Myanmar offers stunning trekking routes for everybody, no matter what your level of experience is. The rural highlands of Northern Shan state will challenge the most ardent trekker, while those seeking a less strenuous trek will enjoy the beautiful route from the pine forests of Kalaw to Lake Inle. For something in between, trek to the summit of Mount Victoria, and enjoy the added bonus of a prime bird-watching spot and a Chin tribal experience.
There is almost a festival every week of the year in Myanmar, but you have to be in the right place at the right time. Why not make a splash at the Water Festival, one of Myanmar's most famous festivals where locals pour water over each other as a cleansing ritual before the New Year begins. Or you can follow processions of Buddha statues on Lake Ilne at the Phaung Daw Oo festival, one of Myanmar's largest Buddhist festivals.
Myanmar's complex history tells the tale of flourishing Burmese kingdoms, each leaving their own indelible mark on the archaeological landscape of Myanmar. Our specialist guide will help you discover the colonial heritage and Shwedagon Paya in Yangon. Further north, learn about the ruling dynasties of Sri Ksetra and Beikthano, before reaching the infamous temple town of Bagan. Finally head west to the former kingdom of Mrauk U, considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Myanmar.
Myanmar's legendary Ayeyarwady River has always played a vital role in trade and the sustenance of rural communities throughout the country. Watch life unfold from the comfort of your boat, whether it be between the iconic cities of Bagan and Mandalay or down lesser-known rivers and tributaries stopping off at hidden villages. The sight of Myanmar's ancient pagodas shimmering in the water against the fading sun is a memory that will last a lifetime.
Ngapali on Myanmar's west coast boasts a huge stretch of white beach with coconut palms and crystal clear waters. With a number of plush resorts to choose from, a sundowner overlooking the Bay of Bengal is the perfect way to round off your Myanmar adventure.
Hot air balloon rides can be organised at Bagan and Inle Lake and they offer incredible views of these iconic destinations
Enjoy an early-morning balloon ride with startling panoramas of this huge site’s ancient temples. After landing, toast your ride with a glass of champagne.
Nestled amidst the lush hills of southern Shan State is Inle Lake. A balloon ride here offers unforgettable views of stilted villages, Intha leg-rowing fishermen and floating vegetable gardens.
With influences from India and Thailand, Myanmar’s cuisine can be every bit as delightful. Take a food tour of Yangon stopping off at noodle bars and buzzing tea houses. Visit local food markets and floating vegetable gardens on Inle Lake. Eat at traditional restaurants and learn how to cook authentic Burmese dishes under the guidance of seasoned chefs. Ask us to incorporate some food experiences in your trip to Myanmar.
The British colonists may be long gone, but Yangon, or Rangoon (meaning 'end of strife'), still holds evidence of their presence; in fact, it holds the highest number of colonial buildings in Southeast Asia. Other international influences can also be found around the city, with evidence of Chinese and Indian influences in other architecture. Despite the outside influences, Yangon firmly remains a Burmese city of the past, with its longyi wearing, betel nut chewing pedestrians, burgundy-clad Buddhist monks, and traffic signs written mostly in the local alphabet. The Shwedagon Paya is unmissable; the pagoda's golden spire shooting up into a magenta sky will leave you mesmerised. Eclectic, engrossing, enlightening: cosmopolitan Yangon is not only the first port of call with its international airport, but a fulfilling part of your Myanmar adventure.
'A gilded city alive with tinkling bells and the swishing sound of monks robes' - only Marco Polo could so precisely capture the essence of this historical region. Once the capital of the Pagan Kingdom, the first kingdom to unite regions that now form modern Myanmar, Bagan's cities can provide for every traveler. If you love to visit ancient temples, then the Bagan Archeological Zone will certainly spoil you; it has the densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagoda's, ruins and stupa's in the world. Over 10,000 Buddhist temples were built in the 11th and 13th centuries - 2200 have survived, and continue to age with dignity. Stand back and savour the silhouetted spires and spiky palmrya trees against a soft pink sunrise. Trek up the extinct volcano Mount Popa and feel the power of the nats (spirits). If you fancy something different after a long day of temple-hopping, try Myanmar's answer to Marmite, pon yan gyi. There will be no debate about whether you love or hate this dish!
