The Burma Road - Mandalay to Yunnan

The fabled Burma Road stirs the emotions of all who have come to know of the brutal and hazardous battles of WWII. Today it is a link between the powerhouse of China and the struggling pariah nation of Burma. Busy with trade this route takes us into hitherto untouched parts of northern Burma. Here we meet humble tribal folk as well as industrious Chinese as they creep ever southward in the search of business and commerce. There are very few places in the world where two such vastly different cultures meet head on as each finds in way in this ever changing new world

We begin our journey in the cultural capital of Burma.  From Mandalay we head north stopping in the hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin for some strong coffee. Soon we are mingling with tribal cultures in the markets of Hsipaw and Lashio. Heading north we come to the vibrant and busy border crossing and into the southern regions of Yunnan. The towns of Muse and Tengchong are outposts that are resplendent with stunning scenery and remote tribal lifestyles.

Onwards we delight in the melting pots of Dali and Lijiang. The Naxi are prominent in the region but there is a blend of influences that is hard to identify. A visit to the Tiger Leaping Gorge is a trip highlight as well as the stunning Ganden Sumtseling Tibetan Monastery in Zhongdian.

This is the true frontier of Asian travel. Time will bring it to the world. See it now before it is lost to the world of exploration

15 Day Itinerary
Departure:4th October 2025(Satuday to Saturday)
Price:USD$2890 Price includes 1 Chinese internal flight - Day 14


***This trips requires a minimum of 6 travellers to depart***

Day 1 - Arrive Mandalay
Today is arrival day and there are no activities planned. We get together early evening for a group meeting then head out into the city for a local meal
Day 2 - Mandalay to Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo)
After breakfast we leave Mandalay and drive steadily uphill to the Shan plateau and on to Maymyo. Here we can visit the beautiful botanic gardens and pop into Mr Ali’s curio shop. Time also to savour some strong local coffee and pastry delights in the French Bakery
Day 3 - Pyin Oo Lwin to Hsipaw
We drive north from Maymyo and plan to board the train on the southern side of the Gotiek Viaduct. This bridge was British built in 1903 and at the time was the second highest in the world. After our crossing we rejoin the road and continue on to Hsipaw arriving in the afternoon. The town has a colonial feel and has a central market that serves as a meeting place for regional tribal traders
Day 4 - Hsipaw
We have a full day walk planned in the countryside surrounding Hsipaw. Depending on the season we may visit some Shan villages or perhaps if the water is flowing enjoy a swim in a beautiful waterfall. Back after our fantastic walk in the area to enjoy a meal near the rustic market
Day 5 - Hsipaw to Lashio
Today we drive north to Lashio which is a busy town, significant as the southernmost point on the infamous Burma Road. We have ample time to explore the many significant Burmese Paya and Chinese Temples as well as the local Mansu market
Day 6 - Lashio to Muse
We depart Lashio for an overland journey of approximately 6-7 hours to Muse, a bustling trader’s town full of intrigue at the Myanmar-China border. We have time to visit the night market and enjoy the ambiance of a local restaurant in this very vibrant frontier town
Day 7 - Muse (border) to Tengchong
After completing immigration formalities at the border we then journey on through back country rural China. Along the way we are exposed to magnificent scenery and valleys dotted with villages and terraced rice plantations. We plan to visit an old Qing Dynasty residence in Lianghe (if the road is open) en route to our final destination of Tengchong
Day 8 - Tengchong
We head this morning to the south-west of town to visit Heshun, which is a traditional walled historical settlement. We stroll along the cobble stoned alleys to the square where a small market is held every day. We take a look at some of the entrance gates into courtyards where local residents trade their goods and wares. There is also the Museum of Yunnan-Burmese Anti-Japanese War inside the walls and a visit will bring you closer to the infamy of the WWII war theatre in the area. This venue holds remarkable interest with explanations on the geopolitical importance of the Burma Road
Day 9 - Tengchong to Dali
After breakfast we visit the National Cemetery in Tengchong which honours around 8,000 Chinese and American soldiers who died recovering the city from Japanese troops in 1945. We then depart Tengchong on a scenic journey through an ethnically diverse region inhabited by Burmese, Dai and Jingpo people. We will arrive in the afternoon in Dali a fabled settlement at the intersection of the Yunnan-Myanmar Highway (Burma Road) and the Yunnan Tibetan Highway. The town is located on the southern tip of the picturesque Er Hai Lake
Day 10 - Dali
Dali is a historical and cultural melting pot and is renowned for its historical interest. During the Tang and Song Dynasties, it was the capital of Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms, the political, economic and cultural centre of Yunnan. It has always been an important gateway of cultural exchange and trade with southeast Asian countries, and an important pass of the ancient "Silk Route of the South". Dali has also enjoyed a reputation of "a land of literature". We explore Xizhou town morning market and Bai architecture as well as a local village walk. We are treated to the spectacle of Cormorant fishing on Lake Erhai something very unique and hands on! After a short visit to the old temple in Zhoucheng village we enjoy time at the Three Pagodas temple and old city. Time later to sample a multitude of local teas in a tea shop in Dali old town
Day 11 - Dali to Lijiang
We embark on a scenic drive, with Mt. Cangshan on one side and the Erhai Lake on the other, heading to Lijiang. The name means “Beautiful River" and was given by Kublai Khan in 1254. We pass the Waterwheel at the entrance of Old Lijiang Town, and find ourselves transported into a world of narrow cobblestone streets and canals of crystal clear freshly melted snow. Lijiang is possibly the best preserved old town in China, the last place where you can witness and experience a historical, traditional, ancient urban culture. The canals are lined with weeping willows and decorative arched bridges linking one alley to the next. In the afternoon we explore nearby villages around Lijiang and stroll through Baisha which is an enchanting traditional Yunnan village. We also visit Yufeng Lamasery and head for Huangshan a traditional Naxi village where we will enjoy dinner in a local home
Day 12 - Lijiang
We have scheduled a free day for exploration in Lijiang. We suggest hiring bikes and exploring the country side or simply relax in one of the many cafes located on the canals. There will be many options for you to consider and of course your leader will be busy exploring so you may choose to join in the fun
Day 13 - Lijiang to Zhongdian (via Tiger Leaping Gorge)
From Lijiang we travel north into the mountains stopping at the First Bend of the Yangtze River. The scenery is magnificent with the road running through the Lijiang valley, filled with wheat fields and drying haystacks. We continue on to the Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest in the world with 34 rapids on the Yangtze River. Here the mighty river has carved on of the world’s deepest chasms. We continue on to Shangri-La formally Zhongdian
Day 14 - Zhongdian (Shangri-La County)
We plan a morning visit to the Ganden Sumtseling Gompa which is the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan. A visit to the local market is of interest on the way back into old town. The afternoon is free to explore the interesting town of Zhongdian at your leisure
Day 15 - Zhongdian to Kunming
An early morning flight takes you to Kunming where your tour will end at the Kunming Airport. Those continuing on to Silk Road trip will fly to Xian

Trip Options

Single Travellers:InquireDetails
Extra Accommodation: Single USD$85Details
Double USD$100
Arrival Airport Transfer:USD$25Details


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