Vietnam and Myanmar have certainly played an important role in modern day history, especially now with the opening of the isolated country of Burma (Myanmar). Our 24-day in depth and relaxed style journey combines these two august countries in the Pacific in an attempt to provide an experience of the history, culture, people and traditions that have evolved over the years in these two magnificent countries.
|Price (From)||:||US$ 6360|
|Includes international air|
Day 01: Arrive Saigon (VIETNAM)
Chào ban! (Welcome in Vietnamese) Upon arrival to one of Vietnam’s largest cities we are met and transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Duxton Hotel, Saigon (3 nights)
Day 02: Saigon
We have a whole day to explore some of the most interesting sites, including the beautiful neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office, the Opera House also known as “Saigon Concert Hall’, the Jade Emperor Pagoda with its colorful and mysterious ambiance, the Reunification Palace and Ben Thanh Market. We also visit the Giam Lam Pagoda built at the end of the 17th century and the oldest pagoda in Saigon, Binh Tay Market, and finally the Thien Hau Pagoda, one of the most active in Cholon. (B)
Day 03: Saigon
Today we take an interesting excursion to My Tho, the capital of Tien Giang Province. The economy of My Tho is based on fishing and the cultivation of rice, coconuts, bananas, mangos, longans and citrus fruits. We have the opportunity to visit the centuries-old My Tho Church and experience the Central Market, filled with stalls selling everything from fresh food and bulk tobacco to boat propellers. Cao Dai Temple in the Long An Province, is a smaller temple than the one at Tay Ninh, but is well worth a visit. The Vinh Trang Pagoda is a beautiful and well-maintained sanctuary where charitable monks provide a home to needy children. Finally, we visit Dragon Island with its many longan orchards and lush, palm-fringed shores lined with traditional wooden fishing boats. (B)
Day 04: Saigon/Dalat (Drive 298 kms/185 miles)
This morning we journey northeast for Dalat. En Route we have the opportunity to stop at La Nga Lake, a reservoir that is crossed by a bridge and is residence to many floating houses. Next on our journey is Dinh Quan, where we will find 3 inactive volcanic craters dating from the late Jurassic period. Finally we explore Dambri Falls, the highest falls in Vietnam, where the views are breathtaking. This area is inhabited chiefly by Montagnards.
Overnight: Mercure Dalat du Parc Hotel, Dalat (1 night) (B)
Day 05: Dalat/Nha Trang (Drive 213 kms/132 miles)
Today is our day to tour Dalat beginning with the Hang Nga Art Gallery, a café and art gallery run by the gallery's eccentric owner. The French District is a delightful area for walking around, and is reminiscent of a French provincial town. Next we are off to visit Prenn Falls then head for the Valley Of Love was named the Valley of Peace by the Emperor; however in 1972 its name was changed by romantically-minded students. Dalat Cathedral was built between 1931 and 1942 for use by French residents and holidaymakers and features stained-glass windows that put us in medieval Europe. Domaine De Marie Convent is a pink tile-roofed structure and was once home to 300 nuns. Thien Vuong Pagoda, also known as the Chinese pagoda is set on a hilltop amid pine trees. Later this afternoon we depart for Nha Trang, the home of tens of thousands of descendents of the Cham people.
Overnight: Yasaka Hotel, Nha Trang (2 nights) (B)
Day 06: Nha Trang
This day is full of interesting sites! The Po Nagar Cham Towers, built between the 7th and 12th centuries, were used for Hindu worship as early as the 2nd century AD. The Oceanographic Institute has an aquarium and specimen room open to the public. Next we are off to the Lang Son Pagoda, with an exquisite entrance and roofs decorated with mosaic dragons. At the top of the hill, behind the pagoda, is the huge white Buddha seated on a lotus blossom. Nha Trang Cathedral, built in the French Gothic style, stands on a small hill overlooking the train station. The Bao Dai Villas, formerly the retreat of Bao Dai Vietnam's last emperor, were used by high-ranking officials of the South Vietnamese government. (B)
Day 07: Nha Trang/Danang/Hoi An (Flight/Drive 30 kms/18 miles)
We are transferred to the airport for a short flight to Danang where we start our tour with the Cham Museum. Founded in 1915 by the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient, it has the finest open-air collection of Cham sculptures in the world. China Beach, made famous in the American TV series of the same name, stretches north and south of the Marble Mountains. The Marble Mountains consist of 5 stone hillocks made of marble and each is said to represent one of the five elements of the universe. The largest and most famous, Thuy Son, has a number of natural caves, in which Buddhist sanctuaries have been built over the centuries. We continue to Hoi An, a picturesque riverside town south of Danang. Known as Faifo to early western traders, it was one of South East Asia's major international ports from the 17th to 19th centuries.
