Cruising holiday in Burma, the Mergui Archipelago

A beautiful way to see Burma on a tailor made sailing trip around the Mergui archipelago, with white sands, wondrous snorkelling, island idylls, and unforgettable land stays too.
Yangon Shwedagon Pagoda Hasting Island Lampi Island Clara Island Pila Island Frost and Potter Islands Kawthaung Bagan Mandalay Mingun Pahtodawgyi HeHo Inle Lake Cookery lesson in Pa-Oh village
£5675including UK flights
17 Days
More info
Price includes international flights from the UK, internal Burma flights, accommodation on twin/double basis, airport transfers, private touring with English-speaking Guide and meals as stated (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
Make enquiry

Description of Cruising holiday in Burma, the Mergui Archipelago

For all those looking to explore the wonders of Burma but also get off the beaten track and island hop a little this is the holiday for you. The Mergui Archipelago is located in the remote southern part of Burma and is home to some beautiful white-sand beaches. The area receives very few visitors and the islands are largely inaccessible unless you take to the seas and explore the area by luxury yacht - which is exactly what this tour does.

Departing Yangon, fly to the south and board the yacht which will be home for the next five nights. Cruise the Archipelago and explore the remote, often uninhabited islands. Enjoy beach barbeques, swimming in turquoise seas, snorkelling untouched reefs and sundowneres onboard the yacht, this is a truly unique and special Burmese experience.

After exploring the remote south it's time to head north and take in the key sights of the country. Discover the 11th to 13th century temples of Bagan which are spread over a huge area. Interspersed with the temples are fields still being worked by local farmers so it is not uncommon to see fields being by ploughed by ox and cart in the shadow of a huge temple.

Continue to Mandalay to explore this bustling city with a host of local wonders to visit. Visit Mahamuni Pagoda which is home to a 13ft high seated Buddha believed by many to be 2,000 years old and covered in years of ceremonial gold leaf.Stroll through the grounds of the serene Kuthodaw Pagoda complex, also known as the 'worlds biggest book', and enjoy sunset from atop Mandalay Hill.

Depart Mandalay and head to Inle Lake and see the iconic leg-rowing fishermen navigating the tranquil waters of the lake in their unique style. Discover the lake's floating gardens and homes, learn about the local Inthar people's culture and customs and watch boats crammed with children returning from school.

This unique Burma holiday is a blend of remote island exploration combined with visits to all the must-see highlights of this wonderful country: a fantastic and comprehensive visit to a diverse and fascinating region.


