Myanmar whistle stop tour
Description of Myanmar whistle stop tour
See Myanmar’s best sights: from Bagan’s pagodas to Inle Lake, and lose yourself in the bustling city of Yangon. This speedy tour still has time to get under the skin of the country, serving up local food, and encouraging you to explore on foot. You’ll still get leisure time – both to explore the cities, and to relax on a beach at the end of the tour, thanks to a stay in Arakan Nature Lodge in Gwa.
Your journey starts in Yangon, the former capital, where morning markets will shake any jetlag from your step in time to admire colonial and pre-colonial buildings. Pagodas are best viewed at sunset, when their complex architecture casts amazing silhouettes – as you’ll discover as you reach the golden Shwedagon Pagoda of Yangon at dusk.
Myanmar’s past as a British colony can still be seen in Kalaw, a former hill station, but trekking into its surrounding hills will reveal rice fields and hidden villages with their own ancient pagodas. When you reach Lake Inle, just east, you’ll find craftspeople and fishermen, and the Inthar people, who steer their low-lying fishing boats on the lake using just their foot.
Reward yourself at the end of the tour with a relaxing stay in an ecolodge on the beach, looking out over the Bay of Benhal. At Arakan Nature Lodge you can stay in a rebuilt Rakhine house. It’s a fitting end to a trip which prides itself in offering cultural exchange.
PlanetWhen visiting any of Myanmar's 21 designated Protected Areas (such as Inle Lake), we work in line with the guidelines and principals set out in the Myanmar Ecotourism Policy. We support the principals of eco-tourism and strive to promote and work with destinations and organisations practicing the principals of eco-tourism.
Finding environmentally sustainable transport options is a hard task for any tour operator that wants to conduct responsible travel. We attempt to offer transportation that causes little damage to the environment while at the same time not losing quality. If our guests are happy to sacrifice a little comfort in order to travel more sustainably (eg. taking a bus or coach instead of a car) they are encouraged to speak to their travel advisor and we can accommodate this.
We do not work with and discourage engagement with companies and organizations that we know to practise or promote the maltreatment of wildlife.
In this journey we have purposely chosen the hotel Arakan Nature Lodge to stay at on the beach. Many hotels in Myanmar describe themselves as "eco", but this is one of the only ones that actually is, with solar panels and state-of-the art composting toilets.
PeopleDuring the Yangon Day Tour you will be encouraged to visit a regular Burmese tea-shop and spend money where it can make the most difference. You will also be taken to the handicraft shop Hla Day which works with a variety of needy artisan groups across the country. Lunch will be at LinkAge, a social enterprise focused on supporting marginalized youth of the city.
At Inle Lake you will be taken to Inle Heritage House - a cultural centre preserving the intangible heritage of the region and a vocational training school for Myanmar's youth wanting to work in the hospitality industry.
We no longer offer visits to schools or orphanages as part of our itineraries. Nor do we offer short-term, unskilled voluntourism placements. We understand that the vast majority of people requesting to visit schools and orphanages do so with the best intentions. However, not only can these visits be disruptive to the children's learning, but more worryingly the commercialization of orphanages through 'orphanage tourism' in other Southeast Asian countries has led to the maltreatment of the children that these orphanages purport to be helping.
We place a huge emphasis on cultural exchange as a means to truly experience and better understand a country. For this reason we provide Burmese language phrase cards to our guests upon arrival.
We provide our clients with the useful and accessible Dos and Don'ts for Tourists in Myanmar to help them avoid committing unintentional faux pas. This, coupled with our 'Guidelines for Guides', helps our guests respect the destinations they visit, the people living there and the cultures present. This includes things such as sensitivity when taking photographs and how to behave in and around sacred sites.