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JTW 2020 – Myanmar

23 FEB – 12 MAR

South East Asia’s Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a complex and intriguing country where traditional South East Asian culture endures, and stunning landscapes and cities are home to ancient temples.

  • Take part in a Buddhist ceremony
  • Float over stupas and temple tops in a hot air balloon
  • Enjoy dinner under the stars on a private mid-river sandbank
  • Visit the ancient temples and stupas of this ancient archaeological zone
  • Enjoy a hands on experience in a pottery workshop
  • Witness the floating markets
  • Have your palm read by a local astrologer

Day One ­­— Feb 23 2020
From the moment we arrive at your home, your journey begins. Today we will transfer to Sydney for an overnight stay before our early departure tomorrow morning.

Day Two — Feb 24 2020
This morning we’ll make our way to Sydney International Airport for our flight to Yangon, the main gateway to Myanmar and its former capital city. Home to over 5 million people this bustling centre is home to one of the most striking religious monuments in South-East Asia, the Shwedagon Pagoda. Yangon boasts a wealth of colonial architecture and is a city of amazing contrasts. Tonight after our arrival, we will be transferred to our hotel and have an early night to relax after our flight.
(Meals: Inflight)

Day Three — Feb 25 2020
We start our first day in Yangon with the honor of visiting a Buddhist Monastery to learn the ways of Buddhism and witness the monks and novices lined up in traditional robes as they await their daily alms. We’re invited to participate in this honoured donation ceremony by offering items such as rice, bread, traditional medicines, soap, and other necessary effects. Many travelers experience a deep sense of appreciation and value after connecting with so many faithful individuals, and after the ceremony, we are invited to explore the monastery and speak with
a senior monk.

We’ll then explore the Bogyoke Aung San Markets, a great place to discover a bargain and try your hand at haggling over the largest selection of handcrafts in Myanmar. Later we visit the historic and striking Schwedagon Pagoda which towers almost 98 meters above the green cityscape of Yangon.
Covered in hundreds of gold plates and with over 4531 diamonds, this pagoda is considered one of the wonders in the religious world. As night falls, we will light candles near the base of the pagoda, and enjoy this stunning backdrop.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Four — Feb 26 2020
This morning, we set off early and explore downtown Yangon where the influence of the British colonial history of the country is evident in the architecture of the buildings and streets. Enjoy a local trishaw ride and learn about domestic life and the monuments you pass.

