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.
Pristine Lotus Resort
Inle Lake, Burma
Best for: Family, Spectacular scenery, Luxury
Spread across a gently sloping landscaped hillside on the west bank of Inle Lake, Pristine Lotus resort offers first-class accommodation alongside superb views over the glistening waters of Inle Lake.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
The Pristine Lotus Resort can be reached either by a 20 minute scenic boat ride from Nyaung Shwe, or a 45 minute drive from Heho Airport. On the shores of Inle Lake, it is an excellent base for exploring the natural and cultural attractions Inle Lake has to offer, boasting particularly unique features of a natural hot spring and a rare elevated vantage point.
A total of 49 private villas punctuate the lush tropical gardens, each featuring spacious interiors furnished with local wooden furniture and handcrafted fabrics, not forgetting all modern necessities. A more recent addition is a set of 70 boat-shaped cottages over the waters of Inle Lake. These unique living quarters offer both comfort and a matchless setting.
Pristine Lotus Resort also has a great range of facilities to enjoy, including a swimming pool, a natural spring Jacuzzi and the Padonma Lotus Spa, offering an array of treatments. There are three dining venues, all serving a delicious array of international and local dishes. The Open Deck is the perfect place to enjoy a drink whilst watching the sunset, and the Floating Restaurant is a great spot to try some local authentic Shan delicacies.
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
Things to do
Tour of the Pindaya Caves
Visit the Pindaya Caves, a series of limestone caves nestled into a hillside that house thousands of Buddha images.
Ballooning Over Inle Lake
Inle Lake is considered to be one of the best destinations for ballooning in the world. The balloon is able to hover just a few metres above the water or soar above the mountains, offering spectacular views over one of Burma's most beautiful regions.
Wine Tasting at The Red Mountain Winery
Discover the treats of one of Burma’s top wineries, touring the vineyards and estate before enjoying a tasting session amongst the picturesque scenery.
Tour of Kakku
Discover one of Myanmar’s hidden gems as you move away from the tourist trail and head to Kakku, home to 2,500 centuries old stupas hidden amongst the Shan hills.
Inle Rural Village Cycling
Pedal the stunning countryside of Inle Lake, exploring local villages and stopping at various temples you pass.
Lunch with Local Intha Family
Visit a local Intha village and learn to cook traditional dishes in a host family’s house, discovering traditional cooking methods and techniques before sitting down to enjoy the meal.
Sagar's Sunken Stupas
Journey through spectacular scenery on your way to the far southern reaches of Inle, as you move away from the tourist trail and explore the 'sunken' stupas of Sagar.
Full Day Inle Lake Tour
Discover the natural beauty and unique lifestyles of Inle Lake. Starting with a longtail boat journey across the river, highlights include a lively morning market, the five gold Buddha images of Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and the picturesque village of Indein.
Kayaking the Canals of the Northern Shores
Move away from the main waters of the lake and discover a maze of small canals. Paddle by stilted houses and floating gardens as you visit the village of Kyay Sar Gone and the Lin Kin Monastery, interacting with friendly locals along the way.
Cooking and Cats
Join a hands-on cooking class preparing delicious Burmese dishes with a local family, before cuddling some rare Burmese Cats.
Holiday ideas including a stay in this property
Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake
From the awe-inspiring temples of Bagan to the floating gardens of Inle Lake, this varied and good value itinerary takes in some of Burma’s most iconic sights, ideal for those wishing to explore this enchanting country but are short on time.
Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Pyin Oo Lwin, Hsipaw, Loikaw, Inle Lake, Kalaw, Hpa An, Golden Rock
Discover Burma’s lesser known delights alongside the must-see sights on this three week itinerary, taking you from leafy Yangon to culture-rich cities and the temple-strewn plains of Bagan before continuing to sleepy hill towns dotted with ancient relics.