Thailand & Myanmar
17 Days / 16 Nights Program of Thailand & Myanmar, which includes the principle sites of Bangkok, Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake & Chiangmai.
DAY 1 Arrival
On arrival at BANGKOK Airport you will be met and transferred to Your Bangkok Hotel, where your reservation is for the next 3 Nights and includes Breakfast. En route to the Hotel, your Guide will give you an introduction to Thailand and your Program. (Specific aspects of your Sightseeing, etc. can also be discussed with your Guide).
DAY 2 Grand Palace & Temple of Emerald Buddha
This morning we visit Bangkok's most revered site - The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha. We can also visit Wat Pho, one of Bangkok's oldest and largest Temple complexes, among the many sites of interest here is the Viharn which is home to a 46-meter Reclining Buddha. After lunch at a local restaurant we travel by Private Boat through the Klongs (Canals) of Thonburi where we get an insight to why Bangkok was once known as “the Venice of the East”, we also call in to see the Royal Barge Museum (if open) and Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn), before returning to the Hotel.
DAY 3 Floating Market & Jim Thompson House
Leaving the Hotel early we drive South of Bangkok through the countryside passing Palm Plantations and Salt Fields to Damnoen Saduak, to visit Thailand's largest floating market. Here we travel by small boat around the quiet waterways and the bustle of the main floating market. After looking around the market we drive back to Bangkok, taking lunch at a local restaurant en route. In the afternoon we can visit Jim Thompson's House, the classic Thai-style former home of a Pioneer of the Thai Silk Industry (to your interest, as time and energy permits!) before returning to the Hotel.
DAY 4 Prasart Museum & to Yangon
This morning we have a personal visit to the unique (and private) Prasart Museum with it's beautiful traditional design, extensive tropical gardens and unusual collection of classical Thai & Asian antiques. After lunch we return to the Hotel and check out. We then transfer to Bangkok Airport for your evening flight to Yangon.
On arrival at YANGON Airport you will be met and transferred to Your Yangon Hotel, where your reservation is for the next 3 Nights and includes Breakfast. En route to the Hotel, your Guide will give you an introduction to Thailand and your Program. (Specific aspects of your Sightseeing, etc. can also be discussed with your Guide).
DAY 5 Shwedagon
We begin our sightseeing of this picturesque garden city that includes the old colonial-style city centre and gilded Sule Pagoda, dating back over 2,000 years followed a visit to Chauk Htat Kyi, a huge reclining Buddha image, and a photo stop at the Karaweik Hall royal floating barge. A stop at Bogyoke (Scott) Market (closed on Public Holidays) gives you the opportunity to see Myanmar's wide range of handicrafts.
After lunch at a local restaurant, this afternoon, the highlight of every visitor, Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the world's most spectacular religious monuments is saved until late afternoon when the light is at its most magical. The golden dome of the Shwedagon Pagoda rises 98 meters above its base, is covered with 60 tons of pure gold and is the very heart and soul of Buddhist Myanmar. Make sure to spend time here watching the Burmese come to pray and make offerings; it is an unforgettable experience.
DAY 6 Local Markets & Local Train
This morning we can visit some of the different types of markets (to your interest) you will be able to experience the locals bargaining and trading their products in sometimes hectic atmosphere. While Scott's Market is a must for almost all tourists, some of the other markets like the Indian Market or the Vegetable & Fruit Market still kept their original vibe and a your visit will be a great opportunity to enlarge your impressions of an original Myanmar. After Lunch at the Hotel, this afternoon, we drive to the jetty along Strand Road and walk along Yangon River to see the busy harbor area, from where ferries leave for Pathein in the Delta and for upcountry towns along the Ayeyarwady River. Visit Botathaung Pagoda, located close to Yangon river and said to contain Buddha relics.
Then, enjoy a unique, fun and authentic experience is to take a 45 minutes ride on board the local circular train; this slow moving, wooden seated and always crowded train carries 15,000 to 20,000 people a day from the city center to the outskirts for an astonishingly cheap fare. Be prepared to be thrown into the midst of local life, chat to curious travelers and stand for some of the journey with priority given to roof high sacks of vegetables heading to local markets. As the journey takes place from station to station you have great opportunity to observe the life of Yangon suburbanites.
