Stride climate

Trip Type : Private Guided
Historic sight Sukhothai-Thailand-1924568-P

Thailand to Myanmar – Bangkok to Mae Sot to the Golden Rock

Myths and Mountains Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
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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: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
16 days
From: $ 5,125 $ 320 / day
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Overview

Highlights

  • Discover Ayutthaya
  • Visit caves in Hpa An
  • Explore Sukhothai and Mae Sot
  • Visit Shampoo Island and Mudon
  • Explore Yangon and Bago

Short Description

Just recently the border crossing from Thailand to Myanmar at Mae Sot has opened for tourism, allowing travelers to begin their trip in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, visit the cities of Ayutthaya and Sukkothai and then travel north, crossing into Myanmar at Mae Sot. The entry point opens up easy access to parts of the Tenasserim Coast, the fascinating area around Mawlamyaing and the magical Golden Rock in Kyaikthiyo. You end your two-country journey in Myanmar’s erstwhile capital, Yangon.

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
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Bangkok
End City Yangon

Trip Includes

  • Accommodations as listed, including all service charges and taxes
  • Internal airfare (broken out separately)
  • All ground transfers
  • All excursions with expert EnglishQspeaking guides
  • Entrance fees to museums, temples, etc.
  • All meals as indicated with BQbreakfast, LQlunch, DQdinner

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Bangkok

Accommodation: Riva Surya or the Peninsula

On arrival, you clear customs and immigration. Exiting the airport, you will see our people inside holding a sign with your names on it. They will take you to your hotel.

Day 2: Tour Of Bangkok

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Riva Surya or the Peninsula

A “must” for any visitor to Thailand is time at Wat Pra Keo and the Grand Palace. One of the most beautiful  examples of ancient Siamese architecture, the Grand Palace, the former residence of Thai monarchs and home to  the Emerald Buddha is known for its magnificent murals, colorful figures and impressive architecture. (Be careful  to dress appropriately – shorts and tank tops are not allowed in any temple or the Grand Palace.) Wat Pra Keo is part of the palace complex and was consecrated in 1782, the first year of rule from Bangkok.  The area encompassed by the palace and wat are huge – 945,000 square meters – and include more than 100 colorful and varied buildings. Despite its beauty, the palace is used by the king only for certain ceremonial occasions, and his residence is north of the city. Please note that for visiting the Grand Palace you will be required to wear proper attire (no bare shoulder bare knees or strapless heel shoes). Shoes must be removed before entering all temple buildings as a matter of respect.

From the Palace, you then board a longtail - boat and continue with a klong tour. As you travel the Chao Phraya River, you can see a world happening along the shores and on the canals themselves – houses erected on stilts, glittering temples, children playing in the water or bathing, women washing clothes or dishes, boats going up and down the busy waterway.

The ride ends at Klong Bang Luang, a small artist village. You walk along the path by the stilt houses, where art of all kinds is on display. Any day but Wednesday, you may be able to see a puppet  show. One can never promise the show absolutely, as the artists occasionally get hired out to perform at private affairs. You will return by boat to the pier, feed the Klong fish for good luck, and then head back to the hotel.

In the evening, you visit Bangkok’s bustling China Town on a “foodie tour,” an old business center covering a large area around Yaowarat Road and Charoen Krung Road. You can explore the many alleyways and small streets selling all types of goods. The quarter has been the main trading center for the Chinese since they were moved here from their old site about 200 years ago. You can sample some of the Chinese food along the roadsides and restaurants.

Day 3: Visit Ayutthaya And Summer Palace

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Sala Ayutthaya

After breakfast, you drive up to Ayutthaya. Prior to 1350, the city was a Khmer outpost, and was named after the home of Rama, the hero of the Ramayana. As the capital city of Thailand from 1350 to 1767, Ayutthaya served as the center of Thai culture and international trade at the height of the country’s territorial expansion. Until its final destruction by the Burmese in a series of battles primarily for control of the Tenasserim Coast, Ayutthaya was home to 33 different Siamese kings, and boasted a population, at one point, of over 1,000,000 inhabitants. Today, Ayutthaya hosts some of Thailand’s most important historical landmarks and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

First, it is off to the Summer Palace at Bang Pa In. The mish mash of palaces and pavilions in styles ranging from Italian to Chinese once served as summer retreats for Thai monarchs from the Ayutthaya period to the beginning of the 20th century.

