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Trip Type : Private Guided
Myanmar & Southern China: Places Unexplored tour

Myanmar & Southern China: Places Unexplored

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Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
15 days
From: $ 2,590 $ 173 / day
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Overview

Highlights

  • Visit Yangon, Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Visit the Baisha Murals at Baisha Village
  • Visit the ancient ruins of Indein
  • Explore the pristine surroundings of Inle Lake with a kayak to soak in the sound of nature
  • Enjoy Ayeyarwaddy Day Cruise

Short Description

Shrouded in mystery and intrigue, Myanmar has long captivated the imagination of the discerning traveler. Unfortunately, due to the dire political situation Myanmar's legendary beauty and fascinating culture has remained relatively unexplored. Although renowned for its countless temples and celebrated Buddhist heritage, Myanmar's stunning landscape and natural beauty has remained a relative secret.

China may be modernizing at a break-neck pace, but the quicksilver skyscrapers and bullet trains are a thin veneer. The world's oldest continuous civilization is bound to pull a cultural artifact or two out of its hat. Ponder the legends surrounding the Forbidden City, let your imagination fly on the Great Wall and dive into a culture thousands of years in the making.

Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Trip Type Private Guided
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Yangon
End City Lijiang

Trip Includes

  • Full support before, during & after your trip
  • Meals as mentioned
  • Accommodation as mentioned
  • Tours/activities as mentioned
  • Transport as mentioned

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Itinerary

Day 1: Yangon Arrival

Accommodation: The Kandawgyi Palace Hotel

In the evening, you will be picked up at the airport in Yangon and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)

Yangon, also known as Rangoon, is Myanmar’s largest city and most important commercial hub, located in lower Myanmar at the convergence of the Yangon and Bago rivers. This former Burmese capital artfully combines tradition, culture and modernity and is home to the stunning Shwedagon Pagoda, standing 99 meters high and dating back more than 2000 years. Pilgrimages and pagoda festivals abound, co-existing with modern day life that takes place in the ubiquitous tea shops found along the leafy avenues and fin-de-siecle architecture. Often called “the Garden City of the East," nature lovers will enjoy the city’s stunning lakes, verdant tropical trees and spacious parks.

Day 2: Yangon

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: The Kandawgyi Palace Hotel

Shwedagon Pagoda Half Day Tour

So what’s behind the golden façade of the Shwedagon Pagoda? During this interactive half day tour we take you through the back door and show you the full history of the pagoda, the daily life of all people living in the immediate surroundings of the pagoda and a deeper insight in the Buddhist religion and how the spiritual belief is mixed with the belief in nats – the Myanmar spirits. An intriguing half day tour starting from the bottom of the hill and passing the workshops, markets and monasteries which will be useful or even essential to understanding more of the country during the rest of your journey. The tour includes a traditional Burmese breakfast, offerings to monks and the pagoda, a visit to a fortune teller and a Burmese lunch.

Heritage Walk (Afternoon)

Yangon downtown is unique with much of its colonial-era architecture still standing. You find one of Asia’s most impressive collections of late nineteenth and early twentieth- century buildings, religious and secular. Starting after breakfast or lunch this walking tour will take you through downtown Yangon, focusing on its old colonial buildings. Your guide will walk you through the back streets in a relaxed tempo and explain you the history of each building some of them empty, some getting restored and some used for different purposes than when built. This walk along the streets of Yangon will at least architecturally take you a step back in time. The walk ends with a drink at Union Bar & Grill in the old Red Cross building on Strand Road. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 3: Yangon - Bagan

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Tharabar Gate Hotel

In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Yangon and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Bagan. Upon arrival in Bagan, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)

Full Day Orientation Tour

Today you will embark on a full day tour by car through Bagan. Your experienced guide will show you the best known temples of the area. We start the day climbing a pagoda to get a first impressive view over the whole area. From here the you will explore other amazing temples that have been here for hundreds of years. Places like the Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, and Thatbyinnyu will certainly impress you.

Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant and around 4 pm we continue the tour by horse cart to Pyathagyi pagoda for sunset with some refreshing drinks served! Oh… we forgot to mention the best part of this tour; whenever you see a temple you like, just ask you guide to stop to have a look at it – simply pick your own favorite temple.

After your tour you will be transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)

Bagan

Located on the eastern banks of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) river in central Myanmar, Bagan is famous for its picturesque Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins, more than 2,000 covering an area of 16 square miles many dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. Every day you are not in Bagan should be a reminder that you're not there, taking pictures of it at sunrise, and exploring new pagodas in the balmy afternoons. Bagan at dawn really is a photographer's paradise you will remember for the rest of your life.

