Glimpse of Mandalay and old cities beyond the outskirt of the ancient capital
Learn to be a fisherman try how to cast a net, farming and the local way of life in Hsithe village
Explore the World Heritage UNESCO site of Sri Ketsra, Beikthano and Hanlin
Visit the religious sites and sandstone caves in Monywa
This tour combines the most interesting cultural and historical sites in the majestic old capital of Mandalay and the legendary Pyu cities. Lectures on ‘How to be a fisherman’ or ‘How to skillfully fishing net’ will be provided in Hsithe CBT village. By participating in this tour you will be contributing towards community-based conservation in Hsithe and Tawyagyi-Sheinmaga. This inspiring tour will be wrapped up with visit to the religious sandstone caves in Monywa.
Why choose this tour?
A perfect combination of interesting sightseeing in the central Myanmar
An opportunity to observe local lifestyle, unique culture, wildlife, world heritages and sacred religious sites in one package
Encourage the community-based conservation project and support the rural community
Pickup from Mandalay Airport and transfer to hotel. (Your room might not be ready for check-in; international check-in time is 14:00 hours). Start enjoying a comprehensive tour of Mandalay, a highlight of which is the Mahamuni Pagoda, home to a spectacular Buddha image covered with thick layers of gold leaves. Near the river lies visit Shwe-Im-Bin, a wooden monastery over 100-years-old which is known for its lovely carving. Stop at local workshops to see kalaga tapestries being made, and gold leaf being beaten into paper-thin pieces, stone carving and bronze casting. Mid-afternoon, proceed to Kuthodaw Pagoda, where the Theravada Buddhist scriptures are inscribed on 729 marble slabs, giving rise to its nickname 'the world’s largest book'. Lunch at 62 Mandalay Restaurant. Next, drive to the jetty where you will board your boat and travel upstream on the Ayeyarwady River from Mandalay to Mingun (11 km, about one hour). The river is always busy – small long tail boats, bamboo rafts and ferries carry goods up and down the river. Visit the Mingun Bell, which at 87 tons is the world’s largest intact bronze bell. Continue to the beautiful Hsinbyume (Mya Thein Tan) Pagoda and the unfinished, mighty Mingun Pagoda (built to be the world’s biggest) before returning downriver to Mandalay. Accommodation at Hotel Sakura Princess (Superior Room) or similar, Mandalay.
Drive towards the former royal capital of Ava (Innwa) located on an island between the Ayeyarwady and the Myitnge Rivers. A local ferry carries you to the island where your horse cart and driver await you. Pass through the ancient city walls to visit the brick and stucco monastery of Maha Aungmye Bonzan (also known as Oak Kyaung) before continuing to the impressive wooden monastery of Bagaya Kyaung. If time permits, visit some village homes to see local handicrafts such as silk weaving, cane mats and alms bowls. Lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon, visit picturesque Sagaing, perhaps the living centre of Buddhist faith in Myanmar today. The hills here are dotted with numerous pagodas and monasteries. Return across the Ayeyarwady River to the third former capital, Amarapura, via the Ava Bridge, built by British engineers. Take a sunset stroll on U Bein Bridge, which at over a kilometre is believed to be the longest teak bridge in the world. After that, return back to Mandalay and transfer to your hotel. Accommodation at Hotel Sakura Princess (Superior Room) or similar, Mandalay.
Pick up from your hotel at 08:00 hours and drive through many villages where you can see the daily life of rural Myanmar. The road passes to the east of the famous Marble Mountains, where the raw materials for the marble carvers of Amarapura is quarried. At 10:00 hours, arrive at Singu which is an attractive small town on the left bank of the Ayeyarwady River. Here you will take a boat to Hsithe (30min) which is known for its fishermen (and fisherwomen) who have been traditionally fishing cooperatively with the Ayeyarwady dolphins. The boat trip is a great opportunity to observe wildlife, particularly water birds such as Ruddy shelduck, Chinese spot-billed duck, Asian open bill and many Black kites, ospreys and Cormorants etc. (most birds are migratory and the best time to see them is late November to March). Upon arrival, enjoy light refreshment in the Visitor Centre. Go for a tour of the village, which will be led by one of the villagers. You can observe rural village life in all its fascinating forms – the village houses, people, livestock and the monasteries. It is a village of bullock carts, smiling children, and of communities going about their daily life - which is little changed over the centuries. Lunch at Hsithe Visitor’s Centre. After lunch, learn how to be a fisherman and you will be shown how to cast a net. Using a light net, you will have two or three trial throws on ground adjacent to the centre. Then, you go by fishing boat to shallow waters and practice your skills. There is a chance, but not guaranteed, to see dolphins in the river. If you are lucky, this will be a magical moment. On your way back, watch the superb view of sun going down on the Ayeyarwady river. Dinner at Hsithe Visitor’s Centre. Accommodation at Dolphin Eco Lodge, Hsithe village.
