Steeped in spirituality and diverse cultural traditions

Blissfully untouched by mass tourism, Myanmar offers visitors a rare opportunity to seemingly travel back in time. Situated at the crossroads between the Indian continent and the rest of Southeast Asia, Myanmar is a melting pot of cultures made up of more than 135 different ethnic groups, each with its own history, culture, and language. This diversity is a haven for foodies looking to sample the many regional specialties of Burmese cuisine which range from earthy curries to flavoursome soups.

Buddhism plays an important role in Burmese society as evidenced by the many temples and monasteries dotted throughout the country. In Bagan alone, there are more than 2,000 temples and pagodas still standing from the 10th to 13th centuries.

Myanmar is blessed with spectacular natural scenery from the idyllic Inle Lake, home to the unique Intha leg rowers, to the unspoilt Mergui Islands. However, the bustling city of Yangon is the best place to witness the country in transition, where century-old buildings from the British colonial period vie for space with the emerging modern skyline.

WHY WE THINK YOU’LL LOVE IT

  • An authentic travel experience that offers insight into a traditional way of life that has remained largely unchanged
  • Spectacular landscapes encompassing majestic mountains, rural villages, and idyllic, untouched islands
  • Deep spirituality of the people can be witnessed at the many ornate temples throughout the country
  • Home to historical landmarks such as the U Bein Bridge (the longest teak wood bridge in the world) and the temple-laden plains of Bagan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Country Facts
Capital City Naypyidaw
Time Zone UTC +6:30
International Dial Code +95
Currency Kyat
Population 53.7 million (April 2018)
Religion Buddhism
Within Easy Reach Of...
International flight connections to Myanmar are increasing as the country moves to further develop its tourism infrastructure. There are four international airports, though the main gateway is through Yangon International Airport. The below flight times are from Yangon.
Bangkok, Thailand 1hr 20min
Chiang Mai, Thailand 1hr 20min
Phnom Penh, Cambodia 2hrs
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2hrs 15min
Singapore 3hrs
MAGICAL MYANMAR

Uncover the mystique and spirituality of this former ancient kingdom

When To Go

Weather Summary
Myanmar has two distinct seasons: dry and wet. The dry season is from October to May and the wet season from May to early October.

However within each season the temperatures are varied, with the hottest months from March to June being usually the hottest, reaching in excess of 40°C.
Weather Summary
Myanmar has two distinct seasons: dry and wet. The dry season is from October to May and the wet season from May to early October.

However within each season the temperatures are varied, with the hottest months from March to June being usually the hottest, reaching in excess of 40°C.
Weather Summary
Myanmar has two distinct seasons: dry and wet. The dry season is from October to May and the wet season from May to early October.

However within each season the temperatures are varied, with the hottest months from March to June being usually the hottest, reaching in excess of 40°C.
Weather Summary
Myanmar has two distinct seasons: dry and wet. The dry season is from October to May and the wet season from May to early October.

However within each season the temperatures are varied, with the hottest months from March to June being usually the hottest, reaching in excess of 40°C.
Weather Summary
Myanmar has two distinct seasons: dry and wet. The dry season is from October to May and the wet season from May to early October.

However within each season the temperatures are varied, with the hottest months from March to June being usually the hottest, reaching in excess of 40°C.
Weather Summary
Myanmar has two distinct seasons: dry and wet. The dry season is from October to May and the wet season from May to early October.

However within each season the temperatures are varied, with the hottest months from March to June being usually the hottest, reaching in excess of 40°C.
Weather Summary
Myanmar has two distinct seasons: dry and wet. The dry season is from October to May and the wet season from May to early October.

However within each season the temperatures are varied, with the hottest months from March to June being usually the hottest, reaching in excess of 40°C.
Perfect Tour For August
Yangon - Inle Lake - Bagan - Mandalay

Discover Burma’s enigmatic cuisine which is one of the most complex and diverse in Southeast Asia. Experience the unique flavours of each region by sampling the local cuisine and participating in a number of hands-on cooking classes.

