OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Mahamuni Face Washing - Wake up early in the morning (around 04:00) and catch a local taxi to Mahamuni Pagoda (without guide). Every morning before dawn, monks wash the face of the ‘lumpy’ Buddha image with special fragrant water and brush its teeth. The ritual takes around an hour and is a unique insight into Buddhism. Return to the hotel around 07:30 for breakfast.
First, cross a bridge over the Irrawaddy River to Sagaing. Covered with 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar. It is home to more than 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centres. Visit pagodas such as Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin and U Min Thone Sae.
Then, visit Sagaing’s local market, a typical Burmese market that few tourists visit. Here, one can find a range of items for sale including locally made pottery, silver and other handicrafts. We will also stop at a small pottery village to see the process of making the ubiquitous water pots found throughout Myanmar.
Then continue south of the city to Ava, the Burmese capital from the 14th to 18th centuries, where a short ferry ride will head across the river to a waiting horse and carriage. While taking this charming form of transportation, visit the old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the remains of the Royal Palace and Fort. There are many small villages located amid Ava’s ruins and, while travelling by horse and cart, get a glimpse of local life in the Burmese countryside.
We’ll stop for lunch in Ava before returning to our car.Return toward the city and stop at Amarapura, a former capital whose name ‘City of Immortality’. First visit a silk weaving workshop which produces exquisite handmade products.
After touring this tranquil site, continue to U Bein Bridge for a walk along this 200-year-old teak wood bridge. The bridge was constructed of 984 teak wood posts that were once part of the deserted Inwa Palace. At 1.2 kilometres in length, it’s the world’s longest teak wood construction.
As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, get ready for a truly unforgettable experience. The entire area becomes bathed in a vivid golden light.
Afterwards, head back to the hotel in Mandalay.