Arrive in Yangon. Welcome by your guides from Nature Dream Travels & Tours with signboard. Transfer to hotel in air-conditioned coach while luggage is taken care of by porters and transported separately. Welcome banner on arrival at hotel and welcome drink while checking-in. Lunch at the hotel. Late afternoon departure from the hotel by the ubiquitous little blue local taxi for a visit of Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar's holiest monument with its huge golden stupa covered with 60 tons of pure gold leaf. Poolside or garden dinner at hotel. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 2: Yangon-Heho-Pindaya-Yasakhi Monastery (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast transfer to Yangon's Mingaladon Airport for the flight to Heho, gateway to the Shan State. From Heho, enjoy a scenic drive to Pindaya through the picturesque countryside. On arrival visit Pindaya's limestone cave with its maze of chambers displaying more than 8,000 Buddha statues. After lunch at a local hotel, depart together with several local trekking guides for a three hours trek up to the beautiful mountains surrounding Pindaya. The Palaung are animists and are thought to be the earliest inhabitants of Myanmar.
They still follow the same traditional lifestyle and earn a living by cultivating seasonal crops as well as growing the leaves used to produce the ubiquitous Burmese cigar, the cheroot. Stop by several traditional minority villages on the way for an interesting introduction into the ancestral traditions and way of life of these proud people. Arrive at Yasakyi village in the late afternoon. Welcome tea and greetings from the monks at the monastery. In the evening, join our Palaung party with local Palaung specialities served around a large bonfire followed by a music and dance performance by the local people dressed up in their tribal clothes. All the villagers living around the monastery join in. There is normally no electricity at the monastery but a generator will be transported to the monastery especially for the group. Comfortable bedding for the group with individual mattresses, pillows, sleeping sheets and mosquito nets are also provided. Overnight at Yasakyi Monastery.
Day 3: Yasakhi Monastery-Pindaya-Inle Lake (B/L/D)
An early morning wake up call and after a traditional Palaung breakfast at the monastery, start the two and a half hour trek down to Pindaya by a different route passing by several villages inhabited by another ethnic group, the Danu. On arrival at Pindaya Market, transfer by traditional horse and carriage to the hotel. Rooms are available on day use to change and shower. After lunch at the hotel, transfer by road to Inle Lake, one of Myanmar's best known sights. On arrival at Nyaung Shwe village, proceed to the jetty and transfer by motor boat to the lakeside hotel for a Shan welcome ceremony with hotel staff dressed in traditional costume and playing drums and gongs. Welcome signboard, and Shan tea served by long-necked Padaung ladies. Dinner and overnight at Inle Lake.
Day 4: Inle Lake (B/L/D)
After breakfast visit Inle Lake by boat. Travelling on Inle Lake is an exhilarating experience for nature lovers and a chance to observe the unique traditions of the Intha people like the leg-rowing fishermen and the floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Visit In Dein, a newly opened area with old stupas mysteriously covered by vegetation. The tour also features Ywama, a floating village and the lake's downtown where a floating market is held every five days, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the main shrine on the lake, and local handicraft industries. Proceed to the Golden Island Cottages Resort, built on stilts in the middle of the lake to experience the spectacular leg-rowing boat race, organized especially by Nature Dream. In the afternoon, proceed to the floating Intha village where the initiation ceremony called Shin Pyu in Burmese will be organized the next morning. The group will be split into smaller groups to meet their "Godsons", the young boys they are sponsoring, in their family homes. Return to the hotel by late afternoon. In the evening enjoy a Shan party by the lakeside. Overnight at Inle Lake.
Day 5: Inle Lake (Shin Pyu Ceremony)-Heho-Yangon (B/L/D)
After breakfast, participants leave the hotel wearing their traditional Shan clothes to take part in the initiation ceremony for young boys to become novice monks. This is a rare opportunity to attend what is the most important step in the life of most Burmese people and gain an insight into the fascinating Buddhist religion. The group will witness all the stages of the ceremony. Lunch at the monastery. In the afternoon, transfer to Heho Airport for the flight back to Yangon. On arrival, transfer to hotel and after a welcome drink, there is time free to prepare for the farewell colonial gala dinner. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 6: Depart Yangon (B)
After breakfast a fleet of microbuses and guides will be available outside the hotel for guests who would like to do some last minute shopping. After lunch at the hotel there is some free time before transferring to the famous Strand Hotel for a Colonial style high tea (own account) before heading to the airport for onward flight while luggage is transported separately.