When to go:
November-February are the cooler, dry months but September-October are lovely and green and far quieter.
From about £3500 per person for a two week trip.
Burmese Days by George Orwell
Crisp dollar notes, straight from the printers. Folds won’t do and rips and tears are a complete no-no.
Did you know?
Tea leaves are often used in food dishes. Tomato salad with tea leaves is a regular feature on the menu and is delicious
Myanmar is a fascinating destination and one that has remained off limits for many would-be visitors following the international travel ban. Now lifted, this beautiful country is open for business. For the time being, however, the experience is really for those happy to move with the ebb and flow of a destination not yet used to tourism.
Accommodation is mainly on the modest side although there are a few hotels which are rather charming, and transport is facilitated by surprisingly good roads. Some of the food is surprisingly not-so-good, but the genuine charm of the people and the breathtaking scenery more than make up for that.
Guiding is absolutely crucial. Unless you are a pagoda expert or amateur enthusiast, you’ll want to ensure that your guides know better than to escort you to every single monument until they all blur into one. We’d like you to have a huge variety of experiences beyond standard sightseeing. Take tea hosted by one of the elders of one of the fishing villages on Inle Lake, hang around in the early evening in one of the University areas of Yangon and get chatting to the students about their take on the political and economic changes, or meet with local artists, now able to express themselves without fear of oppression.
No one knows for sure how tourism will affect Myanmar and how sustainable the government’s approach to it will be. All the more reason to visit this extraordinary country sooner rather than later.
Whether you’re a devotee or a casual participant, we can work around encompassing any of these activities into your holiday.
Trekking & Hiking
– The area around Inle Lake has some fascinating hiking through beautiful scenery and unspoilt villages. There are some other fabulous trekking areas but many are currently off limits. As the situation changes, more trekking routes will open up. Accommodation is generally modest but clean and comfortable.
– – From the extensive temple complex at Bagan to the crumbling colonial buildings of Yangon, there is plenty to keep history buffs interested. The crucial thing is to try and get you off the standard tourist trail in order to give you a range of special, lasting experiences – like taking in a sunset at one of the lesser known spots or pagoda spotting from the skies in a hot air balloon.
– Many areas of the country make you feel like you’re stepping back hundreds of years into the past. Farming and building methods remain untouched by modernisation, for better or for worse. Getting to these places requires careful planning and a little flexibility, but can be well worth the effort.
– Ngapali, on the west coast, has a lovely stretch of pristine, palm-fringed beach. There are a couple of decent hotels. Bear in mind that just about everything shuts down at around 9pm so there is no point coming here for a party. But it’s bliss for the tranquillity hunters. We’ve heard that there is some fantastic diving in the far south, but this area is only now opening up. Watch this space
Shopping, Markets and Food
– Yangon’s Scott Market has made a name for itself. It’s great fun to watch the ‘stock exchange’, which is a gaggle of traders at a collection of tea stands, but we recommend heading out to the student areas too. There you will find great street food, and lively conversation thrown in for good measure.
- Getting there
– Bangkok is usually the hub from which to access Myanmar and it is about an 11 hour flight away from London. From Bangkok there are various routes into the country – Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and more routes open up on a monthly basis.
– Interestingly there is already quite an extensive flight route around Myanmar connecting the main areas of interest. Most flights are very early morning and are often subject to time changes and minor delays. The roads are generally pretty good but if traffic is heavy the journey times can vary.
– As a rule of thumb Myanmar’s most pleasant weather is from November-February when it is dry and daytime temperatures are around 30 degrees, cooler in the hills and warmer on the plains. March to July can be blisteringly hot and then the rains arrive, cooling things down slightly while also making the country green and verdant once more. Travelling in the ‘off’ season from August-October can have benefits. While you have to contend with some rainshowers, you will also find far, far fewer tourists and may even have some sights entirely to yourself. Give us a call to discuss this further.
Visa/ entry requirements
– Visas must be applied for in advance of travel but are quite straightforward to obtain.
Events (festivals, wildlife migrations)
– There are lots of wonderful festivals in Myanmar: celebrations of light, boat rowing competitions, harvest festivals and umpteen events marking the full moon at various times of the year.
– Immerse yourself in a country steeped in history and tradition.
– Wonderful guides and incredibly welcoming and charming people make this a great place for solo travellers. Indeed, many of the lodges and cruises host clients who choose to travel alone allowing you to choose whether or not to be sociable.