Burma tailor made holiday

“This classic yet compact trip packs in the highlights for those short of time. From the gilded pagodas of Yangon to the stilt-house villages of Inle Lake, you won't miss out.”

Highlights

Yangon | Bagan | Mt. Popa | Mandalay | Inwa | U Bein's Bridge | Mingun pagoda & Bell | Pindaya caves | Inle Lake | Indein village |

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Map

Departure information

This trip can be tailormade anytime to suit you and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements as necessary
Our top tip:
The guides are excellent - don't be afraid to leave the tourist trail, they know their country in ways the guide books don't.
Trip type:
Tailor made
Activity level:
Moderate
Accomm:
8 nights 3* hotels, 1 night comfortable inn
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available with surcharge.
Included:
Transport, accommodation, local & tour guides, domestic flights, entrance fees.
Meals:
9 breakfasts, 5 lunches
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Tailor made holiday

This trip can be tailor made to create a unique holiday for your individual requirements by travel experts with intimate knowledge of the destination. Sites and accommodations can be arranged to suit you and your budget. This is a comfortable trip that will suit those who enjoy immersing themselves in new cultures and environments before relaxing in comfort in characterful local accommodation!

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Burma tailor made holiday

We recognise that travel in Burma is a contentious issue and welcome the recent announcement from the National League for Democracy that it now welcomes small group tours. We have operated in Burma for a number of years and have always believed that tourism in Burma has many positive benefits, providing a large number of local people with an income that they might otherwise struggle to receive. We try to restrict the amount of money funnelled towards the Burma regime by staying in privately owned rather than hotels that are government owned or owned by members of the military regime, and also by using private rather than government airlines within the country.

We discourage our clients from asking inappropriate questions of our guides; politics within Burma is a difficult issue and it is extremely important that we do not put our guides in a difficult position.

We visit a number of important historical sites on this tour. The entrance fees that we pay at these sites helps fund their preservation and ensure that this aspect of Burma’s cultural heritage remains for others to enjoy in years to come – particularly important in a country where finding resources for this can be difficult. In addition to this some of these sites contain ancient and fragile religious frescoes that are very susceptible to damage. We make a point of advising our travellers not to touch these valuable paintings to ensure that they remain as they are.

Travellers also have the opportunity to support local communities by purchasing local handicrafts.

Our philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers, meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. We also feel that the passion inherent within such suppliers means that your experience will be enhanced. We also try to engage with our suppliers on an equal basis - getting the lowest possible price usually isn’t the best outcome for local communities and is ultimately unsustainable. We aim to always treat our suppliers fairly and with respect; they are after all part of the key to our success and to us working together is much more than just a business arrangement, but an ongoing relationship that we aim to ensure truly benefits everyone involved.

We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures - usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.

We only employ local staff and unlike many operators we believe that to send a foreign Tour Leader along to accompany your trip is an unnecessary burden on your wallet and our carbon footprint. We believe that locals know best. Our local operators only use locally owned accommodation. This means your money stays in the area to benefit the local community. When possible we use local transport, (i.e. rail or bus) and we always use local restaurants, markets and shops and encourage our clients to interact both financially and socially with the communities that they are passing through. In doing this your travels are supporting and encouraging the development of local services. As well as our local guides and tour leaders, we employ guides from the communities and regions that we visit, ensuring that the benefits from tourism are more fairly shared and do not end up always being funnelled towards Yangon.

We only work with operators who are as committed as we are to putting something back into the communities we visit. This may include giving a percentage of the profits from each tour to a foundation to help street children or local conservation projects. Furthermore, in order to allow our clients to make an informed decision on where a greater proportion of their money should be spent, we avoid including pre-paid full board meals where possible. Local restaurants and cafes then benefit.

Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travellers. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Finally to emphasis our commitment to Responsible Tourism all clients will receive a copy of our Travellers Code of Conduct with their travel documents.

Our guides will brief travellers on appropriate behaviour, both cultural and environmental. We work with our local suppliers to highlight best practice in terms of environmental issues.