Next, hop on a 1Kermit1 Tuk Tuk (a special type of motorized Tuk Tuk available only in Ayutthaya and Trang province in the South) to discover the magnificent ruins and ancient temples in the historical park.

Briefly stop near the Muslim quarter and sample one of the most famous delights of Ayutthaya – CandyFloss Roti (Roti Sai Mai). Roti Sai Mai is a very common and popular form of dessert in Ayutthaya that anyone new to the area should try. Made from palm sugar, the Thai - style candy floss or cotton candy comes in various colors and is wrapped in a piece or two of lightly salted roti (a thin paper like crepe or pancake made from wheat flour).

After lunch at a local restaurant, you take a boat trip around the island to see the outskirts of the city and stop to visit Wat Chai Watanaram.

Day 4: Drive Sukhothai Via Uthai Thani And Phitsanuloke

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Sukhothai Treasure Resort And Spa

Located in Uthai Thani In the midst of the Sakae Krang River and the Chao Phraya River is Thailand’s largest fresh water island – Koh Tepo.  You can explore the island a bit to get a sense of the local lifestyle, and visit one of the local incense makers. You also have time to see the Crystal and Golden Halls of Wat Tha Sung.

Continuing on north of Bangkok, straddling the Nan River you come to Phitsanuloke, the largest commercial center in central Thailand and the transportation hub for the region. The city’s history goes back to the Khmer past, when it was an outpost called Song Kwae. During the Sukkothai Empire, the city was a military bastion, and was even elevated to be the capital of Thailand under the reign of King Trailokanat. When you arrive, you can enjoy a visit to one of Thailand’s most famous temples, Wat Pra Chinnaraj. Here you can find perhaps the greatest masterpiece of Sukhothai art and the most beautiful and sacred image in all Thailand.

You also visit the Cha Tawee Folk museum, displaying a remarkable collection of tools, textiles and photographs from Phitsanulok Province. The exhibit is spread throughout five traditional - style Thai buildings with well groomed gardens, and the displays are all accompanied by informative and legible English descriptions.

Your day ends in Sukhothai, a name meaning “Dawn of Happiness.” Sukhothai was the first capital of Thailand and the birthplace of the Thai nation.

Day 5: Explore Sukhothai

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Sukhothai Treasure Resort And Spa

For Thais, Sukhothai is equivalent to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Bagan in Burma, or Borobudur in Indonesia. Two Thai princes, who broke away from Khmer dominion, founded it in 1228. To gain insights to life in this once flourishing town, you visit the Ramkamhaeng Museum. Very important is a visit to the famous Historical Park of Sukhothai, with its many 13th century ruins. Wat Mahathat is considered the magical and spiritual center of the Kingdom. At Wat Sri Chum you find one of the largest sitting Buddha statues in the country.

In the afternoon, you will wander the Kongkrailas District, experiencing the local lifestyle through demonstrations of Thai dessert - making done in the traditional Kong Krai Las way sampling delicious flavors: Thong Muan (rolled coconut wafers) and Khanom Phing (tapioca flour cookies). You can also check out the Yom River Basin Fishery and its various products made by the local fishermen pickled fish and fish sauces made from minnows.

Day 6: Drive To Mae Sot

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Centara Mae Sot Hill Resort

Leaving Sukhothai, you head to the border town of Mae Sot, located in Tak Province. As the main transit point between Thailand and Burma, Mae Sot can boast a large number of migrants and refugees, as well as a flourishing trade in all sorts of illegal, black market items, particularly teak, gems and narcotics. While there, well worth visiting is the Rim Moei Market not too far from the Friendship Bridge that will take you into Myanmar tomorrow.