CONTACT US SEE MORE
Festivals
13-16 August: Nat Festival, Mingun
19-26 August: Taung Byone Nat Festival
Weather Summary
Myanmar has two distinct seasons: dry and wet. The dry season is from October to May and the wet season from May to early October.

However within each season the temperatures are varied, with the hottest months from March to June being usually the hottest, reaching in excess of 40°C.
Perfect Tour For September
Yangon – Bagan – Mandalay – Inle Lake

Our classic journey across Myanmar, the ‘Hidden jewel of Southeast Asia,’ takes the intrepid traveller on a memorable 12-days of experiences featuring the very best of cultural heritage, arts, spirituality and historical elements.

CONTACT US SEE MORE
Festivals
3-9 September: Yadana Gu Spirit Festival
Weather Summary
Myanmar has two distinct seasons: dry and wet. The dry season is from October to May and the wet season from May to early October.

However within each season the temperatures are varied, with the hottest months from March to June being usually the hottest, reaching in excess of 40°C.
Perfect Tour For October
Yangon – Bagan – Inle Lake – Pindaya – Mandalay

Travel through one of the most photogenic countries in the region to capture the unique faces and landscapes in some of Myanmar’s best-loved destinations.

CONTACT US SEE MORE
Festivals
10-27 October: Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival, Inle Lake
23-25 October: Festival of Lights Pagoda
Weather Summary
Myanmar has two distinct seasons: dry and wet. The dry season is from October to May and the wet season from May to early October.

However within each season the temperatures are varied, with the hottest months from March to June being usually the hottest, reaching in excess of 40°C.
Perfect Tour For November
Yangon - Bagan - Inle Lake

Explore Myanmar along off-the-beaten-trails with cycling and hiking activities along with fun experiences like paddle boarding and horseback riding.

CONTACT US SEE MORE
Festivals
17-22 November: Lu Ping Festival
22 November: Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda Festival
Weather Summary
Myanmar has two distinct seasons: dry and wet. The dry season is from October to May and the wet season from May to early October.

However within each season the temperatures are varied, with the hottest months from March to June being usually the hottest, reaching in excess of 40°C.
Perfect Tour For December
Yangon - Bagan - Inle Lake

Explore Myanmar along off-the-beaten-trails with cycling and hiking activities along with fun experiences like paddle boarding and horseback riding.

CONTACT US SEE MORE
Festivals
2 December: National Day (public holiday)

Suggested Myanmar Itineraries

Explore our Myanmar sample itineraries to inspire your travel planning. The itineraries can be easily customised and adapted to your personal interests and preferences.

Classic Myanmar

Yangon – Bagan – Mandalay – Inle Lake

Our classic journey across Myanmar, the ‘Hidden jewel of Southeast Asia,’ takes the intrepid traveller on a memorable 12-days of experiences featuring the very best of cultural heritage, arts, spirituality and historical elements.

Cycling and Hiking in Myanmar

Yangon - Bagan - Inle Lake

Explore Myanmar along off-the-beaten-trails with cycling and hiking activities along with fun experiences like paddle boarding and horseback riding.

The Chindwin Explorer

Mandalay - Homalin - Bagan

Cruise in luxury on the Anawrahta vessel traversing the beautiful yet seldom-visited Chindwin River, the largest tributary of the Ayeyarwady.

World Heritage Sites of Southeast Asia

Bagan – Luang Prabang – Siem Reap – Hoi An

History and culture buffs will treasure this fascinating journey visiting Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam. The tour not only explores key historic, spiritual and cultural sites but also the architectural and natural wonders as recognised by the esteemed UNESCO organisation

Spiritual Myanmar

Yangon – Bagan – Inle Lake

Inspired by the ancient cultural heritage, indigenous peoples and natural beauty of this ‘hidden jewel of Southeast Asia,’ our unique wellness odyssey covers age-old healing and spiritually-inclined practices.

A Photographic Journey in Myanmar

Yangon – Bagan – Inle Lake – Pindaya – Mandalay

Travel through one of the most photogenic countries in the region to capture the unique faces and landscapes in some of Myanmar's best-loved destinations.