Day 4: Bagan

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Tharabar Gate Hotel

Minnanthu Temple Tour

Minnanthu is probably the favorite temple area among frequent Bagan visitors. It’s a quiet, beautiful area and the temples here are often completely deserted. Your guide will bring you by car to this forgotten part of Bagan and will spread out a blanket and serve you a delicious picnic lunch in this historical setting before or after visiting 2 or 3 ancient temples ruins in this area. It is sure to be an unforgettable experience. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 5: Bagan - Heho - Kalaw

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Amara Mountain Resort

In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Bagan and transferred to the airport. (This service is on a private basis.)

Forest Trekking & Elephant Experience

Today, your specially trained Elephant conservation guide will take you for a rewarding day in the Kalaw forest encountering elephants, their mahouts and people living in the surrounding areas. Recently, young tourism professionals originating from Kalaw decided to set-up a project in the area that focused on protecting nature, elephants and the traditions of the local people. The results have been amazing.

In a big part of this private protected forest the nature can grow undisturbed creating a natural habitat for animals that could otherwise be easily hunted down and killed. The project includes creating a natural environment for some Myanmar elephants from this part of the world and helping the local population to grow out of the vicious circle of poverty through education and a strong economy

A delicious lunch with local specialties (often from Nepalese origin) will be served in a traditional village, in the jungle or in the camp. After lunch it is time to help the mahout by washing and feeding the elephant. Walk back in the afternoon to the main road and continue by car back to Kalaw town.

Kalaw

Sitting at an elevation of 4300 feet, the peaceful hill station of Kalaw offers a lush, cool respite from the heat of the plains. Known for its trekking, Kalaw is also interesting culturally with a diverse population of Shan, Indian Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims as well as Nepali Gurkhas who came to Kalaw to build the roads and railway line under British rule. Kalaw is the main setting of the novel “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats” by Jan-Philipp Sendker.

Day 6: Kalaw - Inle Lake

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Inle Resort & Spa

Bike to Indein - Inle Lake

Today mountain bikes are waiting for you to start a 4-5 hour biking trip to Indein. The trip is mostly off-road and technically easy with most of the roads being flat or downhill. However, the first hour some parts do go uphill.

Biking through numerous Pa O villages in an area where few foreigners have been before is a great experience. Stop on the way to enjoy the fantastic views over the lake and the Shan country side. Lunch is included in a local village and at the end of the trip we visit the ancient ruins of Indein. From Indein we continue to your hotel by private motorboat where your luggage is already delivered to the room. This is a great trip that can start from Kalaw, Nyaung Shwe, Khaung Dine or Heho. (This service is on a private basis.)

Inle Lake

Magical Inle Lake is a vast natural freshwater lake located in the heart of Shan State, part of Shan Hills in Myanmar bordering Laos and Thailand. It is the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of 44.9 square miles, and one of the highest at an elevation of 2,900 feet. A wonderful watery world of floating gardens, stilted villages and crumbling stupas, Inle Lake is a place to be savored. Watch the unique leg-rowers of the Inthas, the native lake dwellers. Revel in colorful floating markets, meditative monasteries and interesting hill tribe villages in the surrounding mountains.

Day 7: Inle Lake

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Inle Resort & Spa

Full Day Lake Tour

Inle Lake in southern Shan State is a vast natural lake surrounded by traditional Shan villages. On the lake itself the Intha people have been living for many centuries in villages built entirely on stilts on the lake. Today we will take you by private motorboat around the lake to discover the natural beauty of the lake, visit the floating gardens, see some of the famous leg rowers and have some tea at a local family’s house. On and around the lake traditional markets are held in different villages according to a 5-day rotating schedule and today we will take you to visit a colorful market frequented by Shan and PaO people living nearby. We will certainly also visit a local cheroot factory (where the Burmese cigars are made), floating tomato gardens, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, Intha Heritage house where the Burmese cats are bred and if you'd like, we can visit a weaving factory. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 8: Inle Lake

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Inle Resort & Spa

Kayaking Tour

Explore the pristine surroundings of Inle Lake with a kayak to soak in the sound of nature. An active adventure is waiting today as we tour via kayak through rural villages in this part of Shan state. A 45 minute transfer will bring us to Shwe Nyaung where the kayaks are ready (2 persons per kayak) to start peddling on a creek that leads to Inle Lake. A landscape of fields filled with potatoes, rice, sugarcane, tomatoes, garlic and peanuts passes by while every now and then we stop in a traditional Shan or Intha village that hardly ever see foreign visitors. After about one hour we stop in a village for a 30 minute walk to meet some of the villagers in their house and learn more about their lifestyle.