Day 7: Cross Into Myanmar And Drive Mawlamyaing Via Kawkareik

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Mawlamyaing Strand Hotel

Crossing the border from Mae Sot into Myawaddy for foreigners is a relatively quick process, but the drive to Mawlamyaing is relatively long. The route takes you through Kayin (Karen) State and through the Dawna Mountains on a relatively new road. You pass through Kawkareik, the capital of Kawkareik district, and can stop for lunch there, depending on your timing. If all goes well on the new road, the drive itself will take about 4 hours.

Mawlamyaing was made famous to westerners in George Orwell’s memoir, “Shooting an Elephant.” Today it is Myanmar’s fourth largest city and is the capital and largest city in Mon State. Between 1826 and 1852, the city served as the capital of Burma under the British and had been ceded to the British in the Treaty of Yandabo at the end of the first Anglo Burma War. Located at the mouth of the Thanlwin or Salween River, the city serves as a major port and trading center.

Day 8: Visit Mawlamyaing, Shampoo Island And Mudon

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Mawlamyaing Strand Hotel

If you are up for it, rise early to head to Mudon to Phar Auk Twa Ya Monastery in time to arrive for breakfast there, donated each morning by the monastery in return for a small donation.

After breakfast, stop at Win Sein Taw Ya, to see what is alleged to be the largest reclining Buddha image in the world The reclining Buddha is 590 feet long and close to 100 feet high. Inside there are numerous rooms with dioramas of the teachings of Buddhism. Mon State is famous for its delicious pomelos, and on the way, you can stop at a Pomelo Plantation and walk around. Feel free to buy a pomelo to take back to Mawlyamaing.

Driving back to Mawlamyaing, you take a boat for a short hop to Shampoo Island, a tiny island southwest of Mawlamyaing. Here, in the old days, to promote both good fortune and luck, the Myanmar Kings would hold a hair washing ceremony in a sacred well. The population of the island consists mainly of monks and nuns, seeking refuge from the more worldly existence back on the mainland. During your visit, you may encounter some of the locals feeding the fishes in the Thanlwin River. Returning to the mainland, you can visit some of the city’s high points, including the Kyaikthan Lan or “Old Moulmein Pagoda,” perched on a ridge overlooking the city, some of the colonial buildings, and a monastery. You end the day with sunset at the View Point, overlooking the Mawlamyaing and Thanlwin Rivers.

Day 09: Visit Setse Beach And Thanbyuzayat

Accommodation: Mawlamyaing Strand Hotel

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Primarily catering to locals, Setse Beach is a very wide brown sand beach, with waving casuarinas trees, vendors  selling fresh young coconuts and restaurants serving seafood.  After exploring the beach, you head to Thanbyuzayat or “Tin Roofed Guest House. Today, Thanbyuzayat is the administrative center for the township of the same name, but in the past, it was the terminus of the Thailand Burma Railroad, aptly named the “Death Railway,” built by Japanese POWs during World War II. The “Death Railway” is a 258-milerailway between Bangkok and Myanmar, designed to support Japanese forces during the Myanmar Campaign. The name Thanbyuzzat actually refers to a structure dating back to that infamous war period. Nearby is the site of a Japanese POW camp for those who were working on the railway. More than 3000 Allied servicemen are buried in the nearby War Cemetery.

Day 10 and 11: Boat Ride To Hpa An. Sunset at Kauk Ka Latt Pagoda.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hpa An Lodge

This morning you take a boat on the Thanlwin  to Hpa An, stopping at Kaw Nhat and Kado  Villages. Hpa An is the capital city of Kayin or  Karen State, and surrounded lovely limestone  karst mountains with fascinating caves to explore.

Arriving at Hpa An, you head first to the  village of Kawnyat–Kado, stopping to see a lovely monastery built by a rich local, U Nar Auk, whose water transport business was in competition with that of the British during the colonial era.