Day 1Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Yangon.
Day 2Land Yangon and transfer to the hotel. This afternoon head out to discover the sights of the city including the green space of Kandawgyi Park and a highlight of most people's trip to Burma - Shwedagon Pagoda. Also enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. (D)
Day 3This morning take a boat across the Yangon river and discover the rural community of Dhala. Take a trishaw ride through the town and explore the local market and the monastery. Return to the city and enjoy a walking tour passing many of the colonial buildings of the city. (B)
Day 4Fly to Kawthaung in the south of the country in the Mergui Archipelago. On arrival transfer to the yacht SY Meta IV, your 'home' for the next 5 nights. Depart the port and sail to Hasting Island and enjoy a welcome dinner on the beach. (B,D)
Day 5From here, sail towards Lampi Island which is the largest in the region. Explore the island with a visit to the Moken sea nomads. Also enjoy a visit to Clara Island and the mangrove forest. (B,L,D)
Day 6Cruise to Pila Island for a beach BBQ and jungle walk. Time is available to enjoy the snorkelling before returning to the yacht for a sundowner. (B,L,D)
Day 7Today starts with a visit to the Mid Group of islands to explore the many coves and beaches of the area. Also enjoy visits to Frost and Potter Islands. (B,L,D)
Day 8Cruise towards Zadetkyi Island today, a long leisurely sail through the stunning archipelago. Time is available to enjoy snorkelling and swimming before a final farwell dinner party onboard. (B,L,D)
Day 9Cruise back to Kawthaung today and disembark the yacht. The night is spent in Kawthaung and the day is at leisure. (B)
Day 10This morning fly to Bagan, via Yangon. Transfer to the hotel and enjoy the afternoon at leisure. (B)
Day 11Spend the day exploring the stunning Bagan temples complex which comprises over 3,000 individual temples. Visit Shwezigon Pagoda with its golden stupa, Sulamani Temple and the highest temple in the complex at Dhammayangyi Temple. (B)
Day 12Fly to Mandalay. Enjoy a city tour to the main sights including Mahamuni Pagoda and the 'world's biggest book' of Kuthodaw Pagoda. Enjoy sunset from Mandalay Hill. (B)
Day 13Start today with a cruise to the Mingun Pahtodawgyi, a huge unfinished pagoda which if completed would have been the largest in Asia. Head to Ava to see the old Bagaya Monastery by horse and cart and after lunch at Amarapura, visit a traditional silk weaving workshop. End the day with a stroll along U Bein Bridge. (B)
Day 14Fly to HeHo and visit the Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery with its lovely carvings and collection of Buddha images. Arrive at Nyaung Shwe and take a private boat out onto Inle Lake passing leg-rowing fishermen and stilted houses along the way. Explore the cottage industries including a factory producing hand-made cheroots (local cigars). Overnight in your hotel on the lake. (B)
Day 15This morning depart through the lake and head to Indein to explore the local Pa-Oh village and the stupas of Alaung Sitthu. Spend the afternoon with a local Inthar family enjoying a cooking class in their home. (B,L)
Day 16Spend the morning exploring the popular morning market which is a great place to mix with the local lake communities. Fly to Yangon and board the circle train which travels through the Yangon suburbs and lets you see rural Burmese life from the relatively slow pace of this working train. (B)
Day 17Day at leisure until you return to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Price information

£5675including UK flights
Price includes international flights from the UK, internal Burma flights, accommodation on twin/double basis, airport transfers, private touring with English-speaking Guide and meals as stated (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
Make enquiry

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Travel guides

Myanmar (Burma) cruising
Myanmar (Burma)
Myanmar's decades of isolation have meant that its unique ways of life have remained largely intact. Visitors are astounded by what the Myanmars can c...

Holiday information

Our top tip:
Most people are Buddhists, quiet and respectful. Politics are private, so go easy on questions.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Solo travellers welcome. Surcharge for own room.
5 nights luxury yacht , remaining nights in good quality, hotels, with pools or spa facilities.
Flight from UK and internal Burma flights, accommodation, breakfasts, snorkel equipment, transfers, guide.
All meals included on yacht. Eat where locals do for best food. Budget 30p-£1 for street lunch.


2 Reviews of Cruising holiday in Burma, the Mergui Archipelago

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 22 Mar 2015 by

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

All of it but sailing in Mergui archipelago fantastic exactly as in Burma boating video

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

Budget for the tips and extra entry payments for foreigners in Myanmar . The MTT guides are flexible so if you want less pagodas and more villages or different trips just ask . Take less clothes a longi / sarong and a t.shirt will dry over night. Take long sleeved shirt for sun protection.

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

I did have qualms that the Myanmar government took a generous cut but the guides and local businesses would not exist if we did not visit. By tipping and buying local crafts and using local cafes does help local communities. I was also taken to two orphanages run by monks not listed on the programme and anything given to them is direct aid

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

Fantastic but visit Myanmar soon . The tourist industry has expanded 100 times since 2012 . In the last 2 years power, SIM cards and cars have become affordable so visit before it is all spoilt . Bamboo stilted huts on lakes with solar panels and satellite dishes !

Reviewed on 17 Nov 2014 by

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

Everything! The sights, the colours, the smells, the atmosphere!

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

Get ready for a lot of action!

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

Yes, and it was great to be with local guides and drivers for the entire holiday.

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

Fantastic, a wonderful journey.

Responsible Travel

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.


Other projects undertaken by our local agents to encourage responsible and sustainable tourism in Burma including tree planting in Bagan and fund raising to build schools in remote rural areas such as Inle Lake, providing the funding for children to attend school longer or even go to university. In addition to clean, hygienic and well-constructed classrooms, our agents aim to ensure clean drinking water and sanitation facilities are available in order to help improve the health of local children.

