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Beyond Boundaries

22D/21N - LUXURY LAOS AND GREAT CROSSING OF MYANMAR
22D/21N - LUXURY LAOS AND GREAT CROSSING OF MYANMAR
Chiang Rai, Pakbeng, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Paksé, Khong Island, Ubon, Bangkok, Yangon, Mandalay, Monywa, Pakkoku, Bagan, Popa, Pindaya, Taunggyi, Kakku, Lac Inle, Heho, Yangon
Unforgettable: This trip starts in Bangkok and covers all highlights of Laos and Burma that offer you a great insight into local culure and witness the daily life and stunning scenery along Mekong River

PROGRAM INDETAILS:
Day 01: Bangkok - Chiang Rai
Arrival at the airport, reception at the airport in Chiang Rai by our local team and transfer to hotel.
Lunch at the hotel. Free time for relaxing, lazing by the pool. Dinner in a local restaurant.
Then transfer to the night market of Akkhas held every evening from 17 to 22h in the city center. Back at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 02: Chiang Rai - Pakbeng
Transfer to Laos via Chiang Khong (1.5 to 2:hrs).
A short crossing of the Mekong River, to Laos, where you will be meet by your guide, You will then be boarding for a cruise down the Mekong River (6h-6h30) on board a vessel (*). Thus begins the discovery of the banks of the Mekong River that runs through mythical China, separating Laos from Myanmar and Thailand, and runs close to Cambodia, plunging to the sea in Vietnam. The scenery is magnificent. The river is the main axis of communication between the North of Laos and Luang Prabang, its a very busy route, lined with villages. Stop in a village bordering the River. Lunch on board

Traditionnal Slow Boat – Standing 3 ancres
A traditional boat refurbished to suit Western travelers (more comfortable seats ( recycled coach seats and some wooden chairs), small table for lunch, picnic or buffet lunch available by boat (if large group, the clients eat with their plates on their knees), clean toilets). It is of one level only, covered by a roof, but open to the outside. It is equipped with one engine. Sailing time (excluding stops) is about 7 hours between Ban Houey Xai, and around 7 hours between Pak Beng and Luang Prabang
Capacity : 20 to 40 passengers on the boat
Arrive at Pak Beng in late afternoon. Installation Pakbeng Lodge (*** Charming). Discovery of this village, located on the Mekong River halfway between Luang Prabang and Houey Xay, where Hmong, Lue, Khamou, etc .. Cultures mix..

Day 03 : Bakbeng
In the morning departure to an elephant camp. Discovery of the camp which houses several families of mahouts. Take an Elephant ride in the beautiful surrounding forest crisscrossed by many rivers. The mahouts are the elephants carers, they help with bathing in the river, feeding, training ...). Back to Pak Beng. Lunch at the Lodge.
In the afternoon, departure for a walk of about 3 hours through the village and the forest, to discover a beautiful village of Khmu Pakeng , which is found on the edge of the forest (easy walking except 15 minutes after the market where the trail is very steep - rigid sole walking shoes required). On the way back , you will stop at the local temple of VAt Si Chon Cheng, from which you will have some fantastic views of the river. Dinner and overnight at the Lodge Pakbeng.

Day 04 : Pakbeng – Luang Prabang
Rejoin the cruise down the Mekong, to Luang Prabang (140 km). We saile for about 5 hours through beautiful landscapes. The Mekong River is at the bottom of a valley, rainforest invades the banks and from time to time you will see a village. Lunch on board. Before arriving stop to visit the sacred caves of Pak Ou housing hundreds of Buddha statues. The caves offer a magnificent view over the Mekong, its the place, where the Mekong meet the waters of Nam Ou river. Arrival in Luang Prabang the former royal capital, declared a World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Dinner in a local restaurant (COULEUR CAFE or similar). Overnight at hotel.

Day 05 : Luang Prabang
Suggestion for early risers:
Go and stand at the intersection of streets at dawn to attend the silent procession of monks collecting their food from the faithful (we ask you to respect them, not to impede their progress, not to be noisy, observe, photograph or videotape, but in silence. Finally, thank you not to buy rice prepared by the sellers who see the opportunity to earn some money, as its their ritual and not ours from the West);

In the morning you will take a city tour in Luang Prabang, the former seat of the royal family and by 1975 the capital of Laos, is undoubtedly one of the finest mountain resorts in Asia and since 1995 on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Pay visits the most famous sites:
Vat May, built in the late eighteenth century, a shrine wearing a five-sided roof surmounted by three umbrellas.
Palais Royal now converted into National Museum ;
Vat Visoun: it is the oldest temple of the city, it does not resemble any other temple, with its windows with balusters out of wooden, inspired by the Khmer temple of Vat Phou.
le Vat Aham : located just beside Vat Visoun, it is framed of two large banyan trees

In the afternoon, climb the Phousi Mountain. it is a sacred hill located in downtown. It is reached by a long staircase that winds through many Pagodon filled with legends. At the top, panoramic view over the city and the Mekong; Lunch at local restaurant (Coconut Garden or similar).
On the way back, visit the night market of Hmong people, which takes place every day in the main streets from 17-22 PM. Dinner at local restaurant (Roots&Leaves or similar). Night at the hotel.

