Escorted small-group tour to Thailand, Myanmar and China’s Yunnan Province featuring top guides, luxury hotels, authentic local cuisine…
Bangkok – Yangon – Bagan – Inle Lake – Mandalay – Pyin Oo Lwin – Chiang Mai – Kunming – Xianggelila – Lijiang – Hong Kong
A grand adventure tour combining Thailand, Myanmar and Yunnan Province of China, this luxury small-group tour offers you a deep insight into a region that is so diverse and yet also has so much in common.
- Small group (16 max)
- Expert guides
- Luxury accommodations
- All gratuities for local guides and drivers included
- Authentic local cuisine
- No forced shopping stops
- Village visits
- Cultural shows
- Unlimited supply of bottled water
- Free Wi-Fi in all hotels
Nights per location:
Inle Lake: 2
Chiang Mai: 3
Hong Kong: 2
Meal Code: B = breakfast / L = lunch / D = dinner
Scroll down for dates, prices, hotel list and visa requirements.
Day 1/Mon: Departing Home City
The journey begins with your transpacific flight departing from a city of your choice. You’ll lose a day upon crossing the International Date Line.
Day 2/Tue: Arrival in Bangkok
Welcome to Bangkok! Meet your guide on arrival and transfer to the hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure.
Day 3/Wed: Bangkok (B/L/D)
Located in Chao Phraya River delta, Bangkok is the capital and the most populous city of Thailand, with a population of 8 million within the city proper or nearly 13% of the country’s total. The city is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon.
Bangkok traces its roots to a small trading post during the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 15th century, which eventually grew in size and became the site of two capital cities: Thonburi in 1768 and Rattanakosin in 1782. Bangkok was at the heart of Siam’s (as Thailand used to be known) modernization during the later 19th century, as the country faced pressures from the West. The city was the centre stage of Thailand’s political struggles throughout the 20th century, as the country abolished absolute monarchy, adopted constitutional rule and underwent numerous coups and uprisings. The city grew rapidly during the 1960s through the 1980s.
We begin our sightseeing today at the royal Grand Palace. Established in 1782, the palace was dramatically expanded throughout successive reigns. The king and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. The present monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), resides at Chitralada Palace, but the Grand Palace is still used for official events.
We then proceed to the National Museum, which is the largest museum in Southeast Asia and features exhibits of Thai art and history.
Afternoon sightseeing takes in Wat Arun, a Buddist temple on the Chao Phraya River. The temple derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna, often personified as the radiations of the rising sun. Wat Arun is among the best known of Thailand’s landmarks.
Finally, we go on a long tail boat for an hour-long cruise on picturesque Chao Phraya River and the Klongs (canals) of Thonburi on the west side of the river. There will be chance to observe and photograph the serene family homes and temples along the waterways.
Day 4/Thu: Bangkok – Yangon (B)
Free morning for packing and relaxing.
Transfer to the airport to board our late afternoon flight to Yangon. Meet the local guide on arrival and transfer to the hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure.
Day 5/Fri: Yangon (B/L/D)
Yangon is the former capital and the largest city of Myanmar. Once known as Rangoon (“end of strife”), it was founded in the 11th century starting as a fishing village and was transformed into a commercial and political hub after it was seized by the British in 1852 during the Second Anglo-Burmese War.
Our morning sightseeing includes Sule Pagoda and Independence Park by the City Hall. Sule Pagoda has been a focal point for contemporary Yangon and Burmese politics. As we drive along the streets, the guide will point out major buildings constructed during the British colonial era.
Later today we visit the Shwedagon Pagoda. Situated on a hilltop, the spectacular Buddhist temple thought to be more than 2,500 years old is the city’s most significant landmark.
Day 6/Sat: Yangon (B)
After a stroll along lovely Kandawgyi Lake, we spend the rest of the day exploring Yangon on our own. We recommend the famous Scott Market which is very popular among jewelry and handicraft shoppers.
Day 7/Sun: Yangon – Bagan (B/L)
The early morning flight to Bagan takes 1 hour 20 minutes. Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region. From the 9th to 13th century, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day. The plain east of the curving Irrawaddy River is one of the most wondrous sights in Myanmar.