DAY 7 Bagan
Early morning transfer to Yangon Airport for your direct morning flight to BAGAN. Scattered around a 26 sq. km plain surrounding the Ayeyarwady River are the magnificent red brick temples and pagodas left from the religious fervor of the Kings of Bagan during the period 1057-1287 AD.
In addition to the impressive architecture, inside are colorful murals and exquisite Buddha statues, and from the summit, awesome views showing the immense expanse of the Bagan era temples. Upon arrival in Bagan, we start our sightseeing at the busy local market continuing with visits to a diverse selection of the most important pagodas and temples in Bagan. These include Shwezigon Pagoda, a huge gilded zedi built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century, Gu Byauk Gyi, a 13th century temple with exquisite murals of Jataka scenes and the immediately recognizable Ananda Temple; one of the finest and largest temples with its 170 ft shimmering gold spire and four huge standing-Buddha images and numerous seated figures arranged around the interior gallery.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we then check in to Your Bagan Resort, where your reservation is for the next 2 Nights and includes Breakfast. Later in the afternoon, we can visit a lacquer craftsman's workshop in nearby Myingaba village. Sightseeing continues with visits to Manuha Temple, built in Mon style in 1059, Nanbaya Temple, a unique sandstone monument that is said to have been the palace of King Manuha and Myingaba Gu Byuk Kyi Temple (under the protection of UNESCO), noted for its ancient mural paintings. Observe a sunset in the vicinity of Bagan's ancient monuments.
DAY 8 Balloon over Bagan
Balloon over Bagan (Operates October>March)
Around 05.30 hours the Balloon over Bagan shuttle bus will pick you up at your hotel (your guide will tell you the exact pick up time). You will drive to the departure ground of the Balloons. While the team makes the Balloon ready to go, you enjoy some refreshments, but you can also take great pictures of this event. Then, depending on the wind, you will over fly Bagan for about one hour, and enjoy spectacular views of the ancient Kingdom of Bagan in your hot air balloon! The tour ends…..where ever the wind has brought you. A glass of sparkling wine ends this fantastic event….and the shuttle bus then brings you back to your hotel in time for Breakfast.
This morning visit Min Nan Thu Village area by horse-cart. Visit Tayokepyay Temple, Phaya Thone Zu and Nandamanya Temples (noted for exquisite 13th century murals) and Kyat Kan Cave monastery, a famous meditation center in Bagan. Visit farming villages around Bagan. In the afternoon, an excursion to the nostalgic Nat Htaung Kyaung, a monastery famous for woodcarvings, built in 1781 by a group of monks. Admire the monastery's collection of ancient Buddha statues and lacquer boxes. Later in the afternoon, we enjoy the sunset on a river cruise.
DAY 9 Mandalay
After breakfast, transfer to Bagan Airport for your direct flight to MANDALAY. Although Mandalay has a few highlights such as Kuthodaw Pagoda and Mandalay Hill, it is the ancient capitals, battered stupas and sights outside of the city which are the main attraction.
Upon arrival at Mandalay Airport, drive to Amarapura, the penultimate Royal Capital and lying 11 km south of Mandalay. Here we visit Mahagandayon, a famous Buddhist monastery, where more than a thousand monks live and study and the 150-year-old U Bein teak bridge, built in 1851 at the time when Amarapura was the royal capital by staking 1060 teak posts over the wide Taungthaman Lake to connect two villages. One of the most photographed spots in Myanmar and well worth spending time walking across the bridge.
Afterwards visit Bagaya Monastery, with a superb collection of Buddha statues before driving into Mandalay city and transfer to Your Mandalay Hotel, where your reservation is for the next 2 Nights and includes breakfast. After lunch at the Hotel, this afternoon, we have available for sightseeing in Mandalay including Mahamuni Pagoda with its spectacular Buddha image covered with thick layers of gold leaves, a visit to a craftsman’s workshop to see Kalaga tapestries being created, Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung (Golden Monastery), a superb example of a traditional wooden building and Kuthodaw Pagoda (known as the world’s largest book), consisting of 729 marble slabs engraved with Buddhist scriptures.
DAY 10 Mingun
This morning, enjoy boat excursion (one hour each way) up the Ayeyarwaddy River to Mingun, site of the world's largest intact bronze bell, 3.7 meters high and weighing 87 tons. The boat trip is interesting as you see all types of wooden boats and bamboo rafts, carrying goods up and down the river. Also visit the huge but unfinished Mingun Paya (built with the intention of being the world's biggest pagoda) and the beautiful Hsinphyushin Paya. Return to Mandalay and after lunch at a local Restaurant, this afternoon is at your leisure in the Hotel (or available for local sightseeing - again interests can be discussed with your Guide.). In the late afternoon we can enjoy spectacular views at sunset from Mandalay Hill, where there are interesting glass-studded temples.
