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Exploring Myanmar (Burma) Holidays

How to Spend Your Time

Choosing how to spend your time in Myanmar (Burma) can be challenging because it is such a large country – in fact it is almost three times the size of the UK. Whilst much of the country is still off limits to tourists there is still so much to see and do that you could spend two months here and not see everything.

However, we know that most of you probably have two weeks – not two months – and we can help craft the perfect itinerary to decide how best to use your time.

If you have two weeks we would recommend seeing the following highlights:

  • Bagan is the ancient settlement that has really put Myanmar (Burma) on the map. With more than 2,000 historic stupas, temples and pagodas spread over a vast area, you really have to see it to believe it.
  • Yangon is where many start or finish their tour so it’s easy to build in a day or two. You can see the colonial architecture of a time gone by and visit the remarkable Shwedagon Pagoda, which can be seen sparkling from almost anywhere in Yangon.
  • Inle Lake is an impressive freshwater lake, more than 13 miles long and resembles a vast silver sheet, reflecting the sky like a mirror. Wait until you see the local fishermen who use unique fishing techniques with baskets and row with their legs!
  • Ngapali Beach is one of our favourite beaches in south-east Asia, a big sweeping bay with gorgeous boutique hotels that blend into the palms trees behind. Bliss.

Once you’ve got these staples into your tour you will have time to build in some wonderful extra destinations – you may wish to visit Mandalay in the north, which has some wonderful sites around it including the iconic U-Bein bridge as well as being close to Hsipaw, which offers tremendous trekking. Perhaps you’d like to do some trekking in Kalaw near Inle Lake where you can also wash and feed retired elephants that have been rescued from the timber trade? Or head down south to one of our favourite areas and go kayaking through magical karst-like scenery and explore some of Myanmar’s most impressive caves.

We know, it’s a little daunting, and hard to know where to start. But that’s why we’ve spent months in this country – so we can help you plan exactly how to spend your weeks here. Take a peek at our online itineraries to see how some of these places are connected – or just give us a call 0207 112 0019 – our expertise and advice is completely free!

Mandalay
With one of the most evocative names in the region, Mandalay is the second biggest city in Myanmar and the gateway to great trekking in Hsipaw in the north. It is home to the iconic U-Bein Bridge (one of the most photographed sites in the country) and close to the old royal capital of Amarapura.
Hsipaw
This is one of the best places to get off the beaten track and see rural Myanmar. Stay in a beautiful riverside lodge, take a trek through rice paddies and visit small Shan villagers where locals live just as they did 50 years ago. We also offer a fabulous boat ride upstream to a monastery which serves as a school for young novice monks.
Bagan
Bagan is the ancient settlement that has really put Myanmar (Burma) on the map. With more than 2,000 historic stupas, temples and pagodas spread over a vast area, you really have to see it to believe it. We will ensure you get to the best spots for sunset or sunrise to see this amazing sprawl of temples over the valley - or better yet ask us about a balloon ride!
Inle Lake
This impressive freshwater lake is more than 13 miles long and resembles a vast silver sheet, reflecting the sky like a mirror. It is home to hundreds of herons, wild ducks and other bird life - as well as local fishermen who use unique fishing techniques with baskets. We have a fabulous selection of over-the-water boutique hotels to choose from.
Ngapali Beach
This has quickly become one of our favourite beach destinations in south-east Asia. Lined with rugged palm trees, this big sweeping bay of pristine sand feels so untouched and undeveloped. However, lying in the shade of the pine trees are a number of beautiful and tastefully designed luxury hotels that blend into their surroundings - we can't think of a better excuse to stop for a few days!
The Golden Rock
An important pilgrimage site for Buddhists around Asia; a large and precariously positioned gold-covered rock sits on the top of a mountain - home to one of the most well-visited stupas in the country. Expect an atmosphere charged with magic and devotion as everyone makes their way to the Golden Rock.
Mrauk- U
This former Rakhine capital offers a dramatic group of temples and pagodas (newer than those of Bagan) which have a fortress feel to them as they are made of stone with long twisting corridors inside. But it's also the perfect gateway for seeing rural river life - you can enjoy a boat ride here to Chin villages where the older women have their faces tattooed from a no-longer abided tribal tradition.
Yangon
This charming city feels incredibly metropolitan compared to the rest of the country, but set against other Asian cities feels quite small. You can see the colonial architecture of a time gone by, sample some of the county's best street food and visit the remarkable Shwedagon Pagoda, which can be seen sparkling from almost anywhere in Yangon and is one of the most revered sites for Buddhism in the world, and said to enshrine eight hairs from Buddha.
Mawlamyine
A unique combination of landscape and beauty, Mawlamyine boasts a ridge of stupa capped hills to one side, the sea on the other and a town full of crumbling colonial architecture and mosques. From here you can explore remote ruins, sacred temples and un-touched beaches.
Hpa-An
Explore Buddhist caves, sacred mountains and wonderfully rural countryside from this sleepy Mon State town
Pyin Oo Lwin
You would be forgiven for thinking you'd stumbled across an old English town at this colonial hill station, which was a favourite for British generals who were looking to escape the heat of the city below. Be sure to take a turn in the beautifully manicured Botanical Gardens.
Myeik Archipelago
A cluster of about 800 pristine and picture perfect white sand islands off the main coast of Myanmar. Most are completely uninhabited - or home to a small village or two where the nomadic seafaring Moken people live. These are best explored on a 3 or 4 night cruise - and we have some beautiful luxurious boats on offer.

Your adventure starts here!

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