The most prominent monuments we will visit in Bagan include Shwesandaw Pagoda and Ananda Temple. We will also learn about the local lacquerware during our visit to a traditional workshop. Viewing the vast forest of spires of temples from above is another highlight of our visit to Bagan.
Day 8/Mon: Bagan (B/L)
We start the day with a stroll through a local market. We then proceed to Shwezigon Pagoda built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century. This is followed by a stop at Khay Min Ga Temple for a panoramic view of the pagodas and temples in the area. We return to the hotel after lunch. Later we drive to Bupaya Pagoda or Mingala Zedi Stupa to watch sunset over the Irrawaddy River.
Day 9/Tue: Bagan – Inle lake (B/D)
After a relaxing morning, we fly to Heho, gateway to the tranquil Inle Lake. The lake is lined with simple villages on stilts and dotted with unique floating gardens tended by farmers in their boats. The state of Shan, where the lake is situated, is known for its traditional papermaking and we can witness this craft during a workshop visit. This evening, we enjoy a traditional dinner accompanied by a cultural performance.
Day 10/Wed: Inle Lake (B/L)
This morning we explore the Indein Stupa Complex, a stunning forest of 1,000 ancient towering spires. We then get in a small boat to visit one of the lake’s villages perched on stilts. After lunch, we visit a charming silk-weaving village and stop by at one of the village’s floating gardens.
Day 11/Thu: Inle Lake – Mandalay (B/L/D)
Free morning to relax. Fly to Mandalay in late afternoon.
Mandalay is the second largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. Located 716 km north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, the city has a population of 1.3 million and is the economic hub of Upper Burma.
After hotel check-in we drive to the top of Mandalay Hill for a panoramic view of the historical city in glorious sunset.
Day 12/Fri: Mandalay – Pyin Oo Lwin – Mandalay (B/L)
After breakfast, we embark on a 67km drive to Pyin Oo Lwin. The scenic hill town was once known as Maymyo, named after Colonel James May (later Major General) of the 5th Bengal Infantry stationed there in 1886. The town located at 1,070 metres above sea level was developed during the colonial era and used by the British to escape Rangoon’s summer heat and humidity. Many of the locals in Pyin Oo Lwin still prefer to call their town Maymyo. Although the British have been long gone, the bungalows, villas and public buildings built by them still remain.
We will drive past numerous British buildings and visit one or two of them along the way, but the main reason we come here is the well maintained Kandawgyi Botanic Garden. The National Kandawgyi Garden complex is a 435-acre botanical garden first established in 1915 as the Maymyo Botanical Gardens by Alex Roger, a Forest Officer. The original site was 30 acres and modeled after the Kew Gardens of England with the help of an amateur gardener called Lady Cuffe. On December 1, 1924, the site, with a total area of 240 acres at the time was declared the Government Botanical Reserve. This is also the year when the Burmese Ministry of Forestry designated the Botanical Gardens a “protected forest area”. In the year of 2000, the garden underwent a major renovation. Since then it has been heavily used by the Burmese government to promote ecotourism. The Botanical Gardens has more than 480 species of flowers, shrubs and trees. The $5 admission fee (locals pay less) covers the butterfly museum, the orchid garden and the aviary.
Day 13/Sat: Mandalay (B/L)
Our full-day sightseeing in Mandalay includes Mahamuni Pagoda, Mandalay Palace, Kuthodaw Complex and a boat cruise on Irrawaddy River that takes us to Mingun Pahtodawgyi ruins and U Bein Bridge.
Mingun Pahtodawgyi is an incomplete monument stupa in Mingun, approximately 10 kilometers northwest of Mandalay across the Irrawaddy River. The ruins are the remains of a massive construction project begun by King Bodawpaya in 1790 which was intentionally left unfinished on advice from his astrologers. The Pahtodawgyi is seen as the physical manifestations of the well known eccentricities of Bodawpaya, who set up an observation post on an island off Mingun to personally supervise the construction of the temple.
