GMT + 6½ Hours
A diversity of regional influences along with a century of imperial colonialism has shaped Burma into a cultural destination that will capture the hearts of adventurous travellers. Once isolated from the rest of the world, tourism is now encouraged in small groups allowing visitors to once again discover this beautifully preserved nation, which was described by Rudyard Kipling as 'quite unlike any land you know about'. There’s no better time than now to join a tour or luxury river cruise and see this transitioning nation for yourself.
- Rangoon (Yangon) is developing at quite a rate however cultural wonders such as the Shwedagon Pagoda remain at its heart
- Over 2000 9th to 13th-Century pagodas and temples can be found in the plains surrounding the ancient city of Bagan
- Luxury Belmond cruises along the Irrawaddy River between Rangoon, Bagan and Mandalay
- Ancient traditions and cultures such as the leg rowers of Inle Lake
- This is the perfect destination if you are keen to get off the beaten track and immerse yourself in local culture.
Best time to visit
Burma is best visited October to May thus avoiding the monsoon rains that can make the summer months very wet. Northern and upland regions of Burma can be considerably cooler than the coastal and delta regions, including Yangon, where average temperatures are 32°C.
Natural wonders abound throughout Burma. Evocative Mandalay and Rangoon (Yangon) exude faded colonial charm and the people are welcoming and engaging. Buddhist spirituality - always at the heart of Burmese culture - is evident from the abundance of temples and pagodas, including the quite remarkable Kyaiktiyo Golden Rock Pagoda which bears clear testimony to the nation’s devotion.
Holidays in Burma Highlights:
• Golden Rock, Kyaiktiyo
• Contemplate at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon
• Visit the Inle Lake floating market and observe village life
• Celebrate at a full moon or pagoda festival
• Cross the teak U Bein Bridge, near Mandalay, at sunset
• Cruise to Mandalay from Bagan
• Relax on Ngapali’s unspoilt beaches
• Allied war graves near Htauk Kyan
Burma remains an undeveloped and controversial destination to visit (see below). But Burma also offers something unique and authentic, something potentially challenging but always deeply rewarding.
Burma - The Essentials
• Refrain from asking political questions in inappropriate situations
• Don’t point your feet towards people
• Take off shoes and socks and wear long trousers (gentlemen) or long sleeves and a long skirt or trousers (ladies) in temples, monasteries and pagodas
• Tipping is widely acceptable in tourist areas and bargaining is a way of life
Hot Topic - Ethical Travel to Burma
Recent political changes in Burma have moved the destination into the spotlight and positive news resulting in the most radical changes in the country after almost five decades of military dictatorship are bringing hope for economic development and a better life.
Wanting to help the Burmese people and after much deliberation, Kuoni has decided to offer a programme of small group and private tours. These are designed specifically for cultural travellers so that they may discover Burma, its people and way of life.
These tours are run in partnership with local, private sector operators and avoid, wherever possible, government-run companies and organisations.
Other Similar Destinations
holiday in Thailand, Sri Lanka or Malaysia.
Travelling through Burma offered us a glimpse at a destination unique and unspoilt by mass tourism. The people are very friendly and deeply dedicated to their Buddist beliefs. Bagan and Mandalay offered us the opportunity to see the very best temples and ancient sites - the most impressive we've seen across all of the Far East.
If you like to get under the skin of a destination and like to experience life at a slower place Burma offers all this in abundance. Our highlight was when we hired a horse and cart driver for the day to see all the temples in Bagan. It is idylic!!