Awareness Is Bliss
Myanmar Meditation Retreat & “Pilgrimage” Experience
Learn the Art of Living through the science of meditation. Our expert designed vipassana yoga & pilgrimage is unique to Luminous Journeys, and was our founding inspiration.
This non-sectarian spirit quest into mystic Myanmar is a perfect vessel for anyone ready to begin or renew their greatest challenge – self discovery!
Though the ‘self’ may be elusive, discovering Myanmar itself is there for the asking. The world center of Theravadan Buddhism for over 1,000 years, the Golden Land boasts many of the oldest, largest and most spectacular pagodas, payas, stupas and zedis on earth. With great masters & very welcoming population, Burma is truly a Pilgrim’s Paradise.
Beth Kanji Goldring
w/ World Best Guide Awardee
Hotels: 4 & 5 Star
Highlights: Meditation w/ Burmese Masters, Yangon & Shwedagon Pagoda, Bagan Hot Air Balloon, Sunset @ U Bein Bridge, Mandalay Array, Holy Hills of Sagaing, Amazing Mt. Popa, Dinner @ The Strand, The Wonderful People of Myanmar!
Guided morning and evening meditations of 30 – 45 minutes are included in the program. Intensive periods of meditation are essential to vipassana yoga, but are not necessarily a hot vacation idea! Luminous Journeys therefore, given the strictures of time and varying experience levels, has introduced the overnight ‘mini-retreat’. We end the journey this way, and also make it option-extendable into a full (7) or (10) day meditation retreat at minimal extra cost.
With people checking in at various times or even a day early, your time is yours to settle in or have a look around the beautiful hotel grounds and lake, with views of Shwedagon Pagoda. This might also be a good opportunity for the shopping inclined to do some cost browsing at the 2000 shops of the Bogyoke Aung San Market.
We meet for a late afternoon orientation at the hotel, then head over to the most stunning pagoda anywhere – Shwedagon – for our first meditation together in its quiet reaches. Some 2,500 years old, this 325 foot tall stupa is covered in some 60 tons of donated gold, and is the spiritual center of Burma. We’ll see families at prayer, monks in walking and sitting meditation, ornate art, architecture and statuary, and hear the fascinating story behind it all. Your special Welcome Dinner follows. Overnight Kandawgyi Palace Hotel
After breakfast we’ll visit our favorite meditation center – the one we will return to for retreat at the end of the trip – for a talk and to receive instruction from a Burmese Master — sitting, walking, and everyday mindfulness meditation. After the program we will hit the air for the marvels of Mandalay.
The airport is an hour from the city center, so our first stop is Amarapura and the picturesque U Bein Bridge for afternoon/sunset. The U Bein is the longest teak structure on earth. You can enjoy it from the lake, walk its length with monks, locals and other travelers, or both!
Mandalay is young, founded in 1857 by King Midon, who was inspired by the Buddha’s prophecy that a great city of wisdom would be built along the Irrawaddy at the foot of the holy mount of Mandalay. The king based his design on seven edifices: the Royal City and her battlement walls; its moat; the great Stupa of Maha Lawka Marazein; the Pahtan Haw ShweThein higher ordination hall; the “Incomparable” Atumashi Monastery; the Thudhama Zayats public houses for preaching the doctrine; and the Library for Buddhist Scriptures. We won’t have time to see them all, but we will do what we can!
Overnight Amazing Mandalay Hotel
Following early morning meditation and breakfast, we head to the legendary Irrawaddy River for a private cruise, landing first at the massive Mingun temple, magnificently massive temple of Mingun made famous by Steve McCurry in National Geographic. Mingun is also home to the largest, un-cracked, ringing bell on the planet. Cast in bronze in 1808, the Mingun Bell is 13-feet high and weighs some 200 tons. Next door is the all-white Hsinbyume temple where you might be able to talk some young monks into modeling for some fantastic photo ops. There are also pink-robed, giant cheroot smoking nuns around, who can be a real kick.
We continue by river to the holy hills of Sagaing, the rarefied air home to some 600 hundred monasteries, nunneries and unique pagodas, including the 17th century Kaung Hmu Daw, and the brilliant red and gold of Kaungmudaw. After touring, you will visit a wonderful nunnery festooned with pink robed nuns and meet the Master. We’ll tour the grounds and learn about their lifestyle and study, be able to ask questions of the master, and sit with the nuns to enjoy their last meal of the day – at 11:30 am! Return to Mandalay and visit the second holiest site in Myanmar, the gold covered Mahamuni Buddha. Here pilgrims pray and place gold leaf upon the Buddha, which you are welcome to partake in as well.
Overnight Amazing Mandalay Hotel
>Arrive at the truly stunning Mt. Popa Resort about noon for lunch and check-in to our beautiful bungalows with mind blowing views of Popa Taungkalat Monastery, which stands atop a 1,000 foot volcanic spire rising from the plain. Relax in your room, take a swim in the beautiful pool, trek the mountain trail that begins at the hotel… Early evening meditation on the sunset terrace, followed by a sumptuous Burmese dinner.
