Our adventure tour begins in Yangon, where we shop for groceries in a local market, help prepare lunch in a monastery orphanage and witness moving Buddhist rituals at the vast 2500 year-old Shwedagon Pagoda. Heading next to fabled Mandalay, we follow quiet leafy lanes through the ruins of an ancient city, take a funky boat along the Irrawaddy River and walk the astonishing U Bein teak bridge with local farmers and monks.
In the green and misty Northern Highlands of Myanmar, we trek with local hill tribe people, help bathe their elephants and plant trees for their reforestation project, then explore the atmospheric little town of Kalaw, an old colonial British hill station.
This adventure tour in Myanmar goes from superb to sublime on the astonishingly beautiful Inle Lake, where we explore the unique culture of its floating villages by boat, cycle its shoreline to visit forest monks and sip sundowners from the deck of our over-the-water hotel, watching the famous leg rowers head home.
Ballooning in Bagan! Drifting at dawn in a hot air balloon over a multitude of glittering temples is one of most spiritual sights on the planet, and a grand finale to this amazing journey.
As a unique twist, there are two levels of activity on this Myanmar tour: The classic level if you prefer more gentle exercise, and the active level if you relish longer and more challenging excursions on mountain bikes. The group meets up in the evenings and also enjoys some joint activities. So if you need more of a work out than your companion, you’ll both be well served.
Day 1: Yangon
Relax by the pool in our colonial-style five-star boutique hotel, and sample gourmet Burmese cuisine in one of the country’s top restaurants.
Day 2: Yangon
Drink tea with locals in a friendly market, help serve lunch to young monks in a monastery orphanage and witness moving Buddhist rituals in the 2500-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda.
Day 3: Mandalay
Check out the pampered snakes in a tucked away temple, walk with farmers and monks on the world’s longest teak bridge, and savor local beer and BBQ snacks as the sun sets over the Irrawaddy River.
Day 4: Mandalay
Follow quiet leafy lanes to ancient ruins, enjoy a picnic on the river bank, kick up your heels on a slow boat back to the royal city.
Day 5: Kalaw
Take an early flight to the Northern Highlands, then trek through the forest to meet local hill tribe people, help wash their elephants in the river and plant some trees for a reforestation project.
Day 6: Inle Lake
Wander through the evocative riverside temples of Indein, then take a skinny boat to our hotel on stilts over Inle Lake. From your deck, marvel at the leg rowers heading home!
Day 7: Inle Lake
Scoot around the lake by private boat, visiting floating gardens and vibrant markets. In traditional teak houses, see how cheroots are rolled, local boats are built and Burmese cats are bred.
Day 8: Inle Lake
Bike through the rice fields of Shan and Intha villages, stopping to visit forest monks and to shop at a lively market. Then close your eyes as we transport you to a surprise location, for a long, luxurious and unforgettable lunch!
Day 9: Inle Lake – Bagan
After a free morning to take in the beauty of the lake, hop on a plane to the astonishing Bagan. Arrive as the late afternoon sun casts golden light over a plain dotted with hundreds of exquisite pagodas.
Day 10: Bagan
By bike or horse and cart, wander the sandy lanes of this astonishing archeological site, stopping to visit ancient pagodas and temples, each with its own unique and evocative atmosphere.
Day 11: Bagan
As an option, at daybreak, drift over the wonders of Bagan in a hot air balloon – definitely a ‘bucket list’ experience! (Optional extra). Have a picnic lunch in the shade of a centuries old temple wall, and sip sundowners on a sandbank in the middle of the mighty Irrawaddy River.
Day 12: Bagan – Yangon
Revisit your favourite temples or shop for some top quality lacquer ware before returning to Yangon, in time for our farewell dinner.
Bid farewell to newfound friends, as you head to homeward flights or onward journeys.
Please note: this itinerary serves as an example of trip highlights and is subject to change.
We think of our itineraries as melodies: they have a beginning and an end, a certain arc, dramatic highlights and a few surprises. We like to improvise, to adapt to the mood of our guests or to circumstances that arise — an invitation to a traditional wedding, say, or a local ethnic festival…
Crafting beautiful, harmonious trips with delightful twists is our trade mark and passion.
