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Crossing the Shan Hills from Burma to Thailand

14 days from £4490 per person

The beautiful Shan Hills form a natural barrier between central Burma and northeastern Thailand, stretching from Burmese Mandalay to the Thai city of Chiang Mai. Starting in Yangon, travel north to spectacular Bagan and visit Mount Popa before continuing onto Mandalay. From here fly to Keng Tung and, after visiting some of the area's many minority villages, travel overland via Tachilek into Thailand. Once in Thailand, time will be spent in Sop Ruak and the 'Golden Triangle' as well as in charming Chiang Mai before ending your journey in bustling Bangkok.

Route: Yangon – Bagan – Mandalay – Keng Tung – Sop Ruak – Chiang Mai – Bangkok

Itinerary Highlights

Bagan lies on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River and is known for its extraordinary archaeological area where over 2000 Buddhist monuments tower over the river plains.

Formerly the capital of Burma, Amarapura is south of Mandalay and next to the Irrawaddy River. U Bein Bridge, the longest teak bridge in the world, uses wood from the old palace.

Located in the far east of Shan State close to the Thai border, Keng Tung is the region’s main centre and is surrounded by fascinating Shan, Akha, Lahu and Wa minority villages.

Itinerary: Crossing the Shan Hills from Burma to Thailand

Today depart the UK on the non-stop Thai Airways flight to Bangkok. (N)
Arrive into Bangkok and connect directly onto Yangon where you will be met and transferred to your hotel for a two night stay. In the afternoon travel into the city with your guide for a brief walk through the colonial centre and welcome cup of tea from one of the many street cafes. (N)
Accommodation in Yangon: Savoy Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: Belmond Governor’s Residence Hotel
Today tour this colourful city. Places of interest include the Chaukhtatgyi, a colossal reclining Buddha, the National Museum, beautiful Kandawgyi Lake and the magical Shwedagon Pagoda. This 2,500 year old Buddhist temple is resplendent in over 60 tonnes of gold leaf, is the most sacred of all Buddhist sites in Myanmar and was described by Kipling as ‘a golden mystery’. Stay for sunset and admire the view. (B)
Accommodation in Yangon: Savoy Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: Belmond Governor’s Residence Hotel
This morning leave Yangon and fly to the ancient city of Bagan where you will be met and taken to your hotel for a three night stay. Bagan is one of the most important archaeological sites in Asia and a highlight of any visit to the country. Thousands of temples and pagodas dot the vast flood plain of the Irrawaddy River and, at sunset, end the day with a marvellous panoramic view of these ancient houses of religion. (B)
Accommodation in Bagan: Bagan Thande Hotel
Upgrade option: Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Hotel
After breakfast leave your hotel for a full day of sightseeing in and around Bagan with your guide. Magnificent pagodas include Ananda Pahto, one of the finest, largest, best-preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples, Thatbyinnyu Pahto which rises 61m and was built in the mid-12th century, Shwezigon Pagoda and Nathlaung Kyaung, the last remaining Hindu temple. (B)
Accommodation in Bagan: Bagan Thande Hotel
Upgrade option: Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Hotel
Leaving Bagan, travel inland from the Irrawaddy River for a full day visit to fascinating Mount Popa. This scenic drive through the rural heartland of central Burma provides a wonderful opportunity to see, and visit, some of the small villages that line the route. Mount Popa itself said to have risen from the earth in a volcanic eruption dated to 442BC and today is believed to be home to spirit Gods or ‘Nats’ and many pilgrims come here to perform ceremonies at the numerous shrines. Later in the afternoon return to your hotel in Bagan. (B/L)
Accommodation in Bagan: Bagan Thande Hotel
Upgrade option: Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Hotel
This morning you will be transferred to Bagan Airport in good time to catch your onward flight to Mandalay. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel for a two night stay. In the afternoon visit Mahamuni Paya which houses the highly venerated Mahamuni Buddha image and then the Shewenandaw Kyaung before climbing Mandalay Hill to enjoy the sunset. (B)
Accommodation in Mandalay: Hotel by the Red Canal (or similar)
Upgrade option: Mandalay Hill Resort
After breakfast visit the 18th century capital of Amarapura located 11kms south of the city. Founded in 1783, Amarapura lost its status as capital city in 1857 to Mandalay, however, pagodas such as Pahtodawgyi Paya and Kyauktawgyi Paya still remain as do numerous palace ruins and U Bein’s Bridge - a 1.2km long footbridge made entirely of 984 teak posts. Later continue to Inwa, an ancient city which, for a long time, was capital of Northern Myanmar and subsequently the Burmese Kingdom from the 14th century to the 18th century. Return to Mandalay in the late afternoon. (B)
