Burma: The Golden Land
“This trip gives one a deeper understanding of Burma as well as the many challenges it faces.”
Join us and become among the first Americans to experience this specially designed, once-in-a-lifetime exploration of Myanmar (formerly Burma), and the majestic Irrawaddy River. Explore a land re-emerging from isolation and thus enriched by traditional touches, where gold-sheathed pagodas shimmer and gleam in the tropical sun, oxen still draw market carts, and the cities possess a mysterious and graceful quality. We will visit a number of Buddhist monasteries, glide over Inle Lake in a private long boat, and immerse ourselves in the everyday culture of this exotic country. During visits to traditional markets and artisan’s workshops, do seek chances to converse with the warm and inviting Myanmar people. A three-night Angkor Complex Pre-Program Option and a two-night Bangkok Post-Program Option are available.
Activity Level: Active
Featuring Faculty Host:
Professor Eulogio Guzman
Price From: $5,995
Includes land only; per person, based on double occupancy.
Itinerary and price are tentative and subject to change.
To avoid the disappointment of a sold out program, Register Now!
Usha Nand Sellers Ed. D., Director Tufts Travel-Learn Program, at email@example.com or 617-627-5323.
Day 1: We depart from the U.S. and cross the International Date Line.
Day 2: Arrive in Yangon, Myanmar
Today we will arrive in the garden city of Yangon, the country’s capital and home to the largest number of colonial structures in all of Southeast Asia. We check into our five-star Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon.
Day 3: Yangon
After breakfast, we will begin our tour of Yangon along its wide, tree-lined avenues and turn-of-the-century architecture. We will see the Sule Pagoda, where legend has it that a strand of hair from Buddha is enshrined in this golden stupa. Notice that some young women wear yellowish-white paste on their faces called thanaka, made from ground tree bark, traditionally used for its cooling properties and as a sunscreen. We will visit the 230-foot-long statue of the Chaukhtatgyi Paya Reclining Buddha and St. Mary’s Cathedral, built in the late 19th century and known for its beautiful stained-glass windows and its fortitude during the Japanese invasion during World War II. Then we continue to the Botataung Pagoda, known for its mirrored maze-like walkway lined with glass cases exhibiting many ancient relics and artifacts. Following lunch in a nearby restaurant, we visit the National Museum to view the richly decorated Lion Throne, royal jewelry and ancient artifacts. This evening we will enjoy a Welcome Reception and Dinner.
Day 4: Yangon
Today, we meet with warm, friendly Myanmar people at the Gitameit Music Center, established in 2003 as a musicians’ community for adults and children, and hear a lively performance of traditional music. Then we continue to Kalaywa Tawya Monastery, home to over 1300 monks and novices. Observe the gathering of monks and nuns during the dramatic, silent serving of their second of just two meals a day. This afternoon, we will walk Yangon’s cobbled streets of Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott Market) where thousands of stalls feature Burmese jewelry, art and handicrafts. Then, we will see one of the ancient wonders of the world: the glittering, 11th-century Shwedagon Pagoda, which is covered in gold—shwe being the Burmese word for gold. Its spire is studded with rubies, sapphires, topaz and over 2000 carats of diamonds, and its interior houses eight strands of hair from Buddha and other relics. Here, we discover the heart and humility of the Myanmar people with their prayer offerings of flowers, incense and candles.
This morning, we will fly to Bagan, home to over 2000 pagodas, temples and stupas and one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Asia. We will visit five of the most notable temples in Bagan’s Archaeological Zone, including the Ananda Temple, a 12th-century architectural masterpiece built under the reign of King Kyanzittha. We then Transfer to the deluxe Aye Yar River View Resort, a resort located on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, for lunch. Then, we will enjoy a traditional horse-drawn carriage ride amid Bagan’s remarkable temples, pagodas and stupas. At sunset, we will enjoy spectacular views over Bagan from the unique vantage point of the Shwesandaw Pagoda, then return to the hotel for dinner.
Day 6: Bagan
Today we begin the day exploring Nyaung U Market, where we will have an opportunity to mingle with Myanmar’s friendly people. Then we continue to the Shwezigon Pagoda, built by King Anawrahta to enshrine relics of Buddha; it is one of the most significant religious structures in Burma as it served as the architectural model for future stupas. Essential to our stay in Bagan is a visit to a local lacquerware workshop where we will see and learn more about this ancient craft. After lunch in a nearby restaurant, we will continue touring Bagan’s numerous pagodas, enjoy a sunset cocktail cruise on the Irrawaddy River and watch as the changing light provides a breathtaking illumination of the ancient temples.