Reviews of Burma tailor made holiday

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 26 Apr 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


First and foremost the Burmese people who were all welcoming, polite, seemed very happy that we were visiting their amazing country and wanted us to have the best experience possible. We had so many wonderful adventures, (balloons over Bagan, boat along the Irrawaddy, the trek to Inle Lake, staying overnight with a PaO family in their home, helping out at lessons at the English School next to the Yoma Cherry Inn at Ngaipali beach) but I actually think the most memorable was our day at the Elephant Sanctuary (Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp)..and in particular watching the elephants have their mud bath at the end of the day: such unbridled joy.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Whilst we loved Bagan it was the most touristy place we visited. And the only place we experienced any sort of pestering to buy items etc. The balloon trip was amazing, though expensive.
The Yoma Cherry Inn at Ngaipaili Beach was an unexpected delight. It is in the midst of a fishing village and has an English school next door, which though a charity is sponsored by the hotel, and very much an integral part of the community. Guests at the hotel are encouraged by Sue Ozturk the owner, if they want to, to visit or even help out at the school. The teachers and pupils were delightful and welcoming. Most of the hotel staff are ex-pupils and speak excellent English. Some of the guests in the hotel had been coming for years, knew the school and teachers and had brought with them gifts and useful items for the children in the school.
The hotel is in the middle of a fishing village and it was fascinating to be able to watch the boats leave at sunset, and return with their catch at sunrise. There was quite a strong smell of fish. Which I suppose some might find off-putting. But if a traveller wants the opportunity to be a part of a local community, visit, even work a little bit at a school this is an amazing opportunity. If you just want a lovely small beach hotel in a spectacular setting it ticks all those boxes too.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The local travel agency were excellent and all the guides that we met through them were well informed and charming. Special mentions for Chan our guide at Mandalay and Pyin Oo Lwin. I think though he was disappointed that we did not stay longer in Mandalay: he would have liked to show us a lot more - we will have to go back! And our guide for the trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake, Aung Myo Chit (Myo), was fabulous. We really enjoyed meeting him, learning about Burmese life from him, and eating the delicious food he prepared for us on our trek. We really hope that all of the places we stayed will not suffer too much environmental impact from the increase of tourism.But that the local people will benefit.
The Green Valley Elephant Project should get a special mention for the conservation work they are doing and the education project they are supporting.
I have already mentioned the work done by the Andrew Clark Charitable Trust at the Yoma Cherry Inn which has a very impressive school.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I have tried not to bore people with how marvellous it all was. But have recommended Myanmar to anyone who will listen.
We have travelled quite extensively in SE asia over the past 30 years or so. Going to Myanmar was like going back in time in some respects. The people are so unbelievably charming and pleased that we visited them. I do hope that they will be able to hold onto that charm as the world discovers them.

Reviewed on 02 Dec 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Touring the area around Inle Lake.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take at least 2 full days to see Bagan
Don't waste valuable time in going to Mount Popa
Don't waste time going to Pyin Oo Lwin
Spend some time on a boat up the Ayerwaddy River

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I felt it did benefit local people in that we spent money on local services and goods and the local people were genuinely interested in spreading news about greater democracy in Myanmar after the election.

Hard to see how it reduced environmental impact when we took several internal flights!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent. Good balance between relaxation (river and beach) and learning about the country, religion, history etc.

Read the operator's response here:

Many thanks for your review and feedback Stephen. We are delighted you enjoyed your tailormade trip to Myanmar and hope we can be of assistance again in the future.

Reviewed on 04 Nov 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Joint top are the temples of Bagan and the fire balloon festival at Lake Inle. Bagan is incredible - the photos that you see don't prepare you for the sheer scale of things. The fire balloon festival was unique, a truly memorable occassion.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


First and foremost obtain your US$ early and check them thoroughly. If they are not absolutely pristine you won't be able to change them, so give yourself time to order more because invariably some won't be acceptable.

The quality of souvenirs is very high, so although food and beer is inexpensive you will spend more than you might think.

Enjoy the country for what it is - beautiful and unspoilt. Respect the culture and please don't do anything to change it - don't overtip and don't give pens etc to children.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


No long-haul holiday that includes extensive internal travel can be truly environemntaly friendly but we were given the opportunity to offset CO2 emisisons through dontation to a myanmar initiative.
The holiday used local guides and businesses wherever possible so did produce a local benefit.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


In one word - outstanding. Everyone we dealt with (Linda in the UK, 'Dickie', Zin, Swe and Su-Su in Myanmar) were friendly, knowledgable and helpful.

A fascinating insight into a beautiful country.

Reviewed on 03 Aug 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Elephant Sanctuary and and in general the traveling around Shan State (last week)

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Skip Mandalay and reduce number of temples. They are great, but the amounts.... Explore more nature and activites

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, because we wanted this. Unfortunatly not because we bought your set up. Make your efforts more visible.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Reviewed on 16 Mar 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The temples at Bagan and charming Hsipaw and the local village visit and boat trip - tranquil, natural beauty.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The train is an interesting way to see the country, but not for more than 5 hours -it is fiendishly uncomfortable. Try to get to the north of Myanmar, to see the natural beauty and shan villages (but not Kwaukme because the countryside is ruined through deforestation).