Day 06: Luang Prabang
Vat Xieng Thong, the Temple of the Royal City, a vast whole of crowned buildings, one of the jewels of art lao and the most beautiful temple of the city;
The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre: an independent, non-profit museum dedicated to the ethnic cultures in Laos. Then excursion to Kuang Sy water fall. Enjoy the beautiful road with one side is the ethnic villages and the other side is rice field. You may take a bath in the transparent water.

Pinic lunch in the cascade. Return to Luang Prabang in the middle of the afternoon, continue to visit the city. Dinner at local restaurant (THE HOUSE or similar). Nuit à l’hôtel

Traditionnal Baci Ceremony:
Laotian people believe that 32 spirits or Khouan inhabit our bodies and protect us. From time to time they need to be re-aligned, for instance to commemorate specific events in an individual's life like beginning a new year or arriving or departing to a new environment. You will attend a traditional Baci ceremony.The ritual of the baci involves tying strings around a person’s wrist to preserve good luck. A tray of floral decorations, candles, baci strings and offerings will be prepared for you. Following the blessing you will enjoy your special Laotian meal.

Day 07: Luang Prabang – Vientiane
Early morning, transfer to the airport Flight Lao Airlines LPQ/VTE QV 112 - 07h50/08h45 – every day – (for reference only). Welcome at the airport and transfer to the hotel for check in. Then discover Laos’ capital : Vat Sisaket, which, in spite of the Siamese influence, presents an architecture all of its own. The largest temple in Vientiane, it is considered the most beautiful and its old ‘Bangkok’ style has indeed saved it from destruction. Vat Phra Keo, built in 1565 celebrates the Emerald Buddha it shelters. It was rebuilt identically in 1942. Located in a pretty garden, it shelters the Buddha under sloping, superb carved wood panels and elegant colonnades built in typical Lao-style and with a northern Siamese roof; Patuxaï, a monumenty established in memory of the war’s victims. A panoramic view of Vientiane can be seen from the top;Talat Sao, the morning market where you’ll see all kind of products imported or made in Laos. Pha That Louang, a cloister guarding a large stupa that was saved when the city was raided by the Siamese. Damaged by the Ho plunderers Ho in 1873, it was restored by the French in 1930. It has become the symbol of the nation, representing both Buddhism and Lao’s sovereignty. This large relic is a masterpiece of Laotian architecture.
Lunch at local restaurant (CAFE INDOCHINE or similar). At the end of the day, strolling on the bank of Mekong river. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 08: Vientiane – Pakse – Khong Island
Early morning, transfer to the airport : Flight Lao Airlines VTE/PKZ QV 512 – 06H30/07H45 – every day (for reference only). Arrive at Pakse airport then transfer by road to the town of Champassak, which flourished during the French colonial period, Champassak now is a sleepy town and visited mainly for its ruins of Vat Phou located 8 km from the city. This site has been listed since March 2002 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Even before the construction of the Wat, the site was considered sacred by local people who worship the animist spirits of the mountains. The oldest ruins are those of the ancient Khmer temple, whose name means "temple-mountain", which date back to the fifth and sixth centuries, while the two main buildings of Angkor are contemporary. Very beautiful Khmer statues remain. A strong sense emerges from these historical places. Lunch at local restaurant. Highway to Khong Island Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 09: Khong Island
You will take an excursion in small boats across the region of 4,000 Islands., where the river has flooded the plains, and many islands have formed. Then go to visit Khone Island with its many colonial remnants and Li Phi Falls, which are reached after a 1 hour walk (there /back) in the middle of a bamboo forest. Lunch at local restaurant. Then we hit the road to visit the Phapheng Falls, the "Niagara of the Mekong' on the Cambodian border. Return by road to Khong Island. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 10: Khong Island – Pakse – Ubonratchathani – Bangkok
Return by road to Pakse. If the timing and weather permitting, stopping on route to visit the modest pre-Angkorian ruins of the Temple of Umm Moun , nestled deep in an accident forest. Lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon transfer to Ubon Ratchathani airport in Thailand (without guide) Flight Thai Airways TG 031 UBN/BKK 17h45/18H50 – every day (for reference only)

Day 11: Bangkok –Yangon
Welcomed by our experienced guide and transfer to hotel and leisure. Green city, marked out lakes with the carefully landscaped banks, Yangon dissimulates under its peaceful airs a vibrating animation. Visit Chaukhtatgyi pagoda and of its great Buddha laying whose colossal stature is fortunately softened by the good-naturalness of its expression! Lunch at Padonmar restaurant. After lunch, an extended visit to the Shwedagon pagoda, one of the world’s most spectacular religious monuments, will conclude the tour of this pictures garden city. The golden dome of the Shwedagon Pagoda rises 98 meters. Dinner and overnight at Kandawgyi Palace.

