Mingalabar (welcome). Since 1999, we have been arranging trips in this most special of places, The Land of Gold. What's new since Orwell penned his classic colonial-era novel, Burmese Days? Notwithstanding Barack Obama's offical state visit during his presidency and to the delight of our travelers, not much at all. After forty years, in what once was a sleepy, closed-off destination, visitors will now encounter new buildings going up in aged Yangon, but only an hour’s flight from Bangkok is ancient and mystical past; a refreshing glimpse of how life was in much of Asia decades ago. Despite the media, you will encounter only a warm and friendly people, stunning ruins, mighty rivers, Himalayan mountain views, historic colonial buildings, teakwood forests, and a unique ambiance that harks back to the past, where ox-drawn carts still trundle along dusty roads and saffron-robed monks spend quiet me worshiping at revered shrines.
Indochina Travel was able to get me linked up with Min Ko Naing, who is the next most important person in Myanmar, behind Aung San Suu Kyi, and that interview was eye opening.
—Dr. Al Campbell
"Then, a golden mystery upheaved itself on the horizon, a beautiful winking wonder that blazed in the sun, of a shape that was neither Muslim dome nor Hindu temple-spire. It stood upon a green knoll, and below it were lines of warehouses, sheds, and mills. Under what new god, thought I, are we irrepressible English sitting now?." —Rudyard Kipling.
Yangon is Asia's most verdant city and though the former capital has begun to develop after decades, it still remains a charming, traditional place to view rustic treasures of the British period (the greatest colonial period buildings in Southeast Asia) and monumental religious architecture.
Situated in the furthest north of Myanmar, only accessible by air, Putao is a small situated in a picturesque verdant valley below snow-capped peaks the Himalayan foothills. In Ptao, enjoy moderate to serious trekking, water rafting or simplay taking in the magnificent views while exploring the beautiful landscapes and ethnic Kachin and Lisu hill tribe villages.
For the truly adventurous, there are some serious trekking programs we can arrange from Putao.
"The whole, as seen from the river, might pass for a scene in another planet, so fantastic and unearthly was the architecture." —Henri Yule, one of the first Westerners to see Bagan in 1855.
If you're traveling with us, we've arranged ,at sunrise, a thrilling, untethered balloon ride, drifting low over one of the world's most astonishing archaeological sites, taking in the spectacular, breathtaking tableau as the morning sun light strikes the golden stupas and the hundreds of red brick temples on the plain beneath you.
Mandalay was the country’s former seat of power until the British invasion in 1885 and remains Myanmar’s spiritual center. Mandalay is where the strongest expression of traditional arts and crafts are centered, rich with historical sites, cultural memorials, and significant Buddhist monuments that reflect the strong current of Buddhism here which we will begin to explore after arrival, including a fascinating encounter with graduate monks from the university.
Inle is not only the second largest lake in Myanmar (covering roughly 45 square miles in a beautiful and remote, mountainous area of the Shan State), but the Inle basin represents an entire region. One could spend a week exploring the lake, villages, and nearby towns and sights such as Kakku and Kalaw, and still only scratch the surface. For many of our past travelers, Inle was a highlight of their trip, particularly during the festival season (September through January).
At nearly 3,000 foot elevation, the picturesque area and was a destination for colonial-era British escaping the torrid heat of Yangon. A geographic highlight of the country and most likely, of your travel in the country, Inle is also rich in a diversity of traditional hilltribes and should be part of your trip not only for the bucolic landscapes, but cultural import provided by the local populations, particularly during the frequent festivals which see wide attendance from these tribes. [Read more about Inle Lake]
This pleasant small town is a former British hillstation, located in a lush, tranquil valley. Kalaw makes for a tranquil stopover during our trip, spending time at the local market where a diversity of the 33 hilltribes that inhabit the Shan State come in from remote villages to trade and buy goods.
There is also the original British train station here, where we will witness an arrival of the local train from seemingly out of the past, and a nearby elephant sanctuary, one of the finest and least crowded in the region.
Mount Popa is a long-ago extinct volcanic and features a towering 500 foot vent, Taung Kalat, that is held sacred as home to Burmese animist spirits (nats).
From a picturesque hillside resort, enjoy a hike up the over seven hundred of steps to reach the summit of extinct volcano, dodging ubiquotous wild monkeys that live on Taung Kalat, to explore the temple at it's summit, meet and converse with resident monks about the history of Popa, and take in the stunning panoramic views of the region as if on the top of Mount Kilmanjero.
This remote 3-kilometer stretch of unspoiled, secluded and tranquil white sandy beach remains as Thailand's beaches were two decades ago.
An short flight from Bagan or Yangon, Ngapali is the perfect spot to end your trip in Myanmar if you're looking for a far more quiet and relaxing retreat before returning home. There are but a handful resorts here, while leisure facilities and water activities are limited, they do include a nine-hole golf course, and boat trips around the region's fishing villages and offshore islands. [Read more about Ngapali Beach]
Myanmar Cruise to MandalayEverything you've heard is true — Japan is the ultimate culinary destination.