DAY 11 Inle Lake
After Breakfast & Check out, we transfer to Mandalay airport for your flight to Heho. On arrival at HEHO Airport we transfer by road(approx. 1 hour drive), down into the valley to Nyaung Shwe on the edge of Inle Lake and board your own local boat to take you to Your Inle Lake Resort, where your reservation is for the next 2 Nights and includes breakfast.
Inle Lake is simply magical; located at 1,000 metres, its calm waters are dotted with Intha stilt house villages, floating vegetable gardens and fishing canoes against the back drop of the beautiful Shan hills. Motorized boats are the means of transport across the lake although the Intha people get around in traditional flat bottomed boats using a unique and skillful form of leg rowing. After lunch at a local Restaurant, this afternoon we visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State and the boat construction workshop at Nampan village as well stopping to see some traditional handicrafts - silk weaving on wooden handlooms in Inpawkon village, a cheroot workshop and a blacksmith shop. Continue by boat to visit Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries on the lake and where inside its large wooden meditation hall and are over 200 year old ancient Buddha statues. Returning back to the hotel the beauty of sunset over Inle Lake enchants all visitors.
DAY 12 Local Markets & Villages of Inle Lake
This morning we have the option to explore one of the 5-day markets (on market day only). By visiting 5-day markets, you will get insight into the life-style of the ethnic Pa-O, Danu and Intha inhabitants who came to these markets to sell their goods. Later we arrive at the village of Maing Thauk on the edge of Inle Lake by boat. Walk up a dirt track through the village and continue up the hill to a stupa which has fantastic views out over the lake and surrounding hills. The walk takes around 2 hours round trip and, although uphill, the route is not steep.
This afternoon, we enjoy another boat trip to Indaing at the western end of Inle for one of the most scenic trips on the Lake. Passing through the busy village of Yawama, the largest on the Lake with its many channels and tall teak houses on stilts, enter a long often tree lined canal towards Indaing Jetty with farmers cultivating their land on either side under the backdrop of the Shan Hills. After disembarking it is a 15 minute walk through Indaing village to reach the 14-18th century pagoda ruins of Nyaung Ohak; many pagodas here remain charmingly unrenovated with plants and even small trees growing out of them making it very atmospheric. A covered walkway, popular with souvenir stalls leads up to Shwe Inn Thein Paya, a complex of weather beaten zedi; some sadly reconstructed although the views from the top make it worth the ascent. Returning to the river jetty we take our long-tailed boat back along the canal to the Lake and our Resort.
DAY 13 Shan Cooking Class & to Yangon
This morning we have Private Shan Cooking Class at View Point Restaurant in Nyaungshwe. Leaving around 08.30am, we visit the local market with the Head Chef of the restaurant to purchase the food to be prepared for a special luncheon. The chef explains how to shop, traditional bargaining and explains the ingredients being purchased. They then return to the ViewPoint kitchen, where the Chef begins the basic lessons and prepares the meal with you. At the conclusion, enjoy a special aperitif in the kitchen before going to the open dining room so you can enjoy the lunch you have prepared. After Lunch, we Transfer to Heho Airport for your flight to Yangon. On arrival in Yangon, we transfer again to Your Yangon Hotel, where your reservation here is for tonight and includes breakfast.
DAY 14 to Chiangmai
After Breakfast & check out from the Hotel we transfer you to Yangon Airport, for your International Flight to Chiangmai.
On arrival at CHIANGMAI Airport we transfer to Your Chiangmai Hotel, where your reservation is for the next 3 Nights and includes Breakfast. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure in the Hotel.