Next morning, wake up to the sound of the wooden drum from the village monastery. Have breakfast at the Visitor’s Centre. You will probably witness the village monks doing their morning alms round, and the villagers come out to offer their offerings. Around 08:00 hours, take a boat to Singu where your car and driver will wait for you. Drive to Hanlin (approximately 2 hours) which is a village near Shwebo in Sagaing Division which is considered as World Heritage site by UNESCO for the archaeological heritage dated back to years during 200 BC and 900 AD. Hanlin Archaeological Zone has 32 excavation sites which have yielded many potteries, ornaments, weapons and coins. Visit Hanlin Village which has its own attraction with unpaved ox-cart tracks linking to old stupas. Also, Nyaung Kobe Monastery which features a small museum displaying ancient artefacts, unlabelled finds of Pyu era. Lunch at local restaurant. Proceed to Shwebo (approximately 36 km, 1 hour), famous for its authentic regional product, Thanaka. Visit to Shwebon Yadana Mingalar Palace which is the royal palace of King Alaungpaya, the founder of Konbaung dynasty. The palace has 54 apartments and halls which are fabulously decorated with ten kinds of art in detail. A stop at Aung Mye (Victory Land) to make your own wish. The chronicles show the fact that King Alaungpaya used this spot as a gathering point before his battles. After that, drive towards Monywa (approximately 2 ½ hours) and transfer to your hotel upon arrival. Accommodation at Win Unity Hotel (Deluxe Garden View Room) or similar, Monywa.
This morning, visit the local market for authentic experience and drive across the bridge over Chindwin River to visit a sandstone cave system in the Po Win Hills, named after a famous 'zawgyi' (alchemist) who once lived here. The Caves of Po Win Daung, numbering more than one hundred, are full of Buddhist statues and murals. Most of the images are in the 14th – 16th century Ava (Innwa) style, but some may be earlier. Nearby, visit Shwe Ba Daung which features unique pavilions cut from the surrounding sandstone and filled with Buddha images. Also visit a village whose main business is the extraction of copper. Lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon, visit Thanbuddhay Pagoda, about 20 km from Monywa. The richly decorated central stupa has no less than 845 smaller stupas around it. Inside the pagoda compound are thousands of Buddha images (reportedly over 500,000) decorating every wall, archway and niche. Also see beautiful wooden carvings of the ‘Jataka Tales’ (stories from the Buddha’s life) and a huge Reclining Buddha nearby. Afterwards, drive back to Mandalay and transfer to your hotel.
customise the tour
Extend your days to observe more about Ayeyarwady Dolphin Conservation
Authentic Cooking Class in Hsithe village
Combine with Maymyo sightseeing
All sightseeing tour and transfer services with private air conditioned car/coach as detailed in our itinerary
Meals as specified in the itinerary
All entrance fees for the places as mentioned in the program
Transfers and tours with English-speaking locally-stationed guides
Horse cart rides and boat trips as specified
Service charges, room tax and baggage handling
Accommodation at hotels as above mentioned or similar
Accommodation at Dolphin Eco Lodge in Hsithe
Filtered drinking water and wet towels during the tour
Myanmar visa fee
Surcharges for throughout guides (English and other languages)
Personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
Drinks with meals
Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking
Peak season in general is between 15 December to 15 January and 13-17 April
Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme
Travel insurance (cover against all cancellation costs, medical expenses, including repatriation, in the event of accident or illness)
Hotel prices for packages are quoted bases on hotels as mentioned or similar. Higher or lower categories can be requested and the price will be adjusted. The hotels featured in the package tour are subject to availabilities at the time of booking.
Meals at respective hotels are also included in the hotel prices if the itineraries mention lunch or dinner at hotel.
Additional charges during Festive Season: Christmas, New Year and the Water festival period may apply.
Supplements for compulsory Gala Dinners will be advised at the time of booking.
All hotels have special booking and deposit conditions and will be indicated at the time of booking. Nonrefundable deposits may be required.
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