The lush jungles and misty mountains of Myanmar and Thailand lend an enchanting backdrop to cities where colonial architecture, serene temples and chaotic open-air markets exist side by side. Discover these intriguing landscapes through the people who call them home as you explore by foot, bicycle and boat. In Myanmar (formerly Burma), trek the shores of Inle Lake and paddle a canoe past floating villages. Hike and ride a bike between Bagan’s temples and take in a traditional music and dance performance under the stars. Meet with a journalist in Yangon, Buddhist nuns at a nunnery in Mandalay and artisans all along the way. Then travel to the Thai city of Chiang Mai to celebrate local spiritual traditions and the country’s famous cuisine.
Hike the shores of Inle Lake, passing stupas and the famous leg-rowing fishermen.
Go biking through Bagan’s incredible temple complex and enjoy dinner amid its candle-
Join a chef at Chiang Mai’s Ruam Chok market and select ingredients for a hands-on Thai cooking demonstration.
Get to know local people during visits to their homes, schools and monasteries.
Activity Level: Easy and Moderate
We will be walking or hiking 2 to 3 miles (1 to 2 hours) on many days, and biking 4 miles (1 hour) on two days. The maximum elevation is 3,000 feet.
Itinerary - 12 Days
Days 1 & 2 — Yangon, Myanmar
Arrive in Yangon (formerly Rangoon) and explore the city on your own before gathering for a welcome dinner. The next day, set out on foot to discover the old town. Take in the charm of its colonial-era architecture and the interplay of its many cultural influences — Burmese, Indian, Chinese, British and others. Then board a local train to the city outskirts to visit Yangon’s most iconic site, the Shwedagon Pagoda. We’ll stroll the stalls of a nearby vegetable market before heading to this legendary Buddhist shrine for a spectacular sunset.
Chatrium Royal Lake Hotel (D; B,L,D)
Day 3 — Yangon/Inle Lake
This morning, hear a talk on Burma’s current political climate given by a local journalist or a former political prisoner. Fly to Heho and transfer to Inle Lake. Cruise the lake to see its floating villages, monasteries and gardens, as well as the iconic Intha fishermen known for their unique leg-rowing techniques. Villa Inle Resort (B,L,D)
Days 4 & 5 — Inle Lake/Bagan
Travel by boat to Taungtoe and wander through the Five-Day market. Then climb the surrounding hills lined with dozens of Shan-style stupas. Visit a Pa’O village to meet with students and teachers at the local school, sip green tea with monks and enjoy a picnic in the monastery. Travel to Innpaw Kone to watch silk weavers at work. Spend an afternoon at leisure, or navigate nearby rice paddies on an optional canoe excursion. The next day, sail to Myaynigone to visit with villagers. Hike along the lake to Tan Tuang where we’ll tour plantations with community members. Transfer to the airport and catch a flight to Bagan. (Day 5: 2–3 mile hiking, 2 hours) Villa Inle Resort, Tharabar Gate Hotel (B,L,D daily)
Days 6 & 7 — Bagan
Take two days to explore the incredible Bagan Archaeological Zone. Once the capital of the Pagan Kingdom, this 26-square-mile site contains over 2,500 Buddhist temples, stupas and monasteries. We’ll discover this magical area by bike, foot and long-tail boat, visiting sites such as the Ananda Temple, the complex’s holiest site, and the Shwezigon Pagoda, the prototype for Myanmar’s stupas. On our final night, we’ll enjoy a traditional music and dance performance as we dine under the stars near a group of candlelit temples. (Day 6: 4 miles biking, 1–2 hours; Day 7: 2–3 miles walking, 3 hours; 4 miles biking, 1–2 hours) Tharabar Gate Hotel (B,L; B,L,D)
Days 8 & 9 — Mandalay/Chiang Mai, Thailand
Fly to Mandalay and visit a local nunnery to learn about the day-to-day lives of Buddhist nuns. Time permitting, we’ll also stop at a pottery-making village en route to downtown. Visit the ornate Golden Palace Monastery and then meet with pilgrims at the Kuthodaw Pagoda — home to the world’s largest book. The next day, experience the thrill of the local jade market where vendors try their luck at buying raw jade stone, sight unseen. Fly to Chiang Mai and take in the festive chaos of the night market. Rupar Mandalar Hotel, Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa (B,L,D; B,D)
Day 10 — Chiang Mai
Visit Wat Suthep temple and witness the monks’ daily almsgiving ceremony. After the procession, climb the picturesque steps of the Golden Naga staircase to reach the temple’s golden pagodas. Then visit the nearby Wat Umong and take part in your own private blessing cer- emony. For lunch, sample khao soy — a local specialty — and then browse the colorful stalls of the Waroros Market. Journey by rickshaw to Chiang Mai’s old city and explore its ancient temples and monuments on foot, including Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh. (2–3 miles walking, 1–2 hours) Siripana Villa Resort & Spa (B,L,D)
Days 11 & 12 — Chiang Mai
Join a local chef at the Ruam Chok market to select fresh ingredients for your lunch. Continue to his farmhouse, where you’ll participate in a hands-on cooking demonstration. After lunch, unwind with a Thai massage and spend the rest of the day exploring the city on your own. The next day, transfer to the Chiang Mai airport for your flight home. Siripana Villa Resort & Spa (B,L,D; B)
Pricing starts at $6,700 per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,450. International airfare to Yangon and return from Chiang Mai is not included in the cost. The group flight is $815 in 2016 and $895 in 2017 (subject to change).
Group Size: 8–16
Accommodations (hotels, tents and cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. If you prefer single accommodations, and if such are available, you can pay a single supplement fee. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we can assign a roommate of the same gender. If there is no one with whom you can share, a single supplement fee will apply.
See special terms and conditions for this adventure.