Excellent service and exquisite staff especially Peggie Lyoo which made our trip perfectly and very... read more
Excellent service and exquisite staff especially Peggie Lyoo which made our trip perfectly and very... read more
I got in touch with Asia Highlights to get assistance in forming an itinerary and a cost proposal... read more
Asian Highlights Tour
My wife and I booked a private tour with Asian Highlights and they arranged a phenomenal vacation for us. Albee Ning was our Travel Agent and she took care of everything for us and did a phenomenal job. She was very professional, diligent and very much wanted to make sure that every detail was taken care of for our trip. She takes her job very seriously and delivers great customer service!!! Albee could not have done a better job in making all of our travel arrangements and we are very pleased with her and Asian Highlights services. It was the perfect vacation and they handled every detail for us from meet and greet services at each airport, baggage handling, private tour guides and drivers at each location, good restaurants, and fantastic hotels throughout. Per our request they booked us a very aggressive and fast paced tour of Southeast Asia. We flew into Bangkok and overnighted and then proceeded the next morning to Siem Reap, Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat and surrounding sights for three nights, onto Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, Thailand for two nights at each place, and then onto Myanmar to visit Mandalay, Inle Lake, Bagan, and Yangon, and then back to Bangkok. Most of the vehicles throughout the tour were either SUVs (Lexus, Toyota Land Cruisers, etc.) or vans. They were comfortable and well maintained. She lined up some great Tour Guides for us...Asian Highlights Tour
My wife and I booked a private tour with Asian Highlights and they arranged a phenomenal vacation for us. Albee Ning was our Travel Agent and she took care of everything for us and did a phenomenal job. She was very professional, diligent and very much wanted to make sure that every detail was taken care of for our trip. She takes her job very seriously and delivers great customer service!!! Albee could not have done a better job in making all of our travel arrangements and we are very pleased with her and Asian Highlights services. It was the perfect vacation and they handled every detail for us from meet and greet services at each airport, baggage handling, private tour guides and drivers at each location, good restaurants, and fantastic hotels throughout. Per our request they booked us a very aggressive and fast paced tour of Southeast Asia. We flew into Bangkok and overnighted and then proceeded the next morning to Siem Reap, Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat and surrounding sights for three nights, onto Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, Thailand for two nights at each place, and then onto Myanmar to visit Mandalay, Inle Lake, Bagan, and Yangon, and then back to Bangkok. Most of the vehicles throughout the tour were either SUVs (Lexus, Toyota Land Cruisers, etc.) or vans. They were comfortable and well maintained. She lined up some great Tour Guides for us especially in Chiang Rai and Myanmar. They were very attentive and made our trip very enjoyable.
Due to our flight schedules, we knew we would be arriving in Bangkok at around 11PM and would be flying out around 1AM the next morning, so we stayed at the Le Meriden near the BKK Airport. The Hotel was beautiful and the rooms were very spacious and well appointed. We wished we could have stayed longer. We also stayed at this Hotel on our last night of the trip. The breakfast buffet was very good and we had dinner the last night of our trip at the hotel and it was excellent. The service and food were top notch. The Hotel Staff were very nice and accommodating.
In Siem Reap Cambodia, they booked us at a great hotel called the Shinta Mani Resort. It was located several blocks away from where all the bars and restaurants were, so we had the best of both worlds. The Hotel was far enough away to for a quiet and peaceful setting, but close enough to where the action was if you feel like venturing out. The Hotel Staff bent over backwards to make sure you were well taken care of and would arrange for a $2 Tuk Tuk (taxi) ride into the heart of the commercial area where there were plentiful bars, restaurants, spas, and shops. The Hotel was very charming and nicely decorated. The breakfast buffet was very good and on some evenings there was a Apsara dance show. The room was very spacious and it overlocked the pool area. We couldn’t have asked for better accommodations. Every time we arrived back at the Hotel, there would be a person greeting us with cold towels to wipe our face and hands with. It was a nice touch and very refreshing. Everything about the Hotel was welcoming.
