Trip at a Glance
* January 30 – February 8, 2015 (9 days and 9 nights)
* Guests will be met in Yangon, Myanmar (Rangoon, Burma)
* Cities visited: Yangon (Rangoon) and Bagan, Burma; Siem Reap, Cambodia
* Highlights: Angkor Wat Temple and surrounding temples in Siem Reap; Plain of Temples in Bagan; Shwedegaon Pagoda in Yangon
* Price is $2995 (based on double occupancy)
* Limited to 6 guests
Want to Join Us?
Click here to start the registration process or to address any questions you may have!
Who is this trip perfect for?
* Photographers, amateur or pro!
* People who want a SE Asian experience without the hassle of planning it themselves
* History buffs
* Temple lovers
* Ages 14 to 104
* FOOD LOVERS!
We’ve developed a “Best of” tour of Burma* and Cambodia, highlighting the best of Yangon, Bagan, and Siem Reap. (*To understand why we prefer to call it Burma and not Myanmar, please click here).
We meet in Yangon (Rangoon), the former capital of beautiful Burma. We’ll explore the sights—and tastes!—of Yangon before heading to the breathtaking landscape of temples that is Bagan. Pagodas from the 11th-13th centuries dot the landscape, creating stunning vistas visible from temple rooftops, horse-drawn carts, or even hot air balloons.
From the towering brick shrines in the sandy soils of Bagan we head to the massive stone temples of Angkor Wat in the jungles of Cambodia. A feat of construction beginning in the 9th century, these goliaths will leave you marveling at their construction—and consequent abandonment to the elements. (By the by, Bagan and Angkor Wat were voted to have two of the most gorgeous sunrises in the world!)
Should you accept the mission and want to extend your stay in SE Asia, let us arrange a visit to Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur—or wherever your imagination takes you!
We have the opportunity to see some of the most amazing sights that Asia has to offer; however, we always build in downtime so you don’t feel as if you’re on a hamster wheel! Many afternoons will be free, as this is typically the warmest part of the day and you may want to rest a bit if you woke up to watch a gorgeous sunrise. We’re only opening this trip up to 8-10 guests, so email us today if you are interested!
Click through the tabs below to read a daily itinerary, find the price and payment options, see a photo album & more.
- Detailed Daily Itinerary
- Price & Registration
- Registration Questions
- Photo Album
- Packing List
- Video Trailer
- About BJ & Lauren
Friday, January 30 [arrive in Yangon] Mingalabar! (That’s “hello” in Burmese!) We will meet you at the international airport in Yangon; you’ll arrive in the late morning, allowing plenty of time to start exploring Yangon (formerly called Rangoon). We’ll visit a few outstanding Buddha statues and temples, such as Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda and Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda, and we’ll take a local food tour later that evening. Burma has a ton of unique culinary offerings (read more about them here: www.insighttravels.com/2014/01/food-in-burma-myanmar)
Saturday, January 31 [Yangon] Today we’ll explore the vast complex that is Shwedagon, the larger-than-life golden pagoda that is said to have existed in some form or another for 2,600 years. This bejeweled golden stupa is simply mesmerizing; one could spend days just exploring the nooks and crannies of Shwedagon itself. We can also pay a visit to Bogyoke Aung San Market, also known as Scott Market, to see both classic and modern Burmese handicrafts, fabrics, and jewelry. The stalls across from Scott market are a wealth of interesting and unique finds, as well.
Sunday, February 1 [Yangon to Bagan, Burma] Say goodbye to the city and prepare yourself to step into the past—about 1,000 years into the past! Having once served as the capital city of the ancient Kingdom of Bagan, more than 10,000 Buddhist temples were built in this area between the 11th and 13th centuries. Over 2,000 have stood the test of time, all in a relatively small area (40 square miles, smaller than San Francisco!)
Monday, February 2 [Bagan] Bagan is regularly regarded as having one of the best sunrise views in the world, and we can see that for ourselves at Shwesandaw Paya. As if the scores of pagodas silhouetted by a vivid orange sun weren’t picturesque enough, wait until you see the fleet of hot air balloons drifting by. Sunrise hot air balloon rides are a very special way to see the Bagan landscape, and if you’re interested, you can book a ride to soar over the pagodas at daybreak!
Tuesday, February 3 [Bagan] We chose our hotel specifically because of its proximity to the pagodas; you can explore right in your own backyard! If you’re feeling a bit more laid back, you can relax in the pool while gazing out over temples constructed from centuries and centuries of careful planning and work. You can also revisit any of your favorites from the day before, by horse-drawn cart, bicycle, or even an “e-bike.” In the evening we can enjoy a Burmese dance performance and a traditional puppet show.
Wednesday, February 4 [Bagan to Siem Reap, Cambodia] We bid farewell to one city of temples, but a great big “Sousdey!” to another (and, yes, that’s “Hello” in the Cambodian language). We land in Siem Reap, Cambodia, home to the world-renowned temple complex of Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is considered the largest religious monument in the world. Constructed in the 12th century, this temple was originally a Hindu temple before being converted to Buddhism. The largest and best preserved of the temples around Siem Reap; the grandiose architecture and the detailed bas relief sculptures will leave you breathless. We’ll buy our temple passes this evening and view the sunset at Angkor Wat tonight!
