So much to explore in Burma

In each of Yonder’s main destinations, we have selected a range of highlights you might like to include in your personalised Yonder trip.

Whether they are fabled regions, resorts or cities, single destinations or entire itineraries, these are the Yonder ingredients we know will help you begin to piece together the ideal trip…

Where to go in Burma

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Yangon

Rangoon – now Yangon – lingers long in your thoughts, evocative for all the right reasons. From the beauty of some of southeast Asia’s most impressive colonial architecture to the frenzy of street corner cafes, there is an overwhelming sense of old-world Asia here.

  • Stare in awe at the Shwedagon Pagoda, unquestionably Yangon’s number one place to visit.
  • Drive around Yangon’s centre and absorb the beautiful colonial architecture.
  • Stroll round Inya Lake. Not only are the best addresses in town here (you might even catch a glimpse of ‘The Lady’).

Bagan

As seasoned travellers, we have seen many wondrous sights. But even for us, every now and then, we come across a destination that makes us gasp out loud. You know, those rare moments when only the word ‘Wow’ seems adequate. Bagan is one of those places.

  • At sunset, head to Shwesandaw pagoda for westerly views over the archaeological zone
  • One of the most rewarding ways of experiencing Bagan is by bike.
  • The classic: hot air ballooning over Bagan. It counts amongst the most spectacular experiences we have had… ever!

Inle Lake

Arrive at the vast tranquility of Inle Lake and it feels as if you have been transported to a world altogether more serene. Here, surrounded by marshes and floating gardens, villages built on stilts and Buddhist temples rise from the water, while the local fishermen propel their boats using a unique one-legged rowing technique. It’s bizarre but true.

  • Inle is famous for its ancient weaving crafts, using the silks of the lotus flower.
  • Take a boat up the narrow winding creek towards Indein village.
  • Spend time just pootling around the lake and its many fascinating villages.

Mandalay

Mandalay. It is one of those few names that alone evoke the charms of a lost past. Kipling immortalised it in a poem many still know by heart. Sinatra sang about it on Come Fly With Me. Kay Francis starred in a gloriously ill-acted 1934 black and white movie named after it.

  • Visit the morning market on the outskirts of town which run over a train track. Guess what happens when the train comes…
  • March up (or drive depending on your energy levels) Mandalay Hill.
  • A rickshaw has to be the ultimate symbol of Mandalay. We love them and the conversations with the “Kings” are fascinating.

River Cruises

Is this the ultimate experience in Burma? A magical Myanmar river cruise of a few days down the mighty and fabled Irrawaddy River, charting a course between magical Mandalay and mysterious Bagan is one of life’s greatest journeys.

  • Lie back on deck and snap away at the amazing scenes unfolding in an endlessly fascinating procession.
  • Get out on the shore excursions and walk amongst the villages, golden stupas and smiling locals.
  • Eat, eat, eat! The food onboard is amongst the best we have eaten in Myanmar.

Ngapali Beach

It seems there is a tendency for visitors to Myanmar to overlook Ngapali Beach. We are baffled. What is there not to like about a long, wide, fine sandy beach, with gently lapping warm turquoise waters and superb seafood?

  • Walk to the southern end of the beach to see the fishing boats dock and thousands of fish being laid out to dry in the sun.
  • If you’d like a traditional Burmese foot massage, of the robust variety, then try it on the beach.
  • Ngapali tiger prawns are famous for being large and succulent.

Kalaw

A former hill station, set high in the cool, rolling countryside, Kalaw is a precious gem, but of the unpolished variety. Quite unlike anywhere else, a holiday in Kalaw  is charmingly authentic and unsophisticated.

  • Hunt down Aung Chan Tha Zedi, the dazzling mirrored pagoda in the centre of Kalaw.
  • Enter the natural cave called Shwe Oo Min Paya just outside town.
  • Go to the wholesale vegetable warehouses to see the colours, smells and energy of this ancient trade.

Pyin Oo Lwin

Imagine you are in a period drama set in the days of the empire. Pyin Oo Lwin (or in those days known as Maymyo – literally, May Town – after Colonel May of the 5th Bengal infantry) is the kind of place you would want to hang out. Pyin Oo Lwin is cool (in both senses of the word), its refined and it is beautiful.

  • Take a selfie at the waterfalls around the Peik Chin Myaung caves. 
  • Hunt for the giant (and we mean giant) bamboo in the  botanical gardens.
  • The Gokteik viaduct is as amazing today as it was when it was first built. Don’t pass up on a chance to trundle across.
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Thoughts on a postcard

With a whoooosh of the huge flame, we took off in our hot air balloon into the still early morning air, expertly captained by our Australian pilot Kerry. Soon the jaw-dropping temples of Bagan came into sight just as the sun rose over the horizon. A highlight of our Myanmar holiday.

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Thoughts on a postcard

With a whoooosh of the huge flame, we took off in our hot air balloon into the still early morning air, expertly captained by our Australian pilot Kerry. Soon the jaw-dropping temples of Bagan came into sight just as the sun rose over the horizon. A highlight of our Myanmar holiday.