Myanmar (Burma) - Best Tours & Trips 2019
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Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.
Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.
Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Price Per Day
Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.
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Rivers & Seas
Cities & Attractions
Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.
Flights & Transport
Continents & Regions
- Explore Yangon
- Visit National Museum
- Discover Ananda Temple
- Visit Inle lake
- Enjoy a boat ride on the Irawaddy
- Talk with a monk about buddhism and daily life
- Learn the basics of burmese cuisine with a cooking demonstration from a local chef
- Travel past floating villages on tranquil inle lake
- Explore the pagodas and monasteries of this ancient land
- Stunning boutique Myanmar hotels in traditional Burmese style
- Attend a traditional Shan State tribal market
- Revel in a classic overnight Irrawaddy cruise on a boutique barge
- See the 16th century ruins in Shan State
- Discover the hidden princely hamlet of Sagar, far off the tourist radar
- Marvel at the graceful Intha leg rowers on Inle Lake
- Explore Bagan's thousands of 1,300-year old ruins
- Tour leadership by an expert on Burmese culture
- Spend an afternoon touring the temple town of Bagan by bicycle. This is a fantastic way to see the thousands of spectacular temples, stupas and pagodas
- Join a homegrown master of Burmese cuisine as you stock up on market ingredients, cook up a storm in a cooking class, then feast on the results – all the while supporting a community library initiative
- Enjoy an action-packed activity schedule in Mandalay. Visit the magnificent Mandalay Palace, tour a local village and monastery, and discover the hill-top pagodas of Sagaing
- Explore Inle Lake on a peaceful canoe trip, followed by a boat tour of its floating islands and local village industries
- Be dazzled by Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset. Myanmar's religious crown jewel comes alive in the dusk, with thousands of glittering diamonds on its golden stupa
- Spend two nights in Yangon, transfer to Pyay and embark upon your 10-night cruise to Mandalay. Conclude your journey with a short flight back to Yangon for another overnight stay.
- Explore Yangon
- Visit Yokesonekyaung, built in 1882
- Explore Tant Kyi Taung Mountain to visit its famous pagoda
- Discover Bagan opportunity to see Archaeological Zone, like Shwezigan Pagoda and the Ananda temple
- Tour through Sagaing visit the famous monasteries
- Seven day option allowing you to dive into the rich culture and vast history of Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan
- A great stopover if you are visiting another country within Southeast Asia
- Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
- Trekking in Kalaw
- Inle lake
- Explore the beautiful unspoilt Mergui Archipelago, meeting local wildlife, local fisherman, and the nomadic seafaring community of the Moken along the way
- Disconnect from the modern digital world and find a different kind of buzz on an incredibly relaxing journey through the islands of Myanmar
- Sit back and soak up some of the best beaches in the world, and enjoy a BBQ on a secluded stretch of sand with fish caught fresh that day
- Anchor in the calm waters surrounding local islands, where you can kayak, paddleboard and snorkel among stunning marine life
- Embrace the sea-faring life with hammocks on deck, spectacular sunsets, and nights spent out beneath the stars
- Visit Salay and Gubyaukgi Temple in Myinkaba
- Explore Yangon and see the Sule, British colonial buildings, National Museum, meditation center, circular train ride, River Gallery
- Visit Salay and Gubyaukgi Temple in Myinkaba
- Visit Minnanthu Village for sesame and peanut oil
- Discover Bangkok
- Visit healer and stroll through Ubud
- Discover Ayutthaya
- Visit caves in Hpa An
- Explore Sukhothai and Mae Sot
- Visit Shampoo Island and Mudon
- Explore Yangon and Bago
- Explore Yangon
- Visit Taunggyi
- Explore the town and take a 4-hour boat trip to Kyauk Gu U Min
- Visit Flying Tiger Ma Shwe Wa
- Circular train ride in Yangon
- Sunset at Shwedagon
- Visiting villages and people around Inle Lake
- Exploring Pindaya Caves
- Buddha Washing in Mandalay
- Visiting Monywa and the Phowin Taung Caves
- Climbing Mt. Popa
- Experience Boat Ride on the Irawaddy
- Balloon over Bagan
- Time on Ngapali Beachj (optional)
- Visit popular Yangon's attractions and surrounding city;
- Enjoy the jungle life at the Elephant Camp with Elephant ride;
- Take an adventurous train journey to Naung Pin passing over the amazing Gokteik Railway Viaduct;
- Visit popular pagodas and temples in Bagan;
- Boat trip on Inle Lake passing through colorful market; floating garden and fishing villages
- Discover Myanmar
- Enjoy sightseeing of the Inle Lake
- Visit Mahamuni Pagoda home to one of the country's most
- Visit Mahagandayon Monastery, the largest teaching monastery in Myanmar
- Explore Bagan’s most significant shrines - the Shwezigon Pagoda and Htilominlo Temple
- Visit the larger-than-life gold Shwedagong Pagoda in Yangon
- See some of the many incredible temples around the ancient city of Bagan
- Explore Kuthodaw Pagoda, often referred to as “the world’s biggest book
- Take boat trip on the Ayeyarwaddy River in Mandalay
- Marvel at Singapore’s awe-inspiring landmarks
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Top Myanmar (Burma) Experiences
Taking a river cruise on the Irrawaddy.
