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.
Inle Lake, Burma
Best for: Culture History, Food Drink, Spectacular scenery
Perched on the edge of a canal leafing to Burma's renowned Inle Lake, ViewPoint Lodge is a boutique property with a particular focus on providing exceptional food and dining experiences for every guest.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Located on the banks of a tranquil canal at the edge of Nyaung Shwe, ViewPoint Lodge is the finest accommodation option not on the lake itself. Although a bit further from Inle Lake, the setting of the ViewPoint Lodge is both picturesque and convenient, well located for exploring the town of Nyaung Shwe and the main highlights of Inle Lake region, surrounded by rice paddies and the rolling Shan Hills.
The property is comprised of 16 cottage suites and eight superior rooms, all built on stilts on a private lake. The rooms are constructed using traditional Shan eco friendly methods and materials, without compromising on modern comforts. Rooms feature living space and a private balcony, the perfect spot to relax and watch the sun set over the water or relish in the mountain scenery.
Established as a fine dining restaurant before it started offering accommodation, ViewPoint Lodge offers fantastic cuisine in The Shan Restaurant, a venue that draws travellers from across Inle Lake to try its delicious local dishes, fine wines and scenic views. With is location nearer to Inle's town, there is also a range of restaurants outside the hotel within easy reach.
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, Irrawaddy River, Mandalay, Inle Lake, Ngapali Beach
Discover life along the banks of the Irrawaddy River in the comfort only a cruise can offer on this 16 day itinerary, combining must-see highlights and hidden onshore gems culminating with a relaxing beach break on Burma’s west coast.
Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Pyin Oo Lwin, Loikaw, Inle Lake, Kalaw, Ngapali Beach
This in-depth itinerary is perfect for those looking to really get under the skin of this enigmatic destination. Enjoy culture-rich cities, former British hill stations, balloons over Bagan, an Irrawaddy River cruise and the beautiful beaches of Ngapali.