A country that is in the most exciting time of its history, as it emerges from decades of dictatorship and isolation into a new dawn of democracy. As well as visiting its iconic sites, including Inle Lake and Bagan, we will be heading to some much lesser known places, and meeting local people who can share their recent experiences. Highlights include a balloon ride over Bagan and helping to bathe an elephant in the Northern Highlands!
Yangon, the capital of Burma.
There are nonstop flights from Bangkok, Thailand to Yangon, with Air Asia, Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways and Myanmar Airways.
We have two levels of activity. For the Classic, a reasonable level of fitness is required, as we will be doing some gentle hiking and biking. For the Active, a good level of fitness is required, along with mountain bike experience, as we will have some excursions of several hours over rough terrain.
SE Asia style, with an Indian influence. In most of our accommodations you will have the option of Western dishes as well as typical Burmese fare. We will encourage you to join us for tea at a local Tea Shop and for appies prepared freshly on a barbeque at a local Beer Station. For sure you will enjoy some of the finest Indian cuisine you’ll ever taste in one of our favourite restaurants in Burma!
Not at all, but please let us know in advance, and advise us on what you can’t eat.
Your routine vaccinations (tetanus/diphtheria, polio, etc.) must be up to date. Another general precaution for travelers anywhere in the world is a hepatitis A and possibly a typhoid vaccination. If you are travelling from a country with a risk of yellow fever virus transmission, you will need to provide proof of yellow fever vaccination. For those countries, see: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2012/chapter-3-infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/yellow-fever.htm#1948
Not at all, but please let us know in advance, and advise us on what you can’t eat.
Medical insurance, including emergency evacuation, is mandatory on all our trips. We also strongly advise you to purchase trip cancellation insurance.
Your routine vaccinations (Tetanus-Diphtheria, Poliomyelitis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella) should be up to date. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required if you are coming from a country where the disease is present. Please consult with your physician or local travel health clinic.
In rural areas of Burma there is the risk of malaria, so it is advisable to take malarial medication. We advise you to use Docxycline, however you should consult your local travel clinic or physician. As there is also the presence of dengue fever (transmitted by mosquitoes) in Burma, it is advisable to also opt for transmission protection (long sleeves/trousers, and regular applications of DEET insect repellent). Sensible precautions should ensure you do not get bitten.
Airport transfers on the first and last days of the trip, all cultural tour guiding and entrance fees, all accommodation and meals.
International and domestic flights, airport transfers not on the first or last days of the trip, alcoholic drinks, personal insurance and gratuities. The Active Level Itinerary has an extra charge, and Ballooning over Bagan is also an optional extra.
There are few ATMs in Burma and to date they are only accepting Master Cards. The best place to change money is at the airport on arrival. You will need to bring US $ to change, and it is VITAL that these are brand new notes, with no creases, stains or marks.
When you sign up for the trip, we will provide you with a comprehensive clothes and equipment list.
Absolutely not. We have many guests who travel with us on their own. They appreciate the camaraderie of our Hidden Places groups, and usually go home with new-found friends.
No journey to SE Asia is complete without a visit to the mystical Angkor temples around Siem Reap, Cambodia. Watch the sun rise over the stunning towers of Angkor Wat; sit in the roots of a giant tree to gaze at the peaceful four side faces of Bayon temple; marvel at the intricate carvings in Banteay Srei and hike through cool forest to the astounding riverbed carvings in Kbal Spean. As our knowledgeable guide brings history alive, you will be spellbound and moved by this incomparable UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From US $4850 per person
Scheduled: Dec 02 – Dec 14, 2017
Dec 02 - Dec 14, 2018
Private: Nov through Mar
Hiking, biking, local boat cruises, cultural visits. For the active supplement – guided mountain biking on most days. Ballooning over Bagan, optional extra.
Hotels, ranging from very comfortable to luxurious
Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)
It was great to have been so well taken care of, so our energy could all go to enjoying Burma. The variety and flexibility was superb. Every day was fun and different, and the Burmese people are a delight.
The trip was fun, educational and inspirational, and gave us a unique way of experiencing Burma. Nothing is ever ordinary on any of your trips and I love to see cultures and places through your sensitive eyes.
Usually we just wing it. I was so glad we didn't on this trip as there was no way we could have had such a diverse experience each day. …..We will be back!
I feel that we really experienced Burma authentically and thanks to you, Maria, it was seamless and pleasurable.Thank you so much for all the delightful events you so artfully created.