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Burma Highlights BUH

Visiting: Burma
Trip Duration 14 Days

Reviews for Burma Highlights

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

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Burma Highlights reviews verified by reevooReevoo

56 reviews

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Burma HighlightsScores 8.8 out of 10 based on 56 reviews
(8 out of 10)


The hotels were excellent – of a much higher standard than expected and in great locations (better than the usual Explore selection! If Explore offered regularly this standard of accommodation I could convince more acquaintances to travel with Explore!)

The restaurants the guide chose for lunch were also an excellent selection with a wide choice of food (including for vegetarians) starting at low prices and in nice locations. The local drinks including beer were very good and cheap.

The highlights of the trip were:

1) The sunset on the U Bein wooden bridge in Mandalay was absolutely spectacular (while Mandalay was a great disappointment).

2) Lake Inlay – the boat trips with stunning scenery, the lake surrounded by mountains, the fishermen, villages on water, floating gardens etc. The train journey to Kalaw. Wonderful.

3) Bagan – visiting the area. I really appreciated the visit by horse carriage among the unspoilt circa 3000 temples and the sunset from the top of one of them. Memorable.

What I have to criticise about this trip:
1) There is a lack of ancient / worthwhile buildings/ landmarks/ temples/ pagodas or “historical” places to visit in Myanmar but this should NOT be an excuse to have an overdose of visits to MODERN pagodas / temples (awful buildings). There is no need to visit every single contemporary place of worship that is being built in Myanmar (there seems to have one at every street corner).

2) I was glad I "like" shopping because most days there was an overdose of stops at a cottage industry or “factory” (umbrella making, paper making, silk weaving, lotus weaving, wood carving, silver jewelry making, gold leaf making, stone carving, lacquer etc..). This is “potentially” interesting if you have never travelled in South-East Asia but it is invariably a cover up for visiting a shop and spend shopping time. I don’t mind it if it is not too frequent– e.g. the stop at the local market was welcome - but shopping was excessive even for me and for those who hate shopping (there were some among us) or who have seen it countless number of times (in other countries – it’s very similar). This was an overdose. Perhaps the guide should ASK us whether we want to stop at these countless shops and follow what the majority wants???

3) The trip is very /too leisurely. It is indeed a positive thing to spend 2 or 3 nights at the same hotel but there is such a lot of empty time and so little "to see" that the trip risks to be classified as “boring”. I must say I would have liked it to be more compact, packed with only what is worthwhile doing (cut a good third or more of it!!).
Confirmed traveller: 08 October 2016
Published on: 20 October 2016
(9 out of 10)


A first rate trip. An enthusiastic and well-informed leader. A variety of places were visited. Personally I would prefer fewer visits to 'emporia' but appreciate the need to support the local economy. All arrangements/accommodation/travel worked smoothly. If something is lost by not travelling independently then much is gained by not spending time and energy making one's own arrangements. Overall this kind of trip is able to pack in much more in a short space if time. The trip provided me with a good overview of a country in SE Asia I had not visited before.
Confirmed traveller: 08 October 2016
Published on: 14 October 2016
(9 out of 10)


Despite the proliferation of stupas everywhere, this is an enjoyably diverse trip. Lake Inle is a tranquil highlight whilst Kalaw, the former British hill town, is quite charming and Mandalay has many hidden delights. In fact, every single place we visited was fascinating in its own right. In addition to the beauty of the place was the beauty of the people - the Burmese people we encountered were kind, smiling and courteous and were great ambassadors for their country. Bagan, of course, was as wonderful as we expected but what we did not expect, perhaps, was that every other place we visited would be a highlight too.
Confirmed traveller: 21 August 2016
Published on: 01 September 2016
(10 out of 10)


Excellent tour leader and perfect organization of the whole trip.
Confirmed traveller: 06 August 2016
Published on: 21 August 2016
(8 out of 10)


Loved the 2 days spent at Inle Lake. It was nice to get a hotel with a pool at Bagan as the temperature was over 40C when we were there, which was higher than normal. Would advise people to go much earlier due to the heat.
Confirmed traveller: 12 April 2016
Published on: 13 April 2016
(9 out of 10)


Isle of Wight
We thoroughly enjoyed this tour which was our first with Explore. The Itinerary was well thought out and Myanmar is a fascinating place to visit. Much of the success of the tour was also due to our wonderful tour leader Mya Mya Win. She was a fund of information, thoughtful and flexible according to needs as well as enthusiastic with a great sense of humour. We felt lucky and privileged to have her as our guide. We were also fortunate to meet a nice group of people to travel with, who were also positive and enthusiastic to try new things.All the hotels were fine - our room in the Rama in Mandalay was disappointing as it looked out on a brick wall. We loved the setting of the Thazin Garden Hotel, Bagan.
Confirmed traveller: 10 March 2016
Published on: 15 March 2016
(10 out of 10)


