FOLK POTTERIES ANCIENT TEMPLES TRADITIONAL CITY AND VILLAGE LIFE
We will be visiting several potteries in the Ayeyarwady delta, Inle Lake, and Mandalay area that are not on the usual tourist track.
Visitations to pottery villages provide a unique opportunity for participants to communicate directly with locals through our translator; to engage in a dialogue about daily life and pottery making and firing; and to photograph in a free manner.
YANGON lies in the fertile delta of southern Myanmar, on the wide Yangon River. The city is filled with tree-shaded boulevards, while shimmering stupas float above the treetops. The city became the capital in 1885, when the British completed the conquest of Upper Myanmar and Mandalay’s brief period as capital of the last Burmese kingdom ended. The highlight of any visit to Yangon is the Shwedagon Pagoda. This pagoda towers over the city and is the most sacred spot in the country, built to house eight hair relics of the Buddha. The Shwedagon and surrounding shrines are particularly beautiful during the sunset hour, as the golden stupa reflects the changing colors of twilight.
Other attractions are the Sule Pagoda, a gleaming octogonal pagoda that stands squarely at the centerpoint of the city and the National Museum, housing the eight meter high Silasana Lion Throne, used by the last Burmese king, and other fascinating artifacts from Burmese history and culture. Visit the historic colonial Strand Hotel and its many galleries and shops. Enjoy a break at Bogyoke (Scott) Market, a pleasant covered market containing crafts from all corners of Myanmar. Visit the Botataung Pagoda, named after the 1000 military leaders who escorted relics of the Buddha from India over 2000 years ago, and the Ngadatkyi Paya, with a giant seated Buddha image. Stay in a wonderful hotel on the grounds of the Kandawgyi (Royal) Lake, stroll near the unique Karaweik Hall, built in the form of a traditional royal barge and enjoy the magnificent views of the Shwedagon Pagoda across the lake. After returning from Inle Lake, we will cross the river and visit the Oh-Bo pottery quarter in Twante, a little town near Yangon. Here, we’ll have extensive time to observe the local pottery making techniques, visit the kilns and a variety of studios.
INLE LAKE is a beautiful lake, located in the Shan State, with very calm waters dotted with patches of floating vegetation and fishing canoes. High hills rim the lake on all sides. The lake’s shore and islands bear 17 villages on stilts, mostly inhabited by the Intha people. Enjoy the spectacular scenery and observe the skilled fishermen using their leg-rowing technique to propel themselves around the lake. Visit the floating gardens, a floating market, villages and towns, inhabited by Pa-O and Intha peoples and Kyauk Taing, a Shan village around the lake.
Observe the processes at Naung Bo pottery village.
Visit the Indein Temple complex, hidden on the lake shore with its hundreds of small stupas overgrown by moss and greens and observe the monastic activities at a monastery. Enjoy breakfast and dinner overlooking the lake at our amazing hotel and watch traditional dance and music performances.
MANDALAY, the last capital of royal Burma, is still one of the largest cities in Myanmar, and a cultural and spiritual center. We will visit the most important temples in Mandalay, starting at Mahamuni Paya. The Mahamuni image enshrined here is perhaps the most venerated image in Myanmar, covered in over 15 cm of gold leaf. Shwenandaw Kyaung, the Golden Teak Monastery, is built entirely of golden teak and intricately carved; it was once part of the Mandalay Palace, used as private apartments by King Mindon and his chief queen. Admire also Kyaukawgyi Paya, famous for its monumental seated Buddha, carved from a single block of marble, and Kuthodaw Paya, known also as the world’s biggest book. Around the central stupa are miniature pavilions, each housing a slab of marble. Numbering altogether 729, these slabs are inscribed with the entire Buddhist scriptures.
Neighbouring SAGAING is home to over sixty percent of the country’s monks. Hundreds of stupas, monasteries, temples and nunneries are to be found in Sagaing Hill; thousands of monks and nuns retreat here for meditation and contemplation. Stop at some of the most famous temples, such as Tupayon Paya and Hsinmyashin Paya, the Pagoda of Many Elephants. Visit the pottery village adjacent to Sagaing. Here we can experience a fully functioning traditional pottery village, where women carry the greenware pots on their heads to the firing area. Pots are fashioned with amazing skill and soul, using coil and thrown methods.
Visit the former royal capitals Amarapura and Inwa.Enjoy the atmosphere of U Bein’s Bridge, a picturesque teak bridge which extends over one kilometer across a lake.
