Discover the best of two contrasting Asian worlds as you travel in Myanmar and Thailand. The pulsating energy within Thailand’s capital and cosmopolitan cities sets itself apart from emerging Myanmar, steeped in traditions from bygone days. Both countries share wonderful cultural experiences and landscapes.
Yangon is the erstwhile capital of Myanmar that still proudly lives on as the country’s commercial hub.
Ride On Yangon’s Circle Train Journey into Yangon’s past and gain glimpses of local life aboard the Circle Train. The historical train ride lasts two to three hours as you loop around the city outskirts. Depart from the grand Yangon Central Train Station, which fuses Burmeses architecture with functional British colonial elements. Voyage through the changing urban to rural scenery. In the city you’ll see street food hawkers selling paan (betel nut) and sweet coconut-condensed milk buns, vendors balancing plastic barrels on their head, and children playing. The countryside offers a more tranquil scene with watercress fields, ponds, farms and stilted bamboo houses. Witness how local villagers live and work. Before returning downtown stop at Insein, the infamous prison that holds Burmese political dissidents and once housed Nobel Peace Prize winner and democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.
Highlights Of Yangon Venture into the Garden City of the East, with its evergreen and cool tropical trees, shady parks and lovely lakes. Start your day in the colonial district at the heart of the city, where you can discover the 2,000 year old Sule Pagoda, which holds one of Buddha’s hairs. Explore the major cobblestoned bazaar of Bogyoke Aung San Market, where you can practice your bargaining skills. Witness Royal Family treasures, including the pure gold and intricately carved Royal Lion Throne, at the National Museum. The highlight of Yangon is the stunning Shwedagon Pagoda! Built over 2,500 years ago and towering over the city’s skyline, you can breathe in a most enchanting and spiritual sunset. Please note that shoes must be removed during your temple visits.
Inle Lake is a stunning and calm freshwater lake that lies 900 meters above sea level.
Highlights Of Inle Lake Cruise out to the largest freshwater lake in Myanmar by boat or canoe. Marvel at the exquisite floating gardens and watch fishermen haul in the day’s catch at quaint fishing villages located on beautiful Inle Lake. Visit the imposing Phaung Daw U Pagoda to see the famous five gold-plated Buddha statues. Your tour of the lake also includes excursions to colorful traditional markets and workshops where you will find beautiful local handicrafts, and to villages where you can observe the daily life on the lake. Kindly note that the boats stop running at 5pm.
Half Day Trip To Indein Village Venture to the unique village of Indein, located on the western bank of Inle Lake. Enter this small and charming destination through a narrow winding creek framed by dense jungle. Once there, you can explore a cluster of incredibly atmospheric pagoda ruins that overlook the lake, including Nyaung Ohak, which houses crumbling stupas with ornate stucco carvings, and Shwe Inn Thein Pagoda, a complex of 1054 weather-worn temples. The temples resemble the Khmer style and date back to the 17th and 18th century Shan period. Witness an enshrined Buddha image within a whitewashed stupa on a hill summit. Your rural experience is complete with scenes of farmers ploughing paddy fields with the aid of water buffaloes. To respect local customs, please dress conservatively. Kindly note that footwear is not permitted within the main temple.
Bagan is an ancient royal city brimming with history that dates back to the 2nd century.
Highlights Of Bagan Visit the largest temple complex in Southeast Asia! Bagan is an architectural delight with its numerous pagodas and beautiful temples, including the famous Buddhist Ananda Temple that was built in 1105 AD. Stroll through the unique and colorful Nyaung U market and visit the imposing Shwezigon Pagoda surrounded by numerous shrines. Witness the stunning wall paintings inside the Kupyaukyi Temple and discover an astounding collection of artifacts inside the Bagan Museum.
Half Day Tour Of Tantkyitaung Pagoda & Villages After breakfast climb aboard a traditional, wooden boat to cross the Irrawaddy River where a jeep awaits for your onward journey. Discover local artisans when you visit Thezin village, where you can witness some cane weaving of plates and tissues boxes, Htan Taw Kyauk village (where baskets are weaved from palm tree leaves) and Ey Shey village with its cotton weaving factory. After seeing the rural side of Bagan, travel to Taunt Kyi Taung pagoda which was built by King Anawrahta and dates to the 11th century. Explore the pagoda complex and admire wonderful views of the Irrawaddy River. On a clear day you can see the temples of Bagan on the opposite side of the river. Come back to your hotel by jeep, boat and car in the late afternoon.
Mandalay is Myanmar’s royal capital and lies in the northern heart of the country, on the eastern bank of Irawaddy River.
