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Thailand & Myanmar

from £2729
Venture off the beaten track and explore beautiful Northern Thailand and Myanmar on foot. 

We begin in Thailand’s second largest city, Chiang Mai, exploring on foot and uncovering the local flavours with an included cookery class. We then venture into the rural areas for jungle views and coffee plantations. Continuing north we learn of the many distinct local tribes that still inhabit the area. At Chiang Saen, we reach the mighty Mekong River and the fabled Golden Triangle.

Crossing over the border into Myanmar, we take a flight to Kalaw. This former British hill station has a pleasant climate, perfect for hill walking. We visit Inle Lake with its famous fishermen and local markets, before cruising on the lake by boat and canoe, and exploring its shores on foot. We save the best for last with a visit to Bagan; 2000 temples cover the plains making this one of the world’s most impressive archaeological sites. Watch the temples rise from the jungle as the sun sets.

We finish in Yangon, formerly Rangoon under colonial British rule. many buildings remain from colonial times. It is a fascinating city to stroll through to see the contrasts between old and new.

From Yangon we board our flight to return to the UK via Bangkok.

Holiday Highlights

Watch the setting sun light up the spires at Bagan
Relax at the former British hill station of Kalaw
Explore the  Golden Triangle
Learn some secrets of Thai cooking in Chiang Mai 
Stroll through colonial Yangon 

The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Heathrow to Chiang Mai via Bangkok, returning from Yangon via Bangkok both ways (Thai International Airways) 
      Airport transfers 
      Half board en suite accommodation 
      Three lunches 
      English speaking local guide 
      All transport to complete your itinerary. 
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade SS/4

  1. Day 1

    We depart the UK on our flight to Thailand.

  2. Day 2

    Upon arrival at Chiang Mai Airport, we meet our Thai guide and transfer to the hotel for check in and some time to relax. Dinner will be at the hotel tonight.

  3. Day 3

    We start the morning with a slow walk from the hotel to Chiang Mai Gate morning market. We continue walking along the moat that formed the boundary of the old city from Chiang Mai Gate to Chang Puak Gate learning some history on the way. In the city we visit the oldest temple of Chiang Mai, Wat Chiang Man. We will also see Wat Chedi Luang and Prasingh Temple. The whole walk distance is about 6km. Later in the afternoon we visit a local country market, where you'll learn how to recognize and select the fresh ingredients for today's dishes. We proceed to a cookery school, where we will be taught how to prepare the four dishes for our evening meal. You will have the chance to enjoy the dishes you've just cooked in charming surroundings looking out across rice paddies as day fades to night. Finally we will drive back to the hotel.

  4. Day 4

    Today we experience another side of northern Thai culture in the hills beyond Chiang Mai. We set off  to the village of Ban Mae Klang Luang, just outside of the city. The locals here are almost entirely from the Karen ethnic minority and lead rural lifestyles that have remained largely unchanged for decades. Here we have a chance to roll up sleeves for a hands-on lesson in the villages specialty: coffee making!  After enjoying a few cups of the local brew we head off on a gentle, two-hour trek along nature trails through paddy fields and verdant rice terraces. Along the walk we will stop at a local waterfall before reaching a restaurant for lunch. Later we continue by road to Mae Ya Waterfall, considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Inthanon National Park and your final stop before heading back to Chiang Mai in late afternoon. For dinner we head out to eat in a Thai house. As well as exploring the house and its grounds, we have the opportunity to join in on the cooking with your host family. Perhaps we might pick up a few Thai cooking skills.  Dinner is served on the terrace, with lovely views of the village. After dinner we head back to the city for a mid-evening arrival.

  5. Day 5

    After breakfast we transfer approx. 3 hours to Chiang Rai. Lunch is at a local restaurant. In the afternoon we visit the Hill Tribe museum to learn something of the local tribes; Lisu, Lahu, Akha, Yao, Hmong and Karen. Next we visit Wat Rong Khun 'White Temple' designed by Thai National Artist, Mr. Chalermchai Kositpipat. After that we visit Baan Dam (Black House), an impressive park area with plenty of fantastic wood buildings, the main hall all in black. Beautiful woodcarvings, skins and horn installations are everywhere. Afterwards we check into our hotel and have a free day at your leisure. Dinner will be at the hotel tonight.

  6. Day 6

    After breakfast we head out to visit Akha and Yao hill tribe villages. The Akha originated in Tibet and are among the poorest of Thailands ethnic minorities. The Yao originated in China and are heavily influenced by Chinese traditions, still using Chinese characters in the writing of their language. We continue to Chiang Saen a small town on the banks of the Mekong River. Scattered throughout the town are the ruins of the Chiang Saen Kingdom, founded in 1325, including chedis, images of the Buddha, and earthen city ramparts. We continue to the Golden Triangle where the Ruak river empties into the Mekong river forming the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. Later in the afternoon we can check in to the hotel and have free time before dinner.

  7. Day 7

    After breakfast, we check out and get a transfer to Mae Sai, the northernmost point of Thailand. This is the perfect spot to observe border life, as Mae Sai is one of the very few official land crossings between Thailand and Myanmar. We cross the border to Myanmar. We will walk across the border, our luggage will put on a trishaw so no need to carry. Once in Myanmar our coach will pick us up and take us to Tachileik airport for our flight to Heho. On arrival we transfer to Kalaw and our hotel. Dinner is in the hotel tonight.

