Reasons to Visit
The famous Irrawaddy River flows through the heart of the country for 2,000km to a vast Delta region southwest of Rangoon and provides an important role in everyday life. A journey on this most majestic of rivers is a highlight of any trip.
Burma is home to an astonishing number of ethnicities each with their own traditional dress and customs, and in many cases, language and religion. For the most rewarding encounters we recommend heading to the hills of Shan state where it’s possible to stay in remote villages and receive the most genuine of welcomes and hospitality.
Burma is steeped in history and the legacy of various kingdoms and rule is very much in evidence throughout the country from former ancient capitals and grandiose royal palaces around Mandalay to the faded colonial grandeur of Rangoon’s municipal buildings built by British hands.
Whether you are shopping for gems in Rangoon’s Scott Market, betel nut in Kalaw or intricate lacquerware in Pagan there is no better way to immerse yourself in the way of life than to soak up the atmosphere of a local market.
Wherever you travel in Burma you will only be footsteps away from a temple providing an opportunity to witness the quiet reverence of the Burmese people. Climb up to a viewpoint amongst the ancient stupas of Pagan at sunset, visit stilted temples by boat at Inle Lake or marvel at the shimmering Shwedagon Pagoda.
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Less famous than the temples at Angkor or Borobodur, Pagan is unquestionably one of the 'must sees' in Asia. There are over 3,000 temples here, and a popular way to see them is via a hot-air balloon trip.
Less famous than the temples at Angkor or Borobodur, Pagan is unquestionably one of the 'must sees' in Asia.
There are over 3,000 temples here, covering an area of over 40 square kilometres. Built between the 11th and 13th centuries and straddling the Irrawaddy River, it is easy to lose yourself amongst the stupas and pagodas at this amazing complex. Our guides can give you in-depth tours or a more general overview, depending on your level of interest.
All tours in Pagan will include the temples of Ananda and Dhammayangyi, Shwezigon (the largest) and Thatbyinnyu (the tallest) and your guide will endeavour to take you to one of the quieter temples to watch the sunset.
Despite the recent construction of an unsightly observation tower, there is still, in our opinion, no better way of viewing the temples than from the spectacular vantage point of a hot-air balloon. Usually taken at dawn, the balloon flight lasts around 45 minutes and is without doubt the best way to get an overview of this remarkable panorama.
The flights only operate in the dry season between October and March.
One of Audley's Burma specialists looks at the benefits of staying in a property with character as well as the ethics of travel to this fascinating country.
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Further reading:Tours in BurmaWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout BurmaCountry Guides
Other countries in Southeast Asia:BorneoCambodiaIndonesiaLaosMalaysiaPapua New GuineaThailandThe PhilippinesVietnam
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