Nest you visit the Kawgun Cave and Kyauk Ka Latt Pagoda. About 2 miles outside of Hpa An township is the Kawgun Cave, about 200 feet high and 300 feet long.

By boat on the Thanlwin River from Mawlamyaing to Hpa An with a visit to Kaw Nhat and Kado villages (4 Hours)

On the way, stop at the Kawnyat Kado Village where you can observe the beautiful and ornate monastery, U Nar Auk Monastery donated by U Nar Auk, a famous rich man in Mon State who competed in water transport against British businessmen in the colonial era. Your next stop, Kawgun Cave, is located about 2 miles outside Hpa An township and is a natural limestone cave 200 ft. high and 300 ft. long. The rock face near the entrance is profusely decorated with different kinds of clay Buddha images dating back to the Hanthawaddy Period in the 15th century A.D.

It is a short walk to some nearby waterfalls and the Kauk Ka Latt Pagoda, built atop some unusual rock formations. From the small shrine on the neighboring limestone rock, you have a marvelous sunset view of the shrine, as well as Mt. Zwekabin, one of the most famous landmarks of Karen State.

Day 12: Drive Kyaikthiyo Via A Mon Village

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Mountain Top Hotel – Deluxe Room

Before leaving Hpa An, stop at the local market. Farmers from all around the region come to town with baskets of produce to sell. You can stroll through the market and along the riverfront. Leaving town you drive on first to Thaton, formerly the head of the Thaton Kingdom from the 9th - 11th century and part of the Mon District.

Eventually, you arrive at the transport station in Kyaiktiyo before five, to take the truck transport up the hill to the temple and your hotel.  Ideal is to do this before sunset, so that you can enjoy the magnificent views across the countryside. Kyaiktiyo is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in Myanmar, and the shrine at the top seems to defy gravity. Perched on the edge of a sheer cliff is a giant golden boulder topped with a gleaming stupa, particularly stunning at sunset and sunrise, when a magical atmosphere highlights the shrine.

Day 13: Am At Kyaikthiyo. Drive Yangon Via Bago

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Sule Shangrila, Strand or governor’s residence.

Rising early, you can walk the short distance to the rock to enjoy sunrise as it comes up over the mountains. Legend has it that the rock, delicately balanced on the sloping surface of a separate rock table, is held in place by a hair of Gautama Buddha. In fact, the rock and the table barely touch each other. The pagoda, set 3615 feet above sea level, was built in 574 BC, more than 2500 years ago. Today it is one of the most revered pagodas in all of Myanmar.

When you are ready, you can take the truck back down the mountain. Note that if you leave early in order to arrive in Bago by 10:30AM, you can head to the Kyar Kyat Win Monastery to see the monks having lunch.

Next, you will visit the Hintha Gon Paya, which has great views over Bago from the roofed platform on the hilltop. According to legend, this was the one point rising from the sea when the mythical bird, the hintha, landed here. Continue toward Kyaik Pun Paya, built in 1476 by King Dhammazedi. Consisting of four 30 meter high sitting Buddhas placed back to back around a huge, square pillar. At the Yan Pyay Man Pyay Pagoda, you can see a live python being worshipped by the faithful.

Finally, your journey that began in Bangkok, ends up in Yangon. When you arrive, you will head to the hotel and the rest of the day is free.

The afternoon ends at the Shwedagon Pagoda for sunset. “Of all the shrines,” writes Shway Yoe in The Burman, “Shwe Dagon Paya, the great pagoda of Rangoon and the most venerable place of worship in all the Indo-Chinese countries, is the finest and most universally visited.” As Yoe indicates, the sanctity of Shwedagon is due to the fact that it contains relics not only of Gautama Buddha, but also of the three Buddhas that preceded him. Legend has it that there are Gautama’s eight hairs, the drinking gourd of Kaukkathan, the robe of Gawnagong, and the staff of Kasapa. Built by King Okkalapa about 525 BC, around the time of the Buddha, Shwedagon today is said to contain more gold than the Bank of England.

