Myanmar formerly known as Burma was a British colony up until the 60s. Having gained independence a military gent took over and the country became closed to the outside world. Having recently opened up visiting Burma is like going back in time. Spectacular temples and rich colonial history await. Amazing food and friendly people completely untouched by tourism. Become a travel pioneer and visit this wonderful country before it changes.
Burma Experience Photos
Burma Experience: Trip Highlights
Only recently opened up to tourism, if you want some real adventure travel and explore Burma. Widely tipped as Southeast Asia’s next hottest destination you can expect to see some serious change in this country soon. The time to visit is now before it gets developed and is followed by mass tourism. This flexible and fully guided 11 day package gives you the chance to really get under the skin of Burma.
Interact and visit monks among the pagodas of Bagan, trek through the enchanting hills of Kalaw to overnight in a Shan hill-tribe village, fish like a native tribesman on Inle lake, watch gold ribbon being created by the gold pounders of Mandalay, learn how to apply traditional make up with local women in Meiktila and take a classic horse and carriage ride through the old British capital of Pyin Oo Lwin. The expertly selected accommodation at every destination provides comfort and convenience.
Your journey around Myanmar will be by private air-conditioned mini coach and scenic slow boat down the Irrawaddy River. You will be accompanied by a fully trained English speaking tour leader. They will delight you with rich historical tales of Myanmar, whilst offering insight into what the future holds for these charismatic people. The tour leader will also encourage you to sample only the finest regional cuisine at restaurants throughout the country. That means all you have to do is immerse yourself in this once in a lifetime journey.
- Venture around the dazzling gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the largest, oldest and most sacred Pagoda’s in the world (Yangon)
- Find treasures in the historic Bogyoke Aung San Market, where Burmese crafts, antiques and jewelry is traded (Yangon)
- Spend time in Myanmar’s ancient Capital of Bagan, where over 2000 temples mark its place in history (Bagan)
- Trek 2 days into the mountains and overnight in an authentic hills-tribe village (Kalaw and Inle Lake)
- Cruise Inle’s Lake on a traditional long boat, and visit a floating farm, lotus weaving centre and stilt monastery (Inle Lake)
- Explore Mandalay’s Royal Palace, see a gold pounders workshop in action (where gold leaf is made) and visit the Shewnandaw Kyuang Monastery, a beautiful example of orginal Burmese architecture with intricate teak carvings and glass mosaic detailing (Mandalay)
Head out after breakfast with your Tour Leader and a local guide to check out the highlights of downtown Yangon by foot. You’ll see the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar whose golden spire dominates the city skyline, and glittering Sule Pagoda, the holiest traffic island in the world. Finish off with a stroll through the endless stalls and alleyways of Bogyoke Aung San Market discovering new exotic treats. The afternoon is free to do as you please; if you’re a tea lover, you absolutely must visit a teahouse and try the tea leaf salad! Meet at the guesthouse at 7.30pm packed and ready to go for your first experience on a plush overnight coach journey to Bagan.
Arriving early in Bagan, we will drop our bags at the guesthouse and get right into exploring the mystical Bagan Archaeological Zone. With more than 3,000 temples across this sprawling site, Bagan is a temple lover’s dream destination. A guided temple tour will highlight some of the best known temples and share stories of their intriguing history and architecture, all before lunch! Either take some time out back at the guesthouse or park up at a local beer station, where you can usually find a local who is eager to practice their English.
Bagan temples nothing short of massive, so you need more than one day to really wander around all its wonders. Today you have a full free day to explore and we highly recommend hiring a bicycle or electric scooter to get around the town and surrounding area. Bagan is split into ‘Old Bagan’ (where you’ll be staying) and ‘New Bagan,’ about 15km apart, and you might enjoy cycling between the two, as well as taking a closer look at some of the temples and pagodas not seen on your guided tour. However you choose to spend your free day, don’t miss out on one of the world’s most spectacular sunrises or sunsets from atop a pagoda.
No accommodation, Overnight Bus.
