South China and Indochina Explorer

STYLE Overland
DURATION 26 Days
BETWEEN Kunming and Bangkok
COUNTRIES VISITED – 3 China, Myanmar and Thailand
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE 22
TRAVEL DATES
Contact Diesel for all departure dates and latest pricing

 

WHATS INCLUDED
All tour transportation All Accommodation
All entrance fees as listed All meals as listed in itinerary
Professional Tour Leader
WHATS NOT INCLUDED
From US$650 Kitty paid locally Visas
International Flights Travel Insurance

Trip Overview

Starting in the delightful city of Kunming, from where we will travel through the stunning landscapes of southern China and the fantastic town of Dali. Crossing into Myanmar, we explore the tribal villages of Shan state and the magnificent former royal capital of Mandalay! We’ll journey past many incredible cave temples and ancient pagodas to the archaeological wonder of Bagan, explore the stunning hills of Kalaw and visit the floating markets of Inle Lake, before overlanding to the incredible city of Yangon and its iconic Shwedagon Pagoda. From the incredible city of Yangon we head to the phenomenal Buddhist pilgrimage site of Mount Kyaiktiyo and its gravity-defying Golden Rock, before heading through southern Myanmar. We visit the breathtaking mushroom-shaped temple rock of Kyauk Kalap and the serene beaches of Maungmagan, then overland over the mountains into Thailand. We will visit the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai en route to the incredible Thai capital of Bangkok. Join us on this unforgettable Asian overlanding experience!


Please Note: Many of the Overland Expeditions in Asia have variations with shorter modules available or can be combined to make longer trips. Contact us for more itineraries, details and prices.

 

South China and Indochina Explorer

Starting in the delightful city of Kunming, from where we will travel through the stunning landscapes of southern China and the fantastic town of Dali. Crossing into Myanmar, we explore the tribal villages of Shan state and the magnificent former royal capital of Mandalay! We’ll journey past many incredible cave temples and ancient pagodas to the archaeological wonder of Bagan, explore the stunning hills of Kalaw and visit the floating markets of Inle Lake, before overlanding to the incredible city of Yangon and its iconic Shwedagon Pagoda. From the incredible city of Yangon we head to the phenomenal Buddhist pilgrimage site of Mount Kyaiktiyo and its gravity-defying Golden Rock, before heading through southern Myanmar. We visit the breathtaking mushroom-shaped temple rock of Kyauk Kalap and the serene beaches of Maungmagan, then overland over the mountains into Thailand. We will visit the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai en route to the incredible Thai capital of Bangkok.


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1

Day 1: Kunming

Border information: if joining in Kunming, you will most likely enter China at Kunming Changshui International Airport (IATA code: KMG).

Today will be a free day to explore the city of Kunming until the evening. There will be a group meeting today at 6:00pm – your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this important meeting will take place.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Kunming before the start of your trip with us – please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Kunming.

In Kunming we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Optional Visit the historic Yuantong and Tanhua Buddhist temples in Kunming CNY 6
Optional Visit the Yunnan University Wu Mayao Museum of Anthropology in Kunming, and learn all about the history of the province Free
Optional Learn all about the area’s minorities at the Yunnan Provincial Museum, and visit the nearby markets Free
2-3

Day 2-3: Dali

This morning we start out journey with a drive to the beautiful lakeside town of Dali. We will have a free afternoon to explore on arrival.

Estimated Drive Time – 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions – however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors – flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

On the following day we will have a free day in Dali to enjoy the many optional activities available in the area, including taking a boat ride out on Lake Er Hai or taking the cable car up Cangtang Mountain.

In Dali we will stay in an excellent hostel in private or shared rooms.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Optional Hike on the scenic mountain of Cangshan and explore the walkways, forests and temples in the area CNY 40
Optional Learn how to make dumplings and traditional Yunnanese cuisine at one of Dali’s fantastic cooking classes CNY 150
Optional Discover the ornate 9th-century Three Pagodas of Chongsheng, some of the tallest pagodas in China’s history and the symbol of Dali CNY 120
Optional Head out by bicycle to explore the region in depth and visit various Bai villages and Qing Dynasty bridges en route CNY 50
Optional Experience the incredible ancient art of cormorant fishing with the fishermen of Xizhou on Lake Erhai CNY 100
4

Day 4: Ruili

 Today we wil travel throuh Baoshan Country and reach the border town of Ruili.

In Ruili we aim to stay in a local guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time – 6-8 hours.

5-6

Day 5-6: Hsipaw

Border information: Exit China at Ruili, enter Myanmar at Muse.

Today we will cross the border into Myanmar and make our way to the laid-back Shan village of Hsipaw.

Estimated Drive Time – 6-8 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day for exploration of the area, and will hopefully have the opportunity to take a boat trip on the lake or head out on a day trek to the hill-tribes of the area.

