What our specialists say...
- Visit Myanmar, an exotic land with heart-touching experiences
- Sunsets of a lifetime: Mandalay Hill, river of Amarapura and in Bagan
- Chat with a monk at a monastery in Mandalay
- Cooking class with friendly locals in a village of Bagan
- Bangkok city highlights in one day and free days on Bangtao Beach of Phuket
- Private transfers and English-speaking tour guide in each destination
- All guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
- Hotel accommodation mentioned in the itinerary
- Breakfasts at hotels and lunches for every guided day
- Governmental taxes
Itinerary in detail
With a 2-week journey, essences of these two countries will be discovered. This is a classic sample and you may alter anything in the way you see fits.
Day 1 Yangon Arrival, Myanmar
Arrive in the former capital city of Myanmar, Yangon welcomes you with a smile. Transfer to your hotel and relax.
Day 2 Yangon | Yangon Life at a Glance
Usually people don't see Yangon as a metropolise as the city is rather laid-back compared to Bangkok, Singapore or Ho Chi Minh City. Today take a train ride around the city to observe the cityscape.
Yangon Circular Train is 45km in length but it takes about 3 hours to complete the loop, which means it is rather slow and you will be granted a great opportunity to watch the local commuters on their ways to school, workplaces or markets. Take a 40-minute train ride to Chaukhtaty Paya, where a giant reclining Buddha image is recieving worship from locals.
Walk into National Museum and learn more about the country. Have some local cuisine for lunch. Get to U Thant House, a museum showcasing important historic metirials regarding the former UN secretary's life.
Local believers shuffle in during the sunset hours to Shwedagon Pagoda, the landmark of Yangon. As the sun is setting down, heat goes off and lights go on, creating a sublimely spectacular outline of the glittering pagoda in the night sky. On some important days, there will be some rituals such as novitiation ceremony when the parents send their young sons to the monastey or temple to be a monk.
Day 3 Yangon - Mandalay | Sunset over U Bein Bridge in Amarapura
On the way to the airport, you will stop by Aung San Suu Kyi's House, where she has been held captive for over 15 years. Fly to Mandalay.
In the afternoon, you will be on the way to Amarapura, once an ancient capital of Burma. Stop by Bagaya Monastery, a still living monastery, home to numbers of monks and young novices. Local villagers send their sons here to get free education. Get to Sinkyone Fortess, built in trio of 19th century to prevent the British conquest and now only two canons and the moated square bastions remain. You can get a view of the distant Saigaing Ancient City at the fortess.
When the sun goes down, row a boat on the river for a nice view of U Bein Bridge.
Day 4Mandalay | All for the Deity - Mandalay Experience
Mandalay has been Myanmar's primary academic seat for Buddhism and everything about this city is for the deity.
We will make our first visit of the day at Mahamuni Pagoda. This site is known for the daily Face-Washing Ceremony that takes place at 0400am. Fresh towels, flowers, food and other offerings are brought by the local devotees. Return to your hotel for breakfast and a short break.
Later, get to Shwe Inn Pin Monastery and you will learn how it differs from other monasteries in the city. This teak wood monastery is home to over 30 local monks and today you will have a little chat with one of them.
Visit the famous Kuthodaw Pagoda and the World's Largest Book before lunch.
The largest Buddha image sits still at Mahanyatmuni Pagoda, which is heavily layered with gold leaves. Get yourself a piece of gold leaf and place in onto this deity. Afterwards, stop by a gold leaf factory to learn how it's made.
Transfer back to your hotel or take an extra leg to Mandalay Hill if you still feel up to the task.
(* Note: Onle male visitors are allowed to enter the main chamber of Mahamuni Pagoda. Female visitors may watch a live video in the front foyer.)
Day 5Mandalay - Bagan | Cooking Class at a Humble Village
Take a morning flight to Bagan. Check in upon arrival and your private tour guide will take you to the less-trodden village, West Pwa-Saw Village, home to the friendly Shan people. An experienced chef is waiting for you to start today's cooking class.
Travelers who have no gastronomy expectation for their Myanmar trips are often delightfully surprised by the traditional Burmese culinery, which is distinguishly characterised by extensive use of fish prodcuts (fish oil, fish sauce and etc) and raw veggatables. West Pwa-Saw Village, located close to the main road to enter Nyuang U, is part of the JICA Bagan Tourism Development Project and the funds of the cooking class will be spent on supporting the community for schooling and housing.
Enjoy the fruit of your labor with the warm-hearted villagers. Later, visit Shwezigon Pagoda, which is the first Burmese-style pagoda and all pagodas across Myanmar are built based on its grandiose pattern. Constructed in 1060, it is still the most worshiped shrine in Nyuang U of Bagan.