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Our numerous internal flights will not have benefited the environment or the local population, but wherever we travelled we shared stories with locals and tried to raise awareness of the importance of conservation, also tried to buy local products.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent tour, very well organised, we took in so much and covered so much ground in such a short period of time, which allowed us to get a really thorough impression of Myanmar.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your review and I am pleased that you enjoyed your recent trip to Burma.

Most areas where primary forest remains intact unfortunately has restricted access in terms of allowing tourists. Of course this does mean that wildlife in these areas is able to remain largely undisturbed as was documented on the recent television documentary on Burma. Hopefully in the future a responsible tourism will be possible in this areas so visitors can enjoy the unspoilt wilderness that still remains.

We tailor your itinerary specific to your needs and your trip was a short 7 day visit. For clients who have more time we very much recommend seeing Burma through a variety of transportation methods in order to minimise adverse environmental impact. For example our small group tours use, boat, local bus, bicycles, walking and train as well as internal flights to get around the country.

Once again thank you for your review.

Reviewed on 30 Jan 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The trek from Kalow into a village. The highlights were the elegant pink nuns we met along the way wielding a double handed saw to cut down some trees. The village family we visited, seeing their house and meeting their neighbours sharing tea with them all and trying on their national costumes.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Don't take too much luggage as you really don't need it.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I hope that we made a contribution to the local economy but, of course, we travelled by air and minibus so I guess our environmental impact was quite high.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was a wonderful holiday which I have been recommending to everyone I meet!

Reviewed on 31 Dec 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Approaching Mandalay by river with the sun going down and the stupas catching the light. The whole sky glowed pink and the two bridges were silhouetted against the sunset

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Toughen up the soles of your feet to prepare them for climbing temple stairs. If you don't, you will miss memorable views and fascinating perspectives.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We managed to travel by four sorts of boat (some very small indeed) pedal bike, electric motor bike, horse and trap and bullock taxi. Many of these were owned by small local businesses and enabled us to talk to local families. Three of the hotels were small with two run by families. This just didn't feel like the "tourist bus and international hotel" option (thank goodness)

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


We loved our holiday. The mixture of culture, wildlife (particularly the birds at Inle lake)interesting places to stay and excellent street food was just what we needed. I travel a lot for work and this was just the contrast I needed

Reviewed on 04 Dec 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Too many but maybe Burmese people, hospitality, food, Inle Lake, road journey from Kalaw to Mandalay, teak temple in Mandalay, Yangon, Bagan - - that's near enough everything.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Good torch for Bagan temples etc
Do have plenty of free time to explore areas by yourself. Taxis available for use.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Depends whether you think tourism is good for countries like Myanmar. It's good to be a tourist but tourism does bring with it damage to the things and cultures you go to see.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was fantastic. Well organised but with plenty of free time. Excellent guides and drivers. A 5 star holiday up there with our very best holidays.

Reviewed on 25 Mar 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The whole trip was action packed and very enjoyable so it is difficult to itemise
a specific memorable or exciting part although it is fair to say that the visit
to the stunning Shwedagon Pagoda on the first evening set the scene for the
holiday. We did especially enjoy the visit to Inwa, the walk across the U Bein's
bridge and the morning river trip to Mingun.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for a significant number of visits to various "traditional
workshops/crafts" - most of which were identified on the itinerary and were
interesting .

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Tourism benefits the local people that we met i.e. tour guides,drivers, hotel
workers, craftsmen and villages. All the travel arrangements were perfect and
we would not have been able to see as many sights as we did in 9/10days without the four internal flights and the private cars however this mode of travel
clearly has a negative environmental impact. Whilst we enjoyed our time on Inle
Lake we are concerned about the environmental impact of the many tourist
motorboats and their speed which seemed unneccessarily fast.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very good - all arrangements were exactly as described in the agreed itinerary.
We booked the private tour within four weeks of the start date and our operator
explained clearly to us the current problems with accomodation in Myanmar due
to the increased demand. Overall we were very satisfied with the accomodation
allocated with the exception of the hotel at Inle Lake which was isolated and
did not offer any facilities (e.g. swimming pool, bar)other than a large dining
hall that was totally geared to catering for large tours and where we
experienced inferior service. This was particularly frustrating as (unlike the
rest of the tour) we had a "free" afternoon and no where to go!