Myanmar's cultural and economic hub, Mandalay buzzes with young life and anticipation for the future. However, it also has a significant past; not only was it was the last Burmese royal capital, but it held many important ancient pagoda's. Follow in the great Buddha's footsteps and climb up the 230m Mandalay Hill. Look down at the beautiful view below, and you will see why Buddha, upon reaching the hill's summit, prophesised the building of a great city at its foot. Sadly, Mandalay Palace was lost in a Second World War fire, but as the walls and gates still stand, you can appreciate its splendid scale. The great Rudyard Kipling was inspired to write a poem after visiting Mandalay. Let its infused history, modernity and culture also inspire you.
In the middle of the Nyaung Shwe valley, against a misty blue mountain backdrop, lie the glistening indigo waters of Lake Inle. As well as admiring the lake's serene beauty, here you can marvel at the local Intha's fisherman skills in 'leg rowing': a distinctive rowing style that involves standing on one leg at the boat stern and wrapping the other leg around the oar. You can spot the Intha wives at the lakeside, with thanaka (an acacia-bark paste) all over their faces to protect from the sun. The lake's magic continues with temples floating on the surface, the most unusual being the Nga Hpe Chaung monastery, or the Jumping Cat monastery, so called after the monks once trained resident cats to jump through hoops. If you are lucky enough to visit during September and October, you are in for a treat - the Hpaung Daw U Festival lasts for three weeks. Be sure to catch the traditional boat racing, with dozens of competing leg-rowers in Shan dress, as well as the procession of revered Buddhist statues on a decorated royal barge. As well trying one of the nine world-exclusive fish species in the lake, a visit to this region is not complete without tasting the Inle dish htamin jin - a rice, tomato and potato or fish salad with fried onion, Chinese chive roots, whole dried chilli, and much more. A visit here is more than just a lake trip, it is also an insight into the local lake-peoples fascinating lives and customs.
Imagine yourself at a hilltop, looking down at a view of coffee plantations, vibrant villages, pristine rivers, jaw-dropping mountains and even elephants working in the pine forests - welcome to Kalaw. At 1320m on the Shan Plateau hills, Kalaw is the perfect place to plan a trek that won't burn your pockets. Breathe in the cool fresh air, walk a little slower than usual, and feel the peace and calm of this hill station. The only flurry you will experience is at the colourful Kalaw market, the perfect spot to sample the local food and liqueurs. For the more adventurous, take a cultural trek between here and Lake Inle, with the unmissable opportunity to stay at a Buddhist temple. Both nature and history lovers will find a haven to call their own on the Kalaw hilltops.
Myanmar's 135 tribes are undoubtedly one of the many delights that the colourful country has to offer. Discover the diversity within and between the tribes, with the Kachin, Kayah, Chin, Mon, Bama, Rakhine and Shan tribes each having different customs, tribal dress and languages.
Settling in Myanmar's Thanton region in around 1000 BC, the Pa-O have grown to be the second largest ethnic group in Shan State. Though the Pa-O people once wore indigo-dyed clothing when enslaved by King Anawartha, many now wear Bamar clothes, such as longyi for men, and htamain for women. See the tribe at its most gloriously adulatory at the Full Moon of Tabuang, celebrated as the Pa-O national day.
The Chin people are prolific not only in their native Myanmar, but also in neighbouring Indian states such as Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur and Assam. In past times, the Chin people lead labour-intensive lives. When visiting this tribe, you will notice that many of the older women have intricately tattooed faces; this was a rite of passage in their younger years. This bizarre, yet beautiful custom allegedly originates from long ago, when Chin men did not want their women to be stolen by Burmese kings. Friendly and fascinating, an experience with the Chins is not easily forgotten.