In Hsipaw we will stay in a hotel.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included Trek out to remote hill tribe villages around Hsipaw in Burma’s Shan State Included in Kitty
Optional Take a boat trip from Hsipaw to explore the nearby Shan villages MMK 10000
7

Day 7: Pyin U Lwin

Today we will continue to the scenic hill town of Pyin U Lwin in the Shan highlands above Mandalay, where we will have a chance to explore the town and the beautiful botanical gardens.

In Pyin U Lwin we will stay in a good hotel.

Estimated Drive Time – 4-5 hours.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Optional Freely explore the old hill station town and the botanical gardens at Pyin U Lwin MMK 5000
Optional Take a train along the famous railway between Hsipaw and Pyin U Lwin, a remarkable piece of engineering that brought trade and control to the region during the colonial era USD 2
8-10

Day 8-10: Mandalay

Today we will have a free morning to further explore Pyin U Lwin, before our short drive to the enchanting and evocative former royal capital of Mandalay.

Estimated Drive Time – 2-3 hours.

On our first full day here we will have a guided tour that includes a morning visit to Mandalay Hill, the world’s largest book, the Golden Palace and the Mahamuni Pagoda, before finishing the day at the beautiful U Bin bridge in time for sunset.

On the following day we will have a second full day in Mandalay to freely explore the incredible city.

In Mandalay we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included

Head out on a day trip to some of the main sights of Mandalay, including Mandalay Hill, the Kuthodaw and Mahamuni Pagodas, the Shwenandaw Kyaung Golden Monastery and U Bein bridge

Included in Kitty
Optional See the famous anti-government comedy show from the Moustache Brothers MMK 8000
Optional Take a boat trip to see the colossal uncompleted stupa at the Mingun archaeological site near Mandalay MMK 5000
Optional Visit the Gold Pounders’ district and the famous Jade Market in Mandalay to shop for local handicrafts and learn about their manufacturing techniques Free
Optional Freely explore the huge complex of the Mandalay Royal Palace, and visit the many fascinating buildings within Free
Optional Head out for an colourful evening performance of traditional Burmese music and dance at Mandalay’s Mitha Theatre MMK 8000
11

Day 11: Monywa

This morning we will continue our journey to the town of Monywa, stopping en route to visit the Thanboddhay Pagoda and the Hpo Win Daung cave temples.

In Monywa we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time – 3-4 hours.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included Visit the incredible Hpo Win Daung cave temples and explore their Buddha staues and painted murals Included in Kitty
Included Visit the stunning 14th-century Thanboddhya Pagoda and see its colossal golden stupa and incredible 580,000 Buddha statues Included in Kitty
Optional See the Laykyun Sekkya Buddha statue near Monywa, which at 116m is the second tallest statue in the world (if time allows) Free
12

Day 12: Pakkoku, Ayeyarwady River, Bagan

Today we make our way to the ancient town of Pakhan Gyi and the attractive town of Pakokku, where we board a boat to take us on a journey down the Ayeyarwady River to Bagan.

In Bagan we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time – 3-4 hours.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included

Take a boat trip down the mighty Ayeyarwady River to arrive in Bagan

Included in Kitty
13-14

Day 13-14: Bagan

Bagan is situated on the banks of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River and is home to the largest cluster of pagodas, Buddhist temples, stupas and ruins in the world – a place that has to be seen to be believed.

We will have 2 full days in Bagan, in which time we have a guided tour of the temple complexes and visit the 10th-Century old town of Bagan, including a visit to a local handicraft workshop. There will also be plenty of time for free exploration of the area.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included Take a day tour around the multitude of historical sites in and around the ancient capital of Bagan Included in Kitty
Optional See the sunrise over Bagan from an unforgettable morning balloon flight (weather-dependent) USD 330
15

Day 15: Kalaw

Today we will drive to the hill station town of Kalaw, where we will hopefully catch the lively market and explore the town.

In Kalaw we will stay in a good hotel in the town.

Estimated Drive Time – 6-7 hours.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Optional Head out for a day of hiking in the stunning hills surrounding Kalaw MMK 5
Optional Visit the fascinating Pindaya Caves near Kalaw and marvel at the array of statues within MMK 10000
16-18

Day 16-18: Inle Lake

Today we have the opportunity for a day walk in the hills surrounding Kalaw, before returning in the afternoon for the short drive to the beautiful Inle Lake, a real highlight of a visit to Myanmar. The area is full of amazing floating gardens and can be explored by bike or on a long-tail boat.

Estimated Drive Time – 2-3 hours.

On the following day we will have a full day tour around Inle Lake by long-tail boat to the floating farms and markets.

On the following day we will have a free day to explore the area by bike, hike in the surrounding hills, or visit the local wineries and hot springs.