U Bein Bridge is a crossing that spans the Taungthaman Lake near Amarapura, not far from Mandalay. The 1.2-kilometre bridge was built around 1850 and is believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. Construction began when the capital of Ava Kingdom moved to Amarapura, and the bridge is named after the mayor who had it built.
Day 14/Sun: Mandalay – Chiang Mai (B/D)
Free morning to explore on your own. We transfer to the airport for late afternoon flight (1hr25min) to Chiang Mai, the largest and most culturally significant city in northern Thailand.
Day 15/Mon: Chiang Mai (B/L)
Nestled in high mountains and 750 kilometres north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is the capital of Chiang Mai Province. The city served as capital of the Kingdom of Lanna (1296–1768). Known for its artistic and cultural heritage, the city sits astride the Ping River, a major tributary of the Chao Phraya River. The Chiang Mai Metropolitan Area has a population of nearly one million, more than half the total of Chiang Mai Province.
After breakfast we drive 50km north of the city centre to visit Maesa Elephant camp. Considered Thailand’s national animal, these giant beasts are an integral component of Chiang Mai’s economy. During the hour-long show, the elephants perform a string of tricks, such as logging wood at the command of their mahouts.
We then proceed to a hillside village set in a lush national park, home to a Hmong tribe. Be prepared for lots of walking and stair climbing.
We wrap up the day with a tour of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a Theravada Buddhism temple, which offers sweeping views of Chiang Mai.
Day 16/Tue: Chiang Mai (B/L)
Our half-day walking tour of the old city begins at the Three Kings Monument and includes Dragon Temple and Wat Lok Molee.
The tour ends around noon. We spend the afternoon exploring the small old town on our own.
Day 17/Wed: Chiang Mai – Kunming (B)
After breakfast, we spend the morning exploring Chiang Mai on our own. Transfer to the airport for our late afternoon or evening flight (1hr 30min) to Kunming, capital of China’s Yunnan Province. You’ll hear from your guides that northern Myanmar, northern Thailand and China’s Yunnan have a lot in common in terms of ethnicity, customs, culinary styles and even geographical characteristics.
Kunming is widely known as the “city of eternal spring” due to its temperate climate year-round. Sitting 1,900 metres above sea level in the middle of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, Kunming became the terminus on the Chinese side of the famous Burma Road and also served as an airbase for the Allied Forces during the Second World War.
Day 18/Thu: Kunming – Xianggelila (B/L/D)
This morning we enjoy an excursion to Stone Forest – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located 126km southeast of Kunming, the Stone Forest is a massive collection of gray limestone pillars created by water erosion. The tall rocks seem to emanate from the ground in the manner of stalagmites, with many looking like trees made of stone.
Late afternoon flight to Xianagelila. Xianggelila is at 3,160 metres or 10,400 feet above sea level. Depending on flight schedule, dinner may be arranged next day.
Day 19/Fri: Xianggelila (B/L)
In the 1933 novel Lost Horizon, the British author James Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical and harmonious valley that is gently guided by a lamasery, hidden deep in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Some scholars believe that the Shangri-La story owes a literary debt to Shambhala, a mythical kingdom in Tibetan Buddhist tradition which was sought by Eastern and Western explorers. Because of this remote association, local authorities in Yunnan applied to the State Council, the Chinese equivalent to the cabinet of a Western federal government, to have their county’s name changed from Zhongdian to Shangri-La (Xiangelila in Chinese pinyin) for the sake of tourism promotion. The application was approved in late 2001 and the name change soon went into effect.
We spend the morning exploring Pudacuo National Park. Stops include Bita Lake and Shudu Lake which are surrounded by virgin alpine forests. Designated as a national park on June 25, 2007, Pudacuo covers an area of 1,300 square kilometres. It is the first national park in China that meets the standards established by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The park contains more than 20 percent of China’s plant species, about one-third of its mammal and bird species and almost 100 endangered species. It is notably home to the vulnerable Black-necked cranes, many rare and beautiful orchids, and Himalayan Yew – a coniferous tree whose extracts are a source of the anticancer drug, paclitaxel.
