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Burma Highlights + Beach extension BUHB

Visiting: Burma
Trip Duration 17 Days

Reviews for Burma Highlights + Beach extension

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

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We have the following different versions of the Burma Highlights + Beach extension trip available at present.

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Burma Highlights + Beach extension reviews verified by reevooReevoo

58 reviews

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Burma Highlights + Beach extensionScores 9.0 out of 10 based on 58 reviews
(10 out of 10)


What a brilliant trip around a fascinating country. Highlights for me were seeing and hearing firsthand what life is like in communities we visited, the beautiful scenery around Kalaw and Inle Lake and being the only western tourists at a place, which happened a fair bit.

Our tour leader, Myo, was absolutely fantastic, so kind, knowledgeable and generous, he really made the trip. We got so much insight into Burma's turbulent past, its traditions and ways of life, and also the fragile new democracy and the changes that are afoot to modernise and improve quality of life. I loved learning so much about the country we were seeing, and Myo was very patient in answering all my questions! Our three drivers were also great, I felt extremely safe 'on the road' and there was a ready supply of chilled water when we got back to the minibus after some of the longer visits.

I did get a bit of temple fatigue in Bagan but I understand that for some people that might be the highlight of the trip, so I was happy to compromise, and there were still some temples and the stories behind them that I loved, particularly the haunted temple!

There were only six of us in our group and I think that really helped us have a more relaxed time and a more personalised experience. I haven't done a holiday in a bigger group so can't compare the two however.

The hotels exceeded my expectations, they all have their pros and cons but I would happily stay in them all again. They all provided some toiletries in the room, most had shampoo and shower gel so you might want to factor that in to your packing. All hotels also provided complimentary bottled water and tea and coffee making gubbins.

The beach extension was a lovely, relaxed end to the holiday. Ngapali Beach is really unspoilt and was quiet when we went (not peak season), the water is so warm that you can wade straight in without a care in the world. Definitely walk along the beach to the left of the hotel (Amata) to the fishing village, I went at sunset and got some wonderful photos of the local fishing industry wrapping up for the day.

I'd also recommend the People's Park in Yangon for your last day in the city. When I visited there was a beautiful lighting festival on, which was a bonus, but even without that it's still a leafy retreat from the heat and noise of the city, and overlooked by the Shwedagon stupa.

I did get sick twice during the trip, and two of my fellow travellers also fell ill. I felt pretty rough for a couple of days and this impacted on what I could do and my enjoyment of the trip. We didn't take any silly risks with food or drinks and some people on the trip didn't get ill at all, so I think it's mostly bad luck. It did make me feel pretty wary of eating out, particularly in the days that followed both bouts.

It was pretty hot when we were there (late March/early April) but I was surprised that the heat and humidity didn't take it out of me too much. There were only a couple of times on the organised part of the tour when I felt a bit drained by it, but on the whole it was absolutely fine. I think Myo was very clever in making sure we had regular pitstops in air conditioned places, whether that was the minibus, a restaurant or somewhere else. And because it's considered too hot by some, it's not peak tourist season, which was great.

I would definitely recommend this trip - the variety, the pace and the organisation were top notch. This is a captivating country that I feel I got to know as well as I possibly could in two and a half weeks, and that's due to a great itinerary and a wonderful tour guide. Thanks Explore and thanks Myo!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 12 April 2017
Published on: 16 April 2017
(10 out of 10)

Confirmed traveller

Excellent itinerary and accommodation provided exceeded my expectations. A fantastic and well organised tour travelling to all the top highlights at a good gentle pace. Not as many long days walks or walking required to access the sights compared with other tours but it was great for me. Wonderful to spend more than one night in the majority of locations just to catch your breath.

I added the Ngapali beach extension and was glad that I did as it was a great way to end the tour and recommended particularly if travelling with close friends or family. Some solo travellers may not enjoy it as much. The beach was quiet and a beautiful place to relax and there were day trips available. For some reason at night there was a lot of music but I couldn't really work out where it was coming from but it didn't disturb me too much.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 28 March 2017
Published on: 31 March 2017
(10 out of 10)


Perth, Western Australia
This is an amazing trip, with something different to see & do every day. Loved all the different modes of transport and Haymar our tour leader was exceptional!! Thoroughly recommend this trip, and the beach extension is a lovely way to wind up your stay in Myanmar.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 20 March 2017
Published on: 24 March 2017
(9 out of 10)


