Day 1: Arrive Yangon
Your magical journey begins in Yangon, perhaps better known by its former name Rangoon. This city is currently the most exciting and dynamic place in Myanmar. Old decaying buildings are now being revitalised and big-time investors as well as intrepid travellers are now setting their sights on this evolving cosmopolitan city.
Days 2-3: Yangon and on to Inle Lake via Heho
From the Buddhist caves of Hpa-an to the glorious crumbling grandeur of Yangon's (Rangoon) colonial past this corner of Asia is still in its tourism infancy. Yangon's downtown skyline is dominated by the spectacular, dazzling Shwedagon Pagoda that is covered with sixty tons of gold - a Burmese temple that attracts pilgrims from all over the world.
Exploring Yangon on foot gives you the opportunity to discover daily life at a local level. There are businesses of every kind, busy street food stalls, relaxing tea stalls, markets occupying the sidewalks, and streets filled with a colourful array of local produce, temples and more! You never know what you will find around the next corner!
With eyes locked towards the centre of the continent, the trail winds north from the former capital to the gateway of the beautiful Inle Lake, Heho. This afternoon you transfer to the airport to meet our onward flight to Heho.
The Intha people of Myanmar's Inle Lake have been carving a living atop these shimmering waters for hundreds of years. Devout Buddhists, the Inthas glide around the marsh-edged watery world on small boats propelled with their iconic leg-driven oars between incredible floating gardens and stilted villages. Discover the artisans of Inle Lake who have been weaving fine, luxurious silk fabric from Lotus fibres for centuries, a rare skill that you will not find anywhere else in the world!
Days 4-5: Nyaung-U (Bagan)
Today you travel by air from one of Myanmar's largest lakes to the lively riverside township of Nyaung U (Bagan).
Central Myanmar's Bagan region harbours some of the country's most intriguing pagodas lining the banks of the Irawaddy River. More than 2,000 temples and pagodas dot the plains, some dating back to the 11th century when Bagan was the capital of the First Burmese Empire. In 1287, the kingdom fell to the Mongols after refusing to pay tribute to Kublai Khan, the grandson of the most famous Mongol, Genghis Khan.
Days 6-7: Mandalay
Leaving Nyaung U, we travel by boat to Myanmar's second largest city, Mandalay. This sprawling city centre is dominated by the enormous Royal Palace, surrounded by a moat and housed within its own city walls.
Peer past the surface of the bustling city streets and you'll find little-visited monasteries, Indian temples, many pagodas, striking churches, tea houses and a myriad of traditional craftsmen who in earlier times supplied the royal courts. Mandalay Hill provides spectacular panoramic city views from its summit.
Day 8: Mandalay to Pyin Oo Lwin
Continue northwards in to Myanmar's Shan State and the colonial hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin - a summer retreat for the British colonial administration that enabled them to escape the fearsome Mandalay heat. Here you can wander through the perfectly manicured Kandawgyi Gardens that were designed by Sir Harcourt Butler, the former governor of Burma. To this day, colourful wooden horse-drawn carriages are one of the primary forms of transport around town.
Day 9: To Hsipaw
Climbing steep hills and traversing breathtaking gorges your journey takes us to the charming, laid-back town of Hsipaw, located high in the hills of Shan State.
Day 10: Return to Mandalay
After breakfast the following day, we start our drive back to Mandalay for your final night in Myanmar.
Day 11: To Dali via Kunming
A short flight takes you to Kunming. 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. Continue to Dali via your overnight train arriving early the following morning.
Day 12-13: Dali
Sandwiched between the Cangshan Mountains to the west and Erhai Lake to the east, the mellow little town of Dali is known for its perfect Feng Shui!
Wander the main street, cobbled Renmin Lu, with its terraced houses donning decorative shutters and grass growing between roof tiles. In the bustling produce market we 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.
Day 14: Lijiang
Today you continue your journey through spectacular northern Yunnan to Lijiang where you can explore the maze of cobbled streets of the UNESCO recognised Old Town.
Days 15-16: Lijiang and Tiger Leaping Gorge
Old Lijiang's jumbled lanes, waterways and bridges act as a stepping off point for the round-trip trek up into the majestic Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest gorges in the world and one of Asia's finest geological wonders.
Pull on your walking shs - you will be rewarded with a truly unique experience jam -packed with stunning scenery ranging from rice terraces, riverside villages, dramatic gorges, canyons as well as the occasional mountain goat!
Day 17: Lijiang and to Kunming
After spending the day wandering Lijiang you will board our overnight train to the 'City of the Eternal Spring' Kunming.
Day 18: Kunming
Welcome to Kunming. Relax around the weeping willows and emerald waters of Green Lake, visit the many museums or meander around the streets of Guandu Ancient Town admiring the beautiful architecture.
Day 19: Kunming to Shilin (stone forest)
Today you make your way 90km south from Kunming to the incredible gallery of stone sculptures over 270 million years in the making at the Stone Forest of Shilin.
Day 20-21: Yuanyang to Kunming Journey Concludes
This culturally enlightening journey will conclude in the famed, laid-back city of Kunming the perfect place to relax and reflect in our incredible journey.