Essential Myanmar Travel and Tours

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TWO WAYS TO EXPERIENCE LUXURY Myanmar TOURS

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Join a small group of like-minded fellow travelers on a perfectly crafted Myanmar luxury tour. Or create your own personalized, private departure for just you, your family and friends. See the possibilities at Custom Trips to Myanmar.

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Highlights

If this is your first Myanmar travel experience, there are some iconic cities, sites and destinations that are simply a must-see for first-time travel to Myanmar, which include Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Mt. Popa and Inle Lake

YANGON (RANGOON)

This is one of the most charming cities in Asia, with enormous style and dilapidated grandeur. After you see the great, golden, 2,500-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda, see it again!

This is one of the most charming cities in Asia, with enormous style and dilapidated grandeur. After you see the great, golden, 2,500-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda, see it again! During your trip to Myanmar, visit the National Museum with the Lion Throne, Scott Market, the Royal Lakes and the Sule and Botataung Pagodas.

Tour the old part of town and the waterfront by sidecar (bicycle pedicab) and be sure to have a sunset drink at the Floating Hotel. Stroll through the lobby of the Strand any time of day.

MANDALAY

This fascinating city is the "cultural soul" of Myanmar and offers treasures small-colorful markets, exquisite crafts, Buffalo Point-and large-the restored Royal Palace, the Mahamuni Buddha, and sunsets from Mandalay Hill.

This fascinating city is the "cultural soul" of Myanmar and offers treasures small-colorful markets, exquisite crafts, Buffalo Point-and large-the restored Royal Palace, the Mahamuni Buddha, and sunsets from Mandalay Hill. Bibliophiles will be fascinated by the Kuthodaw Pagoda, referred to as the "world's largest book." At the Mahamuni, don't miss the extraordinary Khmer bronzes.

BAGAN (PAGAN)

A must see during your Myanmar tour, Bagan is considered by many to be the most wondrous sight in Asia: prepare to be floored. This extraordinary archaeological site sprawls across the arid flood plain of the Irrawaddy River, shimmering in the dusty heat haze of central Myanmar.

A must see during your Myanmar tour, Bagan is considered by many to be the most wondrous sight in Asia: prepare to be floored. This extraordinary archaeological site sprawls across the arid flood plain of the Irrawaddy River, shimmering in the dusty heat haze of central Myanmar. Though Kublai Khan, and a massive 1975 earthquake, wreaked havoc here, of the 6,000 pagodas built between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 2,000 still stand.

Among the highlights are the graceful Ananda, the golden Shwezigon, the enormous Dhammayangyi with its superb brickwork, the towering Thatbyinnyu, the Gubyaukgyi with its lovely murals, and the Nanpaya with its stone carving. Also of interest are the Bagan Museum, Sarabha Gate and the Nyaung U market. Hire a bicycle or a horse cart for a leisurely tour of the central temples. Or try a hot air balloon ride for a jaw-dropping overview and an unforgettable Myanmar travel experience. Excellent marionette performances are also available in this area.

MT. POPA

Three hours from Bagan lies Myanmar's "Mount Olympus," home to a powerful deities known as nats, worshiped by the Burmese. There are numerous shrines at the base, though the shrine to the Mahagiri Nats lies about halfway up the mountain.

Three hours from Bagan lies Myanmar's "Mount Olympus," home to a powerful deities known as nats, worshiped by the Burmese. There are numerous shrines at the base, though the shrine to the Mahagiri Nats lies about halfway up the mountain. From the base to the summit is a steep hour's climb. Watch out for the many monkeys along this route, and by no means approach or feed them.

INLE LAKE

In this sublimely beautiful area see the famed Intha leg-rowers, the floating gardens, and some colorful weaving villages. A most rewarding excursion on any Myanmar tour is to one of the regional markets, where tribal people come to sell their wares.

In this sublimely beautiful area see the famed Intha leg-rowers, the floating gardens, and some colorful weaving villages. A most rewarding excursion on any Myanmar tour is to one of the regional markets, where tribal people come to sell their wares. The Taunggyi Museum has a collection of tribal costumes, weapons, artifacts and musical instruments.

Adventures

Have more time, venturing to the area for a second time, or looking for something specific? Here are some additional adventures when creating your custom travel plan.

THE CENTRAL REGION

PINDAYA & KALAW

A lively little town comprised mainly of Taung yo and Danu people, Pindaya's main attraction-and a spectacular one-is in the limestone caves in the hills above, where a maze of chambers contains over 6,000 Buddha statues. The short hike to the source of the Zawgyi River takes you through some lovely scenery.

Meet people of the Pa-O and Danu tribes in small, traditional villages. Kalaw was a British hill station which has retained its charm, many fine colonial buildings and a colorful array of peoples, including many Gurkhas.

