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Burma Highlights + Beach extension BUHB

Visiting: Burma
Tour Duration 17 Days
 

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Reviews for Burma Highlights + Beach extension 4.5 out of 5 based on 26 ratings.

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Tour notes

Each departure date has it's own dedicated tour note, detailing all you need to know about that tour. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

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

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5 Beverley, 28/03/14

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Every day! I don't think you can possible say one highlight or moment. Burma is a complete delight with treasures to find everyday.

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4 Pat Smith, 17/03/14

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

The Burmese people are a delight, so friendly and welcoming. The beach was a wonderful add-on. It is a bit pricey but when you get to the resort you will know why. It is stunning.

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4 Stuart, 05/03/14

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Initiation ceremony of novice monks in Bagan. Our TL had phoned around beforehand, discovered it was happening and made slight alterations to the itinerary to ensure we saw it. She even got us invited to eat with the family of one of the novices – A fantastic experience!

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5 Anthony Oxnam, 04/03/14

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Carriage ride at Bagan

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4.5 , 26/01/14

Name

Lisa

Tour Name

Burma highlights & beach extension

Tour Code

BUH

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

The friendliness and welcome by the Burmese people were simply wonderful. The scenery and other sights are absolutely fantastic and, at times, breathtaking. I will never forget climbing up steps in a temple in Bagan to see hundreds of stupas appear before our eyes first thing in the morning - a truly beautiful sight. The beach was such a superb end to the trip. The hotel was stunning and we could have easily stayed there longer. I just hope tourism doesn't spoil the area too much.

Tour Leader Name

Sai Tun Naing

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Sai was an excellent tour leader and one of the best we have had with Explore. He was clearly passionate about Burma, and provided us with really good information about the country, Buddhism and people. He was attentive, funny and really made us feel welcome. He was keen to show us as much as we wanted to see, which was great and he always made time for 'happy room' stops (toilet stops)!! He was careful about where we ate as a group which was reassuring and resulted in us eating some delicious meals, even though eating noodles with chopsticks was an ongoing challenge!

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

If you go in winter, the nights can be cold, especially in Kalaw and around Inle lake where we shivered one night before finding the extra blankets in the morning! Bagan was very dusty but worth it for the spectacular sights there. We asked to fly via Bangkok which cut travelling time and Explore did this with no problem. I would definitely recommend this rather than going via KL. It's easy to change dollars but as it's a cash only country really make sure you have enough money with you if you like buying souvenirs and drinking beer! Don't expect to use a credit card or ATM! The craft shops you visit are interesting and there really was no pressure to buy. Seeing young women rolling cheroots, giggling with each other, and appearing happy and then learning they work ten hr days was a rather humbling experience.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

This holiday exceeded our expectations and was such a fabulous experience. Travelling by train was a very bumpy, slow and funny experience, seeing local life. I found the boat trip to Bagan too long but my partner really liked it. The hotels were, overall, very good and staff very eager to help. I hope tourism doesn't spoil Burma; there's clearly lots of development going on and change is coming, let's hope it doesn't make the people or country lose what makes it so special.

 
4.5 , 06/12/13

Name

Sara Giddings

Tour Name

Burma Highlights & Beach Extention

Tour Code

BUHB

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

There was so much that was good it is difficult to pick one thing. If I had to pick one it would be Shwedagon pagoda it was so magical in the evening and at night.

Tour Leader Name

Myo Set

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Set was probably the best tour leader I have ever had. He was excellent.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Just go and enjoy it. The people are friendly and it is a wonderful trip. There is a fair amount of travelling but you would expect that and it is all part of it. There were only 4 out of 18 who did the beach trip, and we were glad we did it, it was a great way to finish the trip and you dont have to spend all day on the beach you can hire bikes etc.

 
4.5 , 02/12/13

Name

Sue

Tour Name

Burma Highlights plus beach extension

Tour Code

BUHB

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

The whole tour was superb with many highlights. If I had to choose one it would be the trips by boat on Inle lake

Tour Leader Name

Ko Ko Aye Kyaw

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

He was probably the best tour leader I have had. His knowledge of Buddhism and his country was endless and he imparted it with enthusiasm at all times. His respect for the environment and others was also apparent at all times.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Definitely wear easily removable shoes - they come off many times a day! Ignore the reviews that say the boat trip from Mandalay to Bagan is boring - it was great! Food and drink is cheap and money can be exchanged at several locations. Make sure you have plenty of memory for your camera - you will need it. Now that Ngapali beach is used the travelling by air is good making the trip worthwhile and a welcome rest.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Go now before it all changes.

 
5 , 15/08/13

Name

Steven Peverill

Tour Code

BUHB

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

The sight of all the white stupa's with all the scripts carved inside on stone. Also the beaches at Nagpali were super

Tour Leader Name

Aye Kyaw

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

As a Buddhist he was very good around the religious areas

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Wifi freely available. Standards of hotels very good.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

No need for dressing up clothes. Good trekking shoes that slip on and off easily better than flip flops as everywhere dusty and shoes are taken off regularly.

