Best of Myanmar Tour Including Bangkok & Chiang Mai

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Total Trip:

14 Days
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Countries Visited:

Myanmar (Burma), Thailand
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Places Visited:

Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay,  Amarpura, Sapaing, Ava, Pindaya, Kalaw
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Experience the captivating allure of Myanmar and Thailand with this innovative and intimate journey into the mystique. Evocative religious relics stand proud in jaw-dropping green valleys, ancient kingdom capitals remain untouched by modernity, and iconic impressions of undiscovered Southeast Asia fill this itinerary. With ten days in Myanmar and four in Thailand, this vacation unveils the dazzling highlights and unknown gems of two achingly authentic countries.

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Day 1

Arrival in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is a city of sharp contrasts, the gleaming skyscrapers juxtaposed with vibrant open-air markets and men pushing wooden pushcarts. Royal palaces and ancient pagodas are surrounded by the vivid colors of daily street life, and it's impossible to go a few meters without a new photo opportunity. Land at Bangkok International Airport and today is free for you to explore the city. Shoppers can have endless fun in the traditional markets and throbbing malls. Watch classical Thai music concerts or find some of the funky bars that the city is famous for. Have your senses engaged and elevated just by wandering around, the city that exudes exotic smells and sounds. And despite the contrasts and contradictions, one part of Bangkok is omnipresent; smiles. Wherever you are, expect to see a beaming face in front of you. Welcome to Thailand. Welcome to the land of smiles.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

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Day 2

The Vibrant Highlights of Bangkok

Bangkok's exuberant contrasts will have already impressed. For first time visitors, everything in the city seems to be an attraction. Yet hidden around the city you'll discover the sublime and surreal, the renowned and unknown highlights that epitomize the capital. Today's tour starts at Wat Po, the monk's morning chanting ritual filling this ancient temple with resonant spirituality. Whiff the incense smoke and explore the mystique before standing before the immense 45 meter reclining Buddha. Continue the traditional slant with a tuk-tuk ride through the narrow city streets, your driver expertly traversing the Pak Klong Taland Flower Market and onwards to the Grand Palace. Admire the mysterious Emerald Buddha and take in the grandeur of Thailand's most important palace.

This all-day tour unveils many different sides to the city, giving you an ebullient snapshot of Bangkok's delights. Ride a long-tailed boat along the canals of Thonburi and marvel at local life along the waterside. Explore royal temples that burst with aristocratic brilliance and opulent architecture, then head into old Bangkok and wander the vivid alleys of the city's working class neighborhoods. Visit Chinatown, take a sumptuous lunch overlooking the river, stop in ancient tea shops, discover bustling markets that cascade with color; this is a tour that always veers towards the city's unique experiences.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast, Lunch

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Day 3

The Cultural Delights of Chiang Mai

This morning you leave Bangkok, flying north to fascinating Chiang Mai. A circle of soothing mountains gaze down on the city, overlooking over 300 temples and wondrous 14th century architecture. Your driver and guide is waiting in arrivals and you'll head straight to the architectural riches, the tour of Chiang Mai starting at Wat Suan Dok. Elegant prayer halls, important shrines, sacred Buddha images, crumbling city walls that ache with authenticity; your tour explores the essential Chiang Mai sights and your guide unveils a 700 year old narrative.

The various temples and palaces are not museum pieces. Each is alive, home to red robed monks or the flickering chorus of recited prayers. Take your tour's final stop at Wat Phrathat on Doi Suthep Mountain, built in 1383 and standing proud above the city. Climb the 309 steps and savor the view, Chiang Mai and the forest clad mountains rolling into the distance. Admire the murals and photograph the pagodas. Throughout it all, there's an almost overbearing sense of spirituality, led by the wandering monks and confirmed by the floating incense smells. Descend to the city and enjoy your own palace, the stunning Chedi Chiang Mai your hotel in this city of riches.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 4