Day 12: Yangon – Mandalay – Sagaing – Amarapura – Ava - Mandalay
Breakfast. Transfer to Yangon airport for domestic flight to Mandalay. Upon arrival proceed to Sagaing, a retreat for Buddhist devotees, to enjoy a magnificent view over the surrounding area. Then stop with the Pagoda Soon U Ponnya Shin to benefit from the panorama. Lunch is taken at Small River restaurant . After lunch, continue visit to the former royal capital of Ava, reached by a short boat trip. Visits by horse-drawn carriage to Nanmyint Watch Tower, the remains of the palace building nicknamed “leaning tower of Ava”, Maha Aungmye beautiful monastery built of brick and stucco and Bagayar Monastery, famous for its impression ornate woodcarvings and teak posts. Return to Mandalay. Departure for Amarapura and continue to the 200- years –old U Bein Bridge, built in 1782 at the time of Amarapura was the royal capital ,entirely constructed by teakwood. Dinner and overnight at Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel.

Day 13: Mandalay – Mingun – Mandalay
Breakfast. An excursion by boat on the Ayeyarwaddy River will take you to Mingun (45min approximately). Visit one of the world largest bell, weighing 90 tons Mingun Bell, Hsinbyume Paya and the unfinished Mingun Paya, built as one of the largest zedis by King Bodawpaya. Return by boat to Mandalay. Lunch on boat during visit. At the afternoon, visits with the Shwenandaw monastery (or Golden Palace monastery) a superb example of a tradition work, and Kuthodaw Pagoda. The world’s largest book, consisting of 729 marble slabs engraved with Buddhist scriptures. Proceed to Mandalay Hill for sunset viewing. Dinner at local restaurant. Overnight at MANDALAY HILL RESORT HOTEL.

Day 14: Monywa - Po Win Taung – Monywa
After breakfast at hotel, drive to Monywa (3h approximately) by coach. Stop on route to visit the KaungMudaw Pagoda with its enormous white dome and its some 800 stone pillars located at the base. Visit multicolored Thanboddhay temple, built from the dream designs of a noted monk. Lunch at Shwe Lein Maw restaurant .After lunch, departure for the splendid temple-caves of PoWinTaung (1hr), a seldom-visited complex of cave temples and shrines (some dating back to the 15th century) that contain an abundance of Buddha images and some fine mural paintings. And then continue to discovery of the maze of temples Shwe Ba Taung. Return to Monywa. Dinner and overnight at Win Unity Hotel.

Day 15: Monywa – Pakkoku - Cruising On The Irrawaddy – Bagan
Breakfast. Drive to Pakkoku (3h approximately) by coach. Then cruise to Bagan (2h 30), the occasion to discover the life of the banks of the river with its market gardening’s and its traditional villages of another time. Lunch is taken on the way. Arrival to Bagan at the beginning of afternoon. Bagan is without doubt most astonishing site of Myanmar, if it is all South East Asia. At edges of Irrawaddy river, renamed from now on Ayeryarwaddy, and on the area of 40 km2 straighten up some hundreds temples (2219 exactly). All of these remnants have been constructed of 11century au 13 century by the sovereigns’ successive qui made size of Bagan (Anawratha, Kyanzittha, Alaungsitthu and Narapatissithu,…). This unbelievable concentration made of Bagan strong moment of your stay in Myanmar and the sunset of the site reminds an unforgettable moment. Departure for the visit of site BAGAN of the 11th century. Visit stops at one of the pagoda where you can sit for the beautiful sunset. Dinner and overnight at Aureum Palace Hotel.

Day 16 : Bagan
Breakfast. Day devoted to discovered of Bagan “the mystic” extraordinary archaeological site that do not have anything to envy that of Angkor with its 3000 temples and pilot pink brick stupas of the apogee of the Buddhist architecture of Myanmar. starting a sightseeing tour with a diverse selection of the most important pagodas and temples such as Shwezigon Pagoda, built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century, and discovered temples Shwegugyi, Gawdawpalin and colored market located at Old Bagan. Afterwards, lunch is taken at Sunset Garden restaurant. After lunch visit Ananda Temple, with its four huge standing-Buddha images and numerous seated figures that are arranged around the interior gallery and Gu Byauk Gyi Tample ( under the protection of UNESCO), noted for its ancient mural paintings. Observe a sunset near Bagan’s ancient monuments. Dinner at BBB restaurant with the traditional spectacle and overnight at Aureum Palace Hotel.