An excellent tour made all the more memorable thanks to Zar Zar our wonderful guide.
The tour had a good mix of temples and pagodas interspersed with boat trips on Inla lake and a hike and visit to a village and pony and trap rides.
There were for me too many visits to see craftsmen and women at work but what we saw was fascinating.
The highlight for me was the beach extension and I'm not a beach person but the 2days there made a relaxing end to the tour.
Zar Zar was wonderful. Nothing was too much trouble for her. She is extremely knowledgeable and her love of Myanmar is very evident.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 15 March 2017
Published on: 20 March 2017
(9 out of 10)


Amazing: felt we really got under the skin of Myanmar. Our tour leader, Za Za, is delightful, brought the culture and everything about Myanmar alive. A wonderful way about her and everyone seemed to feel the same way about her. A star!! Trip rated as moderate and occasionally seemed a bit too full on: we saw so many artisans and trades people when this could have been reduced a little. It was a massive part of live in Inle though so think that was essential. Fabulous group too, and if there were any slight, very slight, issues As As dealt with them so charmingly! A wonderful trip, so many memories..... Thankyou Explore
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 14 March 2017
Published on: 23 March 2017
(9 out of 10)


I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

My highlights were Mandalay and Bagan, and some of my favourite things were not actually part of the itinerary.

Our guide (Amy) took us to a fab temple near Mandalay which wasn't part of the itinerary but we all agreed that it should be.

In Bagan we hired electric mopeds to watch sunrise and the hot air balloons, thankfully Amy arranged for us to be accompanied which was great because we had no idea where we were going in the dark and they made sure we used roads rather than dirt tracks. We all survived unscathed, and had a great time. (Hire a bike and guide for 3 hours and start at 5:30am).

Personally, I would change the hotel in Kalaw and only stay 1 night and have more time in Mandalay/Bagan. The hotel has dreadful rooms and is out of town so you can't do anything with all the spare time. Prob the worst place to have spare time.

Also the boat trip from Mandalay is long and dull, again better to have more time in Bagan.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 07 March 2017
Published on: 09 March 2017
(9 out of 10)


So many highlights - Inle Lake, the villages on stilts and fishermen, sailing down the Irewaddy from Mandelay to Bagan, day hike in the hills of Kalow, beautiful sunsets over pagodas and stupas. People we met along the way, so welcoming and friendly. Beach extension was a welcome few days of relaxation after a full on trip , really lovely spot on the Bay of Bengal.
Our guide May was excellent and organisation of the holiday was very good, given that we travelled by plane, coach, boats, train, horse and cart, tuk tuk. Hotels ok, nice to have a pool at hotel in Bagan.
Highly recommended trip.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 05 March 2017
Published on: 09 March 2017
(9 out of 10)


Chandlers Ford
This was my first trip with Explore and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were 8 people on our tour and we all got on well. The itinerary was varied, interesting and moderately paced and we always had time to rest if needed. We had a free afternoon at Inle Lake and 6 of our group went on the optional trip of wine-tasting which was very relaxing.

The highlights of the tour for me were: 2 days around Inle Lake in a long-tailed boat, the day trek through the beautiful countryside and hills of Kalaw, the pony and cart ride through the villages and countryside at Bagan and the 3 day break at Ngapali Beach.

Our guide, Sandar, was fantastic, she was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable and we learned so much about her country and the people. Nothing was too much trouble for her and she was genuinely concerned and caring when some of our group were feeling unwell.

Most of the hotels were fine but I did not enjoy the breakfast at The Panda Hotel in Yangon (but to be fair they are described as 'standard' in the trip notes so do not expect luxury).

The beach break at Ngapali Beach was very welcome and relaxing, it is a beautiful, quiet beach and the hotel is lovely. We didn't eat at the hotel (apart from breakfast) as there are plenty of restaurants right outside the front entrance.

Some of the trip notes may need to be updated: There were plenty of money changers, banks and ATMs nearly everywhere we went which accepted US Dollars or Euros. WiFi was available at all the hotels. Also, we did not need to pay $10 departure tax when leaving Burma.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 04 March 2017
Published on: 16 March 2017
(8 out of 10)


i would have liked a bit more free time in Baga
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 25 February 2017
Published on: 27 February 2017
(9 out of 10)


The beautiful, kind, lovely and smiley local people (including our very competent and organised tour leader Zar Zar) made our holiday. All the local high standards of arts and craft and the fantastic food were unforgettable.
Thoroughly recommend the beach extension after the tour.
We had a trip to the jade market in Mandalay, which we recommend to add onto your itinerary.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 24 February 2017
Published on: 26 February 2017