Surat Thani, Thailand. Image © Tourism Authority of Thailand.
What You'll Get
This 12-day, 11-night tour runs the gamut, from Yangon's gold-topped urban chaos to the Mergui Archipelago's pristine marine seascapes to Khao Sok National Park unspoiled jungle wilderness.
Yangon is Myanmar's commercial and cultural heart: the capital's move elsewhere has hardly dimmed its charm.
From your Yangon hotel you'll take two days to make the rounds of the city's treasures: Kandawgyi Park, one of central Yangon’s greenest spots; Thiri Migalar Market, a massive produce market on the banks of the Hlaing River; and especially the gold-covered Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon's most sacred piece of real estate. You'll experience Yangon life as the locals live it as you walk among them.
A three-hour walking tour of downtown Yangon caps your visit to the capital, covering buildings on the Yangon City Heritage List: City Hall, the former Minister’s office where General Aung San was assassinated, and Sule Paya among them.
The next stage of the journey takes you to the port town of Kawthaung, and from there to Southeast Asia's undiscovered diving paradise, the Mergui Archipelago. Through a five-night cruise among the archipelago's islands, you'll cross paths with Moken sea gypsies; ride a dinghy into mangrove forests; go snorkelling in crystal-clear shallows; and watch bioluminescent plankton light up the night.
Upon your return in Kawthaung, entry into Thailand requires simply crossing the Pakchan River to Ranong on the Thai side of the border.
The last leg of the trip takes you into Khao Sok National Park, where close encounters with the wild are all in a day's work: elephant bathing and feeding; getting lost amidst mangrove thickets and banyan tree branches; meeting dusky langurs, long-tail macaques, and hornbills in their native habitat; and learning about the forest's secrets from local guides.
Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar. Image © Tourism Authority of Thailand.