Day 1- January 15: Fly
Today you will fly from your home to Los Angeles (LAX) where you will board the Singapore Airline Jet late this evening. The new jet boasts roomier seats and the best on-demand entertainment system. Your flight will take you to Singapore and then on to Rangoon. If you are doing your own airfare you must get your airfare all the way to Rangoon.
Day 2- January 16: Flying
Cross the International Date Line and lose a day.
Important Note: Burma (Myanmar) is one of the most impressive countries in the world to tour. But for many years, Burma (Myanmar) has been a country everyone has recommended you do not travel to because of political problems. It was removed from that list by the US and other countries a couple of years ago. The flood of tourists since being taken off the do not visit list, has completely overwhelmed the country! During the high season (the best time to visit Burma & the time of our visit) there are 3 passengers looking for rooms for every room available. Most of the existing hotels are not fully up to the deluxe and luxury hotels you find in other countries. But because of the demand, they are the most expensive hotels we have on this tour! It is an absolute fight to get the hotels we need, and this year we had to sometimes split our group into 3 hotels to get everyone taken care of. Is it worth the headache? Absolutely!!!!! You do not want to miss the best ruins in the world at Bagan and the experience of a lifetime at Inle Lake!
Myanmar Dress Code: should note that the chapel is a national shrine, and you will be required to wear proper attire (no bare shoulders or knees.) Shoes must be removed before entering the temple buildings as a matter of respect.
Day 3- January 17: Rangoon Myanmar (Burma)
You will arrive early morning into Singapore, change planes and continue on to Rangoon. You will arrive mid-morning into Rangoon. Yangon (Rangoon) lies in the fertile delta of southern Myanmar, on the wide Yangon River. The city is filled with tree-shaded boulevards while shimmering stupas float above the treetops. The city became the capital only in 1885. We will be doing a city tour. The most important stop will be SHWEDAGON PAGODA, which is the highlight of any visit to Yangon. Towering over the city, this pagoda is the most sacred spot in the country, built to house eight hair relics of the Buddha. After touring, we will head to our hotel.
Day 4- January 18: Rangoon – Bagan
Today will be another fantastic highlight day. This morning we will fly to Bagan. We consider Bagan to be the BEST RUINS in the WORLD! Bagan is a spectacular plain stretching away from the Ayeyarwaddy River, dotted with thousands of 800-year old temple ruins. Although human habitation at Bagan dates back almost to the beginning of the Christian era, Bagan only entered its golden period with the conquest of Thaton in 1057 AD.
- SHWEZIGON PAYA: King Anawrahta started the construction of the Schwezigon Pagoda to enshrine some relicts of Buddha. The construction was finished by his successor, King Kyansittha between 1086 and1090. Originally the Shwezigon Pagoda marked the northern end of the city of Bagan. The stupa’s graceful bell shape became a prototype for virtually all later stupas over Myanmar.
- GUBYAUKHYI TEMPLE at Wetkyi-Inn: This temple was built in the early 13th Century and repaired in 1468. The great colorful painting about the previous life of Buddha and the distinguished architecture make this temple an interesting site for a visit.
- ANANDA PAHTO: One of the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples. Thought to have been built around 1105 by King Kyanzittha, this perfectly proportioned temple heralds the stylistic end of the Early Bagan period and the beginning of the Middle period.
- GUBYAUKGYI TEMPLE at Myinkaba: Built-in 1113 by Kyanzittha son Rajakumar, this temple is famous for its well-preserved Stuccos from the 12th century on the outside walls. The magnificent paintings date from the original construction of the temple and are considered to be the oldest original paintings in Bagan.
- MANUHA TEMPLE: The Manuha Temple was built in 1059 by King Manuha, the King of Thaton, who was brought captive to Bagan by King Anawrahta. It enshrines the unusual combination of 3 seated and one reclining image Buddha. It is said that this temple was built by Manuha to express his displeasure about his captivity in Bagan.
- SHWESANDAW PAYA: In 1057 King Anawrahta built this Pagoda following his conquest of Thaton. This is the first monument in Bagan, which features stairways leading up from the square bottom terraces to the round base of the Stupa. This Pagoda is ideal to watch Bagan’s magnificent sunsets.
- LACQUERWARE WORKSHOP: The villages around Bagan are known for producing the finest lacquerware in Myanmar. Stop by one of the workshops and learn about the painstaking process of lacquerware making and decoration. We will overnight in Bagan.
Day 5- January 19: Bagan – Inle Lake
We have an early start today. Our flight to Heho departs this morning. Upon arrival at approximately 8:30 am we will transfer to the Inle Lake region. Here we travel by boat to the western shore of the lake. As you travel across the lake you may glimpse locals going about their daily tasks. Here we exit the boat and wind our way to the hidden Indein temple complex. The complex is home to hundreds of stupas in various stages of preservation. Many are still hidden under the thick overgrowth of moss and vines. We conclude the day at the hotel.
