Myanmar & Laos: Land of a Thousand Temples

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    Destinations: Far East
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Tour Description

Journey with us into some of the least-explored regions of Indochina—Myanmar and Laos—where countless regal temples, lovely minority tribes-people, and stunning gardens await. Your in-depth Myanmar and Laos adventure travel experience includes visits to the Shwedagon Pagoda of Yangon at sunset, a truly ethereal sight; the whitewashed Mon Temple in Bagan; the floating gardens of Inle Lake; and more monuments, temples, and markets than imaginable. Combining river cruising and overland travel, this Myanmar and Laos tour is deliciously comprehensive, immersing you at once in the natural and cultural wonders that make this corner of the world so magical.

Myanmar and Laos Expedition Highlights:

  • Irrawaddy River cruise to 11th-century capital of Bagan, with its thousands of temples, as part of your Myanmar tour.
  • Two nights at the Antantara Golden Triangle Resort, one of the finest spa resorts in Thailand.
  • Two-night cruise down Mekong River as part of the Laos expedition to view daily life and visit colorful local markets and Buddhist caves.
  • One night’s accommodation right on the banks of the Mekong in a serene teakwood lodge.
  • And, underscoring your Myanmar and Laos tour, travel in the company of Gary Wintz, one of the very first tour leaders to this region.

What to Expect:

Our Myanmar and Laos expedition is for experienced travelers only. The infrastructure is poorly developed and occasional delays and amendments can occur, so flexibility is a must. Adventure travel in this region makes for long days, with bus rides over bumpy roads and boat journeys that require long periods of sitting. If it’s an authentic Myanmar and Laos tour you seek, a sense of humor, spirit of adventure, and desire to journey where few have been before is all we require—the occasional delay or poor hotel is a small price to pay for such an unforgettable experience.

Itinerary

Day 1-2

USA / Bangkok, Thailand

Depart the USA on your independent flight to Bangkok. Lose a day crossing the International Date Line.

Day 3

Bangkok

Arrive in Bangkok and check into the Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel. The day is at leisure with lunch on your own. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 4

Bangkok / Yangon, Myanmar

This morning, we board our flight to Yangon and transfer to our hotel. Today’s introduction to this fabled city includes the Shwedagon Pagoda, a complex of golden-spired temples and a mecca for Myanmarese Buddhists. Dinner and overnight at our hotel, Governor’s Residence.

Day 5

Yangon / Mandalay

After breakfast we visit the impressive Chauk Htat Gyi, a huge reclining Buddha image and stop at the Karaweik Hall royal floating barge. We also visit a working monastery and orphanage before our flight to Mandalay. On arrival transfer to the Sedona Hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 6

Mandalay

Today we drive to the World Heritage Site city of Amarapura and visit a workshop where Kalaga tapestries are made. After lunch we return to Mandalay to visit the Mahamuni Pagoda, Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung, and Kuthodaw Pagoda,which consists of 729 marble slabs engraved with Buddhist scriptures. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 7

Mandalay / Embark R/V Pandaw

After breakfast we board the colonial riverboat, R/VPandaw, for a two-day cruise along the Irrawaddy River to the ancient capital of Bagan. Enjoy a sunset dinner on the top deck, overnight on board.

Day 8

Bagan

This morning we stop at Thein Gone Village to visit its monastery and a small school. We disembark the R/V Pandawin Bagan—a World Heritage Site and one of the greatest architectural sites of Asia. Visit Sulamani, a Bamar-style temple that houses four seated Buddha images, tour the villages of Myinkaba and Minnanthu,and visit Bagan’s most impressive temples. Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at the Bagan Golf Resort Hotel.

Day 9

Bagan

Today begins with a visit to the golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda. Next we explore Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple that is covered with fine frescoes, then Htilominlo. In Old Bagan we continue on to Ananda Temple, which houses four standing Buddhas, and the adjacent Thatbyinnyu. Following lunch, we visit the temples of Dhammayangyi and Mingalazedi and stop at the Moe Moe lacquerware factory. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at our hotel.

Day 10

Bagan / Heho / Inle Lake

This morning we fly to Heho. After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the magnificentPindaya Caves overlooking a picturesque lake. We continue to Nyaung Shwe, near Inle Lake, and arrive in time for dinner and overnight at the Inle Princess Resort.

Day 11

Inle Lake

Breakfast is followed by a full-day boat tour of Inle Lake and its floating villages. Visit floating gardens, watch traditional weaving and fishing methods, and view the unique boat leg-rowing.We also visit the Phaung Daw U Pagoda and Nga Phe Kyaung, one of the oldest lake monasteries. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 12

Inle Lake / Heho / Tachilek / Golden Triangle (Chiang Saen, Thailand)

After the morning at leisure, we return to Heho for a midday flight to Tachilek, then transfer across the border into Thailand. Enjoy dinner and overnight at the luxurious Antantara Golden Triangle Resort, near the heart of the Golden Triangle.

Day 13

Chiang Saen

After breakfast we visit the actual geographic center point of the Golden Triangle where we see both Laos and Myanmar across the river. We also visit the Hall of Opium Museum. Return to our hotel for lunch with the afternoon at leisure. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 14

Chiang Saen / Houeixay, Laos / Mekong Cruise / Pakbeng

After a ferry ride across the Mekong into Laos, we begin two days of cruising on the Mekong River, making stops to observe rural life and visit with minority tribes-people. We arrive in Pakbeng and transfer to our riverside lodge, with breathtaking views over the Mekong. Dinner and overnight at the Luang Say Lodge.

Day 15

Pakbeng / Mekong Cruise / Pak Ou / Luang Prabang

This morning we visit the colorful and bustling Pakbeng market. We then board our boat for the second half of our Mekong River cruise, ending in charming Luang Prabang. Stop at Pak Ou to visit the famous Buddhist caves of Tham Ting. Transfer to Grand Luang Prabang Hotel for dinner and overnight.Early risers will be invited to assist in the predawn giving of alms to the monks in the streets of Luang Prabang. After breakfast we visit the marketplace, then drive to the airport for our flight to Vientiane. In Vientiane we transfer to the Lao Plaza Hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 16

Luang Prabang

A full-day tour of this World Heritage Site showcases the capital of the first Lao Kingdom. We visit many of the city’s pagodas and temples, such as Vat Visoun and Vat Aham. After lunch we visit Vat Mai, famed for its multi-tiered timber framed roofs and decorated columns. We enjoy dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at our hotel.

Day 17

Luang Prabang / Vientiane

Early risers will be invited to assist in the predawn giving of alms to the monks in the streets of Luang Prabang. After breakfast we visit the marketplace, then drive to the airport for our flight to Vientiane. In Vientiane we transfer to the Lao Plaza Hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 18

Vientiane

Today we explore the new capital of Laos. Our itinerary includes Wat Si Saket, Haw Pha Kaew Museum, and Pha That Luang—the Great Sacred Stupa and most important national monument in Laos—and the Talaat Sao Market. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 19

Vientiane / Bangkok, Thailand / USA

After breakfast transfer to Vientiane Airport for your independent flight to Bangkok and connect with flights to the USA.

Departures

Pricing Information

Land-based Accommodations

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

Options and Extras

Tour Notes

Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements. Since many of our expeditions embark and disembark from remote destinations, the airports that serve these areas often have limited carriers and/or daily flights. As such, our air team is well-versed in planning complex routings for our travelers.