DAY 15 Special Merit Making Ceremony, Doi Suthep Temple & City Sights
This morning we leave the Resort early (around 06.00am) to arrive early at the foot of Doi Suthep, where we can take part in a local make merit ceremony by giving Alms (some food & drink, etc.) to the local Monks from Wat Sri Soda. This is an amazing and moving site with usually hundreds of Saffron Robed Monks walking out of the Temple. After this we continue with a drive up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, the most venerated Temple in Chiangmai, situated on the hill-side some 3000 ft. above the City in the Doi Pui National Park. On the way up the mountain we stop for a short coffee break before visiting The Temple itself (before all the crowds arrive !!). Here we can climb the 306 stairs, to reach the Temple which encloses a large traditional, “Lanna” style Chedi covered with gold plates (A small mountain Tram is also available if the stairs are too much effort !!) From the Temple Grounds there are also panoramic views over Chiangmai and the surrounding area.
On our descent we can spend the rest of the day in and around Chiangmai City, visiting some of the Principle Temples inside Chiangmai old moated City, such as - Wat Phra Singh, Chiangmai City's most important Temple. Constructed in the 14th Century, of particular interests here are some well-preserved murals. Wat Chedi Luang, once home to the Emerald Buddha (Now in the Grand Place in Bangkok) built over 600 years ago, is dominated by it's massive Chedi, which was partially destroyed by an earthquake in the mid 1500's. and Wat Chiang Man, the City's oldest Temple. Wat Suan Dok, best known for its large number of pagodas in which the ashes of the Chiang Mai Royal Family are enshrined.
DAY 16 Elephant Owner for a Day
This morning around 07.30am, we drive by Private Air-conditioned vehicle, to Patara Elephant Farm, in the Hang Dong Valley on the outskirts of Chiangmai. On arrival at the Site, you will be greeted by your Host, discuss your program, and get changed to a more comfortable Local "Elephant" Outfit.
We then start our "Elephant Owner for a Day" Training Session, which includes: Learn about elephant farm management and our breeding program, Train to approach and be near elephant. Learn to observe elephant temperament, Introduction to our elephants. Morning feed, Daily health care for elephant, Learn about elephant skin care and bathing your elephant, Showing different techniques for the mahout to get on & off the elephant neck and spoken commands for elephant.
You then lead your Elephant into the Water for a refreshing dip, before having a very local picnic lunch at the waterfall. After lunch, we then have the choice to Walk or Ride with the Elephant through the Fields & Forest to the Elephant Nursery Center, where you have an opportunity to see & play with the "young" Elephants. On completion, we say farewell to your elephants, then meet up with our Vehicle & return to your Resort.
DAY 17 Departure
Today is at your leisure until we transfer you to CHIANGMAI AIRPORT, for your onward flight.
This would include:
- Private Transfers, Touring, Transportation, Entrance Fees, etc. with Qualified, English-speaking Guides & Road Transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles in Thailand & Myanmar on DAY 1-17
- Lunch taken at Local Restaurants (or as indicated) on DAY 2-13 & 15-16
- 3 Nights including Breakfast at Your Bangkok Hotel on DAY 1-4
- 4 Nights including Breakfast at Your Yangon Hotel on DAY 4-7 & 13-14
- 2 Nights including Breakfast at Your Bagan Hotel on DAY 7-9
- 2 Nights including Breakfast at Your Mandalay Hotel on DAY 9-11
- 2 Nights including Breakfast at Your Inle Lake Hotel on DAY 11-13
- 3 Nights including Breakfast at Your Chiangmai Hotel on DAY 14-17
- Private Elephant Owner for a Day Program on DAY 16
- Bottled Water, Soft Drinks & Cool Towels in Vehicles
- P.A. Insurance (Local Cover) while on Tour
- Domestic Air Ticket (Economy Class) for:
- Bangkok>Yangon DAY 4
- Yangon>Bagan DAY 7
- Bagan>Mandalay DAY 9
- Mandalay>Heho DAY 11
- Heho>Yangon DAY 13
- Yangon>Chiangmai DAY 14
- Air Tickets (other than above)
- Myanmar Visa fees & Arrangements
- Hotel "Extra" Accounts, Late Check-out Arrangements, etc.
- Gratuities (Guides, Drivers, Porters, etc.)
- Other Meals Items & Services not indicated in the program
This is the EXAMPLE of the type of Private Program that we can offer – While this can be booked directly as it is, it could also be used as Guideline to help you prepare an individual Program that we can arrange and finalize for you.
Please remember, the very nature of these private trips makes them quite flexible and wherever possible we do try to cater directly to your interests.
Specific costs will vary dependent on Dates of Travel, International Arrival & Departure Flight Times, Number of Clients in the Party, Availability of Hotel Accommodation & Room Category, etc.