Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos are countries most people have heard of, but until recently few have had the opportunity of travelling to. All countries have seen turbulent times in the latter half of the 20th century, but now, once again, peace reigns and they take their places as Southeast Asia’s most fascinating and rewarding destinations. Somerset Tours & Travel are offering a fully-escorted 21 day tour which encompasses the best that these countries have to offer, and we invite you to join us on a journey of discovery to enjoy their ancient civilizations and cultures, shared histories, exotic foods, UNESCO World Heritage sites and beautiful temples, monasteries and pagodas.

The tour departs from South Africa on 21 January 2021 and flies via Singapore Airlines to Yangon in Myanmar. Two nights will be spent exploring this unique city with its mix of British colonial architecture, modern high-rises and gilded Buddhist pagodas which define its skyline.

The following day, we’ll fly from Yangon to Heho and transfer to Inle Lake in the Shan Hills of Myanmar. At its southwestern edge, Phaung Daw Oo Paya is a tiered pagoda with gilded Buddha statues. In the hills, near the market town of Indein, the stupas of Shwe Inn Dein Pagoda resemble a field of gold spires. We’ll spend three days discovering the fascinating cultures, monasteries, pagodas, archaeological sites, floating gardens and local markets situated around the lake.

A short flight takes us to Bagan, one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Southeast Asia, where we’ll spend two nights with time to marvel at the amazing monuments and pagodas. From the 11th to the 13th century during the architectural golden age, when Bagan was the capital of Myanmar, the rulers constructed huge temples, 2 217 of which are still standing today on the banks of the Irrawaddy River.

From Bagan, we’ll travel overland to the extinct volcano of Mount Popa which rises to 1 518m.  Visible from Bagan almost 100 km distant, this is the most magical of Burmese mountains and has been a pilgrimage site for at least 700 years.

Next stop on our itinerary is Mandalay, known as a centre of skilled craftsmanship and which, in former times supplied the Royal Court. Visits to the former capitals of Ava and Mingun with their ancient monasteries and pagodas are included.

The tour then proceeds to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Siem Reap is the ideal base for exploring the legendary temples of Angkor Wat. The temples at Angkor are the heart and soul of the Cambodian nation, and remain a source of pride and inspiration to all Khmers. Today, they are a point of pilgrimage for Cambodians and no traveler should miss their extravagant beauty when passing through the region. The majestic monuments of Angkor, built between the 9th and 13th centuries, when the Khmer civilization was at the height of its extraordinary creativity, constitute one of humanity’s most audacious architectural achievements.

After spending 4 nights/5 days in Siem Reap, we’ll fly via Bangkok to Luang Prabang in Laos for another 4 nights. Luang Prabang is absolutely gorgeous and a fitting end to our glorious tour of Southeast Asia. An incredible collection of Buddhist and French colonial architecture clustered together on a small riverine peninsula and surrounded by mountains, it’s not surprising UNESCO put its stamp of approval on the town.

We’ll fly back to Singapore on Thai Airways via Bangkok and on to South Africa on Singapore Airlines arriving home on 10 February 2021.

Liz Cotton will lead the tour and the group will be escorted by English-speaking local guides.

If you have any queries or would like to secure your reservation on this tour, please do not hesitate to contact Liz on +27 (0)21 786-2598 or cell +27 (0)83 357 4855 or email info@somersettours.co.za.