Day 6- January 20: Inle Lake
Today we enjoy another boat excursion on Inle Lake. Inle Lake is beautiful and fertile with calm waters that are dotted with patches of floating vegetation. The lakes shore and islands are home to 17 villages built on stilts, mostly inhabited by the Intha people. We visit one of these villages and a local market. Along the way, we enjoy the scenery and may observe local fishermen using their leg-rowing technique to propel themselves around the lake. Later we also visit the Phaung Daw OO Pagoda and the Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery. The day concludes at the hotel where you will have time to enjoy the area at your leisure.
Day 7- January 21: Inle Lake – Rangoon
This afternoon we will transfer from Inle Lake to the airport for our flight to Rangoon. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 8- January 22: Rangoon – Siem Reap
Today will have another fantastic highlight day. This morning we will fly to Siem Reap. Upon arrival visit Tonle Sap Lake: Kampong Kleang is located about 50 km from Siem Reap town. By boat, we will explore the floating fishing villages that live at the edges of the lake, passing submerged forests and fishing farms. We will also visit the local market. The friendly locals make visiting a local market an interesting excursion. We will then transfer to our 5 Star luxury hotel.
Day 9- January 23: Angkor Wat
Our Visit to Angkor Wat will be another fantastic highlight day! The crowning jewel of Khmer architecture, ANGKOR WAT is the national symbol and a favorite of any visit to Cambodia. The largest, best-preserved, and most religiously significant of the Angkor temples, Angkor impresses visitors both by its sheer scale and beautifully proportioned layout, as well as the delicate artistry of its carvings. To approach the temple you must cross the vast moat, continuing along a broad causeway lined with naga balustrades. As you enter the main building you will ascend through a series of galleries and courtyards before reaching the central sanctuary, which offers beautiful views back over the causeway and across the surrounding countryside. On the way, we stop to enjoy the intricate stone carvings that adorn nearly every surface, with some 1,700 Apsaras, or celestial dancers, sculpted into the walls. Along the outer gallery, walls run the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which narrates stories from Hindu mythology, including the famous Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Angkor Wat is stunning at any time of the day.
Visit Angkor Thom: The fortified city of ANGKOR THOM covers an area of 10 square km. Enclosed by a wall and wide moats, the city includes many of Angkor’s most popular sights. Enter by the monumental SOUTH GATE over a causeway lined on either side by statues of demons and gods, each carrying a giant naga. Continue to the TERRACE OF THE ELEPHANTS and the TERRACE OF THE LEPER KINGS, former spaces for public ceremonies, both adorned with dramatic bas reliefs. We will visit the ruined BAPHUON, ROYAL ENCLOSURE and PHIMEANAKAS before continuing to TA PROHM, one of the most popular attractions of Angkor. Much of the jungle has not been cleared and it looks very much as most of the Angkor monuments would have appeared when European explorers first stumbled across them. Tomb Raiders and other movies were filmed here.
Day 10- January 24: Siem Reap – Bangkok
Late afternoon flight to Bangkok. Upon arrival, we will transfer to your 5-star luxury hotel.
Day 11- January 25: Bangkok to Chiang Mai
This morning we will visit THE ROYAL GRAND PALACE, the nation’s landmark and most praised royal monument. This is the former royal residence of the Chakri Kings. The palace is a perfect example of an ancient Siamese court. Built-in 1782 by King Rama I, it was the center of power for more than 150 years. Today, the Palace is Bangkok’s major landmark and most popular tourist attraction. WAT PHRA KAEW, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is located right next to the Grand Palace and together form perhaps the greatest spectacle for the visitor to Bangkok. It consists of over 100 brightly colored buildings, golden spires and glittering mosaics, and dates back to 1782 when Bangkok was founded. When you enter the compound you first see Wat Phra Kaew and the nearby attractions and then move on to the Grand Palace. Photography is permitted in the Royal Palace Grounds and in the compounds of the Emerald Buddha Temple, but not inside the buildings. Later this afternoon we will fly to Chiang Mai.
Day 12- January 26: Chiang Mai
Today will be a fantastic highlight day that you will never forget. We start with a visit to the Tiger Kingdom. Here you will be able to see many tigers and if you would like, you will have an opportunity to pet a tiger. From there we head to see the elephants where you’ll see them perform a fantastic show. Then we will visit the Long Neck Village. As seen in National Geographic, the women of the Long Neck Tribe put multiple metal rings around their necks to stretch them. The rings weigh over 20 pounds. We return to Chiang Mai to overnight.
Day 13- January 27: Chiang Mai
We will start our day by visiting the Golden Temples on the hill overlooking Chiang Mai. We will also have time for a city tour, plus a visit to a fantastic wood carving and umbrella-making factory. You will have time to rearrange your bags before you fly home tomorrow.
Day 14- January 28: Chiang Mai – San Francisco
This morning the group will fly to Singapore, change planes and continue on to San Francisco. If you have purchased your own airfare then you will be responsible to get your flight from Chiang Mai all the way home.
NOTE: We arrive at approximately 8:30 pm into San Francisco and in many cases, it will be too late to travel to your home. We have included the hotel in San Francisco. If a flight becomes available and you can continue home, then we will deduct $125 per room off your invoice for not using that hotel.
Day 15- January 29: Home
This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.