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Top Trip Memories

  • Cruising the Irrawaddy River.
  • Visiting to Bagan, Mandalay Region  to view the ancient Burmese art and architecture.
  • Trekking the Kalaw, Shan state.
  • Relaxing in Ngapali Beach.
  • Experiencing the peace and tranquility of Inle Lake and its fishing society
  • Gazing at the Shwedagon Pagoda's beauty and grandeau, as it lit up Myanmar's largest city, Yangon, at nightfall.
  • Gliding in a hot air balloon over an expanse of shimmering gold pagodas, among colorful pink and purple hues at dawn in Bagan. 
  • Accepting a warm invitation for coffee, inside the bamboo thatched homes of local villagers.
  • Standing awestruck in the presence of the colossal reclining Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda Buddha in Yangon.
  • Bargaining for intricate ruby, sapphire, emerald, and gold jewelry in Yangon's expansive Bogyoke Market.
  • Gazing at the precarious incline of the gilded boulder that is Golden Rock in Mon State
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Tour Tips

  • Burma is a burgeoning Southeast Asian destination, and with much of the country still relatively new to tourism, booking with an organized group will get you to rural villages that may be difficult, or nearly impossible, to navigate solo.
  • Bagan is known for its hot air balloon experiences at dawn. Be sure to book in advance for the best options so you don’t miss out.
  • Taxi is the easiest way to travel in the country’s largest city, Yangon.
  • If traveling by ferry to Inle Lake, expect a long and choppy ride. Timetables and itineraries are loose guides. Prepare for an eventful journey!
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Burma (Myanmar) Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.7 out of 5

99%

recommend

431 Reviews

  • Excellent 310
  • Great 104
  • Average 12
  • Disappointing 5
  • Terrible 0

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.7
  • Guide
    4.7
  • Activities
    4.7
  • Lodging
    4.7
  • Transportation
    4.7
  • Meals
    4.7

Tour Reviews

A packed, fascinating exploration of Myanmar.

Discover Myanmar (Burma)

5.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
A packed, fascinating exploration of Myanmar.
Balloon trip over Bagan,

Aung suffered by not having very strong English (compared to our guide on a previous Exodus trip). Some of our group really struggled to understand him.
He was knowledgable but sometimes was unable (initially... until we reworded them) to interpret/answer questions (back to his English).
Only rarely did we not keep to the schedule he published and that wasn't due to him but overstaying at one interesting venue.
Transport was always where he said it would be when he said it would be.
When members of the group had additional early start excursions, he was always there to ensure everything went smoothly, even at 5am!
Can't fault his diligence but there were a few cultural differences which we coped with some some of the group didn't!

Don't pack anything white! Myanmar is very dusty and the, predominantly red, dust stains. Given the detail of the trip notes, I am surprised this isn't mentioned too.

Great trip - varied sights/sites.

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Discover Myanmar

Discover Myanmar (Burma)

4.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This tour provided a wonderful overview of Myanmar - citylife; temples; countryside; friendly, welcoming people and generally, delicious food. In order for this to happen, there were many early morning starts and long days - an 8.00 am start was considered a luxury! The transportation and connections were excellent, including the internal flights. Overall, the hotels were better than expected. The tour has left us with a desire to explore Mayanmar further.
It is difficult to single out one thing. The 8,000 Buddha images in the Pindaya limestone caves and meditation chambers is unlike anything we have seen in Asia. Using local guides for the trek around Kalaw allowed us to have many questions on crops, farming and countrylife answered. The boat cruise and cycle to minority villages at Inle Lake provided yet another insight into this diverse country.

This was Aung's 3rd Exodus tour. He is from Yangon, and was kind. He gave a very amusing demonstration of how to wear a sarong, and taught us to ask for the 'Happy House' (toilet!). Whilst his knowledge at scheduled stops was well delivered, ad hoc information along the way would have been welcome. Some questions seemed to be lost in translation.

We did not need as much money as expected. I would suggest buying souvenirs, clothes, etc. when you see them, as there might not be a second chance. Always carry a lightweight torch - you may venture out in daylight, but not return until dark. The People's Park, opposite the Shwedagon Pagoda is a great place to see Yangon flora and fauna, a lake, fountains and many young people/families. I took the support vehicle back after lunch on the Kalaw trek because it was getting hot. The support vehicle took 45 minutes along an incredibly bumpy road, The remaining hikers arrived back at the hotel just 25 minutes after me. The bikes and helmets provided at Inle Lake were good, and a mechanic was available to make adjustments. I am an experienced rider, but did not find the pace 'leisurely'. It was getting hot, and 6 of the 9 riders took a boat back. Happy Hour at the hostel next to the Inle Lake hotel was a fun place! The beer in the café in the Yangon Hotel is expensive, instead turn left out of the hotel to the Seafood restaurant. Always ask for chicken off the bone, unless you are comfortable with many bones and splinters.