Thursday, February 5 [Siem Reap] Everyone knows about Angkor Wat, but did you know there are more than 1,000 temples in the greater Siem Reap area? We’ve carefully planned which ones are crucial to see at daybreak (for photography, ambience, but most importantly, crowd-control) and which ones are better suited for the afternoon. Marvel at the giant trees that seem to dwarf these temples, while their roots perform a gorgeous dance of deconstruction in slow motion.
Friday, February 6 [Siem Reap] There’s plenty to explore in the seemingly timeless temples, built between the 9th and 13th centuries. However, the city of Siem Reap has quite a scene as well! Enjoy the most inexpensive foot massages in SE Asia, international cuisine, exotic cocktails, in addition to galleries, markets, and coffee shops. We chose a centrally located hotel so you have access to this area whenever you please. This is a good place to settle in a comfortable spot for a few hours and catch up on your journaling, postcard writing, or photo organizing!
Saturday, February 7 [Siem Reap] Today we can revisit your favorites or explore all new temples. You brought your camera, right? We have a great local photography guide who knows all the “secret” spots and it willing to share them with us! In the evening, you can take a stroll over to the Night Market area and pick up some local handicrafts to bring home for friends and family (you did leave room in your suitcase, right?)
Sunday, February 8 [depart from Siem Reap] We have one more sunrise to put on our Indiana Jones fedoras and climb around these beautiful ruins. How to possibly capture this poetic collaboration between nature and man? A keen eye, good memory, and a wide-angle lens will begin to help. In the afternoon we’ll head to the airport. The question is, where will you go? Let us help arrange a side trip to Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur…wherever your imagination roams!
The all-inclusive price for this trip is $2995, based on double-occupancy rooms. If you wish to have your own private accommodation, there is an additional $300 single supplement in order to provide you with your own room. If you wish to join in a double-occupancy room but don’t have a roommate, please contact Lauren and we will do our best to match you with a suitable partner who is also looking for a roommate (although there are no guarantees we can find you a roommate!)
INCLUDED IN YOUR ADVENTURE IS THE FOLLOWING: all lodging; breakfast, lunch, and dinner; all the water, tea, and coffee your heart desires; all transportation in and between Burma and Cambodia (international flights not included); site entrance fees; all tips and donations.
Guests are responsible for: plane fare to and from the starting and finishing points, required travel insurance (we recommend World Nomads), necessary visas, specialty beverages (alcohol, vegetable juices, smoothies), desserts, souvenirs, and extra excursions/optional activities.
How do I sign up?
1. Send Lauren an email at [email protected] and tell us that you’re interested! You can also leave a message at 941-363-1065; as we are most likely on Asia time, we will call you back as soon as we possibly can. We’ll also address any questions you may have about the trip. We will send you a contract that you will return with your deposit.
2. Fully reserve your spot by paying the deposit of $700 and returning the contract. We love checks (made out to “Insight Travels, LLC” and sent to the address on the contract) and we’re now accepting credit card payments via PayPal (you can find the form below). There is a minimum of 4 guests that must sign up in order for this trip to take place. We will hold your deposit & payments until the minimum number of guests have signed up. If the minimum number of guests have not signed up 3 months prior to the departure date, we’ll give you the option to transfer your reservation to another tour or fully refund your money.
3. Complete the Registration Questions in the next tab on this page.
4. You’re in! Now you need a plane ticket to SE Asia; we’ll help you with details about flights and how to find the best possible fares!
You will need to scroll down within this window to complete the questions. *Please ignore the yoga-related questions!*
Help us to make this the BEST possible experience for you by telling us more about yourself. Thanks!
BJ & Lauren created Insight Travels in 2010 with one goal in mind: to make world travel accessible, authentic, and astounding. In order to focus fully on this passion, they moved out of the U.S. in early 2013 to reside full-time in Asia. Each day is spent exploring new destinations, strengthening local ties & relationships, and creating memorable, transformative, engaging retreats and tours (aka, RetreaTours™!)
BJ & Lauren take great pride in the trips they offer, as they can personally vouch for every hotel, every restaurant, and every activity that you will experience. They craft each element of the trip with intention, and they understand that it is this careful attention to detail that sets them apart. Fueled by their passion, armed with know-how, and supported by knowledgeable local contacts in all of their destinations, BJ & Lauren set the scene for the vacation of a lifetime.
They provide not only on-the-ground support and guidance during the trip, but they are available to answer any and all questions before the trip begins. From giving advice on the best flights and travel insurance to providing a packing list, FAQ, information about local food, and even a tiny “phrasebook,” BJ & Lauren pride themselves on these ‘nuts & bolts’ of personalized service. In addition, as a guest, you receive free travel consulting services (normally a $200 value) should you choose to extend your travels in Asia; let them help you plan your post-retreat adventure in Singapore, Bangkok, or beyond!
As one of their most ‘frequent fliers’ put it recently, BJ & Lauren make everything easy for you. Once you arrive in your destination country, your trip is all-inclusive—your meals, transportation, lodging, site fees, donations, and tips are all taken care of. The research has been done, the itinerary carefully laid out, the reservations made, the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. All you have to do is show up and take in all your destination has to show you! So….let’s get going!