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.
This 15 night itinerary offers a well-paced introduction to one of South East Asia’s most beguiling destinations, combining culture rich cities, picturesque towns, a cruise down the Irrawaddy River and a relaxing beach break on Burma’s idyllic west coast.
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.
A fantastic combination of culture and beach, this itinerary is perfect for those wanting to combine the gilded pagodas and temple strewn plains that Burma is famed for with some time on the beach.
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.
Off-limits for years but now back on every intrepid traveller’s wish-list, Burma (now known as Myanmar) is the enigmatic “golden land”. Everything about this south-east Asian country demands exploration: gilded Buddhist temples, trekkable landscapes, celebrated life-giving rivers, pristine beaches, sublime historic cities, tribal communities, and some of the world’s most impressive monuments. Best of all, it is fabulously untouched by mass tourism, meaning a holiday to Burma at this time will offer a true unspoiled gem.
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Burma’s doors are finally open, giving travellers the chance to experience the cultural treasures, architectural marvels, and natural splendour of this South-East Asian gem.
Your temple-spotting odyssey starts in the ancient city of Bagan. Whilst it is great to explore by bicycle, it is far better to take to the sky in a hot-air balloon at sunrise or sunset to see some of the 3,000 temples that dot the landscape below. Take a pilgrimage to the volcanic Mount Popa, where you can climb the 777 steps up to its sacred monastery.
For a heavy dose of colonial-era architecture, tree-lined avenues and traditional shop houses, visit Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon). Here, you can marvel at Burma’s most sacred site - the astounding and iconic 2,500-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda that rises over the city in golden splendour.
In the heart of the country lies Mandalay, Burma's former royal capital and spiritual centre that wows with pagodas, monasteries and Buddhist monks. Marvel at the Royal Palace, climb the 230-metre-high Mandalay Hill, and see U Bein Bridge glisten at sunset.
For a uniquely Burmese journey, cruise from Mandalay to Bagan along the Irrawaddy River, stopping at the small villages and gilded stupas that dot its banks. Equally sublime is Inle Lake, the most scenic spot in the Shan State. Meet the Intha people and discover floating villages before discovering the lakeside village of Indein and its ancient pagodas.
More back-to-nature thrills await at the hill station of Kalaw, an emerging trekker’s paradise to the west of Inle Lake. Trek to your heart’s content, and stop off at the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp, a conservation area that protects elephants in 150 acres of natural habitat.
For those looking to explore away from the common tourist trail, Hsipaw and Hpa An provide the ultimate rural retreats, both surrounded by a wealth of natural attractions including rolling green hills, winding rivers and ancient caves.
With 2,000-kilometres of coastline, it is little wonder that Burma is primed to be one of Asia's beach hotspots. For sun-soaked perfection, hit the white sands at Ngapali Beach and ease into beach mode at the end of a busy trip exploring this enchanting destination.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Did you know?
Burmese men and women from Burma grind the bark of the Thanakha tree and use the paste as a cosmetic. It is thought to provide sun protection and have anti-ageing qualities.
Did you know?
The longyi is the traditional dress of Burma, a sarong type skirt worn by both men and women throughout the country.
Did you know?
Burma is made up of approximately 135 different ethnic groups, making it one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world.
Did you know?
In 2005, Burma moved its capital city from Yangon to Naypyidaw, a purpose built city four times the size of London with a population almost nine times smaller.