Travel upriver to Mingun, enjoying the views of river life, fishing villages, market boats, women attending to their washing, and children playing in the water. Explore the ruins of the vast Mingun Paya, a monument to human ambition – never finished, its size would have dwarfed all contemporary pagodas - and the largest hung, uncracked bell in the world..
BAGAN is a spectacular plain stretching away from the Ayeyarwaddy River, dotted with thousands of 800-year old temple ruins. Although human habitation at Bagan dates back almost to the beginning of the Christian era, Bagan only entered its golden period with the conquest of Thaton in 1057 AD. The temples are divided into three periods: the early period (850-1120), influenced by Mon and late Pyu architecture and characterised by perforated windows and dimly lit interiors; the middle period (1100-70), when temples became bigger and were better lit by broader windows, with more of an eye to vertical proportions than horizontal lines, and the late period (1170-1300), when more intricate pyramidical spires or adorning tile work was added to the buildings, with an increase of Indian influence.
Stay at the charming Bagan Thande Hotel, situated on the river bank, surrounded by towering temples. Travelling the archeological site of Old Bagan with our guide and translator we visit the most famous temples, such as the Shwezigon Paya with its stupa’s graceful bell shape, which became a prototype for virtually all later stupas over Myanmar. The great colourful painting about the previous life of Buddha and the distinguished architecture make the Gubyaukhi Temple, built in the early 13 th century, an interesting site for a visit. Another temple with the same name in the tiny nearby village Myinkaba is famous for its well-preserved Stuccos on the outside walls. The magnificient paintings are considered to be the oldest original paintings in Bagan. The village is known for producing the finest lacquerware in Myanmar. Stop by one of the workshops and learn about the process of laquerware making and decoration. We continue by visiting one of the finest, largest and best preserved of the Bagan temples, Ananda Pahto, with its corncob golden stupa top. The base and the terraces are decorated with 554 glazed tiles showing Buddhist scenes, thought to be derived from Mon texts.
Admire also the 12 th century brickwork of the Dhamayangyi Temple, said to rank one of the finest in Bagan, and Sulamani Temple with its carved stucco representing some of Bagan’s finest ornamental work. Enjoy the sun setting over the plain of Bagan from one of the pagoda platforms and dine at the outside restaurant of our riverside hotel, accompanied by Burmese music.
NGAPALI BEACH (optional add-on excursion)
Fly from Yangon to Thandwe and spend a relaxing holiday in one of the charming resorts at the wonderful 3 km palm-backed white sand Ngapali beach, enjoy swimming and long walks on the beach, meeting friendly people, snorkelling, going out on a fisherman’s boat, explore the nearby fishing villages and local pagodas and savour the incredible cuisine including fresh fish and seafood of the day.
See Participants' Photos NEW! or Denys's Photos from past excursions to Burma.
January 8, 2014, evening: Yangon.
January 24,departure from Yangon.
This trip does not include international airfare, however, we can make arrangements for you, please see OPTIONS below.
1. Four flights within Burma, on top quality, modern airplanes.
2. All ground transportation first class mini-vans with a/c, drinking water and cold towels.
3. All water transportation on Inle Lake and Ayeyarwaddy River.
4. On-board professional guides and interpreters during the entire excursion.
5. On-board professional ceramic artist and excursion leader.
6. Accommodation (based on double occupancy) in 4 star hotels.
7. Breakfast buffets.
8. Two special dinners.
9. Entrance fees to all historical and cultural sites.
10. All transfers for domestic flights, boats and hotels.
11. Meet, assist and transfer for international arrivals and departures.
12. Special guided tours to sights in Yangon, Inle Lake, Mandalay, and Bagan.
13. Visits to potteries and villages accompanied by our guide and interpreter.
► Return flights from North America to Yangon, including stop-over possibilities, can be arranged on request through our recommended travel agent.
►Optional add-ons: Extend your vacation by arranging an add-on excursion from Yangon to Ngapali Beach on the Bengal Sea in Burma.
►Ballon rides in Bagan can be arranged on request.
If you must cancel, the following cancellation fees will apply:
|APPLICABLE DATES ||CANCELLATION FEE|
- Up to Feb 28, 2013
- March 1- April 30
- May 1 - Aug 30
- August 31- November 30
- December 1 - January 8, 2014
- Deposit of $200
- Deposit plus 15% of the invoice total
- Deposit plus 25% of the invoice total
- Deposit plus 75% of the invoice total
- No refund
There is no refund for arriving late or leaving the trip early.