Overnight: Hoi An Beach Resort, Hoi An (2 nights) (B)
Day 08: Hoi An
A full day visiting the many interesting sites of Hoi An, including Quan Cong Temple, founded in 1653. The Phuoc Kien Pagoda is a typical example of the Chinese 'clans' that were established in the Hoi An area, was built around 1690. The Japanese Covered Bridge, constructed in 1593 was built by the Japanese community of Hoi An, to link them with the Chinese quarters across the river. The Sa Huynh Museum contains exhibitions from the earliest period of Hoi An's history. Finally we visit the Phung Hung House, a structure that combines Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese architectural styles and has been the home to one family for eight generations. (B)
Day 09: Hoi An/Hue (Drive 132 kms/82 miles)
A scenic drive to Hue begins this day. Upon arrival, our afternoon tour includes the 19th Century Imperial City that was for a long time the cultural and intellectual center of Vietnam. Our tour includes the Citadel that was built in the early 19th century and modeled after the Forbidden City in Peking. Ngo Mon Gate is the principal entrance to the Imperial Enclosure and faces the Flag Tower. The Forbidden Purple City was reserved for the personal use of the emperor and the only servants allowed into the compound were eunuchs. Evening is free to mix and mingle with the local Hue people.
Overnight: Saigon Morin Hotel, Hue (2 nights) (B)
Day 10: Hue
A jaunt to Tu Duc Tomb, once the Royal Palace of Tu Duc, begins our day’s tour. Constructed between 1864 and 1867, its pavilions are framed in a tranquil setting of forested hills and lakes. The Khai Dinh Tomb, the last monument of the Nguyen dynasty, sits magnificently on the slopes of Chau E Mountain in Chau Chau Village and houses a long staircase flanked by dragons and decorated with stunning ceiling murals and ceramic frescoes. Located just outside of Hue on the bank of the Perfume River, Thien Mu Pagoda was a hotbed of anti-government protests during the early 1960s. The Emperor Minh Mang Tomb complex built in 1840, is known for its magnificent architecture, military statuaries and elaborate decorations. It is perhaps the most beautiful of Hue's pagodas and tombs, a fitting end to a spectacular day. (B)
Day 11: Hue/Hanoi (Flight)
Morning free at leisure till we are transferred for our short flight to Hanoi, a city of lakes. Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a charming city of peaceful shaded boulevards, French style buildings and public parks. Afternoon tour of Hanoi includes the One Pillar Pagoda built by the Emperor Ly Thai Tong. Built of wood on a single stone pillar, this structure was designed to resemble a lotus blossom. Hoan Kiem Lake is located in the heart of Hanoi and is home to a small Tortoise Pagoda topped with a red star perched on an islet in the middle of the lake. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s great leader of independence. Our journey today concludes with a visit to St Joseph Cathedral, a striking neo-Gothic cathedral noteworthy for its square towers, elaborate altar and colourful stained-glass windows.
Overnight: Sunway Hotel, Hanoi (1 night) (B)
Day 12: Hanoi/Ha Long Bay (Drive)
This morning we depart for Ha Long Bay to embark a 4 hour cruise around Ha Long Bay, which includes a boat ride to Hang Dau Go, a huge cave consisting of three chambers that are reached climbing 90 steps. The cave derives its Vietnamese name from the third of the chambers, which is said to have been used by Tran Hung Dao during the 13th century to store bamboo stakes that were used against Mongol invaders. Bo Nau is the 'Pelican' cave of interest. Thien Cung is "Heaven Palace". Once the cruise ends you will be transferred to your hotel.
Overnight: Ha Long Plaza Hotel, Ha Long Bay (1 night) (B)
Day 13: Ha Long Bay/Hanoi (Drive)
Return to Hanoi. The rest of the day is free at leisure.
Overnight: Sunway Hotel, Hanoi (1 night) (B)
Day 14: Hanoi/Yangon (BURMA/MYANMAR) (Flight)
Mingalaba! (Welcome) Yangon lies in the fertile delta of the Yangon River and gives the impression of being full of trees, shade and shimmering stupas floating above the treetops. Our afternoon tour includes the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda which dates back about 2500 years and was built to house eight sacred hairs of the Buddha. Its bell-shaped superstructure is covered in about 60 tons of gold leaf. The National Museum holds several interesting exhibits, including the mammoth Sihasana Lion Throne as well as many treasures of Burmese royalty. The Sule Pagoda has a 48 meter/52 yard high golden dome used, when it was rebuilt in the 1880s, by the British as the nucleus of their grid pattern for the city.