In and around Siem Reap we visited all the main sights, including, but not limited to, Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple, Ta Prohm, Banteay Samre, Banteay Srei and Beng Meala. Each site was a “Wow” factor in and of itself. The sites were very adventuresome, spiritual, and kind of surreal.
We also ate at some very good restaurants. In the evenings, we went to Chef D’Angkor, Chanrey Restaurant, and a Apsara Dance Show at Por Cuisine. All the dinners were very good and were in very unique and beautiful settings. We had lunch at Madame Butterfly the day we arrived, which was very good and on our last day had lunch at a traditional Khmer restaurant, which was very good and was in a countryside setting.
If you like Spa treatments then go to Sokkhak Spa in Siem Reap. It was a $2 Tuk Tuk ride to get there. It was one of the best massages I’ve ever had. In fact it was so good, I went back the next day and got another one. Try the Aroma oil massage. It’s fantastic.
We really felt like we got to see and experience all aspects of Cambodia.
Chiang Rai, Thailand
We stayed at the Le Meriden in Chiang Rai, which was on the edge of town and had acres of beautiful landscape, water features and pools. It was right next to the river. It was a fantastic setting and the rooms were very spacious and comfortable. It was a beautiful property and you can’t help but fall in love with it. The service was very good and the breakfast buffet was very good and had a large selection.
We visited numerous temples and they were all amazing. The one that stood out the most to us was the White Temple. It is an old temple that they have modernized and it has some very unique features. The Artist that is modernizing it was actually there working on it. It is very hard to describe, but once you see it I’m sure you’ll agree that there is no other temple like it. We also visited the Emerald Temple, Wat Jed Yod, which has 7 peaks, and several others.
In town we also stopped for photos at the Clock Tower, which is also very unique, and the monument of King Mengrai.
The following day we took an all day journey outside of town and visited the Black House Museum, which has about 20 – 30 structures of all different styles and shapes, along with lots of animal artifacts, such as alligator and snake skins, skeletons of various animals and all kinds of other art work. The Artist had some very interesting tastes, which you’ll see as you tour the grounds. I know it may sounds kind of weird, but it was very fascinating.
We then proceeded to the Doi Tung Palace, where the King’s Mother used to live. It’s a Swiss chalet in the middle of Thailand. The setting is stunning and it is further topped by one of the most beautiful gardens we have ever seen. After that we went onto Chiang Sean, which is a old 13th century town founder by the King. We visited Wat Chedi Luang, which is a very old temple area. We then visited the Golden Triangle, which is where Laos, Thailand and Myanmar all come together on the Mekong River. It is a beautiful setting and has various monuments and statutes on the river front. It also has the Opium Museum which was quite interesting as well. The other highlight of the day was stopping by the Karen Longneck Tribe Village. Here you can see the women that have long necks with brass rings around their necks. They are weaving scarves and making other handicrafts and selling them. You could also see their very rustic straw homes (or shacks, depending on how you want to describe them). It’s always amazing to see such a rustic dwelling with a satellite TV dish attached. It was a very unique and interesting experience.
We had buffet lunch at a local restaurant that was on the mountainside. The food was good and they had a few local people there selling local arts and crafts. We ended up buying a few things for gifts. They were very nice and reasonably priced (of course, it all depends on how hard you want to bargain, but we thought we got a very good price).
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Instead of flying to Chiang Mai from Chiang Rai, we decided to take the Green VIP Bus. It is a quick three hour bus ride and you drive through the mountains and countryside and it was a very comfortable and easy ride. The bus has an attendant and they give you a snack and water along the way. It was a very relaxing drive.
In Chiang Mai we stayed at the Shangri La, which is a fantastic hotel. The room was very spacious and comfortable and the hotel grounds were gorgeous!!! The pool area and spa pavilion were magnificent!! The breakfast buffet was one of the best we had on our entire trip (and they were all good). The buffet was huge and the service was excellent!!! The Hotel is also ideally located. It several blocks from the Night Market and other restaurants and shops, so you are close in to where all the action is if you want to get out of the Hotel. We enjoyed the Hotel so much we really didn’t venture too far away, except to the spa (see below). There was also a 7/11 conveniently located less than a block away. Another great thing about the Hotel is that they have a showers, Steam Room, Sauna, and Jacuzzi in the men women’s locker rooms next to the extensive fitness center. It is a great place to relax. It opened at 6AM and closed around 10PM, so I used the facility first thing in the morning and early evening.