Our ‘Cruise the Mergui Archipelago’ itinerary visits this little known area while staying on a comfortable cruising yacht, a naturally zero emissions form of transportation which moves with the power of the wind. An engine is available for windless days but this is avoided wherever possible and the roof of the yacht has recently had solar panels installed which cuts onboard generator use by 50%.

The amenities pack provided by the yacht contains only biodegradable toiletries produced by an Australian-based company and are 100% plant based and chemical free. Yacht staff do not dump any non-biodegradable waste into the ocean, and where possible fresh produce is purchased from local villages and fishermen. This ensures money is input into the local village economies and food is as fresh as possible fur guests.

The yacht owners are also in the process of establishing a sailing clinic, a new initiative aimed at transporting medical staff to remote villages in the archipelago to provide free treatment. During the course of the normal sailing itinerary, the yacht has always visited many remote villages with no accessible medical facilities. While the staff transport and provide supplies free of charge to these villagers they are setting up the sailing clinic inviting the medical community to travel with them to the villages and provide free treatment and care.

The Villa Inle Resort & Spa is a new addition to Inle Lake and has worked hard to create a hotel which fit harmoniously into the environment. During the construction phase the hotel planted a huge number of indigenous trees including 1000 banana trees, 500 lime trees, 500 mango trees and 2000 teak trees. Not only do these help the environment they also provide an important source of produce for the hotel kitchens. The gardens are also all organic thereby avoiding adding unnecessary pesticides and herbicides into the natural environment. Recycling of most materials including paper, plastic, cans and glass is practiced in the resort and used cooking oil is used to make candles. The hotel is staffed by 90% locals thereby keeping the majority of staff salaries in the local economy.


Fair salaries are paid to all employees and regular training is provided to support future career development. Only local guides who are aware of local customs and cultures are employed which not only keeps the funds paid to staff within the local community but also helps avoid any potential cultural clashes between visitors and locals. All guides are also required to sign an agreement with our ground agents agreeing not to take visitors in their charge to unplanned sites such as schools, orphanages etc or to ask for donations or tips. Guides are required to turn off vehicles when idling to minimise unnecessary emissions.

Our local Burma agent has been operating socially responsible trips to the country for many years and has a wealth of experience and expertise in the region. They have a strong responsible travel ethos and, in the wake of their exceptional efforts raising nearly $200,000 towards the Nargis Cyclone Relief Effort in Burma which was used to help rebuild schools, clinics and houses, they established their own charitable foundation. With a realisation that tourism can change local lives for better and for worse, our agents have established a responsible travel ethos creating authentic travel experiences which mutually benefit locals and visitors.

The village of Ah Lett Chaung is located on the banks of the Yangon River and was one of the villages heavily affected by the cyclone seeing the destruction of many homes, farms and gardens and the pollution of drinking water supplies causing the spread of many diseases. With the aid of our agents, the village clinic was re-built and is still in operation treating 70-80 patients per week for a minimal fee. Clinic staff also regularly visit neighbouring villages where no clinic exists.

Since 2011, our ground agents have taken over the provision of salaries to the doctors, nurses and a security guard and a representative visits regularly to oversee the allocations of funds. The next goal is to improve the provision of safer drinking water to the village. For all bookings made through us a donation is made which covers one field visit or training session to surrounding villages on aspects of sanitation and hygiene, an important factor in helping avoid the spread of disease in rural communities.

Popular similar holidays

Luxury gulet cruise in the Aegean 2023

Luxury gulet cruise in the Aegean 2023

From £1250 8 days excluding flights

5 star services while cruising the Greek Islands in luxury

Mull circumnavigation cruise, Scotland

Mull circumnavigation cruise, Scotland

From £1140 - £2480 7 days excluding flights

Staffa, Iona and Ross of Mull from our small cruise ships

Scotland private charter sailing holidays

Scotland private charter sailing holidays

From £7188 - £16410 7 days excluding flights

Private Charter a small ship around the Scottish Islands