LOIKAW

Closed to foreigners for decades and only recently opened, Kayah State and particularly Loikaw offers the opportunity to explore some of the country's most traditional villages including those of the Karreni (Red Karen) and Padaung minorities whose women historically wore a series of rings around their neck giving them the name "long-necked" people. With rugged mountains, dense forest, pristine river and lakes, this area offers the adventurous traveler one of Asia's most remote and traditional regions.

NAYPIDAW

The new capital established by the military hunta feels somewhat forced, with its zoos and broad streets. Strictly for the political science enthusiast traveling in Myanmar.

KYAIKTIYO

The "Golden Rock Pagoda," with its huge, precarious boulder on the edge of a cliff is a sacred place that's quite difficult to get to but certainly worth the effort. There's real magic-both scenic and spiritual-in store for you at the summit, which is reached by truck, foot and sedan chair. Accommodations are basic here.

MOULMEIN

Renowned for its seafood and beautiful pagodas, this old port has a fine beach and a World War II cemetery. The spot recalls the classic Kipling poem Road to Mandalay-"By the old Moulmein Pagoda lookin' lazy at the sea, there's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me."

MAYMYO

A three-hour drive from Mandalay, this town with its pleasant climate was a favorite retreat of the Brits. In addition to delicious strawberries and miniature stagecoaches (which act as local taxis), the place has many colonial buildings, including Candacraig. Wile away an hour strolling through the fine botanical gardens or hike to Anisakan Falls for a swim before heading to the next destination on your Myanmar tour.

MINGUN, SAGAING & AMARAPURA

Mingun, a picturesque town reached by river, features the world's largest uncracked bell and the crumbling remains of what was to have been the world's largest pagoda. Sagaing is one of the most important religious centers in Myanmar with over 600 pagodas and monasteries covering a ridge above the Irrawaddy offering outstanding views. Briefly the capital of Myanmar, Amarapura is now notable for its weaving and handicrafts and for the fabulous U Bein Bridge-a mile-long structure made of teak-which is the perfect spot for watching the sunset. It's possible to visit these three places in a single, fast-paced day.

SHAN STATES/KENTUNG

This wonderfully scenic town built around a lake features many ancient yet well-preserved Buddhist temples and a faded colonial air.

This wonderfully scenic town built around a lake features many ancient yet well-preserved Buddhist temples and a faded colonial air. It's a laid-back place to explore in its own right, or use it as a jumping-off point for explorations of surrounding untouristed tribal villages, including the Akha, Lahu, Shan and Wa, during your tour of Myanmar.

THE WEST

SANDOWAY & NGAPALI

If you're looking for miles of unspoiled sandy beaches fringed with swaying coconut palms to rest, relax and recharge during your in-depth tour of Myanmar, this area to the west of Yangon is the place for you. Enjoy bikes for hire, golf, snorkeling, or fishing, and feast on fresh seafood. Simple bungalows on the beach to first class resorts available.

MRAUK U

This very remote area is not easy to access, but your efforts will be handsomely rewarded upon beholding the magnificent and little-known Buddhist ruins of Mrauk U, which are rather like a smaller Bagan surrounded by dense jungle. Located in remote Rakhaing (Arakan), not far from what is now Bangladesh, there flourished one of the most spectacular royal cities of Asia, from the 15th to 18th centuries. Chief places of interest are the palace, the Shittaung Pagoda and the Sakyamanaung Pagoda, which is a must see during your tour of Myanmar.

MERGUI ARCHIPELAGO

The Mergui Archipelago was closed to the outside world until recently. Tour Myanmar and its the pristine islands-800 in all-white sand beaches, colorful coral reefs, and abundant sea life by snorkeling and sea kayaking. You may even see elephants swimming island to island.

The Mergui Archipelago was closed to the outside world until recently. Tour Myanmar and its the pristine islands-800 in all-white sand beaches, colorful coral reefs, and abundant sea life by snorkeling and sea kayaking. You may even see elephants swimming island to island. This area is also home to the Moken (sea gypsy) people. This exquisite marine destination is reminiscent of Thailand 40 years ago.

PUTAO VALLEY & MULASHIDI

The moutainous northern reaches of the country contain one of the last pristine subtropical and montane rainforest in the Himalayas. The area is home to both Lisu and Rawang hill tribes.

The moutainous northern reaches of the country contain one of the last pristine subtropical and montane rainforest in the Himalayas. The area is home to both Lisu and Rawang hill tribes. For an extraordinary Myanmar travel experience, take an elephant safari through terraced fields and pockets of jungle with sweeping views over the Putao Valley. Along the way, cross the Namlung River and pass through the village of Mulashidi, to access a gorgeous retreat with excellent food, lovely ambience and a soothing spa.

Questions? Ready to start planning your trip?

CONTACT A MYANMAR TRAVEL EXPERT

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