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Make your way to your to your first night's accommodation to check in.
Formerly named Rangoon, Yangon is the country's biggest city and was the capital from 1885, when the British conquered the north and the kingdom of Mandalay, until just a few years ago when the government moved the capital to Naypyidaw.
Today you'll head out early to catch your flight to the ancient wonder of Bagan. Here spread out across the horizon are the peaks of 4,500 brick and gilded ancient temples. Dotting the skyline in many shapes and forms some say they compare in splendour to the majestic Angkor kingdom. Theravada Buddhism was introduced by the former kings of Pagan (Bagan) in the mid 11th century, which spurred on the swift building of a swathe of temples to worship their gods, be they Buddhist, Hindu or Nat, over the ensuing 200 or so years.
This afternoon you will take a tour by horse and cart (2 people travel per cart) to visit some of the main temples and go shopping in some of the local markets. Hawkers often surround the most popular temples, selling lacquer ware or handicrafts and there are also stalls offering cool drinks and a welcome touch of shade.
This morning you transfer to Bagan Airport (approx 20 mins) and fly to Heho. Then transfer on to Kalaw. Stopping for lunch enroute. As a former British hill station Kalaw make a welcome retreat from the heat of the lower lying areas. While the surrounding hills are the home to various ethnic minority groups, including the Palaung, Danu and Pa-O.
The following day you will spend the whole day at the RDC orphange. You will take a walk to the local market to see local produce on sale and perhaps shop for some bargains for yourself. Later you will join in a classroom activity with the local children, who will no doubt be delighted by your visit! Enjoy a game of badminton with the children and they will also teach you some local games. There is time for some group singing and you will eat lunch with the children. After lunch a traditional show which is interactive will complete a joyous day here. You will no doubt have made many new little friends during the day and take home some great memories of the experience.
Hotel (AAA) – 2 nights (Bx2, L on day 7)
Setting off across the mountains today you cross the plateau which is crammed with farms and make a stop at the caves of Pindaya. As one of the 'Golden Caves' in Shan state, pilgrims flock to worship the 8000 or so Buddha images which adorn the caverns, tunnels and meditation chambers of this huge limestone cave. You'll venture into the labyrinth of tunnels with your guide to gain a better insight into its history.
You bid farewell to the splendour of Shan state as you make your way to Heho airport for your flight back to the hustle and bustle of Yangon. After checking in to your hotel and freshening up you will make a walking tour of downtown Yangon. Here you will visit markets and perhaps have your fortune told at one of the street stalls. In the afternoon you will visit Shwedagon Pagoda and Karaweik. Then travel on to Kandawgi Lake. See the sunset at Shwedagon and visit its temple. You will be shown how to make a traditional prayer offering.
Hotel (AA) – 1 night (B)
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart your accommodation at any time. (B)
Key: (B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner
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