The Irrawaddy is the crucial artery which connects Burma’s main cities, snakes through its glorious countryside and reaches as far as the border with China. Cruising along it is not only an incredibly leisurely way of getting from A to B but an enriching experience too. Just in case you needed convincing, we’ve compiled our top five reasons to cruise in Burma.
Once off limits to visitors, Myanmar has recently dusted off the cobwebs of its hidden past, opening its doors to reveal a country steeped in cultural splendour, natural wonder and historical intrigue. For us, Burma is the land of lotus flowers, horse drawn carts, traditional tea houses and an exquisitely leisurely pace of life; Burma is a land where a traditional way of life prevails. The landscape is a glittering exhibition of gilded pagodas, the culture is an intoxicating blend of influences from across Asia and its cities are abuzz with spiritualism.
Magnificent temples abound in Burma, dotting the horizons of its verdant landscapes up and down the country. From the temple studded lands of Bagan to the glittering pagodas of Yangon, the holy sites of Burma are simply mind boggling both in size and beauty. Whilst stupas are solid temples, said to house remains of Buddhas or monks, Pagodas are open to enter for worship. Having evolved from the shape of a stupa, the two often look similar yet their significance is marked by their history.
Aside from its stunning scenery, fascinating history and amazing culture, Burma is all about its people. They are some of the kindest and most compassionate people you will ever meet. One story that we can’t tell enough is that of the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp in Burma. At Green Hill Valley, love and care for animals is at the very heart of everything they do. We interviewed Htun and Maw, founders of the camp, to give you an insight into their commitment to caring for these magnificent animals.
We have a selection of guidebooks to some of our most popular countries in Asia. Written by our specialists, they detail destination information, a wildlife guide, some suggested itineraries and plenty more to inspire your holiday. Fill in the form below and if you live in UK, your guidebook will arrive by post within the next couple of days. For those who live abroad, we will send this via a PDF to your email.
Burma for Teenagers
Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Kalaw, Inle Lake, Ngapali Beach
Best for: Family, Highlights, Walking Trekking
With biking in Bagan, kayaking in Inle Lake and elephants in Kalaw, this adventurous two week itinerary is a fantastic option for families looking to explore some of Burma’s most celebrated destinations accompanied by energetic teens.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
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This two week itinerary takes you to explore the adventurous side of Burma, great for families with teenagers, or even couples looking for a more active experience. After exploring Burma’s former capital of Yangon, you then fly north to explore the temple-strewn plains of Bagan by bike before heading to discover the highlights of Mandalay, Burma’s cultural and religious heart. The next stop is the rural town of Kalaw to spend time with elephants before continuing to explore the waters and shoreline treasures of Inle Lake by kayak. The trip comes to an end on the beautiful Ngapali Beach, where you can enjoy snorkelling, kayaking, water sports, cycling or simply enjoying some time to relax and unwind.
Days 1 - 3 : Yangon, Burma
Stay at The Chatrium for 2 nights
After landing in Yangon, you will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your hotel in the city. That afternoon and evening are at your leisure to settle in before heading out to explore the city the next day with a private guide. Discover the colonial charm of downtown Yangon, pick up some local souvenirs form the bustling stalls of Scott’s market and visit a popular local tea house, not forgetting visit to the awe-inspiring Shwedagon Pagoda that towers over the city.
Day 3 : Flight from Yangon to Bagan
Days 3 - 5 : Bagan, Burma
Stay at The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate for 2 nights
On the morning of day three, you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to Yangon’s airport in time to board a one and a half hour flight to Bagan. Spend the rest of the morning exploring Bagan’s temple strewn plains by bike, before heading to a nearby monastery later in the afternoon to enjoy some local snacks and tea with the local Buddhist monks. On your second day in Bagan, you will be taken a little way outside the city to ascend the steps of Mount Popa, one of Burma’s most popular pilgrimage sites that offers breath-taking views over the surrounding plains.
Day 5 : Flight from Bagan to Mandalay
Days 5 - 7 : Mandalay, Burma
Stay at Rupar Mandalar for 2 nights
From Bagan, it is a short thirty minute flight to Mandalay, Burma’s cultural and religious heart. That afternoon you will head to Amarapura, a former royal capital that is home to U Bein Bridge, one of Burma's most iconic sights. The next day will be spent exploring further delights in and around the city, including Mandalay Hill, the remarkable Kuthodaw Pagoda that is said to be home to the ‘world’s largest book’ and the picturesque riverside village of Mingun.
Day 7 : Flight from Mandalay to Kalaw
Days 7 - 9 : Kalaw, Burma
Stay at Dream Mountain Resort for 2 nights
Next up is the former British hill station of Kalaw, reached by a thirty minute flight to Heho followed by a two hour road transfer. Spend the afternoon strolling through this charming town, enjoying some light trekking into the surrounding hills or simply soaking up the rural scenery before heading to the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp the following day to spend time with elephants including washing them and watching them feed.
Days 9 - 11 : Inle Lake, Burma
Stay at Sanctum Inle Resort for 2 nights
From Kalaw, it is a two hour drive to the calm waters and picturesque scenery of Inle Lake. The following morning will be spent kayaking the canals of the northern shores, paddling passed stilted houses and floating gardens to visit small villages and monasteries before visiting the weaving community of Inpawkhone and the striking Pa-Oh village of Indein.
Day 11 : Flight from Inle Lake to Ngapali Beach
Days 11 - 14 : Ngapali Beach, Burma
Stay at Amata Beach Resort for 3 nights
From Inle Lake, it is a one hour flight to Ngapali Beach, a pristine stretch of sands on Burma’s west coast. Spend the next three days enjoying the spoils of your hotel, heading out on snorkelling excursions, cycling to local fishing villages, trying a range of water sports and kayaking to secluded bays.
Day 14 : Flight from Ngapali Beach to Yangon
Day 14 - 15 : Yangon, Burma
Stay at The Chatrium for 1 night
On the morning of day 14 you will be driven to the airport in time to board a one hour flight back to Yangon. Enjoy one final day in the city to spend as you wish before you are collected the following day and transferred to Yangon's airport in time to board your flight back home.
This is just an idea.
Imagine your perfect holiday to Burma. Now let us design it for you using your ideas and our expertise. Call us on 020 3141 2850.
When to go
The best time to visit Burma is during the dry season from October to April. At this time the warm and sunny days are ideal for sightseeing throughout the country. March sees temperatures start to rise followed by the wet season from June to September. Although monsoons cause some regions shut down during this time, the wet season is well suited for exploring some of Burma's more remote areas on a cruise along the Chindwin or Upper Irrawaddy River.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
From $2600 per person
All accommodation and breakfasts
Private and shared transfers
Ask our specialists for prices excluding flights from the UK. This price is as a guide only. The actual price is influenced by fluctuations in exchange rate, time of year, travel class of flights and the use of private versus shared excursions. Single supplements are likely to apply.