYATHONZU, a complex of three brick shrines with mural paintings from the Bagan period, and MAN PAYA - a large lacquer Buddha image, said to date from the 13th century. Continue to YOKESONE MONASTERY, which is the oldest surviving wooden monastery hall built on 154 teak posts with beautiful wood carvings decorating the outer walls. A picnic lunch is served. Return to Mount Popa. Balance of the day will be at leisure or there is time for the energetic to climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the volcanic plug. Dinner is on your own account and overnight at Mount Popa.
DAY 07 MT. POPA – BAGAN – YANGON – SITTWE – MRAUK-U (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Early this morning, you will be transfer to the airport in Bagan for the domestic flights to Yangon and onward to SITTWE, the provincial capital and main port of RAKHINE (Arakan). Lunch is served at a restaurant in the airport between the two domestic flights. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the jetty and proceed by boat for the 70km (6 hours) journey upriver to the last royal capital of Rakhine, MRAUK-U. Dinner on the boat will be provided. Overnight in Mrauk-U.
DAY 08 MRAUK-U (Breakfast, Lunch, -)
After breakfast, you will visit the local market and a nearby monastery. Later, you will continue to KOE THAUNG Temple and PESI Pagoda from which one can have the 360 degrees view of the region. Afterward, you will visit and walk through the maze-like SHITTAUNG Temple, a shrine of 80,000 Buddha images; the adjacent ANDAW THEIN ORDINATION HALL and to HTUKKAN THEIN Temple; LAUNGBANKPYAUK Pagoda, locally known as “plate pagoda” because a wall at the front is embedded with plate-like tiles in bright colors.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you will also visit the ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM which houses ancient stone slabs which inscriptions and an interesting collection of Rakhine-style Buddha images. Then see some of the temples of Mrauk-U. Late afternoon, go to SHWETAUNG from where there is a good view over Mrauk-U. Dinner is on your own account and overnight in Mrauk-U.
DAY 09 MRAUK-U – LAYTOO CHIN VILLAGE – MRAUK-U (Breakfast, Lunch, -)
After breakfast, start a scenic excursion on a very basic and bumpy road and by boat on LEMYO RIVER (3 hours per way) to villages of the Laytoo Chin tribe. This vanishing Chin tribe is well-known for the colorful fabrics and tattoo on their faces. This centuries old tradition is fading and new facial tattoos are not made anymore in our modern times. Picnic lunch will be provided. Return to Mrauk-U in the late afternoon. If time permits, you will explore a typical village of the SHAKAMA (THET or SAK) tribe and witness the rural way of life. Dinner is on your own account and overnight in Mrauk-U.
DAY 10 MRAUK-U – SITTWE (Breakfast, Lunch, -)
After breakfast, transfer to jetty for departure by private boat back to Sittwe. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the hotel. After lunch at a simple local restaurant, car and guide is at disposal for visits in and around Sittwe. Visit the BUDDHIST MUSEUM in the grounds of a monastery and see the interesting collection of Rakhine-style Buddha images, silver coins from the Mrauk-U era and engraved astrological charts. Make photo stops at one or more of the mosques, evidence of the large Muslim community in Sittwe. At sunset, drive out along Strand Road past fishing boats to The Point, at the mouth of the Kaladan River. There are some interesting shell and sandstone rock formations, as well as fabulous views over a black sand beach stretching for miles towards Bangladesh along the edge of the Bay of Bengal. In the evening, go for a walk in downtown Sittwe where local people sit on the pavements outside their homes enjoying the cool evening air. Dinner is on your own account and overnight in Sittwe.
DAY 11 SITTWE – Airport (Breakfast, -, -)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
Itinerary is subject to changes depending on confirmed flights, road conditions and availability of rooms.
Note: The regions around Hsipaw, Sittwe and Mrauk-U are still undeveloped for most aspects of tourism. This is essentially an adventure tour. We will endeavor to obtain the best available accommodations, transport and facilities for guests, but would ask their understanding for any practical aspects which do not come up to expectation, and for delays or changes in itinerary. It is not recommended to travel to this region during the monsoon season from June to September as heavy floods are common. Even though this region of Myanmar is not mountainous it gets cold at night during the winter months from November to February and warm clothes are required.