Organic Thai Cooking Experience

Thai food is lauded around the world, a delicate fusion of flavors and textures exciting almost every palate. Today's intimate cooking experience helps reveal the secrets to its brilliance, the lesson starting at the local Ruamchook Market. A renowned local chef reveals the different ingredients and fragrances on offer, helping you to fill the shopping bag with freshness. The chef's own organic garden is a hive of aromas and herbs, perfect for chopping some of the secret ingredients for your authentic Thai curry. A very hands-on cooking lesson follows and the chef helps you to craft a sumptuous meal from the raw ingredients. Sit down and allow the flavors to melt in your mouth, and don't forget to share a few of your own culinary secrets; while Thai cuisine is undeniably distinctive, all chefs are open to fresh ideas and tastes. Return to the hotel by mid afternoon and the rest of the day is free to enjoy Chiang Mai.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch

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Day 5

Landing in Yangon and First Impressions of Myanmar

Your Myanmar experience begins in Yangon, a charming capital of wide boulevards, fertile parks, and shimmering lakes. You'll fly to Yangon via Bangkok and a luxury chauffeur is waiting to transfer you to the delightful Governor's Residence hotel. The late afternoon and evening is free to discover a city with a sleepy provincial atmosphere. Crumbling colonial mansions stand beside pagodas laced in gold, shrines imbue an omnipresent mystique, people congregate to drink cups of sweet milky tea, and alluring streets are coated in a vivid blanket of colors and sounds. Blending calmness with vitality, Yangon is the perfect introduction to the inimitability of Myanmar.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 6

The Atmospheric Highlights of Yangon

Ignore Yangon's status as capital city. Ignore the fact that it's home to over four million people. Yangon is indelibly serene and filled with a charming small town atmosphere. Today's city tour reveals the highlights, although a continual highlight of this experience is simply exploring the streets and observing the locals. Rickshaws peddle through wooden street markets, locals file into magnificent pagodas, and a faded colonial elegance merges with enigmatic spirituality. Stop at the 2,500 year old Sole Pagoda, do some people watching at Mahabandoola Park, see a 70 meter reclining Buddha, and discover the ancient artifacts housed in the National Museum. After a local lunch continue to the buzzing stalls of Bogyoke Market and into the Indian Quarter. Completing the city tour is the Shwedagon Pagoda, an exemplar of Yangon's mix of architectural brilliance and humble ambience.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast, Lunch

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Day 7

The Evocative Ancient Temples of Bagan

Thousands of temples rise evocatively across Bagan, memories of an ancient kingdom filling a luxuriantly green valley. Approximately 2,200 temples can be found here, less than half of what originally stood with pride. An early morning flight takes you to this historic old town, your plane landing just as the mist has risen above from the verdant valley. Of course you'll visit the famous sites, like the sandstone decorations of the 46 meter high Htilominlo pagoda, the glazed terra cotta tiles of the Mingalazedi pagoda, or the astounding brickwork of the Dhammayangyi pagoda. But just gaze into the distance and crumbling temples fill your vision, hundreds of them visible with a single glance, especially when you're enjoying the sunset from one of the most scenic spots in Bagan. After a full day touring the pagodas you'll return to the charming Auereum Palace and your Lotus Villa in the evening.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 8

The Sacred Views of Mount Popa

Wake up and open the curtains. The temples of Bagan stand in their resplendent glory, one of Asia's finest sights available from the privacy of your Lotus Villa. Today you ascend above Bagan for even greater views. Rising 1,518 meters above Bagan, sacred Mount Popa holds many secrets to the kingdom's history. Visit the Tuang Kalat temple and gaze upon the 37 spirits detailed along its base. On a clear day the temples of Bagan are clearly visible from up here, and on a misty day it's still wonderfully hypnotic. After lunch you return to Bagan via Salay, an important religious center that's home to the Yoke-Sone-Kyaung, a World Heritage Site. One look at the spectacular wood carvings and it's easy to see why UNESCO was impressed. Return to Bagan by late afternoon and keep enjoying that view from your villa.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 9

