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Top Burma (Myanmar) Experiences

  • 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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Burma (Myanmar) Attractions And Landmarks Guide

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

Burma (Myanmar) Tour Reviews - Summary

4.7 out of 5

100%

recommend

467 Reviews

Excellent 331 Great 136 Average 0 Disappointing 0 Terrible 0

Rating Details

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

The tour overall was great

Classic Myanmar Adventure

5.0 April 2017 G Adventures Recommend: Yes The tour overall was great. I must admit I was EXTREMELY disappointed with Gadventures at the beginning of the tour. My deciding factor between the classic/comfort was the Golden Rock. That is the only reason why I opted for this one. I would have much rather had a premium experience. Some of the hotels were just okay on this trip. We spent 2 FULL days in 39 degrees traveling to the rock, one day to get there and one day to go down. It was known, as we were leading up to the rock for sunset, we were told he had some bad news. The entire thing was wrapped in bamboo and scaffold. I have a very good image of it. I think G definitely should have been proactive and in letting us know, or having an alternative site/excursion. Everyone on the entire tour was EXTREMELY ........... the first two days. IT was a very bad start to the tour. The was a waste of two business days for me in the office, and probably $300. Read more

A transforming and magical journey to Myanmar, Cambodia, Bali and Java.

Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia: Borobudur, Bagan and Angkor Wat

5.0 April 2017 Myths and Mountains Recommend: Yes In all our years of travel, we’ve never experienced a more transforming and magical journey than the one Toni planned for us. Her meticulous planning ensured that there would be no surprises during our month in Myanmar, Cambodia, Bali, and Java, and what surprises we experienced were the serendipitous ones that happen when you allow yourself to seize the moment when it happens. Our guides, excellent English-speaking people and very knowledgeable, quickly got to know us and would make adjustments that would allow us to experience an unscripted moment with the wonderful people in each country. It was those unexpected moments that left us feeling like we left each country having stood in the shoes of the people for one brief moment. That perspective made us come back to our own country with new eyes and appreciation for what we have and what we don’t have.


The resorts were all remarkable, each unique, staffed by the kindest people, each attending to our needs, some of them so happy to test their English skills with us, leading to remarkable conversations about their lives. Restaurants were chosen to give us an overview of the food in the country, and the food was always delicious. Ancient temples, historic buildings in cities, beautiful rides in the country, food markets, candlelit dinner at a Burmese village home, boat rides on magical Inle Lake in early morning, watching the fisherman at work, floating gardens and villages, harvesting in the rice fields, 4 wheeling on a volcano, being surrounded by students practicing their English on Borobudur, the list goes on and the memories will never end.


But what set this trip apart was that Toni wanted to make sure we truly understood the people. Juxtaposed to the beauty was a trip to the Genocide Museum and Killing Fields in Cambodia, a heart-rending visit that we initially didnt want to make but realized afterwards that we had to make. It opened our hearts to the horror of what these people had endured and the wonder at the hope they all showed in spite of losing so many family members. Growing up in America, we’d read the stories in the newspapers, but it was only in being there that they became real to us. We’ll never forget the hour we spent on a boat with our Cambodian guide, anchored in the middle of Tonle Sap Lake, listening to his story. We felt such a connection to him and were so moved by his hopefulness and his vision of what his country would be for his children. It was this same young man who managed to make us feel like early French explorers discovering the ancient temples of Cambodia for the first time. We felt like we were truly in an Indiana Jones movie on an adventure of a lifetime. Words can’t describe those four days of discovering the temples of Cambodia. It was hard to believe the vision the Cambodian Kings had, the tenacity and ingenuity of the builders and that these temples are still standing, thanks, in part to the restoration of them by so many countries in the world.


Leaving Cambodia was difficult but Bali called to us and we were unprepared for the natural beauty ahead of us. Not only did we enjoy some beach time, but we quickly headed to the Ubud region and were stunned by the arts there, the countryside, and the people. We took a walk through the rice fields on Christmas day but before the walk we met a family in their home. There was a little 4 year old boy, shy, unable talk to us, but being a musician, I decided to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to him. I made it through 6 notes and he ran to his bedroom and returned with a little keyboard and played a perfect Twinkle on it. I was reminded that music is universal and in that moment we “spoke” to each other through music. That was our common language, as it also was in Burma when we sang nursery rhyme songs with children in a village, or took gamelan lessons in Bali. What we also took away from this trip was an understanding of world religions, since we had a Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic guide in three different countries. We listened to their devotion to their beliefs, heard their family stories of faith, witnessed their reverence of their holy temples, heard Islamic prayers 5 times a day, were blessed by Hindu priests, even had a healing ceremony on Christmas Day in Bali with a man who couldn’t speak English. We began to understand what made each nation tick, what kept them believing in a hopeful future when politics intervened in their lives. We witnessed their smiles, saw their tears when we were in the temples being blessed, and were so moved by their faith. So, if you want to experience a trip of a lifetime, go to Toni. You won’t be disappointed.
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Our travel consultant Emily so understanding

