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Myanmar and Yunnan Explorer

Departing: Yangon, Myanmar - 23 days
Countries visited: Myanmar (Burma) & China

Long-closed borders have until quite recently made this journey through some of the most ethically diverse parts of Asia almost impossible. But now due to a more relaxed political climate, travellers are welcome in Myanmar where roads lead north to the Chinese frontier and its beautiful Yunnan province set in the southern foothills of the mighty Himalayas.

  

 

Itinerary

Days 1-2. Old Burma - The Land That Time Forgot
Your magical journey begins in Yangon. Perhaps better known by its former name of Rangoon, this former colonial outpost of Britain's Indian Empire fascinates travellers from its shiny golden stupa at the centre of the Shwedagon Paya - the nation's most holy Buddhists pagoda visible from all over the city - to its busy markets housed in former colonial buildings now long past their former glory.  

Days 3-7. Central Burma - Of Lakes and Buddhist Pagodas
At Inle Lake where the Intha people make their living from fishing, and growing vegetables and fruit in gardens which float on the lake's surface, you can observe fishermen using leg-driven oars to propel their small boats. At Nuang-U (Bagan) discover some of the country's most intriguing pagodas lining the banks of the Irrawaddy River. Even more remarkably, we find around 2,000 more dotting the nearby plains - some dating from the 11th century when Bagan was the capital of the first Burmese Empire. From Bagan you cruise up the mighty Irrawaddy to Mandalay with its royal palace housed within its own city walls, and little-visited monasteries, pagodas, collections of old churches from colonial times, and traditional craft workshops. 

Days 4-13. The New Frontier and Ethnic Peoples
Northward in to Myanmars Shan State and the colonial hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin. After wandering through perfectly manicured English gardens make your way to Hsipaw climbing steep hills and traversing breathtaking gorges your journey takes you to the charming laid back town located high in the hills of Shan State. A short flight takes you to Kunming, to enter China's Yunnan province to discover a land set in the southern foothills of the Himalayan range, on the edge of the Tibetan plateau, that is home to some 27 diverse ethnic groups which frequently transcend the political borders of Burma's Shan state and beyond. In Dali, uncover a photographer's paradise with ancient Chinese city cares and towers with upturned eaves to deter dragons, and cobbled streets edged by houses with decorative shutters. In the bustling produce markets see Bai women in traditional dress, and enjoy panoramic views of the jagged Cangshan Mountains. Traditional Chinese arched bridges across Erhai Lake complete the picture. 

Days 14-23. Leaping Tiger Gorge and Picturesque Rice Terraces
Onwards you come to Lijiang with another equally charming old town, with access to Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest in the world, and one of Asia's finest geological wonders. Spend two days walking in the area, admiring the stunning scenery of rice terraces, riverside villages, dramatic gorges and canyons, and the occasional mountain goat. South of Kunming, explore the Stone Forest of Shilin, an incredible gallery of stone sculptures dating back 270 million years. At Yuanyang you will be are amazed by the ingenious rice terraces where members of the Hani and Yi ethnic minorities still wear vibrantly-coloured traditional clothes and practice agricultural styles little changed over centuries. And finally, in Kunming see a graceful old quarter where weeping willows gently caress the lake, and traditional Chinese temples abound. It's the perfect place to relax and reflect on your incredible journey.


 

Essentials

Transfers
All arrival transfers are included once you have begun this journey. See the Journey itinerary for more details.

From Myanmar
Hotels & Guesthouses - 20 nights (twin share)
Trains - 2 nights (4 berth) 

Hotels
Choose from 'Classic' or 'Traveller'.

Meals
Many breakfasts (20) are included. Refer to the Journey Itinerary for more details.

Travel by
Train: Comfortable 4-berth sleepers.
There are two rail sector on this journey; 
- Dali to Lijiang (1 night)
- Lijiang to Kunming (1 night)
Other: A variety of private chartered vehicles and public buses, boat and flights are used on the non-rail overland sectors. 

Sightseeing
The suggested sightseeing in these itineraries is not included in the prices shown. 

Visas
Required for China & Myanmar (depends on nationality). Sundowners Overland will provide all required invitation letters and full visa support, including detailed visa guidelines.
Note: Due to the remote areas visited you should be prepared for some basic accommodation and rail sleepers on some sectors.