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Yunnan to Burma / Myanmar Overland Tour - 16 Days

Destination: Yunnan,Myanmar
Duration: Sixteen Day
Tour Code:
Transportation: Vehicle
Best Travel Time:All Year
Price From
US$4500/persons
 
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Myanmar through the "back door": The old Burma Road
This fascinating tour starts on the Tibetan Highland in a place called Shangri-La, maybe the Shangri-La that James Hilton describes in his Novel ※The lost Horizon§ as a hidden paradise at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains.  We travel along the ancient ※Tea and Horse Road, one of the oldest trading routes in the world for tea from southern Yunnan to Tibet. We come across the mystical Dongba culture of the Naxi people in Lijiang and get to know the friendly Bai people around Dali.


The Old Buma Road & the Flying Tigers
We travel in the footsteps of legendary General ※Vinegar Joe§ Stilwell along the infamous Old Burma Road towards Myanmar. The 1500km long Burma Road was built under enormous hardship during WW2 by the Allied Troops from Ledo in India across northern Burma to Kunming near the end of the war. Three hundred thousand labourers and coolies equipped in most cases with only the most primitive of tools, slaved in inhospitable, sub-tropical conditions to connect this stretch of the Burma Road, with an existing link between Xiaguan and Kunming. You also learn more about the achievements of the 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) under the command of General Chennault, better known as the ※Flying Tigers§.


Across the border to the Golden Land
We explore the night market of Ruili before heading across the border into Myanmar. This border has only recently been opened for international travelers. On our way to Burma towards the former royal capital of Mandalay we drive past some of the remotest and most fascinating areas of South-East Asia; regions that are not much travelled by western tourists.We visit the impressive site old Bagan with its over 2000 temples and Pagodas from the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries. Bagan was founded by King Anawrahta in 1044 and served as capital of a powerful Kingdom until it got sacked by Kublai Khans troops in 1287.


Amazing Yangon
We head for the bustling city of Yangon (Rangon), Myanmar*s former capital. We explore the charming side streets of the Indian Quarter and China Town and admire the colossal colonial style buildings along the way. We round up this fascinating journey with a magnificent sunset at the Shwedagon Pagoda.


A truly fascinating journey through rural China and some of the remotest areas of northern Burma, along roads less travelled and away from the beaten tourist paths. We take pride in beeing one of the pioneers in being able to arrange such a tour!

Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$4500/persons 4500USD/Person

Day 1:   KUNMING ARRIVAL (D)
Arrival in Kunming and transfer to your hotel. Depending on the arrival time, we make a stroll through the bird and flower market and visit the East and West Pagodas from the 9 century and dating back to a time when Kunming was part of the once powerful Nanzhao Kingdom. Dinner at a local restaurant.

 

Day 2:   KUNMING 每 GREEN LAKE PARK 每 STONE FOREST (B)
Take a stroll through the idyllic Green Lake Park, a popular gathering point for the local population, to see the locals engaged in their morning workouts, practice Tai Chi, show off their birds and enjoy social dancing.

Continue to the Stone Forest of Lunan, the most popular tourist attraction in Yunnan which is located about 80km east of Kunming. Years of rain and erosion left behind a bizarre and impressive landscape of limestone pillars which, with a little imagination, indeed resembles a forest. We have a walk through the maze of paths and walkways leading through this natural wonderland and learn more about the Sani people, an ethnic minority populating the area.

 

Day 3:   KUNMING 每 ZHONGDIAN (B)
Early morning flight to Zhongdian, which recently changed its name and is now called "Shangri-La". Zhongdian is situated amongst a stunning landscape on the eastern Tibetan plateau at about 3200 meters above sea level. Upon arrival you drive to a view point from where you enjoy a breathtaking view over the scenic Napa Lake and the surroundings. Continue to the idyllic "Dabao" Monastery which is located about 12km outside of Zhongdian. Dabao Si is the oldest remaining Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) monastery in the area. In the afternoon visit Ganden Sumtseling Gompa, a 300 year old impressive Tibetan Monastery. From a historical point of view the Ganden Sumtseling Gompa is very significant to the region because it was inaugurated personally in the 17th century by the 5th Dalai Lama. After that, visit picturesque old town of Zhongdian. Time at leisure to explore the picturesque old town of Zhongdian on your own.

