Myanmar highlights tour with a beach extension
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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PlanetOn 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.
PeopleInle 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.