About a half a block and down a side street away from the Hotel was a Spa called Peak Spa. It was wonderful. It was so good, I went back the second day again and brought my wife with me. They had a wonderful body scrub and aroma oil massage package. Both Therapists were very good.
On our first day in Chiang Mai we visited the Doi Suthep Temple and the Phuping Palace, which are on top of a mountain overlooking the city. It was stunning and had great views. On the second day we went to an Elephant Camp, where they had over 70 elephants. You could get up close and personal as I found out when one stuck trunk in my ear to show me some affection. You can buy bananas and other foodstuff to feed them if you want. One of the elephants grabbed my bunch of bananas and ate them in one fell swoop!! You also got to watch the elephants take their morning baths and then they put a show on for you. They did tricks, played soccer, and even painted. They have amazing talent!!! We then took a half hour elephant ride into the jungle area. It was lots of fun and a very rewarding experience. Then we visited the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden. They had all kinds of beautiful and unique plants and flowers. We then went to an Orchid farm and saw some beautiful orchids. We had lunch at the Orchid Farm, which was a good buffet. After that we visited four or five temples in town and returned to the Hotel for another very relaxing evening and spa treatment.
The next morning we flew to Mandalay in Myanmar to start our experience in what was formerly known as Burma.
Our Tour Guide met us at the airport and we drove to a Thai restaurant for lunch. It was a simple local restaurant, but the food was very good. After lunch we visited the Mahamuni Pagoda Image, the Kuthodaw Pagoda, known for being the world’s largest book (they have what seems to be hundreds of these monuments that each have ancient Buddha scripture displayed in them), then onto the Golden Place Monastery and we ended up on top of Mandalay Hill for the sunset.
We then checked into our hotel, the Rupar Mandalar Resort. It was somewhat of a boutique hotel that had huge rooms with front porches that were scattered around the Hotel grounds. Everything in the room was made of teak wood, which had lots of carvings. It is a very unique and nice Hotel. The Hotel Staff were also very nice and accommodating. Although not as large as some of the bigger hotels, they had a good and more than adequate breakfast buffet. I had a spa treatment while staying at the Hotel and it was very nice. The Staff couldn’t do enough for you. Everything about this Hotel was a pleasant experience.
After we checked into the Hotel we went to the Mandalay Hill Resort for a Dinner Show. It had a great buffet and the show was very nicely done. The Dinner Show was outside and the resort grounds are very beautiful has a perfect setting.
The next day we had a full day tour and took a private boat ride up to Mingune, where they have a huge unfinished pagoda, one of the world’s largest bells, and a beautiful another pagoda. After there we took the boat back to Mandalay and drove to Saging. Had a great Chinese lunch and then went to OoPonya Shin Pagoda, where we saw the 30 Buddhas. Very impressive. Then we went to Amarapura where we walked on the U Bien Bridge around sunset. We saw a lot and it was a very interesting day.
The next morning we took a short flight to Inle Lake. We first stopped at the Shwe Yan Pyay old wooden monastery. It was an architectural wonder in and of itself, but even more impressive to me was the shrine next to it where they had hundreds of these little alcoves in a building that had miniature Buddha statues in each little alcove.
We then drove to a nearby town and got into a private long boat and took off down a canal opening up to the 22 mile lake. The lake was beautiful and had vegetation floating on it. We saw numerous fishermen out on their boats displaying their unusual way of fishing. They have villages along the water’s edge that you can only access by boat where we stopped for lunch. We had lunch at the Green Chili Restaurant and it was very good. We then proceeded to see temples and pagodas with thousands of stupas all around. It was overwhelming!!! We then took the boat thru some floating gardens and then worked our way to the hotel. We approached the hotel by boat thru thick vegetation floating on the water. It was like nothing we had ever experienced.