Day 6Bagan | Sunrise and Sunset in Bagan's Temples
In comparison with Mandalay, Bagan is more like a dizzy day dream that you find it hard not to be hypnotized by the psychedelic site of thousands of pagodas in the morning mist. Today you will visit the World Heritage Site, Bagan Archaeological Zone. Given some pagodas are only a hallow shell, your tour guide will pick some textbook examples, such as Ananda Pagoda, Dhammayangyi Pagoda, Maha Bodhi Pagoda and Dhammayangyi Temple for your visit.
(* Optional hot air balloon flight: Flying up in the sky, overlooking all the temples at sunrise, a 1-hour hot air balloon ride can be something special to tell your friends back home. It is available for booking during October to next March, morning time schedule every day and sunset flight upon request.)
Day 7Bagan - Inle Lake | Sundown Boat Trip in Inle Lake
Situated at a higher alititude, Inle Lake is thouhgt as a great escape from the scorching heat of the plains. Take a mid-morning flight to Heho, the airport town of Inle Lake.
After a lunch in a floating resatuarant, you will take a boat trip on the lake. Chances to observe the legendary one-leg fishermen rowing their boats. The technique in which they control and direct the hull of the boat with one leg while the other leg wraps around the aor to provide propulsion is simply fascinating. They would love to show off their skills by posing for your camera.
As the boat slowing sways, your tour guide will introduce the build of the farming beds of the floating gardens. Dwellers gather water weeds from the bottom of the lake to make them into fertlized beds and tomatos, cabbages, beans and various of veggetables, even fruits, are planted on the beds that are fixed onto a pole.
Day 8Inle Lake | Inle Lake Life Zoom-in
Get a touch of the vibrant lifestyle of Inle Lake, today your tour guide will take you to a local market in a village of the lake. Known as the 5-Day Market, trade fair will be held in some major villages around lakeshore following a 5-day rotation.
We will have some simple lunch at a floating restaurant overlooking the busy lake traffic.
And then, paddle into the narrow riverbanks where you will reach the Indien Pagoda Complex. The biggest highlight of the peaceful village Indien of Tuangyi. There are countless ancient pagodas springing out of the water. It is so easy to get soaked up in the timeless atmosphere as your boat weaves through the creeks.
Day 9Inle Lake - Yangon - Bangkok, Thailand
Leaving Myanmar, Thailand awaits you. Take a morning flight to Bangkok. Transfer to hotel and free at leisure for the rest of today.
Day 10Bangkok | Temples and Market of Bangkok
Bustling, busy, noisy yet friendly enough for you to blend in, that is Bangkok. To beat the traffic jam, today we will drive out of Bangkok for 2 hours in the early morning to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. This is the one that you see on every postcard of Bangkok yet it's still worthy the trip given your travel time is right; 8am to 10am is the best time to avoid tourists crowds. At this market, your tour guide will take you onto a long-tail boat to weave through the creeks filled with boats. The visit will be 1 or 2 hours before heading back to Bangkok and have lunch on the way.
The imposing Royal Palace is sacred to very Thai and today you will understand why. Your tour guide will take you to cover the grounds and visit the Temple of Emerald Buddha. Today's last stop is Jim Thompson's House and you will learn about his life dedicated to Thai silk.
Day 11Bangkok - Phuket
Enjoy some free time in Bangkok and take an afternoon flight to Phuket. Transfer to hotel and relax.
Day 12-13Phuket | Free Days in Phuket
Enjoy your days in Phuket
Day 14Phuket - Bangkok - Bangkok Departure
Fly to Bangkok and connect your onward flight back home. Thanks for making your journey with Asia Highlights and we hope to see you again soon!
Asia Highlights handpicked hotels
Although singing different tones, hotels in Myanmar and Thailand are all designed for a nice holiday. Among all possibilities, Asia Highlights has handpicked some hotels of amazing value and experiences for you. They are not luxurious yet just decent enough for your days in Asia.
- Ranked 13/147 of hotels in Yangon.
- Located by the Inya Lake, offering good view of the lake and the city.
- Deluxe City Room, 32sqm, view of Shwedagon Pagoda.
- Ranked 11/110 on TripAdvisor.
- Located by the hill foot and overlooking the city.
- Superior Room, 32sqm, spacious with view of Mandalay Palace.
- Winner of Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor.
- By the Ayeyarwaddy River, wide-open surroundings and setting.
- Deluxe Room , 35sqm with balcony and garden view.
