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  • Monks in the ancient stone faces of Bayon Temple (Angkor Wat), Cambodia
  • A guard ship passing the Kings Palace in Bangkok, Thailand
  • Cruising along the Mekong River, Vietnam
  • Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda on Inle Lake, Myanmar
  • Exploring Bagans many temples by bike, Myanmar
Route:
Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok
Days:
29
Style: Worldwide Adventures
Code: SEBC
Price From:
US$2,929
Countries Visited:

This tour will fully immerse you in Cambodia and Myanmar. Wander amongst the ruins at Angkor Wat, watch the sun go down on Five Buddha Hill in Hsipaw and spend the day drifting peacefully across Inle Lake watching local fishermen. Including the sprawling site of Bagan, this adventure provides a treasure-trove of treats.

What's Included

Excursions

  • Entrance to the Genocide Museum & Killing Fields
  • Spider Market
  • Ride the Bamboo Railway
  • Khmer Wine Tasting
  • Guided Tour of Angkor Wat
  • Shan village walking tour
  • Palaung Mountain Village Walking Tour
  • Goteik Viaduct train journey
  • Half day Bagan orientation tour
  • Bike tour through Bagan
  • Elephant Conservation Centre
  • Shan mountain train journey
  • Day excursion on Inle Lake and local Intha lunch

Accommodation

28 night(s) in hotels

Transportation

Travel by 5 flight(s)

Meals

25 breakfast, 3 lunch

Staff & Experts

Tucan Travel tour leader

What's Not Included

  • Spending money – budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extras
  • International flights to/from the start/end of your tour and departure taxes  
  • Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.  
  • Optional excursions - Please see the optional excursions on the Tour Notes for a comprehensive list of optional activities and excursions available on this tour.

Group

Group Size: Maximum 16. Average 8-12.

Tour Suitability: This tour is recommended for people aged 18-65. For more information on what to expect, click here.

Itinerary

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Day 1 to 1 - Arrive Ho Chi Minh City

The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.

Welcome to Vietnam! Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling and vibrant city that was previously the former capital of South Vietnam. It was formerly known as Saigon until the end of the Vietnam War (around 1975) and the infamous ‘Fall of Saigon” when the city was renamed after North Vietnam’s illustrious and revered leader Ho Chi Minh. Originally a small fishing village, it is now the most important economic centre in Vietnam and is the largest city in the country.

Traffic in the city is fairly hectic at the best of times but getting around is surprisingly easy by taxi although drivers may not always speak English. Bus is the only form of public transport and motorbikes rule the road; there are around 3 million motorbikes cruising around the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.

If you're interested in the history of the Vietnam War make sure you visit the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Hall. If you're less of a history buff and more in the mood to haggle for a bargain, don't miss Ho Chi Minh's largest market, the Ben Thanh Market. You can buy everything from cosmetics to live ducks here. There are also numerous food stalls at this market, and at the popular night market nearby. The food in Ho Chi Minh is some of the best and most diverse in all of Vietnam so make sure you eat well during your stay. There are also many bars and clubs to spend your evening in.

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Day 2 to 2 - Phu Quoc

A short flight takes us to the idyllic island of Phu Quoc. Vietnam’s largest island, located just off the coastal border of Vietnam and Cambodia, Phu Quoc offers not only some of the best seafood in the country but also kilometer upon kilometre of beautiful white sandy beaches. What better way to unwind after the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City? We also understand that not everyone wants to relax on idyllic beaches and snorkel in blue waters, so why not slip on the hiking boots and enjoy the Ganh Dau trail and listen out to the sounds of birds nearby or alternatively, take a walk through the forest to Suoi Tranh waterfalls where you can enjoy a dip to cool off.

You can also buy some pearls from the pearl farms on the western side of the island and visit a pepper farm and see the pepper plant hanging down from branches.

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 3 to 4 - Sihanoukville

Today we cross into Cambodia. Before heading into Cambodia we first take the local ferry back to the Vietnam mainland a short distance from the land border and embark on our journey to Sihanoukville .Originally started in the 1950’s as an Cambodia’s first deep water port, Sihanoukvulle, named after the King of the time . Please note: When crossing into Sihanoukville from Phu Quoc, that e-visas will not be accepted. You will be able to easily obtain visas on arrival or use ones that have already been obtained from an embassy.