Accommodation in Mandalay: Hotel by the Red Canal (or similar)
Upgrade option: Mandalay Hill Resort
Today return to Mandalay Airport in good time to catch your onward flight to Keng Tung where you will stay for two nights. On your arrival visit Naung Tong Lake and the giant standing Buddha image set on the site where Keng Tung was founded one thousand years ago. (B)
Accommodation in Keng Tung: Princess Hotel (or similar)
This morning leave Keng Tung and visit some of the surrounding minority villages for which this region is famous. Places of interest today include the village of Pin Tauk which is home to the colourful Akha, Lahu and Ann communities as well as Palaung where the local women still wear traditional dress and decorative silver rings. (B)
Accommodation in Keng Tung: Princess Hotel (or similar)
After breakfast leave Keng Tung and travel through the beautiful Shan Hills to the town of Tachilek on the Burma-Thai border. Cross into Thailand and continue by road to Sop Ruak, the heart of the ‘Golden Triangle’, where you will stay for the next three nights. (B/L)
Accommodation in Sop Ruak: Anantara Golden Triangle Resort
Upgrade option: Four Seasons Tented Camp
Over the next two day explore the ‘Golden Triangle’, a location surrounded by the borders of Burma, Thailand and Laos at the intersection of the Mekong and Ruak Rivers. Visits will be made to rural Hmong hill tribe villages and there is also an opportunity to travel by long tail boat from Chiang Khong to visit the ancient town of Chiang Sean. (B/L).
Accommodation in Sop Ruak: Anantara Golden Triangle Resort
Upgrade option: Four Seasons Tented Camp
Today leave Sop Ruak for the beautiful drive south to Chiang Mai where you will stay for the next two nights. Situated in a high valley at the foot of the Doi Suthep Mountain, charming and relaxed Chiang Mai is the country’s second city and the cultural hub of northern Thailand. (B)
Accommodation in Chiang Mai: Tamarind Village (or similar)
Upgrade option: Four Seasons Chiang Mai
Alternative upgrade option: Dhara Dhevi Resort
After breakfast explore Chiang Mai with your guide starting at Wat Chiang Man, the oldest temple within the city walls and Wat Phra Singh, the largest in the town. From here continue to Doi Suthep Mountain and climb the 300 steps to the summit spending time to explore Wat Phrathat and enjoy the spectacular views. (B)
Accommodation in Chiang Mai: Tamarind Village (or similar)
Upgrade option: Four Seasons Chiang Mai
Alternative upgrade option: Dhara Dhevi Resort
Today transfer to Chiang Mai Airport in good time to catch your onward flight to Bangkok. On your arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel where you will stay for the next two nights. Bustling, eccentric, intriguing and unforgettable, Bangkok is the gateway to Southeast Asia and a cosmopolitan melting pot of cultures and customs. With fabulous markets and wonderful historic sites, Bangkok is a colourful, intriguing and friendly city. (B)
Accommodation in Bangkok: Ariyasom Villa (or similar)
Alternative option: The Sukhothai
Upgrade option: Mandarin Oriental Hotel
This morning explore Bangkok. Although a very modern city, Bangkok retains vestiges of a more traditional way of life and no better place is this seen than on the Chao Phraya River and its small adjoining canals. Travelling by boat, pass through floating markets and stilted homes as daily life continues around you. Also visit the beautiful Grand Palace, and the superb Temple of the Golden Buddha, as well as Wat Phra Kaeo and the Reclining Buddha at Wat Po. (B)
Accommodation in Bangkok: Ariyasom Villa (or similar)
Alternative option: The Sukhothai
Upgrade option: Mandarin Oriental Hotel
This morning you will be met and transferred back to Bangkok Airport in good time to catch your onward Thai Airways flight to the UK. (B)
**KEY: N = No meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

What To Do Next?

We design unique, tailor-made holiday itineraries to suit you, by combining your ideas with our knowledge and experience. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or if you require some advice, please call us or complete the enquiry form online for a quotation.

What's included

  • International flights from the UK
  • Domestic flights
  • Private car and driver
  • Sightseeing with local English speaking guides
  • Sightseeing with an accompanying English speaking guide
  • Hotel accommodation and taxes

What's not included

  • Cost of visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature

Guide to Price

The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements.

Experts in Tailor-Made Holidays

For over 30 years, Pettitts Travel have led the way in creating authentic, tailor-made holidays. Our knowledgeable team have first-hand knowledge of our destinations and no two itineraries we prepare are the same.

Please call us for more information or complete the online enquiry form to request a quotation.

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