The hotel, Aureum Inle Lake Palace Hotel was set on the water’s edge with a virtual jungle behind it. It was absolutely awesome!!!! It was the nicest and biggest hotel room I have ever had. You walked in and there was a long hallway separating the bathroom from the rest of the bedroom and living area. In the bathroom, there was a large room for the toilet, in the center a wooden tub, and at the far end a large open shower. It was fantastic!!! The bedroom was quite large and there was small living room area to the side. I would guess that the room was about 1,200 sq. ft. The room was its own separate cabin that sat front and center on the lake and you had a large balcony. The Hotel had a pool on the lower level that was just off the lake and then you went upstairs to the lobby and restaurant. We had a set dinner arranged as part of our tour and they had about 6 or 7 set menus to choose from. The food was very good and it was in a very romantic setting. The breakfast buffet was also very good. This Hotel is the place you want to stay if you’re ever at Inle Lake!!!
We flew to Bagan the next morning, which is the land of about 3,000 temples, stupas, pagodas and more. We had a Chinese lunch at a very river front restaurant. We visited numerous temples, stupas, & pagodas and then ended up on top of one for the sunset. Unbelievable!!!
We then went to a Burmese Dinner Show which was very good and had a good dinner.
The hotel, Aureum Palace Hotel, in Bagan was every bit as nice as the one in Inle Lake, but the setting was even more stunning, because the Hotel was built around a lot of the temples. It was very surreal. The room was not quite as large as the Inle Lake room, but every bit as nice. The Hotel has a tall tower (13 or 14 stories) that you could go up to the top to view the hot air balloons at sunrise. The sunrise with hot air balloons all around creates a mystical and spiritual feel to the place. There were only 2 or 3 other people in the tower at sunrise, and then I got to experience a special treat. Virtually out of nowhere 20 monks show up for morning prayers along with about 10 local people. It was a rare opportunity to see their culture in action. Again, the Hotel was probably one of the nicest ones I’ve ever stayed at in my life and I’ve stayed at some nice ones.
On the second day we drove to Mt. Popa. We visited several pagodas and shrines and saw a bunch of monkeys in the nearby town. There is a shrine at the top of a mountaintop that is very distinctive and there are 700 hundred steps leading up to it. We opted not to climb the stairs and instead went to the most picturesque mountain top resort that had a stunning view of the Mt. Popa and the shrine. We had a fantastic lunch at the mountain top resort and it was a wonderful afternoon. We then went back to Bagan and took a 45 minute horse and cart ride throughout the 3,000 temples. It was so a rare and unique experience. We ended up at a temple and climbed to the top for another wonderful sunset.
Then we went to a nice local restaurant (BBB Restaurant) and had a good dinner and went back to the Hotel. Went to the Spa and had a wonderful aroma oil massage by Momo. What a way to end a perfect day!!!
The next morning we flew to Yangon and visited numerous temples and pagodas. One had a 68 meter long reclining Buddha, another a huge marble Buddha, saw albino elephants at another, and topped the day off with a visit to the granddaddy of all pagodas, the Shwedagon Pagoda, for sunset. We had lunch at a great restaurant called Signature. It was right on the lake.
We stayed at the Shangri La Hotel and it was excellent in every way. The dinner and breakfast buffets were excellent and could not have been better. They had a fitness center with a Steam Room, Sauna and Jacuzzi similar to Chiang Mai. There was also a very nice Spa attached to the fitness center. The room was very comfortable and spacious. We have decided that the Shangri La Hotels is our favorite hotel chain (we’ve stayed at some in Shanghai, Guilin China, Tibet, and now here). The service and quality is superb!!!
We want to thank Albee Ning and Asian Highlights for creating the vacation of a lifetime for us. Everything we did and saw was amazing and our entire trip was a big WOW!!!! Asian Highlights did a great job for us and we would highly recommend them!!!More