We spend two nights here and there is plenty of time to enjoy the many beaches and snorkel in the sparkling waters. Enjoy sunset views from Wat Leu, an ornate temple situated on the forested hills.

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 5 to 6 - Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is Cambodia's bustling capital city with a turbulent past. Sitting on the juncture of the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap river, Phnom Penh has been the national capital since the French colonised Cambodia during the 19th century. The city has grown from a small fishing village to what is now the industrial, commercial, cultural and historical centre of Cambodia.

During our time in Phnom Penh we visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school which was transformed into one of the Khmer Rouge’s most feared prison and torture camps during the Pol Pot regime. The building is now a haunting tribute to the thousands who died here and at the other 150 similar camps throughout the country in the late 1970’s. Those who were detained at the camp were later taken and executed at the Choueng Ek extermination Centre, more commonly known as ‘The Killing Fields, a site we also visit to learn more of and try to understand this wonderful country’s turbulent past.

Whilst the aforementioned visits are included in the tour they are also entirely optional should anybody prefer not to visit and Phnom Penh has a lot more to offer including the Russian Market and National Museum. Or you could also take a stroll along the river's famous Sisowath Quay and enjoy a coffee or cocktail at one of the many cafes while observing the bustling river traffic. Our Tour Leaders particularly recommend the Foreign Correspondents Club or F.C.C. as it’s better known. You may wish to take a tuk-tuk ride around Phnom Penh (a tuk-tuk is a motorbike-taxi with an enclosed passenger cabin that can fit around 4 people).

Included Excursions

Entrance to the Genocide Museum & Killing Fields

Optional Excursions

Royal Palace – US$6.50 • National Museum – US$5 • The Silver Pagoda – US$3 • Wat Phnom – US$1

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 7 to 8 - Kratie

Heading away from the big city life, we head into the Khmer countryside to enjoy a couple of days in relaxing Kratie to enjoy some of the best Mekong River sunsets available. As well as being one of the very best locations to spot the fast becoming rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins, Kratie is home to a number of interesting temples from different era’s, a museum that hardly ever opens (ask your Tour Leader to try for you) and some marvelous countryside tours to see the other side of this wonderful country and its people. So, soak up the peaceful rural life, wander the central marketplace to pick up handmade souvenirs and admire the French colonial architecture, and the village homes built upon wooden stilts.

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 9 to 9 - Kompong Cham

Staying in close touch with the mighty Mekong River which so dominates Southeast Asia we travel slightly South to the riverside town of Kompong Cham and back into civilisation so to speak. Literally meaning “port of the Chams’ and referring to the local ethnic Cham people living in the province, Kompong Cham offers a chance to experience yet another different facet of the Cambodia that many miss when passing through.

Enjoy the colonial charms of the sleepy city, situated along the Mekong River. Watch traditional Apsara dances or visit Nokor Wat to admire the Angkor architecture.

You may also like to get a tuk-tuk or a boat down the river to Wat Maha Leap, one of the remaining wooden pagodas in Cambodia. Over 100 years old, it was one of the few pagodas not destroyed by the Khmer Rouge because they used it as a hospital. Monks since reformed it to it’s original beauty and you can see the gilded patterns on the black wooden pillars that support the stunning blue roof in total contrast to the nearby, impressive Kizuna Bridge which at 1.5 km long is still Cambodia’s 2nd longest and the first to cross the Mekong in Cambodia

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 10 to 11 - Battambang

Crossing from Eastern Cambodia to the Western side, our day’s journey allows a visit on route to Cambodia’ famous Spider Market where the more adventurous of you may can try the local delicacy, fried spider.

An important former trading city, Battambang is Cambodia’s second most populated city, and appeals to tourists due to its vibrant personality as well as its cultural highlights and many nearby temples.

