Mandalay – Amarapura – Ava – Sagaing - Mandalay
Optional Activity - Mahamuni Face Washing: Wake up early this morning (around 0400) and catch a local taxi to Mahamuni Pagoda. Every morning before dawn, the monks wash the face of the ‘lumpy’ Buddha image with special fragrant water and brush its teeth. The ritual takes around one hour and is a unique insight into Buddhism. (without guide) Return to your hotel around 0730 for breakfast.
After breakfast at the hotel, depart for an excursion around Mandalay to explore the former capitals of Ava, Sagaing and Amarapura.
This morning, cross a bridge over the Irrawaddy River to Sagaing. Covered with 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar. It is home to 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centers and you will visit pagodas such as Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin and U Min Thone Sae.
We’ll also visit Sagaing’s local market, a typical Burmese market that few tourists visit. Here you will find a range of items for sale including locally made pottery, silver and other handicrafts. We will also stop at a small pottery village to see the process of making the ubiquitous water pots found throughout Myanmar.
Then continue south of the city to Ava, the capital from 14th to 18th centuries, where a short ferry ride will take us across the river to where our horse and carriage are waiting. Visit the old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the remains of the Royal Palace and Fort. There are many small villages located amid Ava’s ruins and as you travel by horse and cart you’ll get a glimpse of local life in the Burmese countryside. We’ll stop for lunch in Ava before returning to our car.
Return toward the city and stop at Amarapura, a former capital whose name means ‘City of Immortality’. First visit a silk weaving workshop which produces exquisite handmade products. After touring this tranquil site, continue to U Bein Bridge for a walk along this 200 year-old teak bridge. The bridge was constructed of 984 teak posts that were once part of the deserted Inwa Palace and it is 1.2 kilometers in length making it the world’s longest teak span. Enjoy a stroll along the bridge and the fabulous views of the surrounding farms and streams.
Overnight in Mandalay.
Superior: Mandalay Hill Resort (Superior Room)
Deluxe: Mandalay Hill Resort (Deluxe Hill View)