Day 7: Bagan/Mandalay
This morning, we will fly to Mandalay. A former capital of the Myanmar kingdom and the heart of its royal history, Mandalay still has an imperial feel with the crowning glory of Mandalay Palace at its center. In Amarapura, the City of Immortality, we will stop at one of Myanmar’s most photographed sites, the U Bein Bridge, the world’s longest teak footbridge, which crosses Taungthaman Lake. We then visit the serene Maha Ganayon Monastery, home to several thousand young monks, and Mahamuni Buddha Temple, a major pilgrimage site where gold leaf is regularly applied to the most revered Buddha in Myanmar by devoted followers. We will have lunch in a nearby restaurant. Later, we will visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda, known for housing the “world’s biggest book.” Its 729 marble tablets, each inside its own small, white pitaka pagoda, are collectively inscribed with the entire text of the Tripitaka (teachings of the Gautama Buddha). Next, from Mandalay Hill Pagoda, we will enjoy exquisite sunset views. Tonight we will check into the deluxe Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel, near the Royal Palace and enjoy dinner in the hotel.
Day 8: Mandalay
After breakfast, we will visit the restored Mandalay Palace and Fort, the last palace to be built by the Burmese monarchy. Completed by King Mindon in 1859, he moved his capital from Amarapura to Mandalay as the location promised favorable omens. We will stop at a gold pounding workshop and watch as gold leaf is flattened into thin wafers, a traditional craft preserved by the Myanmar people. Also, we will meet local artisans and observe the creation of exquisite, hand-woven embroidery or intricate woodcarvings. The remainder of the day is at leisure to pursue individual interests.
Day 9: Mandalay
This morning, we will embark on our captivating cruise along the “Road to Mandalay,” the Irrawaddy River. Dock in Mingun, known for its formidable Mingun Pagoda, left unfinished following a prophecy that warned if it was completed the country would be destroyed. See the famous 90-ton Mingun Bell, the largest intact bell in the world, which was to be installed at the top of the king’s unfinished pagoda. Visit the beautiful white Hsinbyume Pagoda, designed for the Buddhist mythological mountain, Mount Meru and most atypical of the traditional Buddhist architecture. After lunch, we will arrive in Sagaing, where the hills are dotted with significant religious shrines and pagodas, and learn more about the ancient arts at Ywahtaung, home of the silversmiths’ guild. We return to the hotel for an evening at leisure.
Day 10: Mandalay/Heho/Inle Lake
Today we fly to Heho and head to a restaurant in Pindaya for lunch. Enjoy a special visit to the 11th-century Shwe Oo Min Pagoda and its impressive limestone cave complex of winding chambers and passages filled with more than 8000 statues of Buddha dating back to the 18th century. The cave’s stalactites and stalagmites form fanciful shapes giving rise to their names, such as “Fairy Princess Loom.” We then board a longboat and pass authentic stilted villages en route to the deluxe Myanmar Treasure Resort, ideally located on Inle Lake, a place of peace and tranquility that offers a glimpse of the Burmese traditional lifestyle in a serene environment. Dinner in the hotel is enhanced by lovely views of the lake.
Day 11: Inle Lake
Today we spend a full day exploring the treasures and natural wonders of magnificent Inle Lake by longboat, watch for local leg rowers, or Inthas, in sampans, cruise into the narrow and shallow canals of Indein Creek, and see thousands of beautifully decorated stupas nearby. We then continue on to Phaung Daw U Pagoda, the most sacred site in Shan state, featuring five Buddha statues covered with layer upon layer of gold leaf. Following lunch in a nearby restaurant, we will learn more about traditional cottage crafts by watching silk weavers and silversmiths. We then visit the stilted Nga Phe Chaung Monastery, known for its domesticated jumping cats, a cheroot workshop and the fascinating floating markets. Tonight we will enjoy a Farewell Dinner in the hotel.
Day 12: Inle Lake/Heho/Yangon
We will fly to Yangon this morning. The afternoon and evening are at leisure. Continue on the Bangkok, Thailand, Post-Program Option with an overnight stay in Yangon or depart for the U.S
Day 13: Depart from Yangon, Arrive in the U.S.
*Price and Itinerary are tentative and subject to change