Art Treasures of Myanmar

Yangon – Mandalay – Inle Lake – Pindaya – Bagan

Discover the handicraft traditions of Myanmar and learn about crafts unique to the country. Gain insight into ‘Pan Sel Myo’, the ten religious traditional arts, and meet with contemporary artists for a personal perspective of the thriving art scene.

Flavours of Myanmar

Yangon - Inle Lake - Bagan - Mandalay

Discover Burma's enigmatic cuisine which is one of the most complex and diverse in Southeast Asia. Experience the unique flavours of each region by sampling the local cuisine and participating in a number of hands-on cooking classes.

Myanmar Tailored Experiences

Select from our exciting range handcrafted tailored experiences to include in your customised journey.

  • Experience Traditional Myanmar Medicine and Massage

    Yangon, Myanmar

    Myanmar traditional medicine dates back to the 9th century Pagan era and even a thousand years later, it is still preferred by many for its accessibility, low cost and treatment of the body as a whole. Spend a fascinating half day learning about a few different approaches to Myanmar traditional medicine, influenced by both Buddhist philosophy as well as Ayurvedic Hinduism.

    Drive to Yangon’s Kon Zay Dan Street and browse through a market stocked with herbs, plants and even sea shells, all of which have medicinal value. Visit a clinic which uses traditional therapies such as gold ash powder mixed with local herbs or holistic diagnostic and healing methods based on Ayurvedic concepts. Finish with an invigourating deep tissue massage performed by blind therapists with a heightened sense of touch.

    Duration: 4-8hrs

  • Scenic River Cruise to Mingun

    Mandalay, Myanmar

    Cruise along the legendary Ayeyarwady River to the charming riverside town of Mingun. In the late 18th century, ambitious King Bodawpaya used thousands of prisoners of war to build what he hoped would be the world’s largest stupa.

    Had it been completed, it would have been 152m (500ft) high, as high as the Great Pyramid of Giza. While the stupa was never finished, the 52m (170ft) base is still incredibly impressive, as is the nearby 90-ton Mingun Bell that King Bodawpaya cast to go with his gigantic stupa. Visit several more notable sites before re-boarding your boat for a traditional Burmese lunch as you cruise back to Mandalay.

    Duration: 6hrs

  • Sunset Cocktail Cruise on Ayeyarwady

    Bagan, Myanmar

    Thanks to significant preservation efforts, not much has changed in the Bagan landscape since the city reached its height between the 11th and 13th centuries, when more than 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries dotted the plains. Life still moves at a languid pace for many, especially along the banks of the mighty Ayeyarwady.

    Spend a beautiful evening aboard a one-hour sunset cruise, cocktail in hand, as you observe timeless river scenes slowly glide on by of women handwashing clothes on the banks, children playing in the river and fishermen angling for the day’s catch. Watch as the sky changes from pinks and reds to yellows and oranges with shades of deep purple before the sun finally sets on this “’Land of a Thousand Pagodas”.

    Duration: 45-60min

  • Sundowner at U Bein Bridge

    Amarapura, Myanmar

    One of Myanmar’s most photographed sights, the 1,200m (3,937ft) U Bein Bridge is the world’s oldest and longest teakwood bridge. When the capital moved from Amarapura to Mandalay, wood salvaged from the Inwa Palace was used to build the bridge across Thaungthaman Lake to provide children with access to the monastic school and for locals to reach markets and important religious sites.

    Board a rowboat and enjoy sunset cocktails and snacks as the captain maneuvers into the perfect spot from which to view this timeless scene of villagers and visitors walking across the bridge silhouetted against the orange glow of sunset with the bridge reflected in the water.

    Duration: 2hrs

  • Ballooning Over Inle Lake

    Heho, Myanmar

    Boating on Inle Lake is an incredible experience, but nothing quite compares to flying over Myanmar’s second largest lake in a hot air balloon. Enjoy hot drinks and a continental breakfast while watching your balloon being inflated in the early dawn hours.

