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Southwest China Across the Border to Myanmar Tour - 17 Days

Destination: Yunnn,Myanmar
Duration: Seventeen Day
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Transportation: Vehicle
Best Travel Time:All Year
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Overland journey from Southwest China across the border to Myanmar (Burma).
From the ancient Bai and Naxi cultures in southwest China this trip takes you along forgotten trade routes and magnificent landscapes to the ※Golden Land§ of pristine Myanmar (Burma). While the Yunnan province is currently changing and progressing at breathtaking speed, life in Northern Burma (Myanmar) has not yet been affected as much by modern civilization. The trip along ※The Old Burma Road§ is a rewarding journey full of contrasts and facets that will leave a lasting impression to even the most experienced traveler.

Kunming ※City of eternal spring§
Scenic, ethnically and culturally the southwest of China is one of the most exciting and most charming areas of Southeast Asia. Your trip begins in the city of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province and the twin city of Zurich in Switzerland. Because of the almost year-round pleasant climate, the city of Kunming is often referred to as the "City of Eternal Spring".

Famous Lijiang Old Town and charming Shaxi village.
A short flight takes you to the famous old town of Lijiang, which inspires its visitors with the maze of cobbled streets and canals as well as the numerous, well-preserved temples and monasteries in the area. From here we follow along the ※Tea and Horse Road§ to charming Shaxi. The "Tea and Horse Road" was an important trade route between the tea cultivating areas in southern Yunnan and Tibet. The history of this important ancient trading route can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907).The romantic Shaxi village was once a pivotal stop for horse caravans on the legendary ※Tea and Horse Road§.

The infamous „Old Burma Road※
In Dali we turn into the infamous, 1200 km long Burma Road. Built by over 300*000 Soldiers and mercenaries during the 2nd World War, the Old Burma Road served as an important road connection and supply channel for the allied troops between Burma (Myanmar) and China. At the time of the Japanese surrender on 2 September 1945 was the Burma Road only 6 months in operation and then fell into oblivion. It is only recently that the border between Burma (Myanmar) and China has been reopened for the international traveler. From the bustling border town of Ruili the ※Old Burma Road§ continues its way through the mountainous, pristine areas of northern Burma towards Lashio. On our way south we make the acquaintance of the Bai and Naxi ethnic minorities in Yunnan, the Shan, Palaung, Pa O and Lahu ethnic groups in Burma, and we cross two of the main rivers of Southeast Asia: The Mekong and the Salween.

Pristine Myanmar (Burma)
Like Kipling put it: „This is Burma 每 it is quite unlike any place you know about※.

The hospitality and the warmth of its people, with its largely traditional lifestyle make Burma (Myanmar) indeed a unique travel experience: Palaung Villages, the idyllic village of Hsipaw, the train ride over the 100 year old Gotheik viaduct, the former summer capital Maymyo, the old royal capital Mandalay with its monasteries and pagodas and finally the over 2000 temple and pagodas that spread over the seemingly endless flatlands of Bagan. A very special experience is the scenic overland trip from Mandalay to Bagan with the overnight stay at the Mount Popa Lodged overlooking the Mount Popa Monastery.

The worthy end and a further highlight to this unique journey along the Old Burma Road is the visit to the golden shining, majestic Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon during the sunset!

A multifaceted journey through two countries, which could not be more different from one another, full of fascinating contrasts, cultural highlights and encounters with the local population.

Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$4700/persons 4700USD/Person


Pick up at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Transfer to your hotel.

Depending on your arrival time we make a walking tour through the business district. You will visit the East-West Pagodas and the former city gates of Kunming, the Jin Ma Bi Ji.
Dinner at a local Yunnan restaurant.


In the morning we visit the Green Lake Park where we take a stroll through the busy 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 Forrest near Lunan, where 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. Drive back to Kunming and board the night train to Lijiang.


Day 3:   LIJIANG (B)
Arrival at the Lijiang train station. Pick up by our guide and transfer to the old town. In the morning take a stroll through the apparently countless and, on first sight, confusing 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 of the wonderful "Black Dragon Pool" Park, from where, weather permitting, one has a spectacular view of the 5'596 Meter high "Jade Dragon Mountain".  Visit the Dongba Museum.
Drive to the village of Yuhu, a romantic village where the Austrian-American Botanist Joseph Rock used to live from 1922 to 1949. His house has been transformed to a small museum about the live and work of Joseph Rock.