- Winner of Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor.
- Wood-constructed villas in a quiet village, garden surrounding.
- Royal Villa with Private Pond, 80sqm with great pond view.
- Winner of Certificate of Excellence and #7/887 on TripAdvisor.
- Bustling Sathorn District, by BTS station, great night view.
- Superior Sky Room, 32sqm, higher floor and quieter.
- TripAdvisor's winner of Certificate of Excellence, ranked #12.
- Owns a private beach in Bangtao, great surrounding and easy transfer.
- Deluxe Room of 50sqm, up to 5 guests and private balcony.
- Seasonal information: The best time to visit Myanmar is RIGHT NOW! Whatever season you come, Myanmar presents its best with a delicately-designed journey.
Some people prefer the cool and cozy air during the cool season, which is from late September to next year's February. This is considered the peak season of Myanmar; travel costs is relatively higher than the off season, yet the greatest part is you get great weather and good chance for hot air balloon flight in Bagan.
Visiting Myanmar during summer time, March to September, is also a brilliant choice as for the cost and also, you wouldn't be troubled with big travel groups. We will pace out your journey with short breaks during the rounds of sightseeing.
As for Thailand such an all-time favorite destination, winter time is also the best time to travel yet you should be noted that some hotels will charge extra for rooms and complosary dinner during the Christmas and New Year.
- Visas: People of all nationalities, except those from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), are required to obtain visa for Myanmar. You may apply for E-Visa online by yourself or we can issue you an approval letter for visa proceedure at the airport.
Approval Letter will be used for eVisa application for air entry. Take your passport and 1 passport-size photo to get your passport stamped at one of the airports of Yangon, Mandalay or Nap Pyi Taw, with no extra cost at the airport.
For more information, please take some time reading over Myanmar Visas and How to Apply for.
For Thailand, besides the countries with exemption, most nationalities are granded with a single-entry Visa-on-Arrival at some major internationall airports. Cost ranges from USD50 to USD80 per person.
- General information for accommodation in Myanmar: Most hotels for foreign tourists in Myanmar were built in the late 1990's without A/C and limited choices. It is until recent years that A/C rooms and family rooms have become a standard for hotels when more and more foreign-funded hotels are being built. Hotels of Asia Highlights' selection are all with A/C and rooms of at least 30㎡. To ensure a cozy stay, Asia Highlights would suggest you choose hotels at a higher ranking.
- Meals:Daily breakfast at hotels and a lunch for days with sightseeing are included, so are some dinners as mentioned in the itinerary. For meals that are not included, your tour guides will suggest where and what to eat.
Food in these countries is mainly rice-based and you will eat a lot of vegetables, fish, chicken and beef. If you would like to make special arrangements, such as Halal or Kosher food, or none-dairy, please inform your travel advisor at the time of inquiry. We will do our best to accommodate you.
Just a heads-up: Halal options can be very limited in Bagan and Inle Lake, and we will use common restaurants and make special orders upon your permission.
- Transportation: You will have a private car in each destination; our cars are within 5 years of usage and your private drivers will be polite and drive with strong regard for safety.
Internal flights are operated by Myanmar and Thailand's national airlines.
In Myanmar, most airlines operate flights in the early morning. Although it might be a bit tiring at the beginning, good things are that the flights are fairly short, within one hour, and you get much time for activities or leisure in the next destination.
As for overland connection, please be noted that road conditions are not very delightful in Myanmar and we wouldn't put you through discomfort from city to city as the 100km distance might take up to 5 hours.
In Thailand, there are refquent flights between two major tourist cities, thus we will update the fligt information once confirmed.
- Arrangements Sightseeing, activities and accommodations that are mentioned in this tour you are looking at are just for your inspiration.
If you want to have a free afternoon upon arrival in Inle Lake, we will remove the afternoon boat trip; if you would like to have a candle-lit dinner among Bagan's temples, special arranges will be made; it is always up to you to make the trip just the right way you want.
If you are looking for experiences that are not done by others, Discovery your way, Asia Highlights' motto suites you the best.
- Responsible travel: Travel avails you with special experiences. Somehow its impact on the local community can be more beyond imagination and what Asia Highlights wishes to do is lead the impact onto a good path, a path that helps the local people (not only your tour guides) boarden their outlook and the local communities develop.
Some lunches are served at local restaurants that are also training centers for former street kids. Taking baby steps one at a time, we highly appreciate you would like to be part of it (of course, we can make other arrangements if needed).
With that being said, detours to so-called factories or specialty workshops are strictly prohibited. We make sure your tour guides earn enough to support their families without squeezing commissions out of you.