In Inle Lake we will stay in a local guesthouse.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included Explore the famous floating markets of Inle Lake by long-tail boat Included in Kitty
Optional Freely explore the area by foot and head out on a day hike in the beautiful hills around Inle Lake MMK 10000
Optional Hire a bike to explore the wineries and hot springs near Inle Lake MMK 4000
Optional Learn how to prepare a variety of local Shan specialities at a cooking class near Inle Lake MMK 15000
19

Day 19: Naypyidaw

Today we will drive to the unique, bizarre and half-empty Myanmar capital of Naypyidaw, a city constructed in secret during the early 2000s. Here we will have the opportunity to explore the city in the truck.

In Naypyidaw we aim to stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time – 5-6 hours.

20

Day 20: Yangon

Today we will complete our drive to Yangon, where we will have a free afternoon to explore or visit the Scott market.

Estimated Drive Time – 5-6 hours.

In Yangon we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

21

Day 21: Yangon

Today we will have a guided tour of old Yangon, the Kandawgyi Lake, the Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda and the famous Shwedagon Pagoda. You are then free to explore the city on your own.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Optional Explore Yangon’s famous Bogyoke (Scott’s) Market Free
Included Enjoy a tour of Yangon, including the Kandawgyi Lake and the famous Shwedagon Paya temple Included in Kitty
22

Day 22: Mt Kyaiktiyo

Border information: if leaving in Yangon, you will most likely exit Myanmar at Yangon International Airport (IATA code: RGN).

If are continuing to Bangkok, today you will move on to the town of Kyaikhto.

This morning our journey from Yangon begins with a drive to one of Myanmar’s most important Buddhist pilgrimage shrines at the spectacular Mt Kyaiktiyo.

We take a local pick-up truck up the first two-thirds of the mountain, and then continue the final part of the ascent on foot along a steep and winding path. We end up on the top, next to the Golden Rock.

In Mt Kyaiktiyo we will stay in a local hotel.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included Take a local passenger truck up to the incredible Golden Rock, one of Myanmar’s holiest shrines Included in Kitty
23

Today we will aim to visit the mushroom-shaped temple rock at Kyauk Kalap and the beautiful Kawt Ka Taung caves near Hpa An, before moving on to the city of Mawlamyine for the night.

In Mawlamyine we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time – 4-5 hours.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included Visit the beautiful tiled temples inside the caves of Kawt Ka Taung Included in Kitty
Included Visit the seemingly impossible Kyauk Kalap rock near Hpa-an Included in Kitty
24

Today we will head south following the beautiful Andaman coast, to the southern city of Dawei. If we have time we will visit the Thanbyuzayat Allied War Cemetery en route.

We will stay at a beachfront hotel on Maungmagan Beach (about 12 kilometres from Dawei).

Estimated Drive Time – 7-9 hours.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included Visit the Allied War Cemetery at Thanbyuzayat en route to Dawei Included in Kitty
25

Today we will have a free day at the the stunning Maungmagan beaches.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included Relax and explore the beautiful Maungmagan Beach on the Andaman coast of southern Buma Included in Kitty
Optional See the amazing 75m-long reclining Buddha at the Lawka Tharaphu Pagoda in Dawei Free
26

Border Information: exit Myanmar at Htee Kee, enter Thailand at Ban Nam Pu Ron.

Today we will cross into Thailand via the brand new border at Htee Kee, and drive to the town of Kanchanaburi.

In Kanchanaburi we will stay in a local guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time – 6-7 hours.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included Visit the notorious Bridge over the River Kwai and the Thailand-Burma Railway centre, and learn all about the history of the Japanese occupation during the Second World War Included in Kitty
27

Day 27: Bangkok

We spend this morning exploring the Thailand-Burma Railway centre and the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi. This afternoon we drive to Thailand’s bustling capital of Bangkok, where we will have free time to explore and enjoy our final meal together!

In Bangkok we will stay in a comfortable, centrally-located hotel.

Estimated Drive Time – 3-4 hours.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included Visit the notorious Bridge over the River Kwai and the Thailand-Burma Railway centre, and learn all about the history of the Japanese occupation during the Second World War Included in Kitty
28

Border information: if leaving in Bangkok, you will most likely exit Thailand from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (IATA code: BKK).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Bangkok. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight – please contact the Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Optional Freely explore the vast royal complex of the Grand Palace, including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (the most sacred temple in Thailand) THB 250
Optional Freely explore Bangkok’s incredible Wat Arun temple, one of Thailand’s most picturesque temples Free
Optional Learn all about Thai history and culture at the Bangkok National Museum, the largest and most comprehensive museum in South East Asia THB 40
Optional Climb the steps of the Golden Mount to see the panoramic view of Bangkok from the Wat Saket temple Free

There are more detailed trip notes specific to each departure date available, contact us and we will be happy to send them to you.