    After a full safety briefing from experienced, UK-licensed commercial balloon pilots, begin your 45-60 minute flight, with the possibility of rising up to 3,000m (10,000ft) thanks to being in a sparsely populated area with the nearest airport two mountain ranges away and with no early morning flights. Enjoy the magnificent views over the colourful clapboard houses, the beautiful lines of floating gardens and the surrounding Shan mountains in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    Duration: 4hrs

  • Photography and Bird Watching on Inle Lake

    Heho, Myanmar

    Boasting more than 1,000 recognised bird species, Myanmar is gaining a reputation as a hotspot for birding enthusiasts. Spend an early morning on scenic Inle Lake looking for rare birds including the Glossy Ibis, Plaintive Cuckoo, Sarus Crane and Black-winged Stilt.

    Established in 1985, Inle Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary within Inle Lake is home to some 255 woodland and 90 wetland bird species. Part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the shallow lake, surrounding marshland and farmland make the ideal habitat for many native and migratory birds. Cruise past stilted villages and floating gardens to some of the more remote locations around the lake with exceptional opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife photography.

    Duration: 2hrs

  • Yangon Street Photography

    Yangon, Myanmar

    Nowhere else in Myanmar is change more evident than in the vibrant city of Yangon. Accompanied by a photojournalist from a major local newspaper, explore bustling Yangon, a city at the crossroads between past and future.

    Your street photography walk will take you through contrasting sections of town from historic Pansodan Road, home to photogenic heritage buildings from the British colonial period, to the lively Indian Quarter, where daily life of trading and teahouses have remained unchanged over centuries. Lively markets situated between alleyways are aplenty, as you feast your eyes on the colourful spices and produce on display. Friendly exchanges with the market vendors offer the perfect opportunity to capture the smiling faces of a typical Burmese embellished with ‘thanaka’, a white cosmetic paste. The Myanmar people are exceptionally open to being photographed and are very welcoming to visitors which combine for excellent portrait opportunities.

    Duration: 9.5hrs

  • Gain Insight to Monastic Life with a School Visit

    Bagan, Myanmar

    The Burmese word “kyaung” refers to both school and monastery, highlighting a nearly thousand-year tradition of monastic schools operating both educational and religious activities for the local community. Today, nearly 1,700 monastic schools provide education to over 300,000 children across Myanmar, helping to fill a gap in the public educational system. These schools use the same curriculum as government schools to teach students coming from remote or conflict areas, children with disabilities or otherwise disadvantaged backgrounds.

    Visit the Shwe Gu Monastic Education Centre where hundreds of novices from different ethnic groups across the country are taught by monks and volunteer teachers. Spend time learning about the monastic school system and getting to know the students with the opportunity to donate school bags, stationery, umbrellas, textbooks and school uniforms directly to the children.

    Duration: 2-3hrs

  • Witness a Traditional Novice Ceremony

    Bagan, Myanmar

    “To be Burmese is to be Buddhist” is a well-known Myanmar saying speaking to the integral role religion plays in the life of every Burmese. In fact, according to Myanmar’s Buddhist traditions, all males are expected to join the monkhood at least once in their life, marked by a novitiation ceremony.

    Spend a full day with rare, behind-the-scenes access to this coming-of-age rite where young boys become temporary novices for a week, a month or forever, and girls choose between having their ears pierced or shaving their heads and becoming a nun. Witness as the children are decked out in their finery before joining a lively procession to the local monastery where the novice will be handed over by his or her parents to an elder monk to experience life in the monastery, studying ancient Pali scripts and Buddhist philosophy.

    Duration: 6-8hrs

  • Homebuilding at Inle Lake

    Heho, Myanmar

    Beyond the tourist attractions of Inle Lake, the reality is that over half the local population in this region live below the poverty line of less than USD 1 a day. Additional challenges come in the form of frequent heavy rains and flooding that cause severe damage to houses traditionally constructed of natural materials.

    Children are most affected by displacement, requiring them to drop out of school and become labourers to help their family fix their homes, thereby contributing to the continuing cycle of poverty. Helping to build a home for displaced families not only provides them with a safe, clean living environment but also allows the family and their children to rebuild their lives in a sustainable manner.