 
5 , 15/08/13

Name

Peter Fellowes

Tour Code

BUHB

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

The sights of the temples in Bagan after we climbed up one of the monuments for a view point.

Tour Leader Name

Aye Kyaw

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Our leader was very knowledgeable about the area and the religion.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

"Most hotels now have wifi and also it was quite easy to change currency. It is hard to limit the number of photographs taken! If male make sure any shorts you take are below the knee if you wish to wear them in temples and wish to approach the Buddha "

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

The people of Burma were gentle and friendly. Food and drink was relatively cheap.

 
5 David, 22/03/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Every day was filled with interest and lasting memories so picking highlights is difficult. The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is stunning, the time spent on Inle Lake was delightful, the sight of so many temples and stupas on the plane at Bagan especially at twilight is beyond description and in between there were many journeys using a variety of local methods of transport during which many aspects of Burmese life could be seen. The stay on a pristine beach in the Bay of Bengal finalised a great trip. One memory that stands out above all others is the cheerfulness and welcoming attitude of  all the Burmese people which was quite exceptional.

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4 Gilly, 07/03/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

The whole trip was great, but early morning on Inle Lake and at Bagan were my favourites. The people were lovely, and keen to chat and happy to have their photos taken.

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Our Response

We think the U Bein bridge is stunning at any time of day, but will look into whether this can be included at either sunrise or sunset.  We will also add some information on the possibility of school visits to the Tour Notes, but also ask our tour leaders to give sufficient advance notice of this so that stationery supplies can be bought locally, which has the additional advantage of supporting the local economy.
Unfortunately bus drivers rarely speak good English – they would be more likely to be working as tour guides if they could do so – but we have asked that better briefings can be given.  Paperwork with the information you mention, provided at departure for the beach, might serve the purpose.

 
5 Ilse Hoffman, 22/02/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

The obvious highlights were Schwedagon Pagoda, Bagan (and especially sunset from a pagoda) and the Inle Lake boat excursions. More unexpected: Wine tasting at Inle lake (nice wine, but wonderful setting) and the market at Kalaw, where we were lucky to have the big market with hill tribe people participating. Beach was beautiful, quiet and a relaxing ending to this trip.

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2 Ian Hunt, 11/01/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Temples were good.... beach extension was nice

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Our Response

We were most concerned to read your comments regarding your tour leader. Our tour leaders undertake extensive training before they are able to lead our tours.  Against this background, we would expect him to be capable of carrying out his duties effectively. Our Operations Manager will be monitoring future feedback and we will take appropriate action if necessary action.

 
4 Hilary James, 11/01/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

"The people of Burma are friendly and very welcoming.Take time to engage with them as often as possible ..they want to talk.
The whole area around Inlie Lake was very interesing and Bagan was magical.
The trek into the highlands was a wonderful way to see villagers in their everyday environment.
Be sure to have a traditional Burmese massage (or two!)"

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5 David Swann, 07/01/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Yangon: Schwedagon Pagoda - early morning: lots of characters, few tourists; at sunset more tourists, but it was sunset.  Get time to do the Circular Train: 3 hours of Burmese life for $1. Inle Lake and Indein were stunning.  The boat trip across the lake and up the creek to Indein was really enjoyable.  Kalaw: after dinner vist the 'Hi Snack and Bar' just around the corner from the Dream Villa Hotel (a real local music scene with a memorable loo). Mandalay: visiting a monastery for the monks' late morning meal; U Bein bridge at sunset (absolute MUST); wished we had more time in Inwa – that part was rushed due to the morning doing endless ‘cottage industries’. Bagan: stunning pagodas, particularly Schwezigon. Ngwe Saung Beach: the hotel was exceptional by Explore standards.

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5 Nick Vinall, 02/01/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Overall an excellent trip, one of our best. Many great memories of places mentioned by others, but our abiding memory is of the wonderful people. Despite being mostly very poor, they were always friendly and pleased to see us - even when they weren’t hoping to sell us something !  They are hopeful about the future political situation. For visitors there was no visible sign of any oppression and several NLD ‘shops’ were seen on streets, each with a picture of The Lady’s father, General Aung San, the no. 1 national hero.

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Our Response

We take your point about the lunches – most of our customers prefer to spend time sightseeing and have a quick snack, rather than a full lunch.  Our tour leaders are aware of this, although many find it a strange viewpoint as lunch is the main meal in Burma, but they should not be trying to herd customers into joining big midday meals if they would prefer not to take part.  We know how good your tour leader is, and we will just offer a gentle reminder on the lunches issue to our local agent, to pass on to all our local staff.