We continue peddling and visit a local house in village to have a cup of tea and get to know the people living in this Intha village. Around lunch time we arrive at a picnic spot where a blanket is spread out in a bamboo forest and lunch is served. In the afternoon we stop two more times in local villages before we arrive around 3pm in Nyaung Shwe where we leave the kayaks and we walk back to our hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 9: Inle Lake - Heho - Mandalay

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Mandalay Hill Resort

In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Inle and transferred to the airport. (This service is on a private basis.)

Afternoon Orientation Tour

Your guide will be ready to take you on a half day orientation tour of the area. We start with the Mahamuni Pagoda and have a look at this centuries old Buddha statue originating from Mrauk Oo. It is a very lively temple compound where men stick gold leaves to the Buddha statue. The Mahamuni is also an excellent place to shop around for the perfect Buddha statue (bronze or wood). Can’t find what you are looking for? Find a marble statue at the next stop which is the marble carving street. The old capital of Amarapura is a quiet village where you hear the sound of the weaving machines. We walk through the famous Mahagandayon monastery complex with hundreds of monks, visit one of the small weaving factories and walk over U-Bein Bridge and take a boat ride before heading back to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)

Mandalay

Mandalay, the last royal capital of Burma, lies in central Myanmar on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy river. The name "Mandalay" evokes visions of rich history and exotic cultures. However this relatively young royal city, considered by many to be the heart of Burmese culture, was built in 1857. Mandalayans are known for their generous and charitable nature primarily due to the fact that the area holds the world's largest number of monks to be found in any one place. A long procession of monks doing their alms-receiving-rounds in the mornings is a common sight in Mandalay. Mandalay has also produced great artisans, dancers, song-writers and traditional musicians.

Day 10: Mandalay

Meals: Breakfast   

Accommodation: Mandalay Hill Resort

Ayeyarwaddy Day Cruise

Mandalay and the other former royal capitals around it have all been capital cities for a while for one major reason: they are all situated on the Ayeyarwaddy River (Irrawaddy). Feel the breeze of the river and imagine how it must have been to arrive by boat in Mingun or at the court of Ava. From the jetty in Mandalay we go upstream to Mingun and visit the Mingun Pagoda with the big crack caused by an earthquake and the giant bronze bell. We take a leisurely boat cruise for about 3 hours downstream to Ava. A simple lunch packed in rattan baskets will be served while cruising down. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 11: Mandalay - Kunming

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Kunming New Era Hotel

In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Mandalay and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Kunming. Upon arrival in Kunming, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)

Kunming

Kunming enjoys all the benefits of a modern Chinese city, without the pressure of living up to the standards set by Hong Kong, Beijing or Shanghai. This is laid back Chinese living, and a few days in Kunming is really worth one's time. Americans and Europeans who want to live in China are beginning to choose Kunming over other Chinese cities for this more familiar lifestyle. Other than the city life, there are some beautiful Karst landscapes in the mountains surrounding the city, and a few days can be lost exploring the temples that dot the city itself.

Day 12: Kunming

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Kunming New Era Hotel

Jiuxiang Caves & Stone Forest Tour

Today you will be met at your hotel to embark on a tour of the Jiuxiang Caves and the Stone Forest. Enjoy lunch at the Stone Forest Hotel.

Jiuxiang Caves are situated in Jiuxiang Township, about 70 kilometers from Kunming. There are more than one hundred karst caves in Jiuxiang scenic area. The caves at Jiuxiang are the largest cave group system in China. Inside the cave are many well-developed and wonderful stalactites and stalagmites, which look like pretty fairies welcoming their guests. Names have been given to them such as "Fairies Welcoming Guests", "Woman Weaver", and "The Fairy is coming out of bathing".

Note: The final stage is to climb up Bat Cave. This is the most challenging part as there are about 336 steps. Sometimes there are laborers who offering sedan chair service.