Shwedagon’s bell-shaped superstructure, resting on a terraced base, is covered in about 60 tons of gold-leaf, causing it to glisten and glimmer in 

the light of the setting sun. Every evening the residents of the city assemble at the pagoda to meditate and pay their respects to the Buddha. Witness the flickering lights and delicate aromas of candles and sticks of incense being lit as offerings and observe the saffron-clad monks passing through the temple. Join in this very special and unique ceremony with an offering of 1000 oil lamps.

Day 14: Yangon Touring – Railway Market By Train, Visit Hledan Market And Naga Glass Factory. Sunset At Shwedagon.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Sule Shangrila, Strand or governor’s residence.

You have a whirlwind tour of beautiful Yangon in store for you. The city itself is bordered on three sides by water the Hlaing River on the west and south side and Pazundaung Creek to the east. History indicates that there has been a settlement in the area for more than 2500 years, although most books start with the founding of the Shwedagon Pagoda on the hill of King Okkalapa’s village of Dagon. It was not until King Alaungpaya captured Dagon from the Mons in 1755 and renamed it “End of Strife,” or Yangon, that Yangon became a city and thriving port in its own right. Rising early, you head to the Railway Station and embark on Yangon’s circular train. The train weaves through Yangonns main townships and districts in a rough circle, and is the lifeline for many of the working classes and offers an unparalleled insight into the lives of the Burmese. Observe the students and workers in their daily commute and the vendors and hawkers plying their trade. Eventually, you arrive at the Danyingone Market Station, with local vendors and hawkers selling vegetables, fruits and other goods. You can walk around and even taste some of the local foods, including Mohinga, an essential Burmese dish.

Returning to Yangon by car, you stop at Sule Pagoda, considered by many in Yangon to be their local shrine. If Shwedagon is the heart of Burma, the Sule Pagoda, is the heart of the city, the place where many Burmese go after a busy day to find relaxation and tranquility. The pagoda was named after Sule Nat, an ogre and one of the mythical beings revered by all Burmans. It was Sule Nat who helped Thagyarmin, the Nat King, locate the relics of the Buddhas and pinpoint the location for Shwedagon. Sule Pagoda dates back to the 3rd century BC. What it lacks, perhaps, in magnificence, is more than compensated for by its homespun warmth and charm. The 157-foot dome was used by the British in the late 1880s as the nucleus of their grid development plan. Sule is unique in that it has an octagonal shaped stupa that continues all the way up to the spire on the top

From Sule, start your exploration of colonial Yangon from the city’s heart. Nearby are the City Hall, Emmanuel Baptist Church, High Court (formerly known as the Parliament for Justice) and Mahabandoola Park. Continue to the Secretariat Building, a Victorian building, which housed the parliament from 1948-1962, and was the place, where Aung San, father of Aung San Suu Kyi, was assassinated in 1947. Afterwards, walk down to Strand Road, on the way you will explore Gandhi Hall, where the National League for Democracy drafted the Gandhi Hall Declaration, issued on July 29, 1990 and the Armenian Church. Explore the Post Office, The Strand Hotel, Port Authority building and Accountant General's Office & Currency Department. Then as a final stop, walk to Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) office, a non-profit organization that works to preserve and protect the city's rich urban heritage and display the past and present photos of Yangon are displayed and learn more about Yangon.

After your walk, head to a meditation center, where you can with the monk, Sayadaw, to have a discussion and learn about Buddhism. After that, practice meditation and breathing techniques.

Explore the Bogyoke Aung San Market, also known as Scott Market, which contains over 2000 stalls and is the best place in Yangon to browse through the complete range of local handicrafts.

At the end of the day, men and women can go in two separate directions. The men can head to a local barber shop, for a head massage, cut and shave. Women can visit one of the best dress designers in the city,

Day 15: Portraits of Yangon. Farewell Dinner

Meals: Breakfast

Accomodation: Sule Shangrila, Strand or governor’s residence.