 
5 Anthony Gillon, 31/12/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Indein - after going by boat down a narrow waterway through villages on stilts you arrive at a village where the main temple is the side show. Hundreds of stupas - nearly all unrenovated to explore - fabulous. In other places every old carved teak monastery was truly wonderful, our favourite we found ourselves by bike in Bagan, appearing like a Hansel & Gretal house at the end of a sandy track. A local unlocked centuries old Buddhist teachings to show us.

 

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5 Sally Bowers, 31/12/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

"As with all Explore tours, the days were filled with wonderful visits and experiences, from huge golden working temples to horsedrawn carriage rides through the stupa-filled plain at Bagan, and vistas over jungle hillsides, from a local train,  to hundreds of acres of rice fields in various stages and colours of development, worked by patient white cattle and their owners. The towns were full of noise and smells and fantastic street market stalls.

BUT seeing as how you ask....most memorable moment?  vomiting violently* ( and the other end as well) into the side of the steep path up a hillside to a village with a nunnery.  The sun, heat and effort had got to me.  "

 

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4 John Mathur, 14/12/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Inle lake was a lovely and unexpected surprise. The culture is amazing, and the temperature and humidity quite pleasant.  Mandalay was hotter and more humid and Bagan is tropical.  The Burmese people are lovely, and I’ve brought back lots of pictures of smiling faces.  A lovely trip in this beautiful country, full of Buddhas, temples and stupas.

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4 Eira Lynch, 28/06/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

I think it was the people of Myanmar,who were so welcoming,very happy to have us there.The beach extension was lovely,and although I was travelling alone,I was never on my own.

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0 Michelle Hooper, 03/04/12
So many highlights. So many amazing temples, and history. Our guide Nyi Nyi Kyaw was very knowledgable about his countries history, and relayed it to our group in a very easy too listen too  format. He assisted our group with ease of 15 through the tour. We were allowed plenty of free time, also allowed us to choose where people wanted to eat, gave us 4 choices where possible of restaurants. Great guide. Highly recommend. The food is all freshly prepared and cooked whilst you wait, only about 15 mins. Very cheap. Did not mind the Arts and crafts as you get too see it all hand made from the weaving looms made out of bamboo sticks to the silk work, everything i saw in the country whilst travelling around was done manually, from farming too roadworks. The people are pleased too see you there, as they feel there is some change on the way. However wonderful you think Bagan is going to be triple and some. Great cycling around (free time) in amongst the temples. We took premier football stickers for the boys/girls and they went down a storm, good way to get everyone laughing and joking. The Burmese do have a wonderful sense of humour, and they have such great smiles. Glad i went.
 
0 Annie Delahunty, 02/04/12
This was an outstanding trip, but completely agree with the earlier reviewer about the flight arrangements. In addition to the beautiful and varied country and  the beautiful people, the guiding was very good and knowledgeable. One thing for anyone who might need/wish to get in touch with home by internet - your chances are greatly improved if you have a Gmail account, so set it up before you go if you are - like me - with another provider.
 
0 Viv Ruckert, 05/03/12
Mr Myo Min Zaw was our tour leader when we visited Burma in January.  From the moment he met us at the airport to the final day, we could not have faulted the exceptional care and interest he showed.  Nothing was too much trouble.  He went to great lengths to make sure we saw anything of extra interest, and he did so with care and safety in mind.  I have been on several explore trips so I am aware of normal standards. Myo was head and shoulders above the rest.
 
0 Judith, 05/03/12

Wow, what a great experience! Our guide Myo Min Zaw was experienced, knowledgeable and refreshing. He went out of his way to accomodate our needs. In out particular case, my partner had to visit a clinic in order to get a monthly blood test for his cumadin level. Myo got a driver, took us to the clinic, did the paper work and they both stayed with us. It was necessary for us to return the next night for the results and Myo and another friend accompanied us again.

The group we travelled with bonded very nicely.  Part of that was the way Myo treated everyone with respect.

 
0 Bob, 20/02/12
Burma is a great country with lovely people and it's a privilege to be there during their transition to freedom - let's hope that carries on!   The landscapes, the peoples and the menus are very varied. Some sights were expected - endless stupas gleaming in every direction, and farming by ox-cart - but others were not - women in the stone breaking gangs at road works, and NLD stalls in local markets.  Mohingar fish broth for breakfast is a taste worth acquiring. And someone should introduce tofu crackers to British pubs! But the traditional preference for cold curries is less appealing - though tourist oriented places know to offer hot fresh dishes. One of the best and freshest meals was in a small plain seafood place opposite the Amata resort gate (called Silodo?) - much better than the candles-and-tablecloths joints on that strip.  George was a good tour leader - always cheerful, helpful, well informed and interested - but 18 people was too large a group for this type of tour.  The highlights for me were:  going up to the Shwedagon Paya at dusk (Explore should build that into the itinerary);   walking around the colