Burma cultural holiday
Maximum group size 12 people.
ABTA + ATOL bonded.
Single supplement: From £350
Description of Burma cultural holiday
This two week Burma cultural holiday is a small group tour, following a carefully crafted itinerary that takes in many of, as it is now called, Myanmar’s most magnificent sites. Starting and finishing in Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, you have plenty of time to explore this once capital city but still considered by many to be its cultural heart.
From Yangon we take an internal flight to discover the cultural gems further north, while also taking plenty of moments to experience things well off the tourist trail. So, although we take in greats such as the colonial city of Mandalay, we also visit traditional villages in Kayah State. The thousands of temples and pagodas in Bagan are an unforgettable sight, but your time cycling through rural villages outside Mandalay takes you into real Myanmar. And seeing Inle Lake with its plethora of floating villages and iconic ‘leg rowing’ fishermen is the highlight of the trip for many, although the train journey from Kalaw to Loikaw that takes you through indigenous Pa’O region is also a people watching treat.
We go out of our way to help you experience the more ‘undiscovered’ sides of Myanmar, and hope you will see that our itinerary is not like many others in that regard. When we take a six hour drive to see the elephant conservation project from Bagan to Kalaw, for example, which is not just to tick a tourist box. But to share something that we believe to be really important in terms of local conservation efforts but also just a very memorable, wildlife experience.
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10 Reviews of Burma cultural holiday
Reviewed on 17 Nov 2019 by Kate FraserIt was an amazing holiday made all the more memorable because it coincided with a four day full moon holiday when we were able to mingle with the people enjoying many special celebrations. Read full review
Reviewed on 25 Apr 2018 by Christine and John BrooksHard to choose a single aspect of a fantastic holiday, but probably the elephants would edge it. The cycle ride in Mandalay was really cool too. Fantastic experience, the memory bank is maxed out and the euphoria will linger on for a long time. Read full review
Reviewed on 19 Feb 2018 by Angela AllanThere were many highlights. The people - and elephant washing - and the cycle ride around Mandalay - and the balloon ride over Bagan - and the train ride etc etc - everyday was a brilliant adventure. Read full review
Reviewed on 06 Mar 2016 by Andy RowlandsI've fallen in love with this country, didn't want to leave, enjoyed every minute, will defiantly go back one day. Read full review
Reviewed on 01 Feb 2016 by Phil RaybouldAll the guides we had were Myanmar people, trained in the country and speaking good English. They were keen for us to see that the country has a chance for positive development and were happy to discuss social and economic prospects. Read full review
Reviewed on 19 Nov 2015 by Mark MeyrickI loved it, the Myanmar people are very friendly and helpful. I will definitely go back. Read full review
Reviewed on 15 Nov 2015 by Sharon GunnLoved it ! Organisation excellent...guide just about perfect.......itinerary good. Read full review
Reviewed on 10 Mar 2015 by Chris HaywoodA great range of activities, lots of variation every day, wonderful people who are so hospitable and always smiling!! A real holiday and adventure..... Read full review
Reviewed on 24 Nov 2014 by susan harrisOur guide was particularly good, he had a vast knowledge of the country, Buddhism etc. Read full review
Reviewed on 20 Nov 2014 by Christine SullivanGoing on public transport was very interesting and the people are so lovely and friendly and helpful. Read full review
Planet and peopleWe 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.