This last day is spent getting to know some of the inspiring people that live in Yangon, listening to their fascinating stories and asking questions about their lives.

You meet with an aspiring young entrepreneur, who taught art in an orphanage, before founding the “Tree Food Company. With a passion for food, this creative young woman produces traditional sweets from jaggery, made from toddy palm juice.

Also, meet a famous English teacher of his generation. While at university in the 1960s, he was an active member of the protesting student movement, and was incarcerated by the Ne Win military regime for more than 5 years. A simple peaceful man, he now helps students of all levels with his educative books and articles.

After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to the small, cluttered house of the shoemaker, the only producer of handmade shoes for people of disabilities in the entire city of Yangon.

Continue to the Mandalay Library, and meet the founder. Brought up in a poor farming family, he read a lot of books to compensate for his lack of formal education. Earning a modest livelihood from selling grilled fish, he used the money to set up his own library, providing fee rental books to the community. His contribution to Myanmar society has won him several awards.

In the evening, watch a game of Chinlone. This traditional sport uses a cane ball and a team of six players. It is sad to be over 1500 years old, and was once played by Burmese kings. Meet a chinlone master, who coaches children in the sport for free. Join in a game, and he will even teach you some of his tactics.

The day, and your journey, ends at Le Planteur, one of Yangon’s finest restaurants.

Day 16: Depart Yangon

MealsBreakfast

The day is free until time to transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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Price Per Day: $ 320 per day
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Nov-23-2019Dec-08-2019$ 6,950$ 6,950Limited Reserve
  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 1,258

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Thailand to Myanmar – Bangkok to Mae Sot to the Golden Rock

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You all do an amazing job

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You all do an amazing job. I have recommended M & M to everyone who expresses an interest in travel. I can think of no other company, besides yours, that really shares my values about educational and responsible tourism.
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Favorite Trip Memory: Halong Bay

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Favorite Trip Memory: Halong Bay, ethnic groups near Bac Ha Market day! | Favorite Guide: Cuong! Experienced, passionate, straightforward, funny. | Helpful Tip: Use Myths & Mountains. They’re the best!
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Precisely what I wanted

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I got what I wanted. I wanted to see the ethnic groups -- not the Han or the Viet. That was what I got to see. Precisely what I wanted. Thanks.

Our second guide was fabulous

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Paro Festival was all we had hoped for. Our second guide was fabulous. He was attuned to what we wanted and made good suggestions and changes to the itinerary as needed.
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Very helpful

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Myths and Mountains local guide, Achi, was perfect and so sweet. Very helpful on so many occasions and always smiling. I warmly recommend her.
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Unexpected invitation to the wedding in Imphal was a highlight

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The unexpected invitation to the wedding in Imphal was a highlight. Another one was the visit to the Hindu monastery on Majuli Island. Ranjan appeared to know all of the monks, which greatly facilitated our visit and got us an extra show of music and dance.
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Private - your group only

Accomodations

  • Royal Orchid Sheraton Or The Peninsula 
  • Sala Ayutthaya
  • Sukhothai Treasure Resort And Spa
  • Centara Mae Sot Hill Resort
  • Mawlamyaing Strand Hotel
  • Hpa An Lodge
  • Mountain Top Hotel – Deluxe Room
  • Park Royal Hotel, Strand Or Governor’s Residence. 

Trip ID#:

ThaBanMyt

Trip Excludes

  • International airfare
  • Comprehensive insurance coverage, including medical, evacuation, baggage loss/delay, cancellation ins., etc.
  • Visa fees
  • Meals where not indicated with a B,L,D
  • Tips/gratuity (porters, drivers, local guides, etc.)
  • Domestic and international airport taxes
  • Other items of a personal nature including laundry, alcoholic beverages, etc.
  • Additional  expenses  resulting  from  the  delay  or  extension  of  the  trip  due  to  causes  beyond  our  reasonable control

Meals Included:

14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches and 1 Dinner

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