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
Myanmar (Burma) Trip Reviews
334 Myanmar (Burma) Tour Reviews - Summary 99% Recommend
Myanmar (Burma) Tours and Travel Guide
Myanmar (Burma) Attractions & Landmarks Guide
After opening up to the world, Myanmar (Burma) 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. Myanmar 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 Myanmar. The crowds and global restaurant conglomerates haven’t yet arrived, and it is still largely untouched by tourism.
Other-worldly and ethereal. Unusual and in ways unique. Timeless yet changing.
Even the name of the country – today Myanmar, formerly Burma -- suggests how this intriguing destination is keeping one foot planted firmly in its past, traditions and ways of life as it moves, tentatively but steadily, toward the future.
Myanmar - The Land of Pagodas
Myanmar is known as “The land of pagodas,” and the visitor soon learns why. No one knows how many Buddhist pagodas, temples, monasteries and stuppas are scattered throughout the county.
What you soon realize is that if at least one Buddhist holy place isn’t within sight at any given time, it will be soon. Whether exploring a vast religious complex or coming upon a tiny roadside memorial, the pervasiveness of the religion that the great majority of people practice is everywhere.
For non-Buddhists an itinerary that includes a seemingly endless array of religious places may threaten to cause a bit of pagoda overload. But don’t let that thought discourage you.
Some holy places belong on any “must-see list. Many others have their own special appeals. Wherever there is an image of Buddha there are people prostrating themselves, praying, chanting and presenting offerings that range from fruit to flowers, incense to candles.
If the pervasiveness of religion in the everyday life of the people leads one to assume that Myanmar is only about Buddhism, think again. It’s a multi-racial country with interesting cities, fascinating villages, stunning nature and attractions sure to excite and delight. This variety isn’t surprising in an area about the size of France and Great Britain combined.
From Occupation to an Historic Election
Britain controlled Burma from 1824 until the country gained its independence in 1948. A military junta that took control in 1962 suppressed dissent and allowed the economy to stagnate largely isolated from the rest of the world.
When the ruling generals permitted free elections to take place in 2015, the political party of Aung San Suu Kyi won a resounding victory. She is an activist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, but whose advocacy for democracy resulted in her being under house arrest for 15 years until her release in 2010. She now serves as State Counselor and has instituted new freedoms and economic reforms. However, Myanmar’s constitution still gives the military a strong voice in governance of the country.
Since August 2018, there have been continuous news reports about atrocities by Myanmar’s military forces against Rohingya Muslims who live in Rakhine Province. The Rohingyas originally came from the neighboring country of Bangladesh, and have been viewed as interlopers since they arrived. The unrest is confined to a narrow strip of land along the border with Bangladesh, so it is safe to travel throughout most of the country.
Ancient and Modern Life Meet
Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is the largest city and commercial center of Myanmar. It boasts the highest number of colonial-era buildings in southeast Asia.
Mandalay was the last seat of Burma’s kings before the British colonization. It’s known as a center of arts and crafts, with different neighborhoods devoted to various trades.
The setting is very different in villages located throughout the countryside, where in many ways people live much as their forebears did. Modest houses made of intertwined bamboo line narrow dusty lanes. Domesticated animals wander along the streets.
Yet even in the tiniest, most isolated hamlets, as elsewhere throughout the country, vestiges of change are emerging from the traditional lifestyle. Cell phones are as ubiquitous as in any major U.S. city. Children of all ages use a smartphone to play games, and it’s not uncommon to see a monk retrieve a cell phone from his saffron robe to make or take a call.
Wherever the visitor may be in Myanmar, the gradual evolution from traditional ways of life to increasing hints of modernity is one of the most interesting aspects of the country. The result is an immersion in a rich and colorful past combined with the comforts and conveniences of today.
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