Soak up the cultural atmosphere in Battambang with it’s blend of modern city and well preserved colonial architecture, admire the statues that pepper the streets, and the art deco buildings such as the Central Market and train station or visit Cambodia's most famous circus, Phare Ponleu Selpak.

Ride the bamboo railway for a unique experience, seeing the paddy fields along the way. We will also be able to taste traditional Khmer wine.

Included Excursions

Spider Market,Khmer Wine Tasting,Ride the Bamboo Railway

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 12 to 13 - Siem Reap

Siem Reap is our base for exploring the famous temples of the Angkor area. The name Siem Reap means 'Defeat of Siam' - today's Thailand - and refers to a century-old bloodbath which you can see commemorated in stone in the celebrated bas relief carvings of the monuments around the area.

Our first day we head out on our included excursion to the most famous temple, Angkor Wat, with a guide to give us an overview of the history and layout of the temple. Our remaining time in Siem Reap can be spent at our own leisure exploring this expansive site armed with our cameras and the knowledge from our guide.

There are over one thousand temples here which attract over one million visitors annually. The temples range from small ruins to the famous Angkor Wat, and the site is said to be the world's largest single religious monument.

Angkor Wat, a UNESCO world heritage site, pays homage to the Hindu god Vishnu and has a dazzling array of beautiful ornate carvings. The many ceremonial structures and temples here were built between the 9th and 13th centuries by the Khmer Empire that spanned a period of approximately 600 years. These temples are some of the most famous in the world and take up an area of approximately 160 square kilometres.

There are superb photographic opportunities here at most times of the day so make sure your camera batteries are fully charged and your memory card is ready to go! Tuk-tuks provide a convenient form of transport around the area here, and you can hire a tuk-tuk and driver for the day if you wish. The Angkor area (in and around the Ta Prohm temple) was the site where the film Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie was filmed.

Included Excursions

Guided Tour of Angkor Wat

Optional Excursions

Tonle Sap Lake entrance including boat ride – from US$7 (depending on group size) • Landmine Museum entrance – US$3 (US$7 including transport) • Blood Donation to children's hospitals

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 14 to 14 - Bangkok

Today we fly to Bangkok where we can enjoy dinner and spend the night before flying to the breathtaking country of Myanmar tomorrow

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 15 to 15 - Mandalay

Welcome to Myanmar, more formally named the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and previously and possibly better known in many countries as Burma.

Mandalay, a name that evokes splendours of old Burma, captured by Rudyard Kipling in poem Mandalay. “This is Burma” he wrote, “and it is quite unlike any place you know about!” Destroyed by a fire and heavily bombed during World War Two, the Burma of old is more difficult to find but when you do, it astounds you.

With a turbulent history, after thousands were killed in a military uprising, Burma changed its name to Myanmar in 1989. Myanmar today has only recently opened its border to travellers after the Military Junta, in control since 1962 was dissolved after years of internal struggle as recently as 2011. As this largely rural country remains unaffected by long term tourism it offers us a wonderful insight into Southeast Asian life.

You have a free day to enjoy Mandalay. Visit the Mahamuni Pagoda with its old Buddha statue. Typically a lively temple, men put gold leaves into the statue. Here you can also shop around for the perfect souvenir, your own small statue made of bronze or wood. If you can't find what you are looking for, the marble carving street should have a treat in store. Walking through the Mahagandayon monastery complex, see hundreds of monks heading to prayers.

Tonight, you can visit the Yadanar night market to get a feel for the real Mandalay. Grab some traditional snacks before enjoying a beer at a famous beer station and a delicious meal at one of Mandalay's traditional BBQ restaurants.

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels. No single room upgrade available.

Day 16 to 17 - Hsipaw

Heading into the Northern Shan State, we travel to Hsipaw, located in the east of Myanmar, Hsipaw is a scenic town steeped in history. Once a Shan royal city, the old palace still stands in the northern part of the town. In 1962 the last Sawbwa, Sao Kya Seng, disappeared during a military coup however his family still care for the old palace and it is possible to pay a visit, meet a descendent of the last Sawbwa and learn about the history of the Shan State over the last 50 years.

