Myanmar & Cambodia: Burmese Empires & Khmer Kingdoms

Myanmar and Cambodia, the former kingdoms of Mon and Khmer, embody two of South East Asia’s most ancient and intriguing cultures. Throughout their long histories, Buddhism has been a major creative source of artistic and intellectual inspiration – and still finds powerful expression today in a wealth of exotic architecture, iconography and rituals. Our interest-filled tour focuses on the cultures that laid the early building blocks of Burmese civilization and the core role of Buddhism here in historic lands newly engaging with the outside world.


Nov 9 – 24 2019 (16 days)
Price $7,680 | SS $1,450
Deposit $500


Tour Description

Former capital Yangon (Rangoon of old) offers a lively introduction to Myanmar’s many colors and contrasts to come in a dazzling spectrum of saffron-robed monks, resplendent pagodas, golden temples and ancient royal sites as we visit Bagan, capital of the first Burmese kingdom, and Mandalay, the last royal capital – and explore beautiful Inle Lake with its traditional stilt-houses and temples rising from the water.

Equally striking contrasts are the keynote in Cambodia en route to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap through scenes of active Buddhist monasteries, vibrant markets and spectacular palaces – culminating in the Khmer temple complex at Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument. As we travel there’s every opportunity to enjoy traditional music and dance and to discover local cuisines and unique handicrafts.


  • Uncover the historical, ethnographic and religious influences that have shaped the history of these ancient lands
  • Marvel at the ethereal beauty of Yangon’s glorious Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Take a horse and cart across verdant rice fields at the deserted royal city of Ava to visit a traditional wooden monastery

  • Spend an afternoon on Inle Lake observing the famous Intha ‘leg rowers’ and floating gardens bursting with vegetables and flowers
  • Enjoy two wonderful days of in-depth exploration amid the huge Angkor temple and sanctuary complex



Miranda Bruce-Mitford

2019 Itinerary

Saturday, November 9: ARRIVE IN YANGON
We arrive in Yangon and transfer to our first hotel. We take the rest of the day to relax after our flight, before enjoying our first dinner as a group.
Dinner included.

Sunday, November 10: YANGON
We begin our touring of Yangon, viewing the colonial buildings, and a stop at the golden chedi at Sule Pagoda. We also experience the spiritual atmosphere surrounding the glorious Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s most important religious building. After lunch, choose to have free time or to join an optional walking tour of the city streets.
All meals included.

Monday, November 11: YANGON – MANDALAY
A morning flight brings us to Mandalay. We begin with a comprehensive tour of the city, which includes the Mahamuni Pagoda and the Shwe-im-bin, a wooden monastery known for its lovely carving. This afternoon, we visit Kuthodaw Pagoda, where a large Buddha statue has been carved out of a single block of local marble. Next, we visit Shwenandaw Monastery, the only Royal Palace building to survive a WWII bombing.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Tuesday, November 12: MANDALAY
We drive south towards the former royal capital of Innwa and take a local ferry across the river to Ava, where a horse cart and driver await. Pass through the ancient city walls to visit the monastery of Maha Aungmye Bonzan and the impressive wooden monastery of Bagaya Kyaung. We spend the afternoon visiting Mandalay Palace and then  Shwe Kywe Kyin Monastery in time to witness the evening prayer.
All meals included.

Wednesday, November 13: MANDALAY – MINGUN
Today we embark on a cruise on the Aywerwaddy to Bagan. We stop in Mingun to visit the impressive unfinished pagoda, and the largest working bell in the world. This afternoon, we stop in a typical river village before returning to the ship for dinner.
All meals included.

Thursday, November 14: MINGUN – SAGAING – YANDABO
During our cruise downstream, we admire the natural beauty of the river and the life of its banks. After breakfast, those who wish to go to Sagaing can go ashore. In the afternoon, we stop at Yandabo, a village specializing in pottery making, and where the peace treaty of the First-Anglo Burmese war was signed in 1826. Here, we visit the pottery workshops, monastery and school.
Note: The visit to Yandabo is highly dependent on the water level and river conditions. The ship Captain is the sole person to authorise the stop.
All meals included.