We are independent travellers, but chose to go on an organised tour to Myanmar because of time and travel restrictions. The group was fun, and many were repeat Exodus clients. We were impressed with Exodus.

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Fabulous Myanmar

Discover Myanmar (Burma)

4.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This is a full on trip around Myanmar. Be prepared for some very early morning starts and little or no down time,but it's worth it as Myanmar has a lot to offer. The country is full of surprises from the beautiful Inle Lake with the fantastic boat rides around the various villages, to the areas around Kalaw with stunning scenery. The temperature can drop considerably in the Kalaw region so take something warm, but what a fab heated pool to counteract the change in temperature; if you are lucky enough to stay in the Pine Hill Resort. Here we went on a fantastic walk with 2 local guides, and spent time with the local villagers eating a scrumptious lunch. I found I didn't spend as much money as specified in the trip notes. Take dollars as pounds are hard to change,make sure they are pristeen but initially change up $200 and see how you go.
I loved Inle lake; the visits to the pagodas, the bird life, the locals and the unforgettable Padoun tribal women. We did a mornings cycle ride,but it was so hot we decided to get a boat back to our hotel and it was absolutely lovely,egrets filling the skies as the boat pushed its way through the reeds.

Aung was relatively inexperienced as a guide,he said it was his 3rd trip. He was a fantastic time keeper, and organised everything down to the last minute. However we felt he didn't always consider the needs of the group and this could have been the language barrier and not fully understanding what we were asking. This will hopefully come in time and also the needs of the idiosyncratic English tourists.

Use repellant,especially in Inle Lake area. Take something warm for the Kalaw area. Early nights to counteract the early starts. Take dollars not pounds.

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Discover Myanmar (Burma) holiday

Discover Myanmar (Burma)

5.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
Myanmar is just gearing up for tourism, currently the hotels are in place and the basic infrastructure is there.
As with similar tours of the Far East you will be become templed out , but they are impressive
The people are friendly and willing to haggle over the price
One strange thing is they drive Right Hand drive cars/buses on the right hand side of the road (Think about that a bit), this means that when getting out of a Coach your stepping into the road
I did not feel there was a single inspirational moment, as this tour was similar to others I had in the far east.
But I did feel the entire tour did show Myanmar at its best, the people were great and all the sites worth visiting

Our Group Leader was brilliant, he was always on the go and willing to help with everything , this included assisting the ladies with the shopping in the markets.
He had 1001 stories for each site, he also took us to very good non-tourist sites (slightly of the beaten track, but well worth it)
The fun thing about him was, although his English was extremely good , his favourite word was "Everybody" which gave us all some amusement

The trip notes from Exodus suggested we would require more spending money than we actually needed, this may change when more tourists arrive. We only needed about half of what we expected to use
Meals, Beer and Market items were not to expensive, we needed to pay for most thing in Kyats ( pronounced Jets) , Dollars (small denominations) were only useful in a few places, but worth having available,
Although we were running a tip kitty, we were never to sure what was a suitable tip if we were tip room porters as the exchange rate was 1366 K to the Dollar

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A country offering more than expected!

Discover Myanmar (Burma)

4.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
A thoroughly enjoyable trip. Almost everything was great: the logistics, the group, the accommodation, the food; the transport and the included sight-seeing.
A very economical trip. Food and drinks, local transport, laundry, additional sight-seeing fees (camera & entrance) are all cheap.
For me, the number of VERY early starts was disappointing! I feel it would have been a more relaxing trip if the three flights could have been later in the day.
Great moments: Inle Lake day trip was excellent, with a wide variety of things to see and do. All the local markets were superb, again with such wonderful opportunities to observe (and photograph) the local people and produce. Bagan and Kalaw were both delightful (though very different): small and easy to get around, both with a slightly '60s 'hippie' vibe!
The local staff at hotels were fabulous: so polite, helpful and delighted that you have visited their country.
Everywhere I felt totally safe.
And having travelled in neighbouring countries (India, Thailand, China) on many occasions, I was impressed with the cleanliness and order of the place (especially the toilets in public places). And I saw little sigh of abject poverty of the undignified sort where people are forced to beg. People seemed to be always busy with something, and not sitting idly around.

Ko ko Aye was very efficient; never got flustered ever (but then he had a group of mature adults that gave him no problems!) Apart from one occasion, I thought his leading was very good and the information he provided was adequate (often too much is given and passengers 'glaze over' and switch off!) He had a good sense of humour, and when the scenery outside was dull, he told us 'funny stories' which made us shriek with laughter! He even tried to teach us a bit of the local lingo, but didn't get further than "Mingalabar"!

