Depart from your Bagan hotel in the morning, traveling on a 2- to 3-hour boat ride down the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwaddy) River to reach the city of Sale. You’ll explore this historical spiritual center with your guide, learning about its role in Myanmar religious life in relation to nearby Bagan.
Stop first at the Yoke Sone Monastery, constructed in 1882 by Myanmar’s King Thipaw. You’ll spend time exploring the monastery’s extensive collection of carvings before continuing to Sarsana Yaungchi, another 150-year-old teak monastery nearby. Wander through this monastery’s collection of ancient Buddha portraits and antique cabinets adorned with gold and silver paintings. Learn about the collection of 18th-century Buddhist scriptures inscribed on local palm leaves that reside within these elaborate containers. Depending on time, you may also visit a monastic school just next door offering a glimpse of daily life for its students.
After your monastery exploration, take a break for an included lunch before driving for 1.5 hours to Mount Popa. This religious pilgrimage site, sitting high above the surrounding countryside at the end of a 777-step walk, is famed as a center for ‘Nat’ (spirit) temples and religious relics. Discover the role of the ‘37 Nats’ in Myanmar spirituality as you take in the superb views of the complex’s various shrines and stupas set high above the landscape below.
Finish your trip by visiting a palm tree plantation, where you can observe daily life for some of Myanmar’s workers and learn about the country’s key crops. You’ll be dropped off at your hotel in Bagan in the evening.