Myanmar Holidays: An Overview

Myanmar is a country of history, culture, and incredibly beautiful landscapes, and we are delighted to be offering holidays there.

Miranda and Carrie are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • Little has changed since colonial times, and there are incredible sites around every corner you turn
  • The views are spectacular. Watch the early morning sun rise over the temples of Bagan, or the sun set in Mandalay, walking along the U Bein Bridge for equally fabulous panoramas. This 200 year-old bridge is constructed entirely from teak and spans over 1.2 miles in length
  • Take a slow boat up the Irrawaddy river - you'll witness everyday Burmese life

Luxury Myanmar Holidays: The Detail

After much discussion in recent years about the morality of sending people to a country ruled by a brutal military junta, dissident leader Aung San Suu Kyi announced that tourism might actually help draw attention to her country's plight. Finally, you can visit such evocative places as Mandalay, Rangoon (or Yangon as it's now formally known) and the Irrawaddy River as well as the rest of this beautiful and bewitching country.

Original Travel offers different ways to see the best of what Myanmar (Burma) has to offer: be it a tailormade tour of the best bits from Yangon to Bagan and Lake Inle; or a set departure cruise along the famous Irrawaddy River from Bagan to Mandalay. Whichever way you choose to see this magical country, you will never forget the eye-catching pagodas in Yangon, the village life around Inle Lake and the sheer charm of the local inhabitants.

Did you know

  • Burmese people don't have surnames
  • The world's biggest book - a book of sacred Buddhist texts with 1460 pages - is in Myanmar
  • A famous snack in Myanmar is 'laphet thote' - tea leaves pickled with garlic and salt

Most visitors will arrive into Yangon, which is a relatively quiet and charming city. The undoubted highlight here being the Shwedagon Pagoda, a stunning and extremely humbling place where we can arrange for visitors to take part in a robe offering ceremony with some of the temple monks.

There is a relatively well worn path for travellers exploring Myanmar - and for very good reason. The temple strewn landscape of Bagan is a photographers dream, so ensure all camera batteries are suitably charged. This is also the perfect spot to view the landscape from above, with a serene hot air balloon journey.

In the interests of expediency, the flight to Mandalay has replaced the road, but a visit is still well worthwhile. Highlights here include the wonderful alms collection at Mahagandayon monastery, when over 1,000 monks gather to collect their daily meal from the local Buddhists.

The tranquil setting of Inle Lake also feature highly on most visitors lists, where the labryinth waterways are best explored by boat or kayak.

Finally, if all that culture starts to overwhelm (unlikely, but not out of the question), then might we recommend a bit of beach action? Yes, even Myanmar has its elite beach retreat, in this case Ngapali Beach, a quintessential white sandy beach with palm tree backdrop sort of place.

While Ngapali might be the last stop before returning to Yangon, there is another way to see the wonders of Myanmar that we strongly recommend - namely a boat trips along the Irrawaddy between Yangon and Bagan on board a luxurious river boat.


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Original Highlight

Spend plenty of time in Bagan exploring - preferably by bicycle. Don't miss watching the sunrise from one of the pagodas, but remember to take a head torch and be careful climbing - health and safety-approved, it's not!

Miranda, Original Traveller

A note on price

A two week itinerary in Myanmar costs from £4,835 per person. Learn more about our pricing

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 30°C / 86°F
  • Rainfall — 0cm / 0.2 inches
Flight from London

10:30 hrs

Time Difference

GMT +7 hrs


Top picks for Myanmar (Burma)

Inle Lake fisherman and net in Myanmar

Inle Lake

Myanmar (Burma)

The journey to Inle Lake weaves through the valley and local villages, farmland and scenic hills by road before a short journey by long tail boat zips down a narrow channel to the heart the beautiful lake. You might want to hold your jaw as you catch your first glimpse of Inle, laced with a labyrinth of waterways towards the edges and framed by the Shan hills on both sides.

Where to go

Belmond Orcaella

Belmond Orcaella

Bagan

Road to Mandalay may be better known, but Belmond Orcaella is the luxury hotel group’s other ship plying the waters of the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers, and every bit as comfortable.

Where to stay

Amata Resort

Amata Resort

Ngapali Beach

The Amata Resort is sitting pretty next to the white sands and lapping ocean of Ngapali Beach, Burma’s blissful beach resort.

