Day 1 - Wednesday, November 22:
Flight Toronto–Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon) via Hong Kong, with Cathay Pacific. Departure around 2 PM.
Day 2 - Thursday, November 23:
Arrival in Hong Kong around 7 PM, and connecting flight to Yangon, Myanmar’s capital, arriving around midnight.
Day 3 - Friday, November 24:
After midnight, transfer from the airport to the Park Royal Hotel
and overnight. Late breakfast, followed by city tour, with as highlights our visit to the massive reclining Buddha at Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda; Kandawgyi Park; the royal floating barge named Karaweik Palace; and the world-famous golden stupa, Shwedagon Pagoda, whose golden stupac rises 98 meters above its base and is covered with 60 tons of pure gold. After watching the sunset from the vantage point of Pagoda, dinner in a typical restaurant such as the House of Memories, located in a colonial building.
Day 4 - Saturday, November 25:
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and short flight to Bagan. Arrival and comprehensive tour of this beautiful city, one of Myanmar’s premier historical and cultural centres, home to more than 2,000 temples and pagodas! Our tour includes shrines such as Ananda, Htilominlo, Thatbyinnyu, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, and Shwezigon Pagoda, plus secular sights such as Nyaung U market and traditional workshops. Dinner and overnight in the Myanmar Treasure Resort
Day 5 - Sunday, November 26:
Today we rise early to enjoy the sunrise from the upper terrace of one of the temples. After breakfast, we proceed to the Mount Popa, an extinct volcano with spectacular views and shrines associated with Myanmar Nats spirits, said to be born here, making this volcano a major centre of pilgrimage. Returning to Bagan, we visit a palm tree plantation and a typical village. Late afternoon boat tour on the Irrawaddy River, finishing as the sun sets on riverside villages and temples.
Day 6 - Monday, November 27:
This morning we fly to Mandalay, the last royal city of the Myanmar Kingdom. Upon arrival, sightseeing tour in Mandalay and area, including sights such as Mahagandaryone Monastery and U Bein, the world’s longest teakwood bridge, in Amarapura, the “City of Immortality”; Sagaing, the religious centre of Myanmar, featuring over 600 Buddhist monasteries and pagodas; the local market and traditional shops; a Buddhist nunnery; Shwenandaw Monastery, famous for its exquisite woodcarvings; and Kuthodaw Pagoda, proud owner of what is said to be the world’s largest book. We conclude the tour with a visit to Mandalay Hill for a panoramic view of the city. Dinner and overnight in Eastern Palace Hotel
Day 7 - Tuesday, November 28:
After breakfast, we view the Mahamuni Buddha, a bronze image cast during the Buddha’s own lifetime. Then we leave Mandalay for scenic drive to Inle Lake, driving through the ancestral land of the Danu Tribe and stopping en route to visit a coffee and tea plantation. Lunch in the lakeside town of Pindaya, where we also visit the famous Pindaya Cave, containing thousands of Buddha images, and view centuries-old Banyan trees, associated with Hinduism as well as Buddhism. Continue via Kalaw, a picturesque hilltop town that functioned as a resort for Myanmar’s former British colonial masters, to our hotel on the shores of Inle Lake, the Amata Garden Resort
Day 8 - Wednesday, November 29:
Full-day tour of beautiful Inle Lake, the “Asian Venice,” featuring stilt houses and villages, island-bound Buddhist temples, floating gardens, fishermen using ancient techniques such as leg-rowing, and, on the shores, workshops of traditional artisans, e.g. weavers and cigar-makers. Also included are visits to sanctuaries such as Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and Nga Phe Chaung Monastery, and to villages like Indein, a settlement of the Pa-Oh tribe, famous for its hilltop covered with 1,054 stupas constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries! Another highlight will be our visit to a village of the “Long-Neck” Kayan Tribe
, where many women traditionally wear as many as twenty rings around their neck!
Day 9 - Thursday, November 30:
Morning visit to the colourful local market, where villagers from the surrounding area sell their products; this is a great opportunity to observe and photograph members of the hill tribes in their traditional dresses! After lunch, transfer to the airport and short flight to the town of Kengtung. Transfer to the Amazing Kyaingtong Resort
and time to relax before dinner.
Day 10 - Friday, December 01:
Today we explore two typical villages of the Ann, Akha, and Palaung tribes, meeting with the locals and learning about their cultures. After a picnic lunch in one of the villages or some scenic spot, we return to Kengtung, with en route a visit to a traditional rice whisky distillery. (Please note that a fair amount of walking will be involved today!)
Day 11 - Saturday, December 02:
Departure after breakfast. We motor through beautiful mountain scenery to the border town of Tarchileik, hub of the so-called Golden Triangle
, the region where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar converge. Before we cross into Thailand, which may take some time, we hope to take a look at some of the local sites of interest, such as Ta Lot Market, the Shwedagon Pagoda, and/or Two Dragons Monastery. Then it is time to say goodbye to our Myanmar guide and hello to our Thailand tour host. After lunch in a local restaurant, we enjoy a boat trip on the mighty Mekong River., then visit the Opium Museum, featuring historical displays about a product for which this region used to be (in)famous! Arrival in Chiang Rai, where we stay in the Legend Chiang Rai Resort
Day 12 - Sunday, December 03:
A day of leisurely sightseeing in Chiang Rai and surroundings. The highlights will include the White Temple, designed by a famous national artist; a visit to an Akha hill tribe village; Mae Salong Mountain; Santi Kiri, a settlement of ethnic Chinese, descendants of nationalist forces that took refuge in Northern Thailand after Mao Ze Dong’s victory in the late 1940s; they originally survived by growing opium but now specialize in tea, medicinal herbs, and all sorts of other exotic products we will introduced to during visits to a plantation and a coop/shop. Lunch in a local restaurant. Continue to Thaton Temple, situated on the banks of the Mae Kok River in the peaceful village of Ban Thaton. Return to Chiang Rai for dinner and overnight.
Day 13 - Monday, December 04:
Today we motor through scenic hilly countryside to the town of Chiang Mai, situated on the banks of the Mae Ping River in a beautiful valley in the mountains of Northern Thailand. City tour upon arrival, including visits to Wat Phra Tat Doi Suthep Temple, featuring a golden Pagoda and relics of Lord Buddha, as well as Wat Sri Suphan, the “Silver Temple.” Lunch at a local restaurant. Check into our hotel, the Siripanna Resort
, and free time to relax before our traditional Northern Thailand Khuntoke dinner, with folk dances typical of the regional hill tribes.
Day 14 - Tuesday, December 05:
Morning excursion to Mae Taeng Elephant Camp, including an elephant show and a ride short ride on one of the gentle giants. On to Lisu Tribal Village to learn about their traditional lifestyle and a ride in an ox-drawn cart back to the camp. After a group lunch, we enjoy a 30-minute trip by bamboo raft on the Mae Taeng River and a visit to an orchid and butterfly farm. Return to Chiang Mai in time for dinner.
Day 15 - Wednesday, December 06:
After Breakfast, transfer to the airport and short flight to Bangkok. City tour upon arrival, including visits to the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, the flower market, and the temples of the Emerald, the Reclining , and the Golden Buddha, the latter the world’s largest solid gold Buddha statue, 10 feet high and weighing over 5 tons! We conclude the day’s sightseeing, and our tour of Myanmar and Thailand in general, with a dinner cruise! Overnight in the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel
Day 16 - Thursday, December 07:
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and departure for Toronto, via Hong Kong, with Cathay Pacific. Departure around 1 PM, and same-day arrival in Toronto around 8 PM.