A popular area for hiking, Hsipaw is situated in a valley with a number of Shan villages surrounding it. In the late afternoon we can enjoy a guided walk through the paddy fields, passing villages, creeks, schools and monasteries along way. The guide will teach you about Shan life around Hsipaw and show you some home industries like cheroot (cigar) rolling and bamboo weaving. He will explain why each Shan village has a spirit house built at the entrance of the village and make sure you will get to know the spirit of the local people in Northern Shan State

Hsipaw also as a fantastic central market where locals come to trade frequently. You may also enjoy watching the sunset from Five Buddha Hill, accessible by bicycle a few miles out of the town.

Included Excursions

Shan village walking tour

Optional Excursions

Full day Hiking and boat tour - USD $45 per group

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 18 to 18 - Kyaukme

Heading east, Kyaukme is a small but bustling town with a vibrant Chinese quarter. Kyaukme is flanked by valleys filled with Palaung villages.

From Hsipaw, we will take a local bus today from opposite the beautiful colonial all-wooden post office a short 3 minute walk from the hotel. The local bus will stop at villages along the way, allowing locals to get on or off with their goods, whether that be livestock or vegetables. You will be able to purchase snacks from locals along the route or learn the language by engaging in conversation with your neighbour.

Kyaukme still sees few western tourists and on arrival your tour leader will be waiting for you to take you to the guesthouse where you can freshen up and drop off your luggage before embarking on a full day trekking. Palaung villages surround Kyaukme and with a local guide, you can gain a fascinating insight into the life of these people living in these remote hills. We stop en route in one of these villages for a local meal before returning back to Kyaukme for the night.

Included Excursions

Palaung Mountain Village Walking Tour

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch

Day 19 to 19 - Pyin Oo Lwin

After breakfast this morning, we board a train to take us from Kyaukme to Pyin Oo Lwin. This scenic train journey boasts astounding views as it travels along old train tracks built over 100 years ago. En route, the train will stop at small villages and vendors will climb on board to sell their wares whether they are drinks of local delicacies. Depending on how long the train is due to spend in each village, you may have time to get off the train and wander around. Some locals often spend time in the train station to try to teach themselves english by speaking to any tourists on board. After a few hours on board, we will cross the Goteik Viaduct. This bridge was built by the British in 1899 and at the time, was considered a masterpiece and the longest bridge in the world.

Travelling at walking speed, crossing the bridge will be a slow process as the engineer tries to limit any damage to the bridge by taking his time. This means there is plenty of time to capture photos of the valley below and the train navigating the tracks.

We arrive in the picturesque town of Pyin Oo Lwin this afternoon. The city was founded by the British in 1896 and retains its colonial charm. This afternoon you will have time to take a tour of the town and the old British colonial buildings.

Included Excursions

Goteik Viaduct train journey

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 20 to 20 - Mandalay

Leaving Pyin Oo Lwin, we take a shared taxi back to Mandalay where we spend the night. You will have time today to enjoy some of the sights of the town you didn’t get to see when you were here earlier on in your tour. Arriving in the morning, you can enjoy a full day of sightseeing culminating at sunset by the bridge.,

Optional Excursions

Mahamuni Buddha Temple & Paleik Pagodas – MMK 10000 • Bike rental – USD$10

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 21 to 23 - Bagan

Bagan is home to more Buddhist temples than anywhere in the world. They poke out of the trees and have a graceful aging process. It is here that the sunsets are some of the best in the world.

On arrival, we enjoy a half day guided orientation tour of the area where you will see some of the best temples in the region. Discover Ananda, Sulamani, and Thatbyinnyu, the latter being one of the highest monuments in Bagan.

The best way to see the many hundreds of temples in the area of Bagan is by bicycle and the day after arriving in Bagan, we take a guided tour of the site by bicycle The flat landscape makes a bike tour an easy excursion and your guide will show you some of the most spectacular ancient temples away from the crowds. Cycle through the palm trees and bamboo huts finding temples along the way. You can also climb some of the pagodas for impressive views over the temples.