Where to stay

The Strand Cruise

The Strand Cruise

Mandalay

The sister to The Strand Hotel Yangon, a refurbished colonial landmark in Myanmar’s capital, The Strand Cruise launches in December 2015, adding some healthy competition to the handful of luxury vessels plying the waters of the Irrawaddy River.

Where to stay

Sandoway Resort

Sandoway Resort

Ngapali Beach

Sandoway Resort sits in the shade of six acres of coconut palms along 1,200ft of beachfront overlooking the beautiful Bay of Bengal on Burma’s premier beach, Ngapali. There are 59 two-storey villas and cottages with terraces or verandas dotted among the palms and casuarina trees, and designed in traditional Burmese style with hardwood floors, palm roofs and stone carvings.

Where to stay

Irrawaddy & Chindwin River Cruises

Irrawaddy & Chindwin River Cruises

Myanmar (Burma)

Cruising the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers is a sublime way to see the sights and sounds of Burma.

What to do

Sail the Mergui Archipelago

Sail the Mergui Archipelago

Mergui (Myeik) Archipelago

With only a handful of the 800 islands being (sparsely) populated, Mergui is a region where you can sail for days and not meet another soul, except perhaps a passing fisherman in his dugout canoe. And sailing is exactly how you should explore one of the planet’s most unspoilt destinations.

What to do

Sandy Beach at Ngapali

Ngapali Beach

Myanmar (Burma)

While Myanmar is undoubtedly a holiday destination for those keen to explore the local culture, history, landscape and architecture, it also harbours a few idyllic coastal spots that make the perfect beach ‘add-on’ to a culture packed trip, and Ngapali beach is a favourite of ours.

Where to go

Hotel @ Tharabar Gate

Hotel @ Tharabar Gate

Bagan

The stylish Hotel @ Tharabar Gate is situated next to the eponymous 10th century gates of Old Bagan - the perfect base from which to explore the amazing ancient temples.

Where to stay

Balloons over Bagan temples

Bagan

Myanmar (Burma)

Bagan is an incredible archaeological area of over 2,000 pagodas and temples covering 100km2, and for many it's the iconic landscape that springs to mind when you think of Burma. This rural land of 11th century pagodas is a world away from the hustle and bustle of urban Burma - so much so that some of the surrounding villages have only just welcomed electricity.

Where to go

Belmond Road to Mandalay

Belmond Road to Mandalay

Bagan

Despite the factually incorrect name, this river cruiser operated by Belmond is arguably the best boat plying the waters of the Irrawaddy River.

Where to stay

Belmond Governor's Residence

Belmond Governor's Residence

Yangon

The Governor's Residence, surrounded by manicured lawns, is in the elegant embassy quarter of Yangon.

Where to stay

Shwedagon Pagoda at Night

Yangon

Myanmar (Burma)

Yangon is Burma’s largest city, fast-developing and seemingly torn between its new high-rise builds and sprawling market stalls. The main draw is its faded colonial charm and of course the impressive gilded Shwedagon Pagoda.

Where to go

Mergui (Myeik) Archipelago

Mergui (Myeik) Archipelago

Myanmar (Burma)

Burma is often typecast as the land of temples, where the peaks of Pagoda's silhouette against sunsets in Bagan, and the shimmering gilded stupa of the Shwedagon Pagoda attracts camera toting tourist and saffron robed monks in equal measure. But what if we told you that the country is also blessed with some of the most pristine beaches in Southeast Asia, lined with palm trees, and backed by tropical jungle?

Where to go

Inle Princess Resort

Inle Princess Resort

Inle Lake

Inle Princess Resort sits on the eastern shore of Inle Lake at the foot of the Shan Hills.

Where to stay

Hotel by the Red Canal

Hotel by the Red Canal

Mandalay

The Hotel by the Red Canal is – in our humble opinion - the best boutique hotel in Mandalay.

Where to stay

View from Mandalay Hill

Mandalay

Myanmar (Burma)

It is hard to believe that bustling Mandalay was known as ‘the bicycle city’ just 25 years ago. Having said that, this fast-developing city is thankfully still relatively void of towering skyscrapers and American chains – for now at least - and is certainly still worth a visit.

Where to go

Night view of The Strand, Burma

The Strand Hotel, Yangon

Yangon

‘Timeless elegance with a colonial twist’, is perhaps the best way to sum up the feel of The Strand Hotel, and this is made particularly evident by the stunning Victorian colonnades that sweep the entrance.

Where to stay

Big thanks for your hard work and great choices - you hit the brief 100%

Peter

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