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The trip was awesome, had a fantastic time! Jill’s leadership was great and had great tips and was very thoughtful regarding people’s health and safety.
Jim Carmichael (US) | Dhaulagiri Circuit, Nepal

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What are the four "must see" places in Burma? And Why?

There are four so called “must see” places in Burma (Myanmar), these are: Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake.

Bagan is truly one of the wonders of the world and a highlight of any trip to Burma. Across a 40 square kilometres area of savannah landscape you will see 2,230 temples and pagodas with their gilded cupolas sparkling in the sun.

We suggest you take the option for a sunrise balloon ride over Bagan (October to March only and must be booked in advance). From the basket there is a wonderful view of the many pagodas and temples scattered over the Bagan plain and the Irrawady river as the sun rises in the sky .

Mandalay is the cultural centre of Burma and has long been known as a centre of skilled craftsman. Mahumuni Pagoda in the south of the city is known as one of the three most important shrines in Burma along with Schwedagon in Yangon and the Golden Rock in Kyaiktiyo. There is a beautiful teak called Shwenandaw monastery built by King Thibaw in 1880. Sunset from Mandalay Hill is impressive with panorama view of the city as well as Irrawaddy, Mingun and pagoda-covered hills of Sagaing.

Around Mandalay there are many interesting remnants of several former Royal capitals dating from different periods in the regions history: Ava (Inwa), Amarapura, Sagaing and Mingun. At Amarapurna watch the sunrise at the longest teak bridge in the world at U-Bein Bridge.

At Inle Lake you take a long-tail boat to your hotel on the lake and along the way you are likely to see the famous leg-rowing fishermen and the floating gardens. If you have time we suggest you visit Sankar in the far southern region of Inle Lake to see 108 ’sunken’ stupas from the 16-17th centuries, these are partially underwater for a few months a year. This boat journey will take around 2 ½ hours and is an opportunity to get far away from the more touristy areas.

In Yangon you will see the glittering Shwedagon pagoda and the colonial buildings from British times.

We suggest the fifth “must see” is to take the boat cruise along the majestic Irrawady river from Bagan to Mandalay. There are three boats that operate a day cruise to Mandalay or you can take the comfortable RV Paukan 3 day cruise stopping at places along the way. A river cruise is the best way to travel in Burma as you get views of the passing countryside and river activities.

We recommend for any trip to Burma you visit some places beyond the four or five “must see” locations described above. In our Cultural Tours of Burma we have incorporated visits to the former British hills stations at Maymo now known as Pyin Oo Lwin; Kalaw and Loi-mwe near Kengtung.

Other places of interest well worth visiting are: Pindaya with a limestone cavern filled with thousands of Buddha statues and also Mount Popa. Mount Popa is a two hour drive from Bagan which is said to be home of nat spirits and is one of the most important sites of nat worship in Burma. At the end of a tour of Burma the best place to spend a few days to relax is the beautiful Ngapali beach.

For more information please take a look at our Cultural Tours of Burma and get in touch with us if you like more information about visiting Burma (Myanmar).

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