Myanmar highlights tour with a beach extension

“Discover the treasures of Myanmar, hidden for many years, on an exquisite 19-day tour. Inle Lake, the U-Bein Bridge and the magnificent temples of Bagan are just a few of many highlights.”

Highlights

Rangoon | Shwedagon Pagoda | Chaukhtatgyi Paya | Explore Inle Lake by longtail boat | Shwe Indein | Kalaw | Walking in Shan Highlands | Myinmathi Cave | Mandalay | Kuthodaw Pagoda | Shwenandaw Monastery | Mahamuni Paya | Mingun | Inwa | U-Bein Bridge | Cruise on the Irrawaddy | Temples of Bagan | Mt. Popa | Thandwe | Ngapali Beach |

Description of Myanmar highlights tour with a beach extension

Shrouded behind a veil of secrecy for decades, Myanmar has only recently opened its doors again to travellers. This superb small group tour escorts you from the capital Rangoon (Yangon) around world-famous cultural treasures, including the mesmeric temples of Bagan, the stilted fishing communities of Inle Lake, and of course Mandalay, from where you’ll venture out to see the amazing U-Bein Bridge.

Over a 19-day itinerary packed with excursions, you will tour iconic landmarks such as the Shwedagon Pagoda, the country’s most revered temple; the gigantic reclining Buddha statue in the Chaukhtatgyi Paya, and the Kuthodaw Pagoda, where you will see the world’s largest book: the entire Buddhist scripture laid out across over 700 marble slabs.

You will trek through remote communities in the Shan Highlands, then take a scenic cruise along the peaceful Irrawaddy River, eventually reaching the ancient city of Bagan. For many people this is likely to be the most unforgettable moment of the trip. There are more temples on this landscape than there are medieval cathedrals in Europe, and to see them spread out at sunset, as you will do, is a truly awe-inspiring vision. An optional day-trip from Bagan takes you to the nearby Mt. Popa, where 777 steps lead you to a gold-fringed monastery at the summit, and magnificent panoramas.

As a last hurrah, your itinerary concludes with a scenic beach extension, an opportunity to relax, shake off the strains from two weeks of touring, and give yourself over to the beckoning call of Myanmar's glorious coastline.

This trip is an intrepid traveller’s dream. For decades Myanmar was almost completely off-limits, and now the country, and its people, are welcoming visitors back to see what they’ve been missing all these years.

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17 Oct 2020
£2806
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31 Oct 2020
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Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
On this trip we take a scenic train ride across the Shan Plataeu, allowing us to enjoy the rolling scenery and engage with locals whilst reducing our carbon footprint by using public transport. We also explore Inle Lake on a number of longtail boats, offering a traditional way to explore the lake as well as providing income to the boat’s drivers and service crew. When coaches are being used, we keep the size of the coach to a minimum, so rather than using gas guzzling 40-50 seaters we opt for more environmental friendly 15-25 seat coaches that use less fuel and therefore admit less carbon.

In 2014 we helped to provide a water tank to the community of Lwae Pyin village, located in the hills above Kalaw. The village previously suffered from water shortages where water became very scarce during the dry season. Thanks to this programme the community now have year-round access to clean, fresh and safe water. By staying in locally owned and managed hotels, which are generally smaller than larger international chain hotels and which will consume much less water, we are consciously assisting with water conservation for our guests on tour.

As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. CoolEarth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Inle Lake is a place that is renowned for its traditional craftspeople, and our tour of Burma takes you to see the silversmiths, weavers, boat-builders and cheroot-rollers to learn how the locals are plying their trades still using traditional methods. Here there is the option to donate or purchase products right at the source, putting money directly into the pockets of local people and helping to keep these age-old trades alive.

We recognise that whilst Myanmar is slowly moving towards a democratic state, the military junta still wields influence in government. We therefore employ a privately-owned local partner to ensure we are using only locally owned hotels and transport, eating in a variety of local restaurants and employing local guides in the destinations we visit. By doing this we spread the economic benefit to as wide a circle as possible, meaning our money stays in country, with local communities directly benefiting from our visit.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

Climate

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