With two full days in Bagan, should you want to visit the surrounding areas, you can take optional excursions to see what else the region has to offer. You can visit Mount Popa, the birthplace of the 37 'nats' of Myanmar which are the protective spirits. You can get off the beaten track by visiting rural villages as well as fruit and flower markets.

One of the highlights of Bagan enjoyed by many, is a sunrise hot air balloon ride offering stunning views over the temple zone. Of course seats are limited and can book up early so booking in advance is recommended to avoid disappointment. Your Adventure Specialist will be able to advise on the best ride for you and how to book.

Included Excursions

Half day Bagan orientation tour,Bike tour through Bagan

Optional Excursions

Rent a bike – USD 10 • Temple Zone – USD 20 • Ballooning over Bagan – From USD 320

Accommodation

3 night(s) in hotels

Meals

3 Breakfast

Day 24 to 24 - Kalaw

Leaving Bagan, on the way to Kalaw we visit the Elephant Conservation Centre. A community project only recently established here, protects the jungle, the wildlife that resides in it and the traditions of the local people living in the area. The project also protects some of Myanmar’s endangered elephants which, without this protection, may have been hunted down and killed or sold into the tourism trade.

These elephants are ‘retired’ from working life and we will have the opportunity to wash and feed the elephants but riding them is strictly not allowed. Returning to the camp, we will enjoy lunch before continuing our journey to Kalaw. Travelling by private vehicle, we might make multiple stops on the way to Kalaw in local villages. We may learn how to make toddy and jaggery (palm sugar) from the sap of the toddy palm.

Included Excursions

Elephant Conservation Centre

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch

Day 25 to 26 - Inle Lake

Leaving Kalaw after breakfast, we board our another train to take us to Inle Lake. This scenic journey travels through the Shan mountains and you can glimpse the local life as you travel en route. The train has been used by locals and westerners alike for over 100 years and has a distinctive colonial feel to it. This train can't be prebooked so you may be seated in the “ordinary class” giving you a real taste of how locals travel by train.

Arriving at Inle Lake in the early afternoon, there is time to enjoy an afternoon excursion on the lake or in the surrounding hills. The following day, we spend a full day on the lake, travelling by boat between traditional villages built on stilts and inhabited by the Intha people. We visit floating gardens, pass some of the fishermen who row their boats using their legs, balancing precariously on the other. One of the main highlights of the excursion is the lunch made by a local family. You will experience authentic Intha food including the famous tomato salad, meat cakes steamed in banana leaves and more. You will also visit traditional markets in different villages depending on the day we travel. If time allows, we will also visit a cheroot factory where Burmese cigars are made, floating tomato gardens, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and Intha Heritage House where Burmese cats are bred.

Well known for its weaving, on Inle Lake we have the chance to purchase souvenirs including the Burmese tote-bags and high quality silk fabrics. You can also try traditional Shan cuisine including Htamin Jin, a delicious meal of rice, tomato, potato or fish in round balls, wrapped in crisp fried onion and marinated in garlic.

Included Excursions

Shan mountain train journey,Day excursion on Inle Lake and local Intha lunch

Optional Excursions

Buddha Museum – USD 2 • Bike rental – USD 10 • Boat rental – USD 30 per boat

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast, 1 Lunch

Day 27 to 27 - Yangon

Today we fly to Yangon, a city filled with British, Burmese, Chinese and Indian influences. Despite being a city, here it is common to see locals walking down the street barefoot with natural sunblock from the Thanaka tree rubbed on their faces. There is plenty to do in this bustling city from food tours, local markets, lakes and pagodas.

The largest and most beautiful pagoda is the Shwedagon Pagoda and it is the most religion site in Myanmar. It was originally built in the 6th century AD and has been rebuilt and developed over time to become the sprawling, golden site of today. It is also a meeting point for locals. Children play, monks chat and women gossip while it is possible to pick up some souvenirs from the shops outside the site.

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 28 to 28 - Bangkok

Today we fly to Bangkok where we can enjoy a final dinner and spend the night before the end of our tour tomorrow

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 29 to 29 - Depart Bangkok

Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.

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