Overnight: Summit Parkview Hotel, Yangon (2 nights) (B)
Day 15: Yangon
An interesting experience today includes mingling in the Bogyoke Aung San Market, also known as Scott Market, and its 2000 little shops. The Kyaukhtatkyi Pagoda contains a gaudy, modern, 70m/76 yard-long reclining Buddha built in 1966 and housed in a formidable iron pavilion. The temple doubles as a monastery, as well as a center for the study of Buddhist manuscripts. Mailamu Pagoda has a series of interesting images of the Buddha in his previous incarnations as well as a lovely reclining Buddha image. (B)
Day 16: Yangon/Bagan (Flight)
A short flight gets us to Bagan with its spectacular plain dotted with thousands of ancient temple ruins. Although human habitation in 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. Our tour includes Ananda Pahto, one of the finest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples thought to have been built around 1105, and the Shwegugyi temple, built in 1311. We also visit Thatbyinnyu Pahto, Nathlaung Kyaung, Bagan's only Hindu Vaishnavite temple, and the Pahtothamya. Gawdawpalin Pahto, one of the largest and most imposing of the Bagan temples. Bupaya is a cylindrical Pyu-style stupa said to be the oldest in Bagan; local residents claim it dates to the 3rd century.
Overnight: Bagan Hotel, Bagan (2 nights) (B)
Day 17: Bagan
Our excursion to Mount Popa, gives us an interesting picture of life in the countryside. We also visit Salay famous as the historic home of Salay U Ponya, a Bagan Era writer/poet. We go to many interesting sites including Payathonzu, an interconnected complex of three brick shrines; Thadanayaunggyi Kyaung, an ancient monastery in continuous use for several centuries, and Mogok Vipassan Yeiktha, a meditation center. We will also have the opportunity to see Nan Paya, home to a large lacquer Buddha dating back to the 13th century, and an old brick and stucco Buddhist scripture library. We finish the day with a visit to Youqson Kyaung, the oldest surviving wooden monastery hall in the Bagan area. (B)
Day 18: Bagan/Mandalay (Drive 200 kms/124 miles)
This morning we depart by road to Mandalay, the last capital of Myanmar before the British took over. Mandalay is of great cultural and historical importance and is the most “Burmese” of Myanmar’s large cities. Mandalay's Buddhist monasteries are the most important in the country - about 60% of all the monks in Myanmar reside in the Mandalay area.
Overnight: Mandalay Hill Resort, Mandalay (3 nights) (B)
Day 19: Mandalay
Constructed in 1857, Mandalay Fort (Fort Dufferin) is an imposing walled palace compound encircled by an impressive moat. We get a glimpse of history at the Mandalay Museum and Library, known for their large collection of Mandalay regalia, royally commissioned art and palm-leaf manuscripts that were formerly housed in the palace. Next we visit the Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, home to a huge seated marble-image of the Buddha; the Sandamani Paya, a cluster of slender whitewashed stupas and the Shwenandaw Kyaung, fine example of a traditional Burmese wooden monastery. (B)
Day 20: Mandalay
Today we visit the one time capital of Inwa followed by Sagaing and Amarapura where we visit Nanmyin, Maha Aungmye Bonzan, and Bagaya Kyaung, a monastery built of teakwood and supported by 267 teak posts. Sagaing is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar and is popularly known as 'Little Pagan' as the Sagaing ridge is littered with around 600 pagodas and living monasteries. We also visit Thabyedan Fort, Kaunghmudaw Paya, Sagaing's most important temple, Tupayon Paya with its unique architecture and Hsinmyashin Paya, known as the Pagoda of Many Elephants. Amarapura means City of Immortality, however its period as capital was brief. We visit Pahtodawgyi, and Bagaya Kyaung - a museum and library known for its collection of palm-leaf manuscripts. (B)
Day 21: Mandalay/Kalaw (Drive 200 kms/124 miles)
Our destination today is Kalaw, a popular hill station in the British days. Kalaw sits high on the western edge of the Shan Plateau and is still a peaceful and quiet place with an atmosphere reminiscent of the colonial era. The small population is a mix of Shan, Indian Muslims, Bamar and Nepalis making for an interesting cultural experience. Our afternoon tour includes Aung Chang Tha Zedi, a glittering stupa covered in gold-colored mosaics, Dhamma Yon, a two-story temple provides a fair view of the town, Dhamma Yanthi Paya and the ruins of the Hsu Taung Pye Paya. Nee Paya, and Christ The King Church, wrap up our days sightseeing.
Overnight: Pine Hill Resort, Kalaw (1 night) (B)
Day 22: Kalaw/Inle Lake (Drive 100 kms/62 miles)
We drive to Inle Lake, located in Shan State. The lake is beautiful, with its serene waters dotted with patches of floating vegetation and fishing canoes. High hills rim the lake on both sides creating a cozy and tranquil setting. The lakeshore and lake islands bear 17 villages on stilts, mostly inhabited by the unique Intha people.
Overnight: Inle Lake View Resort, Inle Lake (1 night) (B)
Day 23: Inle Lake/Heho/Yangon (Drive/Flight)
This morning, we enjoy a boat trip on the serene Inle Lake followed by a scenic and countryside drive to Heho where we catch our flight back to Yangon.
Overnight: Summit Parkview Hotel, Yangon (1 night) (B)
Day 24: Depart Yangon
Today we bid farewell after what will have been an awe-inspiring journey. We are transferred to the airport for our departure flight with unforgettable memories of extraordinary cultures.
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Departure Dates & Prices
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