    Duration: 7hrs

  • Discovering the Monasteries of Dala

    Yangon, Myanmar

    Just 15 minutes from downtown Yangon, the rural township of Dala is truly a world away from the fast pace of the big city. Board the local ferry to cross the Yangon River over to Dala, gateway to the Ayeyarwady Delta. Take a trishaw ride along dusty lanes to observe life in the Delta where families in bamboo homes with tin roofs run small businesses like making candles for pagoda offerings and crafts from recycled materials.

    Walk through a colourful local market to a monastery which also functions as a community centre. Monasteries are incredibly important in Myanmar, traditionally providing the community with moral guidance as well as basic education. Gain insight into what monastic life is like in a country with half a million monks.

    Duration: 4hrs

  • Explore Yangon Like a Local

    Yangon, Myanmar

    Home to more than 5 million people, Yangon is a wonderful mix of colonial architecture, modern high-rise buildings and sparkling, centuries-old pagodas. Spend the day exploring Myanmar’s largest city like a local by train, ferry and trishaw.

    Highlights include: joining the 150,000 or so daily commuters on Yangon’s 46km (28mi) Circular Railway, and riding it to the outskirts of Yangon to visit a colourful local market; walking through vibrant downtown Chinatown to visit a temple and to see shops hand-making noodles and rice paper; and boarding a ferry across the Yangon River to explore the rural backwater village of Dala by local trishaw. Just minutes from the big city, Dala is far removed from the bustle of Yangon with many residents still earning a simple living from fishing and farming.

    Duration: 8hrs

  • Gain a Deeper Understanding of Monastic Life

    Bagan, Myanmar

    King Anawrahta, the 11th century founder of the Pagan Empire, is credited with introducing Theravada Buddhism to Upper Burma. Visit the Ngat Pyit Taung pagoda and monastery built by the king and explore its impressive prayer hall and nearby temple caves. The monastery is also home to a primary school.

    Established by King Anawrahta, these monastic schools traditionally provided education in secular as well as Buddhist teachings. Today, they supplement the government schools by helping disadvantaged children acquire literacy and numeracy skills while learning Buddhist values such as generosity and kindness. You are welcome to donate school supplies during your visit.

    Duration: 1hr

  • Burmese Fortune Telling and Palmistry

    Yangon, Myanmar

    Astrology, divination and the reverence of nats (spirits) is embraced by many Burmese, with belief in the supernatural influencing major events from changing the country’s name to Myanmar to moving the capital from Yangon to Naypyidaw. In addition to the 12 zodiac signs common in many countries, the Burmese zodiac also places importance on the day of the week one is born.

    Meet with one of Myanmar’s most famous and respected fortune teller known for making predictions on television, radio stations and in newspapers. Listen as he predicts your destiny based on characteristics unique to you through astrology, palmistry and numerology.

    Duration: 2hrs

  • Street Food Walking Tour Through Chinatown

    Yangon, Myanmar

    Established by British colonials in the 1800s to cater to immigrants from the southernmost Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Yunnan, and Fujian, Yangon’s Chinatown is now known for its vibrant culture and amazing street food. Experience an explosion for your senses with an evening stroll through these bustling streets, walking past storefronts burning paper money and incense offerings and hawkers selling their wares, all while ancient Buddhist and Confucian rituals take place side by side.

    Take in the aromas wafting from colourful shops filled with crispy roasted ducks and suckling pigs, steaming dim sum and traditional medicine. Listen as your guide provides insight into the history of the area and introduces you to some local eats to try along the way like giant tiger prawn skewers or traditional Chinese-style BBQ.

    Duration: 4-5hrs

  • Learn How to Prepare Shan Cuisine

    Heho, Myanmar

    The cuisine of Shan State is loaded with unique flavours thanks to its many fresh, locally-farmed products, the influence of its nine primary ethnic groups as well as its preference for spices similar to those used in the south of India. Shan State is known for producing glutinous rice, fermented beans and preserved vegetables in rice wine while the floating gardens of Inle Lake supplies tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and string beans to much of the country.

    Spend the morning shopping in the local fresh market and selecting ingredients. With the hands-on guidance from the chef, prepare popular Shan dishes including Shan noodles, vegetable tempura, and Shan salad which you will enjoy for lunch.