Heritage Highlights of Myanmar & Vietnam

5.0 March 2017 My Way Travel Recommend: Yes We booked a 16 day private tour to Vietnam and Myanmar in the last minute. Our travel consultant Emily so understanding, that she answered all our questions and emails almost immediately. She organized our tour that consists of Hanoi, Halong Bay, Mai Chau, Hoi An, Saigon, Mekong delta, Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake flawlessly. Our trip also included the five star Hotels/Cruises and flights. The tour guides in each location were very friendly and informative. For them our comfort was the top in their agenda. The countryside was spectacular and the local food was great. Not only we learned a touch of history, but also about their religion Buddhism in person and I have to say that was fascinating. The people that we came in contact with or people we saw were smiling at us. Our trip was so beautiful and we would definitely recommend this tour and MWT to anybody who wants to visit Asia. Read more

Myths staff members Toni and Jen answered ALL of our questions and we felt well prepared for our adventure.

Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia: Borobudur, Bagan and Angkor Wat

5.0 February 2017 Myths and Mountains Recommend: Yes Myths staff members Toni and Jen answered ALL of our questions and we felt well prepared for our adventure. The trip design could not have been better. We absolutely loved the trip! We are even considering becoming Myanmar ""repeaters"", as our guide called those who chose to visit Myanmar more than once.
Out guides understood our interests and often expanded our itinerary to include additional places and experiences. We made an impromptu visit to a wedding just outside of Mandalay. We were warmly welcomed and take to a table where we were offered ice cream and cake. Then the new couple insisted that we were part of the professional wedding photos that were being taken. In fact, all over Myanmar the Burmese people wanted photos taken with us. We also encountered a house building party in Kengtung where we were offered coffee and food. The house owner shared the plans for his new house with us.
Staying at the Inle Princess was perfect! We felt like VIPs. The setting was absolutely beautiful and mystical. The Park Royal was a perfect city hotel with a wonderful breakfast and very cozy bar. All the staff was very friendly. We enjoyed happy hour at the Bagan lodge. Our pool side suite was fantastic! The laundry service was fast and good. The Sala Lodge was a perfect retreat after a hot day of ""temple exploring"" and we loved the staff. We enjoyed our stay at the amazing Kyaing Tong Resort. The Conqueror resort was also a fun stay due to a firework and balloon launch arranged by our guide with the hotel staff partying with us.
Hsu Mon Aung, our Myanmar guide was amazing! She was totally professional in taking care of us but she felt like a friend from our first meeting. She was the best ambassador for her country and through her warmth and compassion was able to connect us with many Burmese people. We entered their homes as welcomed guests. During the full moon festival we were unable to go to Taunggyito to see the balloons, so Hsu organized our own balloon launch at the Conqueror resort, including music and fireworks. She knew that I had really wanted to see the balloon festival. We felt so fortunate to have had her traveling with us, Hsu checked us in at every hotel and airport. Our bags were taken care of before we knew it. At the restaurants she helped us select foods that were Burmese and would keep us healthy. We did a lot of laughing and sharing stories in the car.
In Kyaing Tong we met our regional guide who we called ""Sy"". Sy had a fantastic personality and knew the tribes well. The people were always happy to see him. He and Hsu worked well as a team. At the local school, we donated tablets, pencils, etc., and I was able to teach the children the ""Hokey Pokey"" translated by Hsu and Sy. Su and Hsu brought medicines to the hill tribes. Keo was our guide in Siem Reap. One of his best skills was skirting the crowds at the temples. We often entered through a seemingly remote jungle path vs. the highway. At our request, he also showed us less touristy temples that were not on our itinerary. Our guide Hsu was also very resourceful! At the Pho Win Daung caves the monkeys were very aggressive, so Hsu paid two young ladies with monkey food to keep the monkeys away from us.
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Bottom line is that we had a wonderful time, guides and accommodations were excellent and we were impressed that your local tour operator, had our backs.

A Taste of Myanmar

5.0 January 2017 Myths and Mountains Recommend: Yes All of our interactions with Toni and Jen were totally professional. Your rapid responses were appreciated, since we were working on a relatively abbreviated time line. We realize that we're pretty nit-picky and demanding in a way that differs from your usual cliental since we're much more comfortable handling things on our own. We were very satisfied with your flexibility and knowledge -- you pushed hard for things you felt important (i.e. the city tour and marionette show in Yangon -- both of which you were totally right) and let other things slide (i.e. Mt. Popa). The final product was a compromise that accommodated our style and your expertise -- it looked great on paper and translated into a fascinating trip.

Above all else -- our choice to go with local guides rather than a national guide was perhaps the most crucial decision in making our trip so spectacular. Each of our four guides was wonderful and their expertise in their local region shined through. We are so, so happy that we chose this option.

You planned a great trip for us -- accommodations, guide, and local travel agency back-up were all top-notch.
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