Myanmar and Bhutan are two Buddhist countries that inspire the mystique of another era and another realm. Both feel frozen in time; monasteries carved into Himalayan slopes, thousands of pagodas rising on dusty plains, traditional villages cut off from the world. With this Myanmar and Bhutan tour, escape into vocative worlds and capture the essence of two countries that were long closed to the rest of the world, capturing the quintessence of Myanmar and Bhutan.
Yangon – Golden Pagodas of Yangon
All across Yangon you'll find glimmers of gold. Pagodas stand in the heart of busy intersections, their gilded cones glistening beneath the sun. These Buddhist icons juxtapose with a crowded collection of colonial lanes, each of them still reveling in the architecture and atmosphere of yesteryear. Tiny plastic chairs line the pavements, filled with customers drinking Indian tea. Chinese markets spill onto the streets while early 19th-century buildings stand majestically on corners. There's always a contrast here but little has changed for 100 years, the same atmosphere lining the central part of the city.
You'll be picked up from the airport and transferred to a five-star hotel along the waterfront, one of the few colonial icons that has been restored to its old glory. Head out with your local guide, stopping first to admire the golden facade of Sule Pagoda, a compass point in the heart of the city. Wander through the nearby lanes of the Indian Quarter, atmospheric smells accompanying you through its vibrant market stalls. Dominating the north of the center is Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the world's greatest Buddhist landmarks. Glistening gold, and changing color with the sunset, the pagoda envelops you in the riches of a culture. Locals sit and meditate in the inner rooms while monks ring bells that leave an eerie resonance. Your guide helps to navigate through the different rooms, offering an insightful introduction to Buddhism and Myanmar.
Bagan – Mystique and Charm in Ancient Bagan
Bagan – Ascending Above Bagan and Exploring Hidden Temples
Inle Lake – Floating Gardens and Traditional Village Life
Inle Lake – Colorful Markets and Meeting Monks in the Monastery
Yangon – Wandering Through the Atmospheric Lanes of a Colonial Era
Bangkok – Relaxed Day in a Vibrant Capital
Thimphu – Introducing Bhutan's Untouched Charms
Punakha – Alpine Wonder and Bhutan's Ancient Capital
Punakha – Bhutanese Bliss in the Mountains
Gangtey – Lost in a Vanishing World
Paro – Exploring Bhutan's Oldest Temples
Paro – Tiger's Nest Monastery and Departure
- Explore the inspiring landscape of Bagan filled with 2,200 Buddhist pagodas and temples, each of them redolent and crumbling with their 9th to 13th-century elegance
- Lose yourself in the mountains of Bhutan and discover the country's most important monasteries, including Gangtey Gompa and Nyingmapa
- Wander through the colonial charms of Yangon (Rangoon), admiring how the lanes are completely untouched by modern imported influence
- Discover traditional village life in both Myanmar and Bhutan, meeting the locals and exploring cultures that remain unchanged for centuries.
- Feast your senses on another era, the colonial lanes of Yangon, filled with resonant architecture and market stalls
- Relax along serene Inle Lake and escape to the magnificent valleys of Bhutan, with snow-capped peaks filling your vista
- Meet monks in monasteries and share fragrant tea with villagers, activities that are part of the daily dorm on this unique itinerary
Myanmar and Bhutan are the vanishing relics of our planet, Buddhist countries have frozen in time, closed from the world for many years. Over the last few decades, the world has become significantly smaller, imported influence blurring individualized cultures and shaping landscapes with global brands. Yet these two countries remain unchanged architecturally, culturally, and atmospherically. Red-robed monks wander barefoot through landscapes of 12th-century temples; monasteries and villages cling to the edge of remote valleys; golden pagodas glimmer along ancient waterways; and then you step through the eras into the crumbling remain of colonial times.
Isolation has not always been good for these countries, but it's preserved something unique, something that transports you into a heritage that's so often missing from the world. Myanmar and Bhutan are not museum pieces that look into the past. Rather they are living pieces of history, constantly evolving while maintaining the integrity and authenticity of a distant time. These aren't countries of manufactured cultural destinations, it's where you can visit villages that have rarely seen foreigners, explore fabled attractions where tourism still isn't commonplace, and discover an untouched realm that has vanished from most of the world.
Myanmar holds you captive with your first three destinations encapsulating the fabled appeal of the land. Yangon crowds with golden pagodas and colonial-era lanes, the contrasting architecture hanging over a vibrant mix of the country's old and new. Bagan is firmly rooted in the 9th to 13th centuries, some 2,200 temples rising above dusty plains. Monks meditate in some while sand artists paint in others, and golden Buddha images hide behind their facades. Inle Lake is equally compelling, the tradition coming from villages that rise on stilts or hide amongst the rice paddies of the valley. Like each day in these two countries, you'll have plenty of opportunities to meet with monks, share tea with the locals, explore traditions, and craft your impressions of a lost world.
After an overnight in Bangkok, you’ll fly to Bhutan, starting in the bustle of capital city Thimphu, a beguiling contrast to what you'd expect from the country. Continue into the valleys and mountains, across the Dochu La Pass to the old capital of Punakha. Fortresses hang above delightful villages while monasteries stand on the edge of remote peaks. Your journey is a rural one through to venerated pilgrimage sites and destinations that delight in remembering the past. Much like places in Myanmar, there are few other tourists around, even when you're exploring astonishing sites of World Heritage. You'll spend five nights in Bhutan, a private tour taking you across this tiny Himalayan nation.
$2,465 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 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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