    Duration: 4hrs

  • Conversations with a Local Artist

    Yangon, Myanmar

    Recent democratic reforms in Myanmar have spurred the growth of its contemporary art scene, particularly in Yangon where private galleries represent a diverse range of artists experimenting with different subjects and art forms.

    Visit the home gallery of a Yangon resident artist, considered one of Myanmar’s masters of watercolour paintings, well-known for depicting Buddhist monastic life and the detailed temple architecture of Bagan. View his latest paintings in progress and listen as the soft-spoken artist shares stories of his humble beginnings and how the country’s fascinating political events as well as his own personal experiences have influenced his work. Afterwards, the artist will accompany you to visit a couple of his favorite art galleries.

    Duration: 2-3hrs

  • Bagan Lacquerware Workshop

    Bagan, Myanmar

    Bagan was once home to royal artisans and craftsmen, creating exquisite pottery, wood carvings, stone sculptures and lacquerware. Today, Bagan still produces some of the finest lacquerware in Myanmar.

    Visit a lacquerware workshop and meet with the owner who will tell you about the history of Burmese lacquerware, a time- and labour-intensive process involving up to 12 layers of lacquer followed by intricate designs engraved completely freehand and coloured with fine stone powder. Participate in a hands-on lacquerware-making session, trying your hand at some of the easier steps of lacquerware-making and bring home the piece you make as a personal souvenir of Bagan.

    Duration: 2.5hrs

  • Biking to Shan Villages

    Heho, Myanmar

    Spend a leisurely half day by bike and boat exploring the villages around scenic Inle Lake, home to some 10 different ethnic groups. Cycle along Inle Lake’s perimeter road, taking in pastoral scenes of local life and landscapes. With the help of your guide, interact with the villagers at Tha Le U South and North and Ale Myaung.

    Also stop at Red Mountain Estate, one of two vineyards in Myanmar, for spectacular vistas back towards Nyaung Shwe and the lake beyond, a picturesque stop to enjoy a glass of locally-made wine. At Nam Pan Village, board a boat to visit a few craft villages including a floating workshop making cheroot (traditional Myanmar cigars) and a blacksmithery at Sae Kaung.

    Duration: 6hrs

  • Adventure Exploring Rural Bagan

    Bagan, Myanmar

    Explore rural Bagan on a half-day adventure by bike and boat. Cycle through the Bagan countryside to the 10th century Kyauk Gu U Min, said to be the entrance to an ancient tunnel leading all the way to the Pindaya caves in Shan State. Explore this atmospheric temple featuring meditation caves hewn from the rock and mural paintings from the 13th century depicting the armies of Kublai Khan.

    Cycle to a thanakha plantation to see how the bark from these trees are ground into a cosmetic paste used as sunblock favoured by Burmese women and children. Trade bicycle for boat and sail down the Ayeyarwady cruising past timeless scenes of river life in the soft glow of sunset.

    Duration: 5hrs

Key Cities In Myanmar

Learn more about the unique characteristics and attractions of the cities that make up this diverse country.

Hotels We Recommend

Explore a selection of our hotel offerings to complete your customised journey. The number of hotels and resorts throughout Southeast Asia are extensive and varied. Please contact us for more accommodation options.

Sofitel Inle Lake Myat Min

Inle Lake, Myanmar

Suitable for:
Couples, Families, Groups

The Strand

Yangon, Myanmar

Suitable for:
Business, Families

Belmond Governor’s Residence

Yangon, Myanmar

Suitable for:
Business, Families, Leisure

Sule Shangri-La Yangon

Yangon, Myanmar

Suitable for:
Business, Families, MICE

Pan Pacific Yangon

Yangon, Myanmar

Suitable for:
Business, Couples, Families, MICE

Anawrahta

Ayeyarwady & Chindwin Rivers, Myanmar

Suitable for:
Couples, Families, Romance

Inspired to start planning your customised journey to Southeast Asia? Share your ideas with us at hello@trailsofindochina.com or submit a request below.

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