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Burma & the Irrawaddy River: Bagan to Mandalay 2014

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Post-trip: The Hill Station of Maymyo & Inle Lake

Complement your Burmese discoveries with two nights in Maymyo (now known by the locals as Pyin Oo Lwin). Maymyo is a "hill station," a retreat favored by the British and other European expatriate residents of Burma due to its pleasant hilltop location. European influence is readily evident in the Colonial architecture that pervades the town. Then travel to Inle Lake, relaxing by the serene waters and experiencing the unique blend of local culture as you meet the hill tribes and other indigenous people who make their home on the lake's shores.

It's Included:
Roundtrip airfare between Maymo and Mandalay, and Heho and Bangkok
Accommodations: for 2 nights in Maymyo at the Hotel Pyin Oo Lwin or similar, for 3 nights near Inle Lake at the Inle Resort or similar, and for 1 night at Best Western Premier Amaranth or similar
13 meals: 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 3 dinners (including 1 Home-Hosted Lunch)
Included tours: Maymyo, Nyaung Shwe, Inle Lake
Exclusive services of an experienced Grand Circle Program Director
All transfers
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    After your Burma & the Irrawaddy River: Bagan to Mandalay trip, transfer from Mandalay to Maymo today, setting off on a visit to the Aung Chan Tha flower market en route. After lunch together at a waterfall resort, arrive in Maymyo for a tour of the Botanical Gardens and aviary. We enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant this evening.

     

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    This morning, we visit a Nepali village, where we observe milking, tour the Hindu Temple, enjoy a discussion with a Hindu Priest, and visit the local sweets shop.

    This afternoon, we round out discoveries of religious life here with visits to the gilded Pyi Chit Pagoda and the Chinese Temple built by Yunanese immigrants.  

    As you walk through Maymyo you'll be sure to notice that one of the most popular forms of transportation is by horse-drawn carriage. Today you'll try it out for yourself during a morning ride through the town's lively marketplace, where you'll have the chance to meet with the local residents and catch a glimpse of their daily routine.

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    Transfer to Mandalay for your flight to Heho, your gateway to Inle Lake. On your way to the lake, you’ll visit Shwe Yan Pyay monastery, a teak wood structure built on stilts where, as a rite of passage, boys from the surrounding area must spend a period of time in training as a novice monk, to learn about Buddhism and to experience the monastic life. The monastery is also known for its large, photogenic, oval-shaped windows, where the novices are known to playfully pose for passing photographers.

    Then travel to Nyaung Shwe, a town near Inle Lake that serves as an important center of activity for travelers and local traders alike. Here, you'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and tour a Burmese vineyard before transferring to your lakeside accommodations. After settling into your hotel, you can join a boat ride on Inle Lake. You'll see some of the lake's iconic floating gardens, an ingenious invention of the local Intha people to take advantage of the lake as an endless supply of fresh water to support their crops. You'll then meet some of the Intha people during a visit to one of their villages on the shore of the lake.

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    Spend the day discovering the treasures of Inle Lake. Begin with a tour of Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery. Then travel to Nampan village to observe local craftsmen at work, including cigar-making, boat-building, and lotus fabric-weaving.

    After lunch at a local restaurant, you can walk to the nearby Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, which is home to five small Buddha statues that are so heavily gilded, you can barely make out their original shapes. Once a year, four of the statues are loaded onto an elaborately decorated royal barge for an 18-day tour of the villages lining the shore of the lake.

    Then, travel to Ywama Village, where you’ll meet Burma’s long-neck hill tribe women, known for their use of brass rings to lengthen their necks. You'll visit them at a parasol workshop before returning to your hotel for the day.

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    Today is yours to spend at leisure. Or, join an optional tour to a local vineyard, where you'll learn about Burma's burgeoning wine industry during a tour of a grape farm, followed by an in-depth introduction to the wine-making process. You'll have lunch at the vineyard, which is included in the price of the optional tour. Then, return to the hotel, where you'll have the rest of the day at leisure. Dinner is on your own.

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    Transfer to Heho today for your flight to Rangoon, where you'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, followed by a visit to Kandawgyi Garden, an idyllic 260-acre nature park in the center of the city that features shady trees, colorful flowers, and a large, peaceful lake.

    Then, transfer to the airport for your flight to Bangkok.

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    Board your flight home this morning.