Myanmar (Burma) has only recently been opened to international travellers and offers an authentic Asian experience. We will visit the local farmers and take in some of the fantastic sights of the country. The tour then proceeds to Vietnam which is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia and a major market for our exports of cotton and grain in particular.
We depart Australian ports for Yangon, Myanmar – but anyone over 25 would remember this destination as Rangoon, Burma. Time to rest up and begin to take in the cultural depth and beauty of this ancient country. We travel to Bagan in central Myanmar, spectacularly located on the Irrawaddy River – the farming lifeblood for the local population. Then we’re “on the road to Mandalay” replete with silk farms, leg rowers, floating markets and new agricultural developments. What better way to take all this in then basing ourselves for a couple of days on beautiful Inle Lake.
Ashort flight east to Hanoi, the cultural and political heart of Vietnam. This is a unique city with tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and it’s full of friendly people. We travel through the farms of the Red River Delta and onto spectacular Halong Bay for overnight on-board a traditional Vietnamese junk. South to agricultural developments amid more beautiful coastal and mountain scenery around Nha Tran and Dalat. A tour of farms and villages of the Mekong Delta, a visit to the amazing Cu Chi tunnels and some relaxing time in Saigon round out a wonderful journey through two intriguing/emerging countries.
Depart Australian ports for Yangon, Myanmar. Anyone over 25 would remember this as Rangoon, Burma. We will meet our guide and transfer to our hotel for a well-earned rest and freshen up before dinner.
Today's sightseeing tour includes the old colonial-style city centre, dating back over 2,000 years, Bogyoke (Scott's) market with hundreds of stores and a visit of a gems shop. The tour continues to Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the world's most spectacular religious monuments, which rises 98 meters above its base and is covered with 60 tons of pure gold. Myanmar cultural show and dinner at hotel.
Morning flight to Bagan (also known as Pagan), an ancient city in central Myanmar, southwest of Mandalay. Standing on the eastern banks of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River, it’s known for the Bagan Archaeological Area, where more than 2,000 Buddhist monuments tower over green plains. Optional spectacular balloon ride this afternoon.
After breakfast, proceed on a scenic overland journey and visit farms on the way to Mount Popa, an extinct volcano with its shrine dedicated to animist spirits, known as "Nats". Lunch is served at the beautiful Popa Mountain Resort. For the energetic, there is time to climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the volcanic plug. Return to Bagan for dinner and overnight.
Transfer to Bagan Airport for domestic flight to Mandalay. Upon arrival at the new Mandalay Airport proceed directly to Amarapura. En route stop at a traditional hand-weaving silk workshop. Drive to Mandalay and check-in at hotel. After lunch, we will visit with some local farming families. Dinner and overnight in Mandalay.
A boat trip on the mighty Ayeyarwady River takes us to Mingun about 11 km (1 hour) upriver from Mandalay where visits include the Mingun Bell, weighing 90 tons and being the largest uncracked bell in the world. The river is the lifeblood of the country and the best way to visit the farms and get an idea of the agricultural logistics. After lunch, we will return to Mandalay and transfer to the airport for a domestic flight to Heho. A boxed meal including a drink is arranged for lunch. Upon arrival in Heho, overland drive to Inle Lake, one of the great attractions of Myanmar and a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
During today's excursion by boat on the picturesque Inle Lake we see the famous leg rowers, the typical floating gardens and local methods of fishing and village life. Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant on the lake. Further visits are made to the weaving village of Inpawkhon and to an agricultural development near the lake. The beauty of sunset over the Inle Lake enchants all visitors. Dinner and overnight on the lake.
Visit of a colorful local market and lunch at a simple restaurant on the way to Heho Airport (25 km - 1 hour). We will take a domestic flight to Yangon and transfer to a direct flight to Hanoi. Transfer to hotel on arrival.
Flight: VN956 Departs 07:10pm; Arrives 9.30 pm
Short city tour of Hanoi, the cultural and political heart of Vietnam. Hanoi is a unique city with tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and oriental temples. The food is divine, the people are friendly and the shopping is as good as it gets. We’ll visit President Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, Ba Dinh Square and get back to the very heart of Hanoi for a walk around the Lake of the Restored Sword then explore the famous Old Quarter of 36 guild streets by rickshaw. Visit the famous water Puppet theatre this afternoon.
Dinner tonight at one of Hanoi's best restaurants.
We board our deluxe coach this morning to travel through the rice fields of the Red River Delta with a visit to one of Vietnam's main ag research centres. Continue to beautiful Halong Bay, an area of romantic, rugged islands, caves and beaches. Cruise the bay and stay on board a luxury Vietnamese junk overnight. For the more energetic, there will be opportunities for sea kayaking, exploring the limestone caves or visiting fishing villages.
Wake-up for sun shine and morning coffee then we take a bamboo boat to visit Sung Cot Cave – one of the largest in Halong Bay. We then continue our exploration by the cruise pass-by the city’s market – Hon Gai and enjoy our last seafood lunch on-board before get back to Halong City. Our bus will take us back to Hanoi Airport in the afternoon for a short flight to Nha Trang.
Today we will visit farming and aquaculture projects around the beautiful surroundings of Nha Trang.
This morning we leave on a spectacular drive from the coast into the mountains and the hill city of Dalat, one of the real jewells of Vietnam. On the way we will visit a large irrigation development and some fruit, vegetable and flower farms closer to Dalat, where they take advantage of the cooler climate and fertile red soils to produce crops which can't be found elsewhere in the country.
A short tour of Dalat, then a free afternoon to take in the refreshing mountain air and scenery.
This morning we transfer to the airport for the short flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). On arrival, we transfer to the nearby town of Cu Chi and visit a rubber plantation and factory before lunch at a local riverside restaurant. In the afternoon, visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels – one of the most extensive tunnel systems during the Vietnam War (they call it the American War) and which allowed the Viet Cong to operate almost under the noses of the Americans, and very close to Saigon. Later we travel back to Saigon and check in to our hotel.
Today we will take a full day tour to the Mekong Delta. On arrival at Cai Be, we’ll board a boat to explore the floating market, typical of the Mekong Delta. Continue by boat to Binh Hoa Phuoc Island to visit orchards of tropical fruits and have lunch in the famous Bonsai garden of Mr Sau Giao. After lunch we proceed by boat to Vinh Long Town and transfer to a "speed boat" for a fascinating return on the Mekong and Saigon Rivers back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Plenty of time today to explore the city. We will take a tour including the Central Post Office, the former Presidential Palace, the Saigon waterfront, and the excitement of the Cho Lon District (Saigon’s China-town). You’ll have ample opportunity to experience the Binh Tay Central Market. A visit to the War remnants Museum is also interesting.
In the evening, we will transfer to the airport for return flights to Australia to arrive on September 19.