Day 4:   LIJIANG - SHAXI - DALI (220km/5 hrs) (B)
Drive to Shaxi. The idyllic village of Shaxi is home to the Bai ethnic group and was formerly an important pivotal stop on the Tea and Horse Road from Yunnan to Tibet. The village has been renovated and is preserved with the help of the Swiss government.
You visit Shibao Mountain. The impressive rock carvings of Shibao Mountain are over 1300 years old and are testimony of the spread of Mahayana Buddhism from Tibet in the region. We continue our journey through the amazing landscape of Northern Yunnan towards Dali.


Day 5:   DALI - BAOSHAN (B) (200km/4.5 hrs)

Dali is situated on the eastern shores of the stunning Erhai Lake on the foot of the 4000m 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.After a stroll through the picturesque old town we visit the 3 Pagodas of the San Ta Si Monastery from the 9th century.
From Dali we 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 towards Baoshan.


Day 6:   BAOSHAN - TENGCHONG (190km / 5 hrs) (B)

We pay a visit to an idyllic, rarely visited temple on the outskirts of Baoshan 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.

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. Located on the fault lines of the Indian Subcontinent and Asian Continent at an altitude of 1'650 meters, Tengchongs 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.


Day 7:   TENGCHONG - RUILI (250 km / 5 hrs) (B)
After the visit to the hot springs of Tengchong we pay a visit to the Tengchong Museum with an interesting exhibit about the history of the Old Burma Road, General Stilwell and the role that Tengchong played in the defense against the Japanese invaders by the allied forces during WW2.

We take a stroll through the rustic village of Heshun before continuing our journey south towards the Burmese border in Ruili.

We reach the bustling border town of Ruili in late afternoon. For those who have energy left can visit the Ruili Night Market.


Day 8:   RUILI - MUSE - HSIPAW (B) (230km / 5, 5 hrs)
Transfer to the border. Once immigration formalities completed we pay a brief visit to Lwe Thein Khan Hill from where you get a panoramic view of the Sino-Burmese border area and the Shwe Li River. We reach Lashio early afternoon. The town of Lashio was of vital importance during WW II as part of the Burma Road, enabling the supply line between Chiang Kai Shek's armies and the Allies. Visit first Lashio's central market in Lashio Lay before continuing to Quan Yin San Temple, the main Buddhist place of worship for the large Chinese community of Lashio. Finally, visit Pyi Lon Chantha Pagoda which sits on Mya Kantha Hill in the northern part of the city, and offers great views of Lashio. We continue our journey towards Hsipaw (Thibaw). Hsipaw is a small country town set in a scenic landscape. The atmosphere is one of tranquility, charm and daily life proceeds at a laid-back pace. Hispaw got into the spotlight due to the book written by the Austrian/American author Inge Sargent ※Twilight over Burma 每 My life as a Shan princess§. Overnight accommodation in a simple Guesthouse.


Tag 9:  HSIPAW (B)

Take a boat and sail up the Dutthtawaddy River for about one hour and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the river. Then stop at the riverbank bank and walk through pineapple, lemon, orange and Teak plantations. Visit an old monastery built over 150 years ago. Visit the beautiful Shan village Sune Lon near the river bank. In the afternoon, continue sightseeing in Hsipaw and surroundings.
Visit some local workshops. Visit Hnee Pagoda and a guardian Nat shrine near the north entrance to Hsipaw.
To conclude the day, watch the sun set from Thein Taung Hill.


Day 10:   HSIPAW 每 GOTHEIK VIADUKT- MAYMYO (B) 140km /3, 5 hrs)
Transfer to Hsipaw railway station. Board the train for the 4hrs train ride to Naung Cho via Kyauk.  Traveling by train in Myanmar is quite a different experience as compared with developed countries. After about 2hrs the train slows down and crosses over the famous Gotheik Bridge at a snail's pace. The bridge is over 700 meters long and its construction was finalized by the American Pennsylvania Steel Co. in 1901. The bridge spans an abyss nearly 300 meters deep. After crossing the Gotheik viaduct, get off the train at Naung Cho station and continue the rest of the journey to Pyin-Oo-Lwin (Maymyo) in the comfort of our vehicle. Overnight in Pyin-Oo-Lwin.