Day 17: Bagan - Mont Popa - Bagan
Breakfast. Continuation of the visits of Bagan with the discovery of the ruins of the Royal Palace; door of Tharaba, temple of Tayok Pye. Visit of a lacquer craftsmen’s workshop in nearby Myinkaba village. Lunch is taken at Popa Mountain Resort Hotel. Then, a 45 km drive (1 ½ hour) will take you Mount Popa. An extinct volcano with spectacular views. Its shrine is dedicated to animist spirits knows as “Nats” and you will have time to climb nearly 800 steps to the shrine at the top of the peak. Return to Bagan. Dinner at Thazin Garden restaurant. Overnight at Aureum Palace Hotel.

Day 18: Bagan – Heho – Pindaya
Breakfast. Transfer to Nyaung U airport for domestic flight to Heho. Departure by the road (2h30 approximately) for the caves of Pindaya, an interesting long way up into the hills and across the Shan Plateau, through fields of mountain rice.
Pindaya
is especially famous for its natural caves in which ones were stored, with the passing of the centuries the donations of the pilgrims is more than 8000 statues of Buddha out of wood, alabaster, marble, cement. An occasion to discover the evolution that knew the representations of the Buddha through the time. Lunch at Green Tea restaurant. Visit magnificent Pindaya cave set in a limestone ridge overlooking a picturesque lake, where thousands of different types of Buddha images are a display in the various cave chambers. Continue visit some local houses where families produce Shan paper and parasols. Dinner and overnight at Conqueror Hotel.

Day 19: Pindaya – Taunggyi – Kakku - Inle Lake
Breakfast. Departure by the road for Taunggyi, capital of the Shan state and former British hill station. Visit the local market where minority people sell their products. Continuation by the road (1h 30) for Kakku. KakKu pagoda is very unusual and little-known about its origins. Dozens of small stupas surround the main pagoda in a huge circle. Stops in way to visit some small villages Pao, principal ethic group of the area. Lunch is taken at Kakku restaurant. Departure by road (2h 30), for Nyaung Shwe, at the edge of the lake Inlé. Visit monastery out of wooden of Shwe Yan Pyay. Visit of Nyaung Shwe. Dinner and overnight at Lakeview Hotel.

Day 20: Inle Lake – Inndein
Breakfast. Drive by road to Inle Lake (90 km-2 ½ hours). Idyllic framework, blotted around the mountains, the Inle Lake is a punctuated blue oasis of villages on pile, temples and monasteries. You can discover the life of the lake: it’s surprising floating vegetable gardens, fixed on the bottom of the lake by large poles of bamboo; its fishermen inthas, principal ethnic of the lake, which ancestral mode of fishing, with a bow net and while rowing with a leg, is the unique in the world. You can walk in the village and visit the old pagodas which were built in 12th century.

Inn Dein, located on south-western bank of the principal lake, In Dein close it village one can say that it is the most picturesque part of the lake Inle. The brook which leads to the village is animated with various activities on its banks. In-Dein village is used as principal door to approach the western part of the lake and to discover the close villages situated on the hills.

Lunch at the restaurant of Amazing Paramount Resort. After lunch, visit monastery Nga Phe, also called “monastery of the jumping cats” since its monks drew up cats to be jumped inside rings. This monastery out of wooden, built on pile, and contains an astonishing collection of statues of Buddha. Visit Pagoda Phaung Daw Oo, one of the most scared shrines in Myanmar, dating back to the 18th century, and visits some of its many artisanal factories of weaving of silk, cigars. Dinner and overnight at Lakeview Hotel.

Day 21: Inle Lake – Heho – Yangon
Breakfast. Transfer by the road for Heho airport (1h) and for flight back to Yangon. Continuation of the visits Sule Pagoda, dating back over 2,000 years ago and the Botataung Pagoda. Then, walk through China Town that houses along the facades are decrepit colonial buildings, an abundance of small shops, street vendors and canteens street. Lunch at the restaurant during the visit. A stop at Bogyoke (Scott) Market gives you the opportunity to see Myanmar’s wide range of handicrafts. Dinner at local restaurant in downtown. Overnight At Kandawgyi Palace.

Day 22: Yangon – Bangkok - Departure
Breakfast. Leisure time until the transfer to the airport. Lunch at the restaurant. Transfer to the international airport. End of our services !

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