Discovering the Delights of Mandalay

Mandalay's treasures are not hard to find. After an early morning flight brings you to this absorbing city, glance up at Mandalay Hill and you'll spot dozens of religious and cultural relics. It's 230 meters to the summit and, like always, you've got an experienced local guide and driver providing the narrative en route. This itinerary uses local city guides throughout, ensuring you always get an intimate and personalized perspective at each destination. Peer down on Mandalay and begin a route through the famous sights; the teak carvings in the Golden Palace Monastery, the world's largest book at the Kuthodaw pagoda, the exultant spirituality of Maha Muni pagoda, and the enchantment of Mandalay itself as you return to street level. Tonight is spent in the sumptuous Red Canal Resort.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast, Lunch

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Day 10

The Enchanting Ancient Capitals of Myanmar

Surrounding Mandalay are three former capitals, each bursting with distinctive character. Start your day in Amarpura, imbued with an 18th century charm and home to Myanmar largest monastery. There's a quaint atmosphere to the streets and your footsteps continue past religious relics until they cross the world's longest teak bridge. Gaze upon the picturesque Sapaing Hill and shake your head in disbelief at the sheer abundance of pagodas and monasteries, every single one of them painted in radiant white. Red monk robes provide the color contrast in the ancient capital of Sapaing before your journey continues onwards to Ava, where a horse drawn carriage takes you to the wooden Bagaya Monastery and the Royal Palace. Every turn brings aesthetic delight, from fragmented monastery remains to the recently restored luminosity of a shimmering pagoda. You'll return to Mandalay by late afternoon.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast, Lunch

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Day 11

Tribal Villages and Serenity at Inle Lake

Myanmar runs at a gentle pace, the rhythm of life a far flung change from the pressures and speed of the West. Perhaps this tranquil tempo is epitomized by Inle Lake, where even the markets have an indelible serenity. After the flight to Heho it's a picturesque one hour drive to Inle, then it's time to travel in the most traditional of styles. Unique leg-rowers take you across the lake, their bizarre rowing style requiring astonishing balance and years of practice. Cruise through the floating gardens, contrasting colors mingling with the sapphire lake blue, then traverse the floating market and admire the canoes laden with fresh fruits and resounding vendors.

After lunch on the shore you explore the other side of the lake, starting the journey at the Pa O tribal village. Wide smiles and energetic faces welcome you to this hidden part of the world. And that could be said about any day you spend in Myanmar. The country has only recently opened to tourism and you get the benefit of experiencing a country at its untamed and unchanged best. Sharing a greeting with the locals is a huge part of the experience and always provides a longstanding memory. After the hellos in Pa O you take a small path up to the Indein pagoda complex. You'll discover hundreds of pagodas, most of them hidden under vegetation and standing in provocative states of ruin. Take in the jaw-dropping view over the valley and then transfer to your Inle Princess Resort for more dazzling lake views.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 12

The Remarkable Buddhas of the Pindaya Caves

Imagine a cave filled with a dozen Buddha statues, each different in size and appearance. Now imagine a cave with 1,000 distinct Buddha statues. How about 8,000? That's the number that fills the gaping caverns of the Pindaya Caves, each of the Buddhas standing against the limestone walls and brought by a Buddhist pilgrim. There's an eerie mystique to this famous Buddhist pilgrimage site, the three caves littered with Buddha images and a growing collection of these statues. See if you can spot the Buddhas that have been standing guard here for some 250 years. Don't worry if you don't. As always, an expert local guide completes the gap in the narrative. Wander through the tranquil Pindaya town and spend an hour visiting a Shan umbrella and mulberry paper factory. You'll return to Inle by late afternoon, your lakeside base one and a half hours from Pindaya.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 13

The Rugged Mountain Brilliance of Kalaw

Myanmar is off the main tourist radar and every stop on this itinerary has a heartwarming authenticity. Even when you're exploring one of the country's most famous sites there's probably less than a handful of other tourists around. For your final full day you head deep into the rugged mountains, winding past bamboo lacquered Buddha images and into one of the country's most undiscovered regions. Trekking routes head out all around Kalaw, each of them delivering magnificent panoramas of a landscape unadulterated by modern influence. Take a short guided hike and keep pressing the camera shutter before your guide reveals the highlights of Kalaw town. Different hill tribes mingle at the local market, with the flurry of sounds and colors a sharp contrast to the absolute serenity of the King Church and colonial built streets. With views extending in every direction you descend back to Inle, the thick green valleys likely to remain in your memory for decades to come.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 14