Day 11:   MAYMYO - MANDALAY (B) (70km /2 hrs)
Maymyo, or formerly known as Pyin Oo Lwin, is located on a plateau about 1000m above sea level and, mainly due to its cool climate, served as summer capital during the British colonial era. You visit the colorful morning market, a gathering point for many hill tribe people from the surrounding mountains. You proceed to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, a 100-year-old church that still serves the local Christian community to this day. Ride through town on a horse drawn "stage coach", and admire the beautiful colonial style houses, complete with English-style gables, turrets and chimneys - silent testimonies of the British presence in the area. On the way we pass the Purcell Tower, a clock tower which was given as a present by Queen Victoria. You take a stroll through Kandawgyi Park, a lovely botanical garden which was built by Sir Harcourt Butler, a former Governor of Burma in 1915/16.

Drive to Mandalay. Visit Shwenandaw Monastery, an ancient wooden building with amazing wood carvings, and continue to the nearby Kuthodaw Pagoda, the "world's largest book", being the Buddhist Scriptures inscribed on marble slabs. Visit Kyauktawgyi Pagoda to see a large Buddha statue carved out of a single block of local marble. Overnight accommodation is at Mandalay.



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.

We drive to Amarapura, the ※City of immortality§. Visit the Mahagandayone Monastery, which is home to over 800 monks and one of the most prestigious monasteries in Myanmar.

The nearby, 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 Ava. The city of Ava was founded in 1363 and served twice as the capital of what is today called Myanmar. By traditional horse carriage we explore the impressive ruins of this once thriving city on the Irrawaddy River. Continue to Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung, a magnificent wooden monastery dating back to 1879. Drive back to Mandalay.


Day 13:    MANDALAY 每 MOUNT POPA (B) (200km / 5 hrs)
Today we head south towards Mt. Popa, an extinct volcano that rises almost 1'500 meters from the surrounding plains. Mt. Popa is said to serve as home of 37 Nats or Spirits that play an important role in the local Burmese religion. Along the way we come across many small, traditional villages. The local population here is mainly involved in agriculture. Upon arrival at Mt. Popa we check in at the hotel, followed by a short walk to a nearby village at the foot of Mount Popa. Dinner and overnight accommodation at a beautiful hotel overlooking Mount Popa and the seemingly endless plains of Bagan.


Day 14:   MOUNT POPA 每 BAGAN (B) (75km / 2 hrs)
In the morning we climb the 777 steps to the top of Tang Kalat, a volcanic "plug" located on the south-western side of Mount Popa.  We enjoy the magnificent views before heading back down and continue our journey towards Bagan.
En route visit one of the toddy palm orchards to witness the rural life of the region.

You arrive in fascinating Bagan shortly after lunchtime. Checkk in at your Bagan hotel. For the rest of the afternoon you can take a rest and enjoy the comfort of the hotel or take a first look around Bagan together with your tour guide.
Enjoy the dinner at local restaurant and overnight accommodation at Bagan.


Day 15:   BAGAN (B)
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. With its over 2000 temples and Pagodas from the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, old Bagan ranks amongst the most impressive archaeological sites in Asia. We visit some of the most prominent temples amongst them the Wetkyi-in Gu Byauk Gyi Temple with its fine mural paintings, the imposing Ananda temple, Manuha Temple and Nanbaya Temple of which is said that it served as residence to King Manuha. We also pay a visit to the magnificent frescoes of the Mon-Style temple of Myingaba Gu Byauk Gyi Temple.

For the sunset we head down to the Bupaya Pagoda on the banks of the Irrawaddy from where we will enjoy an unforgettable, colorful sunsets over Bagan. Enjoy the dinner at local restaurant and overnight accommodation at Bagan.


Day 16:   BAGAN - YANGON (B) (Flight: 1 hr)

Transfer to the airport and flight to Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar. We drive through the colonial style buildings downtown, the Chinatown area and the Indian quarter and visit the Sule Pagoda, which marks the centre of Yangon and take a short walking tour of the downtown and browse the hundred stalls of Bo Gyoke Aung San Market (also known as Scott's Market, closed on Mondays).

In the evening we enjoy one more highlight of this trip - the sunset at 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.


Transfer to the airport.


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