Friday, November 15: BAGAN
We enjoy the sunrise near Bagan before disembarking at Ye Kin jetty this morning. Today we visit a diverse selection of the most important pagodas and temples in Bagan. There include the Shewzigon Pagoda, a huge gilded temple built by King Anawrata in the early 11th century, and Gubyaukhyi, a 13th century temple with exquisite murals of the “Jataka Tales’. This afternoon, we visit four very different 11th century Mon-style temples: Nanpaya, Manuha, Nagayon and Abeyadana, with its beautifully restored Mahayana wall paintings.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Saturday, November 16: BAGAN
After an early morning carriage ride to one of the pagodas where we witness the sunrise. We then depart for Myinkaba, a village that pre-dates the founding of Bagan. Here we visit the first of two transitional temples, the Gubyaukgyi Myinkaba Temple, built in traditional Indian style, and then the Ananda Temple, famous for its 3,000 images. We stop to see the lacquer-ware being made and engraved by four different processes. Lastly, we visit the Archaeological Museum.
All meals included.

Sunday, November 17: BAGAN – INLE LAKE
This morning we fly to Heho, from which we will journey to our next hotel on the shores of Inle Lake. Our first afternoon will be spent boating on the lake, where we will see the renowned Intha people, who row their boats standing with one leg wrapped around an oar, and floating gardens bursting with an abundance of vegetables and flowers. We will stop to visit the wooden Phe Kyaung Monastery, famous for its “jumping cats,” and Phaung Daw U Pagoda.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Monday, November 18: INLE LAKE
Our touring continues by boat to Nyaung Shwe, where we proceed by bus through pine forests to the former hill station and capital of Southern Shan State, Taunggyi. En route we will visit Shweyanpyay Monastery and Sulamani Pagoda before continuing (providing the road is passable) to the ancient ruins of Kak Ku Pagoda, completely surrounded by dozens of small pagodas. Later, we visit the Aythaya Estate Wine Garden. When we arrive, we have the chance to enjoy a wine-tasting with food.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Tuesday, November 19: INLE LAKE – PHNOM PENH
We fly from Heho to Yangon. Upon arrival, we leave the airport for a rejuvenating lunch. Later, we transfer back to Yangon International Airport for our evening flight to Phnom Penh.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Wednesday, November 20: PHNOM PENH
This morning we take an intriguing tour of Phnom Penh’s must-see sites, beginning with a visit to The Royal Palace. This structure was constructed on the site of the Banteay Kev, a citadel built in 1813. We venture inside the Palace’s Silver Pagoda and its surrounding compound. We continue to visit the Russian Market, also known as Psah Tuol Tom Pong. The market is very popular with the locals and has stalls selling drinks and cooked food as well as everyday household goods. The remainder of the day will be at leisure.
Breakfast included.

Thursday, November 21: PHNOM PENH – SIEM REAP
A full morning will be spent at the National Museum, of Khmer Art and Archaeology, otherwise known as ‘Musee des Beaux-Arts’ or ‘Musee Albert Sarraut’. This museum is considered to be one of the finest museums of classical Cambodian art. After lunch we will fly to Siem Reap and transfer to our well- located hotel for the next four nights. Nestled between rice paddies and stretched along the Siem Reap River, the small provincial town of Siem Reap serves as the gateway to the ancient temple ruins of the Khmer Empire.
Breakfast included.

Friday, November 22: SIEM REAP
We have ample time to allow us an in-depth exploration of the extraordinary Angkor complex. We spend our first day touring the older temples of the Roluos group. We will visit the city of Angkor Thom, with the many-towered Bayon Temple at its center; the adjacent city square and elephant terrace; the cremation platform; and the royal palace compound. We will also visit Prasat Kravan, with unique brick sculptures, and Eastern Mebon, guarded by elephants.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Saturday, November 23: SIEM REAP
We start our day at Banteay Srei temple, regarded as the jewel in the crown of classical Khmer art. In the afternoon, we visit the most famous of all temples on the plain of Angor ­— Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Angkor Wat’s five towers symbolize Meru’s five peaks — the enclosed wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world, and the surrounding moat — the ocean beyond.
All meals included.

Sunday, November 24: DEPART SIEM REAP
We transfer to the airport for our individual flights home or onward travel.
Breakfast included.

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