Fabled Portraits of Myanmar & Southeast Asia Tour

A 12 day trip to Laos, Myanmar (Burma) & Thailand 
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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. 

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General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Bagan, Old Bagan, Ananda Temple, Irrawaddy River, Yangon, Shwedagon Pagoda, The Strand, Lokanat Gallery, Indian Quarter (Yangon), General Post Office, Bangkok, Angkor Wat, Wat Po, Grand Palace, Luang Prabang, Mount Phousi, Mekong River, Wat Chomphet, Pak Ou Caves 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: 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.

What's Included: accommodation, airport transfer, tour

Day 2: Bagan – Floating Above the Plains and Cruising the Irrawaddy

Bagan seems to dance at sunrise as temples lead the ballet as they shimmer in the dawn light. Pagodas congregate in clusters; their facades appear to pirouette as you sail across the sky. Nothing seems real as the landscape flows with a harmonious grace, so many ancient structures delight in their photogenic excess. Soar above the plains in your hot air balloon as the sun rises across the Irrawaddy River. It's the iconic Myanmar experience, a journey of tranquility that offers box seats for the inspiring dance. Touch down and an extended brunch compliments the ride, a post-performance chance to relax along the riverside.

In the afternoon, you're will travel to the Wet Kyi Inn and Nyang U areas of Bagan, where all the temples and pagodas are still in active use by local villagers. Locals meditate softly beneath serene Buddha statues; monks walk barefoot among the complexes, and vibrant shocks of color accompany the faded glory of the interior murals. These temples are far more than old heritage; rather they are the focus of everyday village life. From Nyaung U, return to Old Bagan by boat and cruise along the Irrawaddy at sunset to admire the village life that congregates on the riverside. Dinner is served as the sun dips behind the horizon and there's a lingering image of rural Myanmar along the water.

What's Included: accommodation, hot air balloon ride, tour, cruise, breakfast, brunch, dinner

Day 3: Bagan – Horse and Carriage Rides Through Asia's Most Inspiring Ruins

The Central Plains are Bagan at their most evocative as great temples rise majestically on an uninhabited landscape of sandy red tracks. There are no roads and no houses, just the temples as you are alone among the relics of history. A horse and carriage provides the iconic vehicle and enable you to travel regally past temples, most with not even a name.  Bagan simply has too many, so most are named by number, like Temple 742. Yet Temple 742 rises for five stories, envelops a four-meter mysterious Buddha and is defined by the subtlety of its outer carvings. As you tour the area, it's easy to stop at any of the landmarks that most entice the eye.

Sculpted elephants guard one entrance regardless that it lacks a roof; stupas have intricate steps and only when you are closer do you appreciate the exact detail. Stop for a refreshing tea beneath a tree and find a sand artist outside a lost temple as you continue past the great memoirs to Southeast Asia's history. Your day and your tour are flexible as you stop for lunch in New Bagan halfway through the day. Return to the hotel in the afternoon for a rest and then return to your horse and carriage for a sunset tour. The horsemen always know a temple devoid of tourists for a peaceful evening on the plains.

What's Included: accommodation, horse and carriage tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 4: Yangon – Golden Pagodas and Bustling Market Life

Land in Yangon and the pagodas change from sandstone to gold, their facades glisten as they stand proudly on busy intersections. The pagodas dominate the skyline as they twinkle high above a colonial center that's hardly changed since the time of the Raj. Be transferred to a five-star colonial hotel before you spend the afternoon in an exploration of the local side to the city. The markets bustle with atmospheric chants and fragrances as lines of pilgrims wander towards temples. Stalls spill samosas and fabrics onto the streets, and the chaos confuses at first, but then strikes you with all of its exotic detail.

So much is crammed into the city center that your eyes are always led astray. Your guide will lead you through the inimitability and will know a few quaint street side cafes, places to stop and watch the city wander by. At sunset, travel to Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar's most important Buddhist site. The golden landmark changes color with the sun, with the photogenic scene enhanced by the soft chants coming from hundreds of pilgrims. Shwedagon captures the essence of Myanmar's appeal; an expressive icon of architectural beauty made complete by its immersive atmosphere.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, airport transfers, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Yangon – Inspiring Remnants of the Raj

Yangon still feels like old-world Rangoon. While the name has changed, the city has not.   The architecture fades over time, but still reflects the style of the British Raj. Myanmar's government built a new capital city from scratch to leave Yangon's center blissfully untouched. Townhouses rise four or five stories; their facades etched with columns and carvings. Along narrow lanes, there's barely enough space for an ox cart as market stalls spill beneath the colonial buildings to leave rich impressions of color. A woman fries samosas, masala chai (an Indian tea) bubbles in a cauldron, and the ambiance blends the faded glory of the architecture with the effervescent charm of modern local life.