Ovenight Mt. Popa Resort
Morning meditation and breakfast, and for those who so choose, a 777 step stairway to nirvana to check out Taungkalat Monastery and the sweeping views. On the approximately 30-mile mile scenic drive to Bagan we’ll visit Kyaukpadaung Market Pyi Farm.Bagan is one of the richest archaeological sites in the world. At its height, the almost surreal Buddhist temple-scape on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River boasted more than 13,000 temples and pagodas. It was the world center of Theravada Buddhism for a thousand years until Kublai Khan and the Mongols came calling. 2,220 temples still stand today.
Visit the temples by horse cart this afternoon, see Thatbyinnyu, the tallest in Bagan, the massive Dhammayangyi Temple, noted for its remarkable brickwork, and the beautiful Sulamani. Sunset atop an ancient temple terrace with views of Ananda Paya, with an unforgettable twilight meditation to follow.
Overnight Amazing Bagan Hotel
For those who have opted in, this dawn will be one that you will never forget — an exhilarating flight in a hot air balloon over one of the most exotic landscapes on the planet. Not to worry, the balloons are built to the highest standards of the British aerospace industry by Cameron Balloons Limited, UK, the world’s largest manufacturer, and the pilots are among the best in Asia. For those who opt out, seeing your friends soaring and taking in the temple-top views is still a fantastic experience.
Return to hotel for breakfast and a short rest. Highlights for the rest of the day will include visiting the incredible Ananda Temple, Shwezigon Paya, a Laquerware workshop, and a special lunch in a Burmese home made by a local family. The lunch will be in traditional Burmese style and you can also enjoy cooking with the family!
In the late afternoon we a have a rare treat for you – a visit to a quiet riverside monastery to meet the master, the monks and nuns, and to chant and meditate in their new meditation hall. Local lay people will also join us on this very special meditation occasion.
Overnight Amazing Bagan Hotel
Early morning flight to Inle Lake. The lake is home to numerous hill tribe peoples, floating villages, floating markets, floating temples, cheroot rollers, leg-rowing fishermen, fantastic silver artisans, & lotus silk weavers, and we will get the chance to visit many. The hotel is the best on the lake, with great food, spa facilities, massage and even a meditation chamber!
Overnight Inle Princessl
The best and least used way to take in the palpable magic of the lake, is to visit floating villages and pagodas by canoe. Start very early to enjoy sunrise on the water and witness the lake come to life. This is a great time to practice mindfulness meditation and experience this very special place with keen, tranquil awareness.
After the best tasting homemade ‘brunch’ of your life served by your Intha boatman, we’ll be picked up by longtail boats and return to the hotel for a rest. After checkout we boat back to charming Nyaungshwe for a fantastic Shan style rice pasta lunch (incredible avocado salad, anyone?). Then it’s off for the airport via a novice teakwood monastery on stilts for some great photo ops. Late afternoon flight back to Yangon.
Very special six course Farewell Dinner @ the elegant, iconic Strand hotel on the riverfront.
Overnight Sule Shangri La Hotel
Mini-retreat check-in at the meditation center is at 1pm with the program beginning soon after. You’ll meet the Master, have a talk, receive instruction and the meditation intensive begins, alternating between sitting and walking. Break for dinner, more meditation, lights out at 11.
Overnight Meditation Center
Sleep-in until 3:30 am and begin meditation at 4:00. Breakfast is followed by a Dharma talk, three more hours of alternating meditation, and the retreat finishes up with a personal interview with the Master. He’ll ask you about your meditation experience at the center and offer insight for further advancement.Then it will be time say goodbye to those who have chosen to extend their retreat for as many days as they choose. (10 days is highly recommended, and retreat cost is donation based). For the rest, well, it’s departure day. Whether extending your trip in Myanmar or heading onward, we will get you to your hotel or to the airport on time for a fond farewell. Depart Yangon far “richer” than when you arrived 10 days ago, feeling newly befriended, spiritually inspired, rejuvenated and revivified! You’ll miss this place!
Price: USD TBA – Approximately $400 per day
14 persons maximum
Single supplement: $TBA – Approximately $1,000
Balloons over Bagan option – $310
Meditation Guide – Beth Kanji Goldring
Support Guide – Frankie Naing
Logistics – Team Luminous
Program Director – Soe Soe Lwin
Design Adviser – Beth Kanji Goldring
All Luxury + Meditation Accommodation
All in-country airfare, tax, air porter fees
All entrance and zone fees
All tour transport (airport welcome and send-off)
All Meals except arrival/departure days
Bottled water on all excursions
English speaking meditation guide plus local experts
Donations to monasteries/meditation centers
Donations to Luminous Giving Charities
– international airfare
– trip/medical insurance
– medical needs
– tips for guides, drivers
or hotel porters
– any private transportation
– extra drinks
– snacks or personal purchases
– visa fee
– camera fees
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Airport Greet/Farewell & Assistance
Luminous Journeys Shan Shoulder Bag
Burmese Meditation Beads
Balloons over Bagan
Burmese Massage & Spa
7 – 10 Day Retreat Intensive
Hpa An Caves & the South
Patao, Eastern Himalaya
Nothing Can Compare!