Farewell to Myanmar

After two weeks of continual highlights you say goodbye to South East Asia and bid farewell to the mesmeric beauty of Myanmar. Today is at your leisure until you're transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Spend four days absorbed in the vibrant cultural highlights of Thailand, including charming mountain temples, resonant local markets, and a compelling blend of the old and the new
  • Learn the sensual secrets of Thai cuisine with an organic cooking lesson in Chiang Ma
  • Look on in amazement at the 2,200 temples of Bagan, this mesmeric ancient capital offering continual doses of enchantment and mystique
  • Discover the atmospheric wonders of Yangon with two days of magical city experiences and soaking up the local ambience
  • Experience Myanmar's rich collection of historic temples and monuments, including the sacred temples of Mount Popa, the 8,000 Buddhas in the Pindaya Caves, and the quaint delights of three ancient capitals
  • Discover hypnotic Mandalay then spend three days of serene bliss at Inle Lake, with gorgeous mountain views omnipresent throughout
  • Enjoy some of the region's finest hotels, each harmoniously reflecting the destination and coming with elegant views over the wonderment
  • Providing the historic narrative throughout are expert local guides, each ensuring you're able to garner an understanding to accompany the spirituality and architectural brilliance
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Detailed Description

Myanmar and Thailand are coated in mystique, their historic wonders imbued with rich spirituality and a compelling atmosphere. This handcrafted two week itinerary journeys to their cultural heart, handpicking the destinations that hypnotically unveil the magic of a whole region. Green valleys clad with temple ruins, ancient capitals untouched for centuries, gold gilded pagodas only just made accessible to tourists, ebullient markets that elevate the senses; this itinerary provides a stunning immersion in both the renowned sights and local experiences. Domestic flights effortlessly connect the destinations and a handpicked selection of expert guides provides the narrative to accompany the architectural brilliance. Each day bursts with highlights and distinct memories, with the ubiquitous smiles of the locals adding an additional blanket of enchantment.

The first four days are spent in the Land of Smiles, Thailand. Arrive in Bangkok and soak up its compelling contrasts: charming markets beside gleaming skyscrapers, elegant canal cruises followed by ancient tea shops, tuk-tuk rides and spectacular palaces. Fly north to Chiang Mai, the country's cultural heart immediately impressing with old city walls and 14th century temples. Soak up the spirituality and then feed the senses further with an organic Thai cooking lesson. Yangon is your first stop in Myanmar, the ambient capital epitomizing the laid-back style and welcoming ambience of a nation. Expect crumbling colonial remains, resplendent pagodas, colorful characters filling open-air markets, and this is just within an hour of landing. The next two days ensure you explore all the charms and renowned architectural wonders of this delightful city.

Myanmar continually offers surprise and astonishment. Take your next stop, Bagan, where an exuberantly green valley is covered in the remains of 2,200 temples and pagodas, some of them reaching over 45 meters into the blue sky. Spirit filled Mount Popa, your day trip destination on day eight, is equally bewildering. By day nine you've reached historic Mandalay, home to its own myriad of fascinating cultural treasures and transcendently beautiful sites. Ancient kingdom capitals surround the city and day ten takes you to three of the finest historical towns anywhere in Asia. For your final few days you're deep in the picturesque delights of Inle Lake. Visit hill tribes, hike along majestic trails, canoe through floating markets and gardens, and visit the 8,000 plus Buddha statues that fill the Pindaya Caves. But this, like the rest of this description, is just a snapshot. Check out the detailed itinerary for more detail about the unique experiences and captivating memories of this once in a lifetime vacation. 

For more Thailand tour options, visit the Thailand tours page or see the Thailand tour reviews.

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Starting Price

$2795 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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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.

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