Spend the day on a tour of the streets to admire the remnants of British rule. An old post office dominates the street corner; betel-chewing men gaze from century-old balconies, and abandoned buildings are filled with mystique. Complete the tour at arguably what was once the world's finest hotel back in the late 19th-century. Recently renovated, an afternoon high tea experience helps you revel in the grandeur. Pastries and cakes pile up on a tiered platter, and there's a regal decadence to all the intimate details.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, afternoon tea, breakfast

Day 6: Bangkok to Siem Reap – First Impressions of the Angkor Complex

Fly to Siem Reap via Bangkok to land in the early afternoon and head straight into the fabled complex of Angkor Wat. These temples are wrapped in fame, enveloped by jungle, and cracked by the spiraling roots of history. They live up to their reputation as roots creep around entrances, moss sweeps across walls, and great rocks tumble across the green. While Bagan is a living world, a blur of ancient architecture meeting village life, Angkor Wat is very much a lost world, one that befits the cinematic screen. On today's tour, visit the iconic postcard temples to take in the endearing fame of Angkor Wat, a mysterious realm in the Cambodian jungle.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, airport transfers, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Siem Reap – Lost Amongst Jungle-Clad Temples

Angkor Wat never feels real. As you journey away from the famous sights, it seems like there's always a new treasure to find. Behind tropical bamboo is a crumbling square temple, wrapped around a tree is another 12th-century relic, and serene pagodas reflect gently in the river. This is the world's largest religious complex, so while it sees significantly more tourists than Bagan, there's always a place to escape the crowds. Today's tour seeks out the distant lanes of Angkor Wat, where you stand alone in the genius of the Khmer time. Sometimes it feels like a landscape that time forgot, but when you enter an archway and wander through an ambient color, you might just hear the chants of a meditating monk.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 8: Bangkok – Evocative Relics in the Thai Capital

Bangkok rises outward and skyward, a bustling city that's not always pleasing on the eye. It's the crossroads of Asia, as important now as it was in the middle part of the last millennium. After the short flight from Siem Reap, settle into a five-star hotel along the river. A specialist guide provides the narrative on Bangkok's enigmatic attractions. Start in the Grand Palace and its glorious throne halls, each filled with a regal opulence that blurs power and religion. Then Wat Phra Kaew, a shimmering pagoda that entices you inwards to the home of the Emerald Buddha, a strikingly carved element of sacredness. Next, it's Wat Po, Bangkok's oldest temple, filled with the grand scale of the Reclining Buddha. From here the Chao Phraya River awaits, a private cruise taking you along the banks of the city's history.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, airport transfers, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 9: Luang Prabang – Spirituality in the Hills of Laos

Fly north to land in the lush green hills of Northern Laos, where World Heritage Luang Prabang provides a comfortable base to complete an adventurous tour. Check in to your hotel before lunch with a traditional Lao menu served in the city's finest restaurant. Then wander at leisure. Royal palaces rise with a subtle grace; the Watermelon Stupa stands mystically along pedestrianized streets; barefooted monks find their way into most vistas, and local women blend fresh fruit juice beneath temple mosaics. Luang Prabang is quiet and mostly devoid of traffic, a place of spirituality that quickly encourages you to slow your step and indulge your senses.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, airport transfer, breakfast, lunch

Day 10: Luang Prabang – An Alms Ceremony and Caves Covered in Buddhas

It's worth an early rise for Luang Prabang's most iconic sight as a long line of orange-robed monks leave their pagodas and walk barefoot through the streets to collect offerings of food from the local residents. After the Alms Giving ceremony, head out along the Mekong River to take in the villages that line the banks. Children wave, women cast flamboyant shoals into the water, and fishermen cast nets from wooden longboats. Cruise to the Pak Ou Caves, where thousands of Buddha statues fill eery caverns. Some are barely bigger than your fingernail while others are immense to dominate a cave with an otherworldly presence. Return to Luang Prabang and the afternoon is at your leisure.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 11: Luang Prabang – Relaxed Spa Day Along the River

Three days into Luang Prabang and your pace will have slowed. Walk at a languid rhythm, linger long over coffee, and take your time over simple pleasures. The city has this wonderful magnetism that entices you into throwing away your watch. A spa day elevates this tranquility with four hours of opulent treatments provided along with views of the Mekong River. Lunch is included, and you dine on the fresh flavors of the hills. Your afternoon and evening will run with their gentle rhythms, more time for you to explore at leisure and follow the monks to exquisite World Heritage temples.

What's Included: accommodation, spa day, breakfast, lunch

Day 12: Luang Prabang to Bangkok – Departure

After breakfast, depart from Laos on a regional flight to Bangkok for easy connection with your international departure. In just 12 days, you've explored the iconic highlights of Southeast Asia, and it's hard to know which will linger longest in the memory.

What's Included: airport transfer, breakfast


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.