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Burma: Land of Golden Temples & Floating Gardens 2014

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Trip Extensions

Pre-trip: Vientiane & Luang Prabang, Laos

Before your travel in Burma, discover another Indochinese gem in Laos, beginning in Vientiane, a timeless city that boasts ancient treasures like Wat Sisaket, with its 6,840 statues of the Buddha. Then continue to charming Luang Prabang, renowned for its architectural treasures that have earned it a place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

It's Included:
Airfare from Bangkok to Vientiane, Vientiane to Luang Prabang, and Luang Prabang to Bangkok
Accommodations for 1 night in Bangkok, 2 nights in Vientiane, and 3 nights in Luang Prabang
14 meals—6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 4 dinners (including 1 Home-Hosted Lunch)
9 small group activities
Services of our own resident OAT Trip Leader, who speaks English and the native language
All transfers
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    Upon your arrival in Bangkok late in the evening of Day 2, you will be met at the airport and escorted to your hotel.

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    This morning, we’ll have breakfast at our hotel before heading to the airport for our flight to Vientiane, Laos. Upon our early afternoon arrival, our Laos Trip Leader will meet us at the airport and escort us to our hotel. We’ll check into our hotel in Vientiane and have a Welcome Briefing followed by the rest of the afternoon at leisure. This evening we'll gather for dinner at a local restaurant.

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    After breakfast at our hotel, we set out to explore Vientiane. We start our explorations with a visit to the Patuxay Victory Gate Monument. We also visit the Haw Phra Kaew (House of the Emerald Buddha), which contains some of the finest Buddhist sculptures in Laos; and nearby Wat Sisaket, the oldest monastery in Vientiane, featuring an impressive 6,840 Buddha statues in varying sizes and positions.

    After an included lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the Great Sacred Stupa (Pha That Luang), a national symbol of Laos. Spend the remainder of the afternoon at leisure in Vientiane. This evening, we gather together for dinner at our hotel.

    After breakfast at our hotel, we set out to explore Vientiane. We start our explorations with a visit to the Patuxay Victory Gate Monument. We also visit the Haw Phra Kaew (House of the Emerald Buddha), which contains some of the finest Buddhist sculptures in Laos; and nearby Wat Sisaket, the oldest monastery in Vientiane, featuring an impressive 6,840 Buddha statues in varying sizes and positions.

    After an included lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the Great Sacred Stupa (Pha That Luang), a national symbol of Laos. Spend the remainder of the afternoon at leisure in Vientiane. This evening, we gather together for dinner at our hotel.

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    After breakfast at our hotel, we depart for the airport for our flight to Luang Prabang, the ancient royal capital of Laos. Located on a peninsula between the Mekong and Khan rivers, Luang Prabang is surrounded by lush, green mountains.

    We'll check into our hotel and have lunch, followed have an orientation walk around the neighborhood. We’ll visit the Royal Palace Museum, which was built from 1904-1909 during the reign of King Sisavang Vong and served as his palace. We’ll continue to the royal temple Wat Xieng Thong, the oldest in the city.

    Then, depart for Phousi Hill, situated in the center of the old town, where we climb the 328 steps and, at the top, enjoy a scenic view overlooking most of Luang Prabang. We’ll also take in views of the Khan and Mekong rivers, and if the weather obliges, enjoy a colorful sunset. Then continue on to Luang Prabang’s bustling night market, and we'll have dinner together.

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    This morning, we’ll enjoy an in-depth look at what life is like in present-day Laos. First we’ll head to the nearby Khmu hill tribe village. During our time there, we’ll meet with local families and be invited into the home of a local family for a Home-Hosted Lunch.

    Next, we have a chance to learn more about the ethnic diversity of Luang Prabang on a visit to the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, a small museum with exhibits on several hill tribes that inhabit the area. The remainder of the day is free to make your own discoveries, and dinner is on your own this evening.

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    Today, we rise early to witness and participate in an ancient Buddhist tradition—alms-giving to local monks. In the quiet of early morning (around 5am), we watch as hundreds of monks from the nearby Buddhist temples parade solemnly and single-file through the streets of Luang Prabang, collecting food offerings from the citizens who, in turn, receive prayers for their families and friends from the monks. Dressed in traditional Lao orange robes, the monks provide a sense of calm and solemnity to the inhabitants of the city each morning.

    Then embark on a boating excursion along the Mekong, including lunch onboard. We'll stop along the way to visit a village known for its homemade "whiskey" and Pak Ou Cave, filled with hundreds of Buddhist statues. Enjoy time at leisure this afternoon before we gather at a local restaurant in Luang Prabang to witness a traditional baci ceremony and enjoy a performance of Lao classical dance before our Farewell Dinner.

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    • Meals included:

    After breakfast at the hotel we’ll depart for the airport for our flight to Bangkok. Once at our hotel, we’ll join travelers on Day 2 of our Burma: Land of Golden Temples & Floating Gardens main trip. Take the afternoon to explore Bangkok on your own.

    Or, join a half-day optional tour and discover the unique beauty of Bangkok. First we’ll stop for an included lunch, followed by visits to the city's most iconic landmarks including the Grand Palace and the Temple of Emerald Buddha. Next we’ll continue to Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, the birthplace of traditional Thai massage as well as a center of education for traditional Thai medicine. Next we’ll cross the Chao Phraya River via ferry to visit Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)—a tiered stupa with striking city views. This Buddhist temple’s prang (towers) are covered with pieces of porcelain and shells, producing an iridescent sheen when the sun rises. Afterwards, we'll join the rest of our travel group.