Discovery Art Travel reserves the right to cancel the trip due to low enrolment, or if we feel that the quality of the trip or the safety of travelers would be compromised. In such a case ,we will refund all payments received to date, which constitutes full settlement.
Day 1 January 8 - Arrival in Yangon. A few hours to unwind and acclimate at the wonderful Kandawgyi Palace Hotel (4-star) with grounds on a lake and a view of the Shwedagon Pagoda. Short meeting and dinner at the hotel.
Day 2 - Fantastic buffet breakfast at the hotel. Walking tour and sightseeing in Yangon: National Museum, Bogyoke (Scott) Market, Strand Hotel. We visit the Shwedagon Pagoda for sunset.
Day 3 - Flight from Yagon to Bagan, transfer to the charming Bagan Thande Hotel (4-star), situated on the river bank, surrounded by towering temples. Dine at the outside restaurant, accompanied by Burmese music.
Day 4 - Enjoy the magnificient view over the river bank while having a fantastic breakfast at the outside restaurant of our hotel. Visit the Bagan market and some of the most interesting temples. You will see amazing architecture representing the three construction phases as well as frescoes, stuccos and ceramic tiles showing Buddhist scenes on the temple walls. Enjoy a panoramic view of the sun setting over the plain of Bagan from one of the pagoda platforms.
Day 5 - Excursion to Mt Popa. Experience the beautiful landscape dotted with villages. Lunch break on the mountain top with a panoramic view of the plain of temples. Visit to the Bagan Archeological Museum in the afternoon.
Day 6 - Free day in Bagan. Enjoy the buffet breakfast and a relaxing swim in the outside hotel pool with views of the temples. Explore the smaller temples via walking, biking, or with a horse cart.
Day 7 - Flight from Bagan to Mandalay. We overnight at the 4-star Mandalay Hill Resort with its beautiful grounds and stunning views on Mandalay Hill. Dinner at a famous Thai restaurant.
Day 8 - Sightseeing in Mandalay. We begin our tour at Mahamuni Paya and admire the Mahamuni image, covered in over 15 cm of golden leaf, and head to Shwenandaw Kyaung, the intricately carved Golden Teak Monastery. We also visit Kuthodaw Paya, the world’s biggest book with its 729 slabs of marble inscribed with the entire Buddhist scriptures.
Day 9 - Excursion around Mandalay and visit to Sagaing, the spiritual center of Myanmar. Stop at some of the most famous temples. Visit the fully functioning pottery village adjacent to Sagaing, where women carry the greenware pots on their heads to the firing area. Observe how the pots are fashioned with amazing skill and soul, using coil and thrown methods.
Day 10 - Excursion to Amarapura, a former royal capital. We visit Inwa with its rice fields and temples by horse cart. Enjoy the atmosphere of U Bein’s Bridge, a picturesque teak bridge which extends over one kilometer across Taungthaman Lake.
Day 11 - Excursion to Mingun with short boat trip. Explore the ruins of the vast Mingun Paya, the gigantic bronze bell cast to go with the giant stupa, and other pagodas. On our way downstream back to Mandalay, we enjoy views of Sagaing from the river.
Day 12 - Flight from Mandalay to Heho. Visit to a pottery specializing in the making of clay stoves. Transfer by vehicle from Heho to Inle Lake and by boat to our wonderful lake side resort, the Myanmar Treasure Resort (4 stars), overnight in a beautiful room built on stilts.
Day 13 - Breakfast by the water. Excursion by boat on Inle Lake. Enjoy the spectacular scenery and observe the fishermen and their leg-rowing technique, visit the floating gardens, a floating market and villages inhabited by Pa-O, Intha and Shan people. Learn about the traditional culture and lifestyles of these ethnic groups.
Day 14 - Boat excursion to the southern part of Inle Lake including visits to pottery villages. In Naung Bo pottery village, we observe the processes, ask questions, look at the kilns firing. Visit of the Indein temple complex located at the edge of the water.
Day 15 - Free day on Inle Lake. Relax at the hotel and spa, perhaps explore the lake by boat, walk to nearby villages, join a bird watching tour, or visit a winery near the lake.
Day 16 - Boat excursions on Inle Lake. Transfer and flight from Heho to Yangon. Free afternoon in Yangon. Overnight at the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel.
Day 17 - Optional free morning in Yangon or excursion to Twante with visitation of the Oh-Bo pottery quarter. Observe a demonstration of the local pottery making techniques. Visit kilns and a variety of studios. Ask questions using our translator. Free afternoon. Dinner at our hotel.
Day 18 January 25 - Breakfast, excursion ends. Transfer to Yangon airport.