Afternoon sightseeing takes in a Tibetan village, the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery and a local market. Located 5 kilometres from the town of Zhongdian, the Ganden Sumtsenling Monastery, also known as Sungtseling, is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery first built in 1679. Situated at 3,380 metres above sea level, it is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan province and is sometimes referred to as Little Potala Palace in reference to the Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
Day 20/Sat: Xianggelila – Lijiang (B/L/D)
After breakfast we embark on an overland journey to Lijiang. The day-long drive covers 200 kilometres of country road snaking through scenic river valleys and high mountains dotted with villages of various ethnic nationalities. The highlight of the drive is a stop at the Tiger Leaping Gorge, the first bend of the Yangtze. The gorge is a 15-kilometre scenic canyon on the Jinsha River, a primary tributary of the upper Yangtze River. With a maximum depth of 3790 metres, the Tiger Leaping Gorge is believed to be the deepest river canyon in the world.
Day 21/Sun: Lijiang (B/L)
Lijiang is home to the ethnic Naxi people whose intriguing Dongba religion and unique customs coupled with the region’s enchanting scenery combine to make Lijiang and its vicinity a fascinating place to explore. Joseph Rock, the Austrian-American explorer, geographer, linguist and botanist, spent almost three decades researching this part of China. The old town of Lijiang known as Dayan is protected as a UNESCO-designated World Cultural Heritage Site. We spend the rest of the day at leisure to get acclimatized to the high altitudes.
We begin today with an excursion to Yunshanping or Spruce Meadow, an alpine pasture surrounded by virgin forests at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. While there, we’ll attend a live performance called “Impression Lijiang”. Directed by Zhang Yimou, Wang Chaoge and Fan Yue, the show is a song and dance extravaganza that takes place on location at 3,100 metres above sea level, in a spring-like city in Southwest China. Since its premier on July 23, 2006, it has been performed on a regular basis averaging over a million spectators per year.
Later today we visit an ancient village on the way back to the city. In the afternoon we enjoy a walking tour of the old town (this may be moved up to the day before depending on flight schedule).
Day 22/Mon: Lijiang – Kunming (B/L)
We board the newly launched high speed train to Kunming. Our sightseeing this afternoon includes the historic Western Hill Scenic Area and Huating Temple.
Day 23/Tue: Kunming – Hong Kong (B)
Free morning to explore on your own. Our afternoon flight to Hong Kong takes 2.5 hours.
Day 24/Wed: Hong Kong – Home City (B/L)
Hong Kong (meaning “fragrant harbour” in Chinese) is one of the two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China, along with Macau. Comprising more than 260 islands, the territory is located on the eastern side of the Pearl River Delta, bordering Guangdong Province in the north and facing the South China Sea in the east, west and south. Hong Kong was a dependent territory of the United Kingdom from 1842 until the transfer of sovereignty to the People’s Republic of China in 1997. The Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law of Hong Kong stipulate that Hong Kong operate with a high degree of autonomy until at least 2047, fifty years after the transfer. Under the policy of “one country, two systems”, the Central People’s Government is responsible for the territory’s defense and foreign affairs while Hong Kong maintains its own legal system based on English common law, police force, monetary system, customs policy, immigration policy, and delegates to international organizations and events.
Our full-day tour begins a ferry ride across Victoria Harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central. The heart of Hong Kong’s business district, Central is home to the regional headquarters of many multinational financial services corporations. Consulates general and consulates of many countries are also located in this area, as is the government of Hong Kong. The area, with its proximity to Victoria Harbour, has served as the centre of trade and financial activities from the earliest days of the British colonial era in 1841, and continues to flourish and serve as the administrative centre after the transfer of sovereignty to China in 1997.
We then walk to the tram station to get to the top of Victoria Peak. Also known as Mount Austin or The Peak among locals, Victoria Peak is located in the western half of Hong Kong Island with an altitude of 552 meters (1,811 feet). The peak offers sweeping views over Central, Victoria Harbour, Lamma Island and the surrounding islands. The Peak Lookout Restaurant is a wonderful place for dinner and offers a wide selection of Chinese, American, Indian, and Southeast Asian dishes.
