Southeast Asia is dominated by the fables of old-world glory. Meditative chants in ornate sandstone pagodas, colonial cities stuck in time, holy World Heritage sites along the Mekong, temple ruins overtaken by the creep of jungle roots. This luxury itinerary connects the beads of Southeast Asia's treasured necklace. On your 12-day journey discover Southeast Asia's most iconic destinations, each enveloped in enchantment: Bagan, Yangon, Angkor Wat, Bangkok, and Luang Prabang.
Bagan – Mysterious Temple Ruins of Bagan
Horses clip-clop past the 800-year-old remains of the Ananda Temple, those in the carriage glance out to ornate sweeps of gold. Locals ride bicycles along sandy lanes, spirals of dust float across clusters of sandstone pagodas. Young monks play outside exquisite temples from the 11th-century, and there is enchantment from every angle as you start to explore as the clusters of architectural brilliance rise above the redolent red earth of Bagan. Be greeted at the airport and transferred to a luxury hotel in Old Bagan, the heart of the archaeological complex. The largest and most architecturally important temples are located within this area, an easy walk from the verandah of the hotel.
Bagan's scale baffles as there are 2,300 temples in an area small enough to cycle around in a day. This afternoon, explore by electric bike as a local guide leads you along the lanes to a series of temples that reflect the styles of Bagan's extravagant building boom. They all date from the 10th to 13th-centuries, but you will be quick to see the contradictions, especially in the expression of the encased Buddha images. Some temples domineer, bulbous and impenetrable as a fortress. Others are delectably quaint, and entice you up ancient staircases of Jakarta scenes. Visit six or seven temples before you find a remote spot to savor the iconic Myanmar scene as the sun sets across the Bagan plains.
Bagan – Floating Above the Plains and Cruising the Irrawaddy
Bagan – Horse and Carriage Rides Through Asia's Most Inspiring Ruins
Yangon – Golden Pagodas and Bustling Market Life
Yangon – Inspiring Remnants of the Raj
Bangkok to Siem Reap – First Impressions of the Angkor Complex
Siem Reap – Lost Amongst Jungle-Clad Temples
Bangkok – Evocative Relics in the Thai Capital
Luang Prabang – Spirituality in the Hills of Laos
Luang Prabang – An Alms Ceremony and Caves Covered in Buddhas
Luang Prabang – Relaxed Spa Day Along the River
Luang Prabang to Bangkok – Departure
- Marvel at the surrealism of Bagan, some 2,300 sandstone temples clustered beside the Irrawaddy River on a carpet of red earth
- Explore the scope of Bagan from a hot air balloon, then from a regal horse and carriage
- Immerse yourself in Asia's most intact colonial city, old Rangoon (now Yangon) offering evocative impressions of the early 20th century Raj
- Wander through the jungle-clad temples of Angkor Wat, a strange lost world where nature meets the architectural ingenuity of distant centuries
- Discover the exquisite relics of Bangkok, like the Emerald Buddha, Grand Palace, and Wat Po
- Complete the itinerary in Luang Prabang, a living World Heritage site that breathes spirituality at every turn
- Witness an alms ceremony, explore caves filled with Buddha statues, and lose yourself in the spirituality of Luang Prabang's temples
Fables and fairytales fill the landscape of Southeast Asia to speak of monks that softly chant amidst the swirl of incense around the ancient pagodas. They speak of jungle roots that wrap themselves around magnificent temple ruins and of the faded charm found in colonial cities with the mystique that cascades from hilltop monasteries. Destinations blur the definitions of fiction, and they don't just present historical tales. They merge into the present, to take the traditions of a bygone era into an immersive experience for every visitor. A lost world juxtaposes with the here and now, demonstrated as a line of barefooted monks emerge from an 11th-century sandstone temple.
This unique itinerary connects the stories to explore five of Southeast Asia's most iconic destinations: the temples of Bagan and Angkor Wat, the relics of Bangkok, World Heritage spirituality in Luang Prabang, and the continent's finest colonial city, Yangon (formerly Rangoon). In just 12 days, capture the evocative essence of the region and visit its most exceptional and exquisite attractions. Each is different, a new slice of heritage and culture along the water. With the recent evolution of Asia's flight network, these once-distant destinations are easy to connect.
Spend your first days in Myanmar. Bagan baffles and overwhelms with over 2,000 ancient temples and pagodas to create a lost carpet of mystique. Only a few have been restored. Most stand in a redolent state of partial ruin, their treasures intact but crumbling slightly (this only adds to the fable). Buddhas sit serenely beside ancient murals, sculpted creatures guard temple entrances, and incense swirls beneath beautiful golden facades. Loose yourself in the lost realm as you travel by hot air balloon and horse carriage to the most untouched of the sites.
Yangon comes from a different time, and it's equally lost in its era. Colonial Rangoon reveals the remnants of the British Raj, the vibrant city lanes almost exclusively filled with carpets of architecture from the early 19th-century. Little has changed, and it feels as though you wander through a city that lives in the past; tea stalls, Indian markets, the senses absorbed at every angle. Bangkok lives in a different period of history and is undeniably modern, but a couple of outstanding attractions make this an unforgettable stop on a Southeast itinerary; the Grand Palace and the fabulous Wat Po.
Angkor Wat is Southeast Asia's second great temple complex (after Bagan), a large site of relics that have been overwhelmed by the jungle. The iconic attractions seem to come from a fictional narrative; roots clamber through ornate facades, moss-engulfed sculptures frozen in time, temples hide deep behind the green. Spend time here between Yangon and Bangkok before you complete the luxury itinerary in Luang Prabang, a serene and spiritual base on the Mekong River. This World Heritage site is alive with Buddhist ceremonies, majestic monasteries, and the spa indulgence found in the remote hills of Asia. All the destinations are connected by flights and specialist guides accompany you in each of the locations.
$3,115 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
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- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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