Half Day Excursion To Mingun Discover the road to Mandalay! Enjoy an hour’s private ferry boat ride before disembarking on the western banks of Ayeyarwaddy to see Buddhist shrines and meditation centers. Discover Mingun Pahtodawgyi, the world’s largest incomplete pagoda that would easily rival the Great Pyramid of Giza if it had been completed. Observe Mingun Bell, the world’s largest un-cracked bronze ringing bell, cased in 1808 AD, and Mya Theindan Pagoda built in memory of King Bagyidaw’s favorite wife. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride to Nan Myint Watch Tower, the Maha Aung Mye Bon Zan Monastery, and Babaya Kyaung Monastery. Your final stop is the Mingun Home for the Aged, founded in 1915 by Daw Oo Zun. The return boat to Mandalay is downriver, taking just 40 minutes. To respect local customs, please dress conservatively and be sure to bring sun lotion and sunglasses with you. Kindly note that footwear is not permitted within the main temples.
Day Trip To Amarapura, Sagaing And Ava Explore the royal cities of Amarapura, Sagaing and Ava on this fabulous day excursion from Mandalay. Within Amarapura, known as the City of Immortality, you can immerse yourself in Buddhist culture alongside the monks of Mahagandhayon monastery. In Sagaing, you’ll get a deeper sense of daily spiritual life with visits to more Buddhist monasteries. Enjoy dusk back in Amarapura where you can take a picturesque walk along the U Bein Bridge, the world’s longest teakwood bridge. Set amidst a beautiful backdrop, the sunsets here make for an enchanting end to the day.
Highlights Of Mandalay Embark on a regal adventure as you explore Mya Nan San Kyaw, the Royal Palace. Crafted from majestic teak wood and situated in the center of a large citadel (fort), this is the last palace built by Burmese Royals. Expect epic tales when you visit Kuthodaw Pagoda, a Buddhist stupa that contains the world’s largest book. Find tranquility at Shwenandaw Monastery, a traditional 19th century wooden Buddhist monastery and historical retreat. Discover Myanmar’s most revered image of Buddha at Mahamuni Buddha Pagoda, a temple and important pilgrimage site for Burmese Buddhists. At sunset, embrace the scenic views from the calming peak of Mandalay Hill.
Chiang Mai is the cultural capital of northern Thailand and is enveloped by a ring of mountains.
Chiang Mai City Walking Tour Explore the wonders of Chiang Mai by foot! Begin your walking tour of this charismatic city by the banks of Mae Ping River. At Waroros Market, you will be greeted by excited locals hunting for exotic culinary delights, colorful fruits and spices, and a variety of household staples. With the assistance of your local guide, hop on a rickshaw to get to Tapae Gate, from where you will head inside the old walled city. Walk past beautiful relics of bygone eras as you make your way to the Three Kings Monument. Witness the famous Wat Chedi Luang that was once home to the Emerald Buddha. The Wat Phra Singh next to this still houses one of the oldest and revered images of the Buddha. (Half Day: 4 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness level: Moderate as you will walk for about 2 km; Travel time to activity: 20 – 30 mins depending on location of hotel; Please wear comfortable walking shoes; Please show your respect for the customs by dressing conservatively while visiting temples.)
Chiang Rai is a quaint 13th century town, surrounded by two mountain peaks, Doi Mae Salong and Doi Tung.
Half Day Temple Tour Of Chiang Rai Unearth the temples of Chiang Rai on this fabulous tour, which showcases a fusion of Thai and Burmese architecture. Visit the 18th century temple of Wat Phra Kaew, the original home of the Emerald Buddha that now bolds an exact replica, and was only rediscovered due to a lucky strike of lightning in the 15th century. Venture onwards to Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong with its large gold stupa, which is believed to have been built in the 1st century. Visit the modern temple of Wat Rong Khun, which was designed and constructed in 1997 with intricately carved white glass. As you explore the city, observe the influence of Chinese ethnic minorities within the city.
Day Trip To Golden Triangle’s Hill Tribes Visit traditional Akha and Yao hill tribe villages – Akha’s originated in Tibet and are among the poorest ethnic minorities, while Yao’s originated in China, yet heavily influenced by Chinese traditions and language. Visit Chiang Saen, a small crossroads town on the Mekong banks. See scattered ruins of the Chiang Saen Kingdom, including chedis, Buddha images and earthen city ramparts. At Mae Sai, observe Thai-Burma border life. Many Burmese cross over by day from Thakhilek for work/business.
Bangkok is a quintessential blend of old and new! Meaning the city of angels, Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand – and is its largest metropolis.
Full Day Bangkok Local Transport Tour Bounce into the cultural delights of Bangkok. This pulsating cosmopolitan metropolis is best known for its incredible shopping opportunities and larger than life malls, and yet, you can also enjoy rich historical treasures too. Experience the local transport, including a scenic ride on the skytrain, a public boat trip on the Chao Phraya River and a local tuk tuk ride. Visit The Grand Palace complex which includes Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), a leading massage school, where you can observe the chanting prayers of Buddhist monks. Venture onwards to Soi Ban Bat near Wat Saket, where monks’ alms bowls are made. American entrepreneur Jim Thompson’s Thai House and Museum in the city center is just a short canal boat ride away, where you will find a plethora of old Thai artefacts collected throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Kindly note that this activity can only be enjoyed with an early morning start.