After lunch at Aberdeen fishing village, we proceed to Repulse Bay, where opulent private residences owned by Hong Kong’s rich and famous overlook the well maintained golden beaches.
Our final stop is Stanley market, which is a short drive from Repulse Bay. Stanley Market is a typical example of a traditional old open-air market in Hong Kong and a major tourist attraction well known for its bargains.
Day 25/Thu: Hong Kong – home city (B)
Our tour ends this morning. Transfer to the airport any time by taxi (US$35) or by a combination of hotel shuttle bus (free) and Airport Express Train (US$12/person).
Contact us for printer-friendly PDF file
|Yangon||3||Novotel Yangon Max||luxury|
|Bagan||2||Aureum Palace Hotel||luxury|
|Inle Lake||2||Aureum Palace Hotel||luxury|
|Mandalay||3||Sedona Hotel Mandalay||4 stars, best available|
|Chiang Mai||3||Le Méridien Chiang Mai||luxury|
|Lijiang||2||Hilton Garden Inn||luxury|
|Hong Kong||2||Harbour Grand Kowloon||luxury|
Dates and Prices
Scroll down for what tour price includes and excluded
|What the tour price includes:
||What the tour price excludes:
When dealing with Laurus Travel, you don’t need to worry about hidden mandatory charges because there are none!
See Terms & Conditions for more information.
A passport with at least two (2) blank visa pages and six (6) months validity at the end of the tour is required.
You won’t need to bring any photos to enter either country, but you are advised to carry one or two photos of passport type just in case.
Thailand Tourist Visa
Visa is not required of nationals from Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and a host of other Western countries if the stay is within 30 days. However, you will be required to fill out a declaration form on arrival.
Myanmar Tourist Visa – $50 USD
The country has done much in promoting inbound tourism and along the way the government of Myanmar has made it easy for international visitors to obtain tourist visa. Please go to http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/ to get familiar with the requirements and be sure to apply only within 90 days of your intended arrival. You may pay your visa fee with a Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card. Please don’t be surprised when you notice that the payment processing is done through a secure website located in Singapore. Visa on arrival is not available at the moment.
Be sure to carry with you a clearly printed copy of your Entry Visa Approval Letter as shown on the right. If you don’t have it, the immigration and customs officials there may assist you in locating a printer but you must first locate the document in your computer or smart phone. You should also expect significant delay in clearing immigration as the officials treat others with such letters in hand with priority.
Hong Kong Visa
Not required for stay up to three months. Please double check with us at the time of tour booking.
You are not required of any inoculation certificate to enter the above countries. However, we do suggest you visit your family physician or a travel clinic to determine what precautions you should take. We recommend inoculation shots for hepatitis A and suggest that you check out advice provided by the US CDC and Health Canada.
Tap water is not safe to drink. Ask for bottled water when eating in restaurants. When buying bottled water from street vendors, especially at tourist sites, make sure the cap is properly sealed because some vendors may be selling tap water in recycled bottles.
Try to avoid uncooked food. Even the food you eat is clean, you may still experience stomach upsets or diarrhea due to ingredients your stomach is not used to.
Always carry a roll of toilet paper and a bottle of hand sanitizer containing more than 60% of alcohol, no matter where you go. Since you will be asked to remove shoes and socks to enter Buddhist temples in Myanmar and the ground can be very dirty, we recommend that you always carry some wet wipes or towels during your stay in that country.
Thailand: Thai Baht (1 USD = 32 Baht)
Myanmar: Kyat (1 USD = 1073 Kyat)
Hong Kong: Dollar (1 USD = 7.75 HKD)
Major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the above countries and can be used for major purchases. U.S. dollars are accepted almost everywhere in Myanmar. Merchants in Thailand and Hong Kong generally decline any currency other than their own. The US dollars you bring must be in near mint condition. Any paper bill with stain or marking or missing corner would result in rejection by the local banks and currency dealers.
You do not need to get any local currency prior to arrival.