A fantastic natural phenomena, the Stone Forest, is located 90 km southeast of Kunming. The various shapes of karst landscape was formed due to millions of years' movement of Earth. The Stone Forest area is the home of the Sani people, their folk customs has become one spectacular scene, the colorful embroidery and minority dances combine with the natural sceneries, which will surely leave you a deep impression. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 13: Kunming - Lijiang

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: GuanFang Hotel Qidian

In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Kunming and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Lijiang. Upon arrival in Lijiang, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)

Ancient Town & Wangu Tower Tour

Lijiang is situated in the middle area of the county, which is more than 2400 meters high above sea level. It enjoys beautiful scenes, an indeed famous city with long history and splendid culture. It is very rare in China that such well-preserved minority ancient cities still exist. The old town is quite busy in the afternoon and evening with an active atmosphere of the lights and crowd. An early morning visit will be less crowded.

Then visit Wangu Tower. Located on the top of Lion Hill, Wangu is the landmark building of Lijiang ancient town. This pure wood building is 33 meters (108 ft) tall, overlooking the scenery of Lijiang at its foot, and looking out to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance.

You will enjoy lunch at No.8 Lv Xue Zhai Restaurant today. (This service is on a private basis.)

Lijiang

Lijiang is famous for its winding maze of cobblestone streets that let one wander, and get lost, in its twisting turns. "Famous" is certainly the right word, as the large volume of tourists fill up the narrow streets pretty quickly in the morning. Though there are plenty of opportunities to leave the Old City district, we encourage our travelers to settle in and take part in the frantic shuffle. This is a rare opportunity to experience an ancient city that still functions at full capacity every day. One can really feel the energy left here by millions of people over centuries of activity.

Day 14: Lijiang

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: GuanFang Hotel Qidian

Jade Dragon Mountain & Baisha Village Tour

Today after breakfast you will enjoy a tourist cable ride up Jade Dragon Mountain and visit the Baisha Murals at Baisha Village.

Noted as the highest tourist cable in China, the Large Cable way goes up to Shanzidou (Shanzi Peak) the main peak of the snow mountain, with the an entire length of 2,914m, a top altitude of 4,506 km, and a perpendicular ascent of 1,150m. The cable car will take you into the clouds, where you will be far away from the worldly hurly-burly, and find yourself in a real paradise. Many visit Ganhanzi, Baishuihe (White Water River), and Glacier Park from this cableway.

Painted over a thousand years ago, the murals of Baisha Village, combine the cultures of Han, Tibetan and Naxi people displaying the life stories of the Tibet Buddhism, Confucian and Taoism. Drop by Dr. Ho's clinic, an experienced traditional Chinese medicine doctor in Lijiang. Visitors will see how Dr. Ho and his apprentices diagnose and treat patients, and get to know about the local clinic and herb culture. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 15: Lijiang Departure

Meals: Breakfast

Lijiang Departure

In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Lijiang and transferred to the airport. (This service is on a private basis.)

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Price From $ 2,590
Price Per Day: $ 173 per day
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Myanmar & Southern China: Places Unexplored

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The Ladies Pre-wedding trip to Europe

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I have to thank Global Basecamps for their contribution to a wonderful pre-wedding trip for the bride and 4 women relatives. Their professionalism and knowledge set us up in great locations for all our day trips and great accommodations for 5 from a hotel in Lake Como, to Villas, Chateaus and an Apt. in Venice all in our price range. I look forward to planning my next trip with them to Tanzania (my friends booked thru Global Basecamps and had an awesome time)!
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A-One service!

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Laura Roundy at Global Basecamps helped us plan our three week trip to Burma (Myanmar). Before deciding on this trip to Burma, she was super helpful when we were considering a trip to Morocco. Even with such an extreme change of plans she remained patient, calm & relaxed. She is extremely well informed and knowledgable about as aspects of travel and destinations. She was attuned to exactly how we wanted to travel and coordinated through Khiri Travel our exceptional guides, transportation, logistics and lodging. Our experience was seamless, we were taken care of from the moment we landed to the moment we left and we had a fabulous time! She is an outstanding Global Basecamps representative.
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An amazing experience in a beautiful part of the world

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A few days in Bangkok, six days in Chang Mai. Beautiful hotels, perfect central locations. Amazing experiences -- street food in Chinatown, boating Bangkok's canals, informative tours, zip-lining, elephants, a two day hike, elephants, a Thai cooking class, did we mention the elephants? All perfectly tailored to our interests, activity level (active, but not TOO much), and style (not too fancy). All with guides when we wanted them, with plenty of time on our own. An amazing experience in a beautiful part of the world.
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An awesome, well organized trip!

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An awesome, well organized trip! Thank you Laura!

Two epic trips--great service, attention to detail, excellent accommodations and activities

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I've used Global Basecamps multiple times and highly recommend them. The pre-trip planning experience is great.