Reviewed on 23 Feb 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The most positive memories of our trip were the journey to, and being at, the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda and the days hike we had in the countryside at Lake Inle. The most negative memory we had was the fact that we wanted to spend some time wandering around Yangon and we built in extra time in our itinerary to do this. However, about a week before the holiday was due to start the oeprator switched us from a downtown hotel to one in the outskirts. Our guide said that because of the distance and the traffic congestion a round trip from our hotel in a taxi to the downtown area would be two hours plus, thus nullifying one of the reasons for going tailor made.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


From our experience in the past and again with this holiday we would suggest to other travellers not to pay the extra for a tailor made holiday unless they want to visit areas not covered by the standard group tourist package. On a number of occasions now our hotels have been changed (never for the better) just days before the start of the holiday and long after the final balance had been paid! As well as the hotel change in Yangon our hotel in Lake Inle was also changed from one reasonably close to Nyaungshwe to one in the middle of the lake with nowhere to go in our free time (of which we had plenty)! The hotel itself was dire! We now believe that true 'Tailor Made' holidays are a myth - for example, it would have useful if out tour operator had discussed these hotel changes and the likely effects on our itinerary before we left. As it was we were left high and dry in the middle of a lake without a paddle!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


There are several ways of looking at this question; any form of tourism will benefit the locals to the extent of providing work for guides, hotel staff and food outlets. However whether the locals benefitted from us staying in a hotel leased from the government in Yangon, a hotel owned by a man described by the Lonely Planet as a 'Pantomine Baddy' in Bagan and a 'Plastic Palace' owned by a Thai in Mandalay we wouldn't know - perhaps you could tell us. We try to be responsible travellers and that is why we chose a tour operator recommended by you to organise our holiday and we expected them to put us in 'acceptable' accommodation. We don't understand the politics of Myanmar to make that judgement ourselves.
We would have dined in local restaurants in the evenings had there been any near to our hotels. We did dine at local restaurants at lunchtime but only those selected by our guides.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Although we wanted and paid for a 'tailor made' holiday we feel we ended up with something less than a standard tourist package which we could have organised with any number of tour operators, probably at a lower cost. There were several positive moments but overall these were overshadowed by the negative ones.

Read the operator's response here:

We value all feedback from our travellers and welcome the opportunity to address this.
This year Myanmar has experienced an enormous increase in visitors - as a rough guideline, we estimate that the number of British travellers to Myanmar has increased tenfold. Regrettably this has led to a number of problems with booking accommodation, and in common with other operators this season has produced a number of problems that have not been experienced before. Principally, this has manifested itself in hotels in Myanmar routinely overbooking - there are currently insufficient hotels in the country to meet the demand and as a result of this on occasion we have unfortunately found that a small number of bookings made in advance have not been honoured.

This has led to the unenviable position of needing to source alternative hotels at short notice. When this occurs, it is not always possible to find a hotel of the same standard or location, but we endeavour to get as close as possible. Given the huge increase in visitors to Myanmar this year, this means that choice can be limited and we book what is available to ensure that travellers do actually have a room. This does mean that such hotels are not necessarily the first choice that we would select. However, we feel that this is a better option than leaving travellers without any accommodation whatsoever, which is often the alternative. Where this leads to a reduction in costs, we always refund our travellers, as happened in this case, and where it leads to an increase in costs we assume these costs ourselves.

We very much regret that hotels were changed, but sadly this was an issue beyond our control and not one that we could exert any influence over.

This is a problem that is occurring throughout Myanmar, and is common to other tour operators this season. We expect that from October onwards, there will be some increased capacity in terms of hotel rooms and this problem will disappear.

We very much regret that these travellers felt that the change in some hotels overshadowed their trip to Myanmar.

Reviewed on 13 Sep 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We visited a primary school in a rural village near Bagan, spent some time with the students and talked to the teachers. Then we went on two shopping trips for them and had everything delivered to the school with the assistance of the local tour company representatives who were very supportive of our ideas and wishes.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be confident that you will get what you ask for. Feel free to make any requests for things that are important to you, and your wishes will be taken care of.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Absolutely. Teachers and students at the primary school are benefiting directly from the purchases we made for them; guides and drivers around the country had jobs the days they spent with us, rather than staying home not earning anything; hotel employees were working and earning their salaries because we stayed in their hotels.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent. Going to Burma/Myanmar was a long time dream of ours and now our dream has become memories that will stay with us forever. There was one big disaster one day, but that was the fault of a hotel employee; the tour operator was in no way responsible and the local guide helped us deal with the situation. We expect to have a long term relationship with the school we visited, so the trip changed our lives.

Reviewed on 19 Nov 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The friendliness of the local people, the festival procession on Inle Lake, the hot air balloon trip over the pagodas of Bagan.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


To try to visit Inle Lake when there is a festival

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes - we felt that our visit brought income into the country and that it was the people rather than the government who were the recipients

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very highly - it was very professionally organised at UK and at local level and was a totally absorbing experience

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