It’s an early start this morning to catch the bus to Kalaw. Watch the scenery out your window change dramatically as we travel from the open plains to the picturesque mountains of the Shan Plateau and the quaint mountain town of Kalaw. You’ll immediately sense a difference in both the cooler climate of the mountains and the general vibe of Kalaw. As a Shan town, the ethnic influence is quite different from the Burmese you already experienced and may feel more like neighbouring China, Laos and Thailand. One of the best examples of this difference is in the fresh and delicious traditional Shan cuisine, which you’ll first taste this evening after stretching your legs getting to know this charming destination.
Soak up the native surroundings of Kalaw as we begin our trek into the Shan hills. Your guide will give you an overview of the regional ethnic groups as well as point out some of the diverse native plant and animal life along the way. On arrival into the village, get involved in preparing some traditional Shan dishes for lunch, with a helping hand from your hosts and guide. How your afternoon plays out depends on the time of year and what the villagers are working on that day. Get as interactive as you like, visit a local farm and lend a hand, join in on an English lesson at the school, or learn the ‘circus-like’ art of transporting goods in baskets on your head!
NB. By law foreigners are not allowed to stay in the homes of the local tribal people, so you will be accommodated in a nearby ethnic-guesthouse with your guide. Otherwise by day you are free to mix and mingle.
Non-trekking option: For those who are not able or interested in joining the trek, you will spend an additional night in Kalaw (where there is lots to explore) and travel by train to Inle Lake the next day to meet the trekkers in Nyuang Shwe. Your Tour Leader, who will travel with you, will advise you of details, while a local Guide will lead the trekkers.
Expect to wake up to a chorus of boisterous roosters at sunrise. Nothing epitomizes village life better than starting your day early and enjoying a traditional breakfast with your hosts. As push off again, heading towards Inle, your guide will shed further light on this fascinating rural area and the ways of its people. A brief boat ride on the lake you bring you to Nyuang Shwe, a small lakeside village that serves as the main access point to the popular destination of Inle Lake. After two hearty days of trekking, you’ll be happy to put your feet up, relax and reflect on your past two days with the Shan villagers. Nyuang Shwe offers an eclectic range of interesting culinary options so wonder the streets and find a treat yourself to a tasty meal of Shan, Nepalese, Indian, Chinese, or Burmese cuisine.
After breakfast we hop on our long tail boats to power through the towering reeds of the upper lake delta. Make the most of this half day tour that will take you to see floating farms held together by bamboo, a lotus weaving centre, and maybe even a floating stilt monastery. Inle Lake is a protected wetland sanctuary, so keep watch for a variety of native birds. While on the lake you will also learn how to fish like the Intha and try your luck at catching a fish or two. For lunch you can sample regional cuisine at a restaurant on the lake. The boat tour will finish around mid-afternoon, allowing time for an optional winery visit at the Red Mountain Winery.
Take in one last look over the tranquil Inle Lake before boarding the bus bound for Mandalay. There will be stops en route to stretch your legs and have lunch, but today is a day to beat the heat and relax on a comfortable bus as we transfer to our next destination. Arriving by late afternoon, there will be time to wander around the area near the guesthouse to orientate you in this incredible hub of Burmese culture and catch the sunset over the rolling Sagaing Hills.
Start the morning with a city tour that covers Mandalay’s highlights, such as the magnificent former Royal Palace, a gold pounders’ workshop to learn the ancient method of making gold leaf, the intricate teak wood Shewnandaw Kyuang monastery and a look at the ‘big book’ at the Kuthodaw Pagoda. As your city tour wraps up, this also signals the end of the trip. However, your Tour Leader will have plenty of recommendations and can help organise excursions to Mingun, Amarapura, Sagaing Hill, or tickets to the world famous Moustache Brothers performance. Wherever you’re heading next, they’ll be able to help arrange your onward transfer.
A Rough Idea of Price
All of our gap year holidays are completely customised to your needs and prices will therefore vary based on things like the time of year and level of accommodation; but we want to give you as good an idea of how much this itinerary will cost.
11 Days -