Burma Highlights accurately sums up this trip. It was a progress through a succession of outstanding locations and experiences in a country poised at a crossroads and potentially a very exciting time in its history. Almost everything we saw and did was a highlight but for me the standout bits were the 2 days at Inle Lake, the train ride between Inle & Kalaw where we gained so many insights into life in Burma by talking to our fellow passengers and the magical horse & cart ride through the temples of Bagan in early evening. The ubiquitous pagodas, stupas & Buddhas never failed to impress but alongside all these highlights we were always aware of the Burmese people - gentle, welcoming, polite and always friendly - and the delights of the local food, the Myanmar cuisine and the accompanying Myanmar beer! Just one tip : brace yourself as the pace is fast, the temperature high but it is an unforgettable and exhilarating ride
Confirmed traveller: 06 March 2016
Published on: 10 March 2016
(10 out of 10)


Hightown, merseyside
A busy tour packed with interesting local and cultural sights. The free afternoons and travelling days were well spaced out and provided a chance to catch the breath. Our guide, Si, introduced us to local people on the train and in villages, so we got a change to exchange information with them using Si as our interpreter. I loved it all. There were 14 in our group and we all bonded well.

Wipes were provided after pagoda visits to clean our feet. Take a pumice stone in your luggage to get feet properly clean back at the hotel. Take lots of wipes and toilet roll for general hygienic use. Many public toilets lack tissue.

Water was always available and provided free on the bus. Complimentary water was provided in all our hotel rooms.

Take plenty of paracetamol and ibruprophen etc with you because pharmacies are hard to find.

I had a nasty reaction to the Doxycycline antimalarial tablets and developed a very sore mouth, so take some mouthwash or ulcer gels. Our guide said the was no malaria in the places on our tour, so I could have avoided the discomfort by not taking the antimalarial tablets. By the time I stopped taking them, the damage was done. We saw few mosquitos in February.

Take a torch for nighttime strolls because roads in the towns and cities have open drains, missing covers and building rubble everywhere. I went in February when it was dusty and dry. There was no point wearing a dress or fancy shoes in the evening. Wear light coloured clothes at night because street lights are rare in some towns and scooters do not all use lights.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 06 March 2016
Published on: 08 March 2016
(8 out of 10)


Kingston, Ontario, Canada
The Explore tour in Burma was excellent. Beginning with the Shewedagon Temple and then moving on to Inlay Lake created an amazing impression of this fascinating country.

Khaw our tour leader was another highlight for me because of his warmth, knowledge and demeanor. He was attentive and efficient and very sensitively conveyed subtle aspects of Myanmar culture and politics. The warmth and openness of the Burmese people made every day lovely as it is often the human landscape that one remembers in the months and years after such a trip.


The boat trip on the Irawaddy was fairly enjoyable but very crowded. Because the scenery is a bit repetitive, this would have been a great opportunity for the group to mix and enjoy one another. We scrambled for seats and couldn't all sit together and because there were so many other tourists, the experience was less interesting than it could have been. A slightly better boat with a few more amenities would have made the trip to Bagan less tedious. Tables for sharing the meal, a better bar, more options for sun and shade would have made the day more pleasant.

Bagan was wonderful but I worried about the safety climbing up on some of the ancient structures. Again, at sunset it was packed with bus loads of other tourists and this took away from the experience. I know there is little to be done about this. I might suggest the tourism people limiting the numbers..

I loved all the temples and thought we went through them at a good pace. Even more historical background about Burmese history before visiting the temples would make them even more enriching.
The hotel in Bagan (with the wonderful pool and gorgeous dining area) was a delight. The Hotel Rama in Mandalay might have been better. The restaurant on the rooftop was only adequate and again, the delight of any Explore trip is having great spaces (hotels, restaurants) to gather with other group members. The neighbourhood of the Rama Hotel didn't seem to offer much. The rooms were nice and large and the staff, as in every hotel, were simply wonderful.
Confirmed traveller: 27 February 2016
Published on: 12 March 2016
(9 out of 10)


Highlights were the many temples of Began and ample time for visiting. Explore leader had a good knowledge of area and was very helpful to all members of the group.
Confirmed traveller: 27 February 2016
Published on: 09 March 2016