  8. Day 8

    After breakfast, we drive to downtown Kalaw, a charming former British hill station and forest. We walk and visit some of the old colonial building to see their original glory including the Anglican Church, built by the British in 1906. We explore the central market often filled with colourful ethnic tribes. On the market day the marketplace is alive with activity and the hill tribe people wear their colourful, uniquely woven national costumes decorated with artistically designed jewellery. We will be walking for about 2hrs. After lunch we will drive back to hotel and in the evening our guide will pick us up at the hotel and we watch the sunset in Kalaw. Dinner will be at the Kalaw Hill Lodge.

  9. Day 9

    We leave the hotel after breakfast and walk for 30mins to reach Ohn Pin village. The inhabitants are from the traditional Danu tribe. We have some time to get an insight into their lives. Continuing our walk, we arrive 2 hours later at hilltop viewpoint, where we take a break to enjoy the view. From here we head downhill for 30mins to Taryaw. Along the way we pass a tea plantation, and various small fields growing a variety of local crops. In the afternoon we walk back to Kalaw. Dinner is taken in the hotel tonight.

  10. Day 10

    After breakfast we drive back to Inle Lake. We then take a boat trip across the lake to Thale U Alemyaung Village, observing the fisherman and floating sellers on the way. From there we begin the trek to Intha Village, passing sugar cane, garlic and onion plantations and remote homesteads. We stop to meet a local family for a refreshing tea and a chat before heading on to a forest monastery. The monastery is situated at the top of a hill with stunning views of the lake. We take a break here and enjoy the serene atmosphere before heading back to the hotel. Today we will walk approximately 2hrs.

  11. Day 11

    After breakfast, we visit a local market which rotates daily between five lakeside locations. It is fascinating to observe the bustling scene and morning activities as people from different tribes all around the lake gather here to buy and sell fish, vegetables and other products. We also visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, one of the most prominent religious sites in the area and home to five gilded Buddha images. In the afternoon, we embark on another scenic boat ride and follow a long, narrow canal towards Indein Village. Nestled on the western banks of the lake, it is home to hundreds of ancient pagodas in various states of preservation. Today we have approximately 3 hours walking. Dinner is taken in the hotel tonight.

  12. Day 12

    After breakfast, we transfer back to the airport for our flight to Nyaung Oo. Upon arrival, we meet our local guide and head to Bagan. Bagan is an ancient city with over 2,200 Buddhist temples and pagodas spread out across its plains. The town on the banks of the Irrawaddy River is one of Myanmar's greatest attractions. We spend morning exploring the nearby town of Nyaung U, one of the liveliest places in the area. Starting at a bustling market, continue to visit the sparkling Shwezigon Pagoda. We spend the afternoon exploring the Bagan plain and the highlights of the temples here. In the late afternoon we drive to Sulamuni Pagoda and walk to Damanyangyi Temple (15mins) and after that a 5 minutes walk to Taung Guni Temple and Myauk Guni Temple. We are then picked up by a horse-cart driver and taken for a ride into the sunset through the enchanting green countryside interspersed with ancient temple ruins. As dusk sets in, we return to the hotel to freshen up. Dinner tonight we  be at a local restaurant in Bagan.

  13. Day 13

    This morning, we drive to Min Nan Thu Village. Here we walk and observe the local life around the temples such as Pha Yar Thone Su Temple, Lay Myat Nar Pagoda, Tayok Pye Temple, Thambula Pagoda and Kyat Kan Cave Monastery. After that we drive to the jetty to board for a relaxing river cruise on the Irrawaddy River. Whilst floating downstream, sit back with a refreshing drink in hand and marvel at the magical landscape bathed in the orange glow of the setting sun. Tonight dinner is at a local restaurant in Bagan.

  14. Day 14

    After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Yangon (formerly Rangoon under the British). After lunch we will visit Pomelo (20mins drive from Hotel), a Fair-Trade shop offering a colourful range of unique goods, ranging from toys to accessories and interior design products. With the aim of creating a positive impact on local businesses throughout the country, every purchase supports some of Myanmar's most marginalised communities, providing opportunities for local artisans whilst nurturing home-grown craftsmanship handmade goods which shines a spotlight on free trade. We also visit Scott Market (20mins drive from Pomelo). Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant in Yangon.

  15. Day 15

    After breakfast, we embark on a heritage walking tour of Myanmar's largest city. We start at Yangon Railway Station and set off on a journey through some of Yangon's impressive buildings, many of which date back to the British colonial era. From the Gothic St. Marys Cathedral and Myanmar's last Armenian church to the Victorian Ministers Office and the legendary Strand Hotel. We finish the city exploration with a stroll through Mahar Bandula Park close by Yangon City Hall, a fine example of British-Burmese architecture, before returning to the hotel. In the evening, our guide will pick us up to visit the spectacular view of floodlit Shwedagon Pagoda. This is the most important Buddhist site in the country and is said to hold strands of Buddha's hair and other relics. The spire reaches up 110m and is encrusted with diamonds and covered by gold plate. Tonight's dinner is at a local restaurant in Yangon.

  16. Day 16

    Our guide will meet us at the hotel and transfer us to the airport for your flight. We fly back to the UK via Bangkok.

  17. Day 17

    We arrive back in the UK.

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Chiang Mai via Bangkok, returning from Yangon via Bangkok both ways (Thai International Airways) 
  • Airport transfers by road c.30mins
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights Premium Economy, Business or First Class and most low-cost carriers have extra legroom seats. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • Visa is required.

Trip Map

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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

We stay in some very good standard hotels, chosen for local character wherever possible.