I changed a large sum of money at the airport, thinking there would be problems later: there weren't! ATMs and money changers were just about everywhere. (But do make sure that your notes are not scuffed in any way though no need to be brand new!)
Take a small case with few clothing, as laundry can be done at most hotels for very little, and there is a cheap laundry near the hotel in Nyuangshwe at Inle Lake. (I went in Feb and it's dusty so you get dirty quickly.)
Sandals that are easy and quick to take off/put on are a must for all the temples & pagodas visited. Also carry an old, wet facecloth in a small plastic bag in your daypack to wipe off your feet on exit. Saves on wet wipes/litter. The cloth can be rinsed out in the evening ready for the next day.

Yes. What I had anticipated as a highlight turned out to be the low light: the hiking at Kalaw. I had read the trip notes where it said we would be on centuries-old well-trodden paths through plantations, groves and local villages, having opportunities to interact with locals. Our tour leader explained that the morning walk was about 3-4 hours of moderate terrain, while the afternoon section was 2-3 hours of less taxing terrain. Those who wished to do the afternoon only could take transport to the lunch stop, and walk from there back to Kalaw. This I opted to do. A tuk-tuk collected the non-walkers at 11am and drove along a busy, dusty road through mainly uninhabited hillsides until we got to the lunch stop at 12.30 (positively covered in dust!). After lunch with the rest of the morning group, it transpired that the afternoon walk was NOT on centuries-old well-trodden paths through plantations, groves and local villages, having opportunities to interact with locals!! It was along the busy, dusty and unpopulated road that we had driven to get to the lunch stop!! I felt ENTIRELY cheated of an opportunity to enjoy the natural local way of life and nature. At NO stage - either in the trip notes or by the tour leader - was it make clear that the morning section is the 'ethnic appreciation' part and the afternoon is just a dusty dull slog back to town. I was furious that the ONLY info provided by the tour leader regarding the difference between morning and afternoon walking was the gradient and time. So beware: make sure you ask for a DETAILED outline of exactly what type of surfaces you will be walking on, as well as if you pass through villages and fields etc for each section of the day. Ask if you will be walking along an unpaved road!! I could easily have done the morning walk if I had been given the appropriate information beforehand.

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Classic Itineraries

Burma (Myanmar) Trips & Tour Advice

After opening up to the world, Burma (Myanmar) is now one of the hottest destinations in Southeast Asia. A wonderland of Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries, it can be toured by land or by the Irrawaddy River, which runs through the country from Yangon (Rangoon) to Mandalay. Burma hasn't changed much for decades -- yet -- so now is a great time to go.

You think you’ve seen it all in Southeast Asia, until you hear of a country called Burma. The crowds and global restaurant conglomerates haven’t yet arrived, and it is still largely untouched by tourism.

Smiling Villagers

Burma is rooted in the Theravada Buddhist philosophy of metta: benevolence, friendship, goodwill, and kindness. Its cultural atmosphere embodies this essence, with overflowing smiles, and generous invitations. You may find yourself walking alone, or with a group, when suddenly, you are asked to coffee, or tea, in at thatched bamboo home. Wondering how you ended up sitting cross-legged and exchanging grateful gestures, you are unaware of a language barrier that just minutes earlier seemed a thousand miles long. Trust your instincts, and welcome this national devotion to kindness toward strangers.

Shimmering Gold Pagodas

These temples recognized throughout South Asia for their multi-tiered rooftops, are painted in gold, or pure white, throughout Burma. Shwedagaon Pagoda in Yangon, Golden Rock on Mount Kyaiktiyo, and the more than 10,000 pagodas dotting the landscape of Bagan, are among the most visited. However, you may also see small golden pagodas almost anywhere in Burma, even in the most remote areas. Dress modestly, and remove your shoes before entering these sacred Buddhist temples.

Saffron-Robed Monks

Especially when visiting pagodas, or even just walking down the buzzing streets of Yangon, you may be struck by the effortlessness of monks and nuns passing by with their long, flowing robes. Monks of all ages wear saffron-colored robes, while nuns’ robes are pink. Embrace the serenity offered by their presence, and only take photographs if granted permission, or with extreme discretion.

Delicate Ecosystems

The shallow waters and canals of Inle Lake, near the town of Nyaung Shwe, provide the ideal setting for fishermen to cast their wide cone-shaped nets. Homes rest on stilts, farmers tend to floating gardens anchored by large bamboo poles, and all is tranquil. You may never want to leave.

Prepare For the Trip of a Lifetime

Know the season before you go. Like the rest of South East Asia, Burma is affected by the monsoon season in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months. Dry season may be a more favorable time to sightsee, but expect heat, and more crowds.

Burma is rooted in tradition, and modest clothing is the norm. Women and men wear a traditional sarong, called a longhi, and you will rarely see bare shoulders, even in major cities. Follow this modest dress, and pack loose-fitting long pants and/or skirts for women, instead of shorts. Pick thin fabrics to keep you cool.

Related Categories

Continent:                  

Asia

Local Attractions:              

Bagan, Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo Zedi), Taung Kalat, Mrauk U, Ayeyarwady River, Yangon and Many More

Top Activities:            

Explore Culture & River Cruise

Similar Destinations:      

Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos

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