From here we visit Hla Day, a sustainable market place supporting the livelihoods of Myanmar artisans who are struggling to overcome disability, exclusion, and poverty. Our afternoon visit to the National Museum will provide an introduction to Burmese history throughout the ages before we move on to the enormous reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Kyi and take time to visit Kandawgyi Lake.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Five — Feb 27 2020
Today we will be transferred to the airport and fly to Bagan. Known as the city of four million pagodas, this ancient city is one of the most precious archaeological sites in Asia and boasts thousands of pagodas, temples and monasteries to explore. From its rural village life, bustling markets and artisan workshops this enchanting destination offers something for everyone. Once we arrive, we will travel to the Gubyaukgi Temple with its excellent stucco carvings, the impressive Pahto and Ananda Temple. It’s one of the most revered and best-preserved temples in the archaeological zone. After our day of sightseeing, we’ll enjoy a special dinner with a traditional Myanmar puppet show.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Six — Feb 28 2020
Our experience today will take your breath away. From a hot air balloon we will soar over over Bagan, and experience the unique majesty of the sun lighting up thousands of ancient stupas and temples as dawn breaks. An unforgettable experience. We come down to earth and visit nearby Phwar Saw Village where we’ll experience the rural Burmese life and markets. Our lunch will be at a local restaurant before we re-visit temples by horse and cart. Tonight, dinner will be on the Royal Irrawaddy River and set on a private mid-river sandbank where an open-air gala dinner is served under a starry sky.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Seven — Feb 29 2020
This morning there are two fascinating options to choose from. For the adventurous, climb the 777 steps to the stunning Mt Popa, a spiritual headquarter of the pre-Buddhist spirits featuring fascinating monasteries, stupas, shrines and incredible views of the Myingyan Plain. Or for an experience with nature, visit Mother Spirit of Popa Nat Shrine located at the base of the mountain and explore the Sandalwood forest and medical herb garden. Making our way back to Bagan we’ll stop at Shwe Hlaing village, meet the friendly locals and explore its charming streets. Here we learn about the Toddy Climber’s Hut, a facility that produces palm wine. Tonight, after our amazing day, we enjoy a unique dinner served against the breathtaking backdrop of Bagan and accompanied by traditional elephant dancing.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Eight — Mar 1 2020
Today we embark on our four-night Pandaw Cruise and start our leisurely journey from Pagan to Mandalay. This afternoon, visit a Lacquerware workshop to explore the process of making lacquer handcrafts which is a specialty in Pagan and from here we visit Dhamayangyi, the widest and largest temple in Pagan. From the top of the Taung Guni Temple we’ll take in the amazing sunset before returning to the ship.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Nine — MAR 2 2020
Our busy day starts when we set sail early this morning to Salay, a sleepy village filled with colonial architectural treasures and timeless teak monasteries, which was once a bustling trading port. We walk to view teak carved monasteries at Yoke-Sone Kyaung and stop at Salay House on our return. Back on board we sail upriver to the Ayardaw charity clinic supported by Pandaw then drive up the winding road of the Tan-Chi-Taung mountain to visit the hill-top stupa. Our afternoon is spent watching the traditional paper-mache elephant dance performed by the villagers from Tan-Chi.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Ten — Mar 3 2020
Today we explore by Tuk Tuk the local market and town centre of Pakokku, a city of about 100,000 residents, located 30km from Pagan. This industrious town produces tobacco, cotton, peanuts, Thanatkha (traditional makeup and sun lotion) and textiles. We’ll enjoy local street culture and stop at a cheroot workshop and discover how traditional cheroot cigars are made.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Eleven — Mar 4 2020
Today we discover historically rich Yandabo Village, known as the place where the first Anglo-Burmese war ended by a peace treaty signed in 1826. We’ll wander through the village and visit a local pottery workshop where we’ll see first-hand the production process and have the chance to have a hands-on experience of our own. Our afternoon will be spent visiting a local school to learn about local education before returning to our ship for dinner.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Twelve — Mar 5 2020
This morning we disembark the ship for a full day of sightseeing starting with the spiritually significant Mahamuni Pagoda. We explore the many industries of the region, exploring the marble carving streets of Mandalay, where dozens of Buddha sculptors work covered in white marble dust. We’ll witness the strength of the gold pounders rhythmically hammering the gold until it’s paper thin, and enjoy the site of ladies weaving the beautiful tapestries of the region. After lunch, we visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda and Shwenandaw Kyuang before finishing the day watching the sunset on top of Mandalay Hill.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Thirteen — Mar 6 2020
Today journey by boat and explore Ancient Mingun, located on the western bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River which is famous for its huge, unfinished stupa and impressive bronze bell. We return wandering through the back lanes of picturesque villages, and our walk will take in golden hour near the former Royal Palace before we visit Amarapura (City of Immortality) and see the iconic U Bien’s Bridge. Enjoy sunset like you’ve never experienced it, drinking champagne and floating on a boat around this amazing bridge.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Fourteen — Mar 7 2020
This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to Heho, home to one of the most picturesque locations in all of Myanmar, it’s prime attraction, Inle Lake. This waterway is dotted with interesting villages and floating gardens. We visit the Shan paper workshop before reaching Red Mountain Vineyard which is considered to have one of the best wines in the country. Here we will taste the wines and sample a delicious lunch of local and Intha cuisine.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Fifteen — Mar 8 2020
Today, we join the hustle and bustle of the locals engaged in selling their goods at the rotating 5-day market. We visit the five ancient gold-covered Buddha images at Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest monastery on the lake and continue our sightseeing with a visit to the temple at Nge Hpe Kyaung. We visit the floating market and marvel at the unique technique of leg rowing which is so synonymous with Intha fisherman. For lunch we will enjoy an exotic dining experience – lunch on a floating restaurant on Inle Lake, before ending our day with a tranquil canoe ride to absorb the sights and sounds of life in one of the floating villages that are scattered throughout the lake.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Sixteen — Mar 9 2020
We start the day with a visit to the ruined stupas and temples along the lake-side village of Innedien. Then we’re part of the action when we’re invited to participate on board the Shan boat races on the Inle Lake. This festive race filled with competitive comradery is your chance to win a prize awarded to the race winners! Our experience will end with a closing Shan Dance which we’ll enjoy together and then we’ll return to our accommodation for dinner.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Seventeen — Mar 10 2020
This morning we transfer to Heho, where we fly to Yangon. On our arrival we’ll be met by a local astrologer to have your palm read at a pagoda. The astrologer uses methods for determining the future through a mixture of palmistry and astrology. After obtaining basic information like your name and date of birth, he will draw up a series of number charts that reveal to him what your future holds. This will be a terrific souvenir of your time here.
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day Eighteen — Mar 11 2020
This morning we farewell Myanmar and all the amazing experiences it offered and make our way back to Sydney on an overnight flight.
(Meals: Breakfast, Inflight)

Day Nineteen — Mar 12 2020
Our journey is almost over. After arriving in Sydney this morning we’ll transfer you to your home where you can relive your wonderful experiences and plan for your next big adventure!
(Meals: Inflight)

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