Travel back in time and immerse yourself in the diverse history and culture of Southeast Asia. Your journey takes you to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, with the mighty rivers Irrawaddy and Mekong forming a backdrop throughout this private tour of Asia. Witness glorious ruins of ancient kingdoms, impressive temples, picturesque landscapes and varied cultures tinged by the influence of Buddhism.
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.
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 uncracked 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.
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.
Full Day Trek Around Chiang Rai Discover the spirit of Chiang Rai with this special trekking experience. Begin your full day excursion with a long-tail boat experience where you will cruise on the Kok river to Baan Huay Mak Leam. Your trek commences through the hilly jungle where you will come across the Akha, Lahu and Karen hill tribe villages. En route, unwind at a natural hot spring as you bathe in the warm mineral water followed by a picnic lunch. Hear the sound of water crashing on rocks for several hundred meters until you reach the magnificent 30 meter high Huay Kaew waterfall.
Capital of Bokeo province and northern gateway to Laos, Huay Xai is a popular entry point to Laos from northern Thailand.
Mekong Delta Cruise Activities (Huay Xai To Luang Prabang) Take a 1N Luangsay Cruise ‘downriver’ to Houeisay-Pakbeng-Pak Ou-Luang Prabang. From Houeisay pier, head downriver on the Mekong to Pakbeng. Observe local life of river tribes; after lunch arrive at Luangsay Lodge by evening for the night. Dine on the Lodge terrace overlooking the Mekong. Next morning after breakfast on the Lodge terrace, explore Pakbeng’s morning market; observe villagers and hill tribes exchange/buy wares. Depart on the next part of the cruise; halt at Ban Baw to observe traditional rice-alcohol processing. Lunch back aboard. Arrive at Pak Ou village – at the mouth of the Nam Ou River; visit Tam Ting or ‘Caves of a Thousand Buddha’s’. Arrive in Luang Prabang by sunset; drive to your hotel.
Luang Prabang is considered the jewel of Indochina, and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Highlights Of Luang Prabang & Morning Alms Giving Ceremony Arrange an optional pre-dawn start with your guide (0530 hrs) to witness Tak Bat, or alms-giving ceremony, to hundreds of saffron-clad monks – an awe-inspiring ancient ritual. Visit a bustling morning market before returning to your hotel for breakfast. Take a guided audio tour of the Royal Palace Museum, housing precious possessions of the former Lao Royal family. Explore various architectural feats, including 19th century Wat Xiengthong Temple, and Wat Visoun, nicknamed the watermelon stupa. Gain insight into the ethnic culture at the Arts and Ethnology Center, and head to the textile villages of Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xienglek. Venture to the monk school of Wat Siphouthabath to interact with a young monk and ascend 328 steps up Mount Phousi to watch the sunset over the Mekong. Kindly note that the Royal Palace is closed on Tuesdays.
Champasak is a quaint and unique riverside province in southern Laos.
Half Day Tour Of Wat Phou See the pre-Angkorian Wat Phou temple, built between 5th-13th century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Wat Phou is part of the greater Khmer Empire, linked via ancient highways to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The lower part of this ancient Khmer religious complex has two ruined palace buildings at the edge of a pond, the upper section is the temple sanctuary itself. Climb the crumbling stairway adorned with ‘nagas’ or snake heads. This dramatically located temple is one of the foremost highlights of any trip to Laos.
Siem Reap is a most marvellous window to the world famous UNESCO World Heritage Site Angkor Temple complex, with its fascinating Khmer architecture in varying states of preservation.
Full Day Tour Of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom & Ta Prohm Explore one of the seven wonders of the world with a fascinating full day tour of the glorious, ancient and impressive Angkor Wat. This stunning temple complex boasts five magnificent towers and vast gallery complex, with the main attraction being the dominating Angkor Wat, which magically reflects in nearby water at sunrise and sunset. Head onwards to Angkor Thom, a moated royal city in the bayon style of large faces on all sides. Discover Ta Phrom, a quiet and sprawling jungle clad monastic complex engulfed by massive fig and silk cotton trees. With incredible legend of regal feuds and religious overhaul, this temple complex is undoubtedly one of the finest in the world. For this reason, it can sometimes become busy with crowds.
Visit Banteay Srei At Dawn: Away From The Crowds Witness a jewel in Khmer art! One of Angkor’s famous architectural marvels, the beautiful sandstone temple of Banteay Srei has been preserved remarkably well and provides insight into the culture and traditions of the Angkor civilization. Your tour starts early with a transfer to Banteay Srei, built in the 10th century and dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. After your visit, a Khmer or international breakfast awaits you at Prasat Banteay Srei Restaurant, located within the temple complex. Visit Banteay Samre – a miniature 12th century Hindu temple complex. Return to Siem Reap afterwards and spend the rest of your day at leisure.