On both trips, with the most recent being my honeymoon to South Africa, they recommended hotels and activities that we would have never known about on our own, which ended up being the highlights. Also, the in-country support is excellent. All of the guides were very professional, knowledgeable and all spoke English very well.

With all of the support before and during the trip, booking with Global Basecamps is a great value and makes international travel a very comfortable experience.
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My husband and I have traveled quite a bit over the past several years. We started using Global Basecamps a few years ago for our trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar. It was so well planned out with the greatest guides and accommodations. Our safari was thrilling as was our camp in the Serengeti. We started using them for all our travel needs. We then booked several more trips to such places as Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, New Zealand, Australia, and Peru. They make it easy to experience different cultures. Our next adventure will be gorilla trekking in Rwanda and from what they have put together for us I am sure it will be spectacular. The customized itineraries suit us well. Global Basecamps are so easy to work with, just give them an idea of what you would like to do, along with your budget and watch them work wonders for you. They are truly the experts in customized travel. Irene and Peter
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Accomodations

The Kandawgyi Palace Hotel

This 208-room hotel is built from 7,000 tons of Golden Teak and is surrounded by a beautiful forest on the shores of Rangoon's Royal Lake - just a stone's throw from the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda. Originally opened as the Rangoon Rowing Club in 1934, the property retains much of its colonial architecture; while more recent villas and a new wing add a distinct Burmese flavor to the overall design.

Tharabar Gate Hotel

Surrounded by more than 4000 ancient temples and Pagodas, you will be enchanted by the breathtaking views. The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate is within 5 minutes walking distance to the spectacular Ananda Temple known as ‘The Jewel of Bagan’. The Hotel offers 83 luxury rooms including 4 Suites. Every room is decorated with teak floors and typical Burmese furniture. All rooms are fully air-conditioned and feature an IDD Telephone line, Sat- Television, Safety Deposit Box, Mini Bar and a private Garden. Each room with its high ceiling and different hand painted wall painting which are all copies of original Temple Painting of the Bagan period.

Amara Mountain Resort

The Amara Mountain Resort is a former colonial residence in Shan mountain range, Kalaw, Myanmar. Each of its 10 spacious rooms are individually decorated in Asian and European style. They each have an open fireplace and a private bathroom made of marble and wood. The restaurant features both Western and local dishes and is located amongst the property's trees and gardens.

Inle Resort & Spa

Magnificently located on the shores of the Inlay Lake, this Boutique Eco-Resort & Spa is one of the finest resorts in this unique tourist destination. Custom built and designed with the detailed flair of traditional native style architecture, the Inle Resort & Spa is recognized by it's signature roof, prominent on the Lake; a welcome beacon to all guests. Located in an ideal spot, the resort has character and quality facilities, topped with personalized service. As a long-term stakeholder, Inle Resort & Spa is fully committed to responsible tourism for the ecological and cultural protection of the Lake environment.

Mandalay Hill Resort

Myanmar is like no other place on earth. Renowned as “The Golden Land” a name inspired by Marco Polo to describe the dramatic view of the gold-spired pagodas that can be found throughout the country. Mandalay, the former capital city of the Myanmar Kingdom, is a spectacular destination for historical and cultural travelers. Mandalay Hill Resort lies at the foot of Mandalay Hill with a panoramic view of a myriad of pagodas and faces the distinctive architecture of the Royal Palace and its beautiful moat. Your visit enhanced by the fun-loving hospitable people of Myanmar whose lives remain simple and relaxed will become treasured and timeless memories. Just one hour by air from Yangon and twenty minutes flight from Bagan, Mandalay lies within reach of some of most remarkable archaeological sites in the world that has inspired visitors to Myanmar for nearly a thousand years.

Kunming New Era Hotel

This 28 story hotel near Wujiaba Airport was built in 1998 and underwent a partial renovation as quickly as 2004. Many of the hotel's employees speak English and its management is proud of the amount of hotel experience they collectively have. All the rooms are designed with international travellers in mind, and the hotel has made sure Western amenities are the norm throughout.

GuanFang Hotel Qidian

The GuanFang Hotel Qidian is in the center of Lijiang and faces Yulong Mountain. Its 288 rooms boast modern facilities and comfortable and welcoming accommodations.

Trip ID#:

MyaSouGlo

Trip Excludes

  • International flights & Domestic Flights
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Entrance visas when applicable
  • Other services not mentioned
  • Tips and gratuities to guides, drivers
  • Taxes and fees

Meals Included:

14 Breakfasts and 10 Lunches

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