OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Wake up early in the morning and head to Shwedagon Park. Every morning at 05:30, locals gather here to practice Tai Chi. Join them in their exercises or simply watch. (Join a private session with a Tai Chi master afterwards on request)
Today the sightseeing begins at 08:00.
After breakfast, start the day with a visit Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s most revered Buddhist monument. The morning hours see many local pilgrims and monks coming to pray and make offerings. Although the origins of the pagoda are unclear, local legend states that the original structure was built 2500 years ago and was renovated several times before taking its current shape in the 15th century. The 8-sided central stupa is 99 meters tall and gilded with gold leaf and is surrounded by 64 smaller stupas. Follow the guide around this massive complex and learn why the temple is so revered by locals.
Next, visit the market at the bottom of the temple which sells a range of Buddhist goods, including monks robes, alms bowls and other specialty items.
Continue with a visit to Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda, home to a 70-metre long reclining Buddha. This pagoda offers visitors great insight Burmese Buddhism, with murals depicting the life of Buddha and a great many locals who gather to pay homage and pray.
Next, visit Ahlein Ngar Sint. This temple is unusual in that it was founded by a monk that believed in supernatural phenomenon and its resident monks follow the same set of beliefs. The body of the founder is preserved in a glass case and, rather strangely, his hair and nails continue to grow.
Around midday, stop and take a break for lunch. Feel Myanmar is a typical Burmese-style restaurant popular with the locals that is highly recommended. (Client’s account)
In the afternoon, transfer to Mahasi Monastery, one of Yangon’s most renowned places for meditation training. Mahasi is renowned as an ‘Educational Spa’ throughout Myanmar, and many pilgrims come here to learn, study, and practice Vipassana Meditation. Mahasi usually requires a minimum of one week of study for the local yogis. However, they have granted special permission to our clients for one day programs.
First, meet with the venerable monk who will discuss the importance of meditation in the life of the Burmese Buddhists (in English). A meditation teacher (monk) will then teach techniques and methods that have been used for centuries. After an hour of instruction and discussion, put the head to the Meditation Hall and practice the new-found skills while slipping away into a deep meditative state of relaxation in the peaceful setting of Mahasi.
After a transformative experience, transfer back to the hotel.
Overnight in Yangon.