 

Day 4:   ZHONGDIAN 每 TIGER LEAPING GORGE - LIJIANG (B)
Drive through impressive landscape towards Lijiang.  Half way we take a left turn into the impressive ※Tiger Leaping Gorge§ (Hu Tiao Xia), where the Yangtze waters are squeezed through a narrow, at some places only 15 meter wide gorge.  The Tiger Leaping Gorge is the most impressive during the summer months, when water levels of the Yangtze River are the highest.

Continue to Shigu village, to see the famous "First Bend", where the Yangtze River is making an abrupt 180 degree turn and flows for several kilometers, parallel to itself towards the north again. Continue to Lijiang

 

Day 5:   LIJIANG (B)
In the morning take a stroll through the apparently countless narrow lanes and canals crisscrossing the picturesque old town. We also learn more about the secrets of the mystic Naxi culture. Lijiang was listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1992. Visit the wonderful "Black Dragon Pool" Park, from where, weather permitting, one has a spectacular view of the "Jade Dragon Snow Mountain".  Visit the Dongba Museum and drive to Baisha. The Baisha village used to be the capital of the once powerful Naxi Kingdom. We visit the Liuli temple with beautiful wall paintings from the late Ming Dynasty, which, miraculously, survived the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. In the evening visit a traditional Dongba-Music concert. (optional)

 

Day 6:   LIJIANG - DALI (175km / 4 hrs) (B)
In the morning drive to Dali. Dali is situated on the eastern shores of the stunning Erhai Lake on the foot of the 4000m high Cang Shan mountain range. During the 9th century Dali served as capital of the once powerful Nanzhao and later the Dali Kingdoms, before the town was overrun by the Mongols about 400 years later. Along the way we stop at Xizhou which is famous for its well preserved Bai architecture.
We visit the recently renovated 3 Pagodas of the San Ta Si Monastery from the 9th century. Time at your own disposal for the exploration of the picturesque old town of Dali.

 

Day 7:   DALI - BAOSHAN (210km /4.5 hrs) (B)
We leave Dali and follow the infamous "Burma Road" through a stunning countryside towards Baoshan. When advancing Japanese troops cut of the American supply lines in southern Myanmar (Burma) during WW 2, the American General Joseph Stillwell took on the enormous task to build a road from Ledo in India via northern Burma into China to Kunming. We cross the Mekong River and drive along the original remaining parts of this legendary road. Before arriving in Baoshan we visit an idyllic, rarely visited temple with a magnificent reclining Jade-Buddha. The Buddha was a gift from the Burmese Foreign Minister U Nu who visited the area in the 1960s.

 

Day 8:   BAOSHAN - TENGCHONG (210km /4.5 hrs) (B)
Today we follow in the footsteps of General Stillwell and ※his§ Burma Road. The road leads through stunning landscape into the Nujiang Valley before winding its way through the impressive Gaolingong Mountain Range towards Tengchong. Three hundred thousand labourers and coolies equipped in most cases with only the most primitive of tools, slaved in inhospitable, sub-tropical conditions to connect this stretch of the Burma Road, with an existing link between Xiaguan and Kunming.

Located on the Fault lines of the Indian Subcontinent and Asian Continent at an altitude of 1'650 meters, Tengchong's surroundings are dotted with countless ancient volcanoes and numerous natural hot springs. Tengchong played an important role in the defense against the Japanese invaders by the allied forces during WW2. Overnight accommodation in Tengchong.

 

Day 9:   TENCHONG 每  RUILI (180km / 4hrs) (B)
In the morning we visit the Tengchong Hotsprings before continuing to Heshun village with an interesting exhibition about the old Burma Road and General Stillwell.  We take a stroll around this rustic village. After Lunch we continue towards Ruili where we arrive late afternoon. For those who have energy left can visit the Ruili Night Market.

 

Day 10:   RUILI BORDER CROSSING - LASHIO (B) (170km/5 hrs)Transfer to the border check-point with Burma. After the border formalities we make a small tour of the town of Muse and start driving along the Burma Road towards Lashio.

The town of Lashio still serves as rail head of the Burma Railway and used to be the starting point of the Burma Road until the Japanese invasion in 1941. We visit the Quan Yin San Temple, possibly the biggest Chinese style temple within Myanmar. We continue to Susana Pagoda and enjoy the nice view over Lashio and the surroundings. After that we drive to the Their Mingle Man Kiang Monastery. Of one of the monks in this monastery it is said that he is able to predict ones future quite accurately.

 


Day 11:   LASHIO 每 GOTHEIK VIADUCT 每 MAYMYO (PYIN-O-LWIN) (B)
After a visit of Lashio's bustling and colorful morning market we board the train for the 5 hours ride towards Maymyo (Pyin Oo Lwin). At walking speed the train crosses the famous Gotheik Viaduct* that was built by American engineers in 1899 and spans over a 300m deep gorge. A truly fascinating experience. (Alternatively, this part of the trip can also be done by car).

Mainly due to its cool climate, Maymyo, now officially called Pyin Oo Lwin, is located on a plateau about 1000m above sea level and served as summer capital during the British colonial era. The many beautiful, colonial style buildings, the broad avenues and the lovely botanical garden are still testimonies of the British presence in the area.  We have dinner at the Kandawgyi Lodge, an over 100 years old colonial style hotel overlooking the Kandawgy Lake. (*Sometimes the train does not run for technical reasons. In this case we would have to drive straight to Maymyo)

 


Day 12:   MAYMYO (PYIN-O-LWIN) - MANDALAY (B) (70km /3 hrs)
We pay as visit to Kandawgyi Park, a lovely botanical garden which plans where laid out by Sir Harcourt Butler, a former Governor of Burma in 1915/16. We take a stroll through this magnificent garden and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. Continue by horse cart for a visit to the big central market of Maymyo, passing many of the magnificent houses from the British colonial era. After lunch drive through a magnificent landscape towards Mandalay.

 


Day 13:   MANDALAY 每 AMARAPURA 每 U BEIN BRIGDE - MANDALAY 每 Flight to BAGAN (B)
The city of Mandalay is located on the banks of the Irrawaddy River and is the second largest city of Myanmar. Founded by King Mindon in 1857, Mandalay served as Myanmar's capital until 1885 when, under British rule, the capital was moved to Yangon.

In the morning we drive to Amarapura. Visit the Mahagandayone Monastery, which is home to over 800 monks and one of the most prestigious monasteries in Myanmar.

Visit U-Bein Bridge. The 1.2km long U-Bein Bridge was originally built in 1851 and is entirely made of teak wood. It is considered to be the longest teakwood bridge in the world. Continue to Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung, a magnificent wooden monastery dating back to 1879. Transfer to the Airport and flight to Bagan.

 

Day 14:   THE TEMPLES OF BAGAN (B)
More than 2000 Temples and Pagodas can be found around Bagan, which makes it one of the most significant archaeological sites in south-east Asia. Most of today's magnificent brick-structures date back to the 11th and 12th centuries when Bagan served as capital for the powerful First Burmese Kingdom. It was under the reign of King Anawratha (1044-77) when Bagan started to flourish and became a major trade centre for the region. This is also the time when Theravada Buddhism became the state religion in Burma. The decline came when Bagan was sacked by the troops of Kublai Khan in 1287.
You visit some the most significant pagodas and temples of Bagan including Shwezigon Pagoda, built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious shrine. Visit Ku Byauk Gyi, a temple with superb murals of Jataka scenes and Htilominlo, the last Bamar style temple built in Bagan, with old murals and friezes. Continue to the beautiful Ananda Temple with four standing Buddha images.  Proceed to Bupaya Pagoda or Shwesandaw Pagoda to watch the sunset over the famous Ayeyarwaddy River.

 


Day 15:   BAGAN - YANGON (flight time 1h) (B)
Transfer to Nyaun U Airport and flight to Yangon. We drive through the colonial style buildings downtown, the Chinatown area and the Indian quarter and pay a visit to the famous Scott Market (except Mondays when the Scott Market is closed). In the evening we enjoy one of the highlights of this trip - the Shwedagon Pagoda. The golden Stupa of the Shwedagon Pagoda is the 'heart' of Buddhist Myanmar.  The Pagoda is believed to be 2,500 years old and the central stupa in surrounded by dozens of intricately decorated buildings and statues.  There are always many Myanmar people praying and making offerings at Shwedagon, and it's a fascinating place to spend time watching the world go by.

 


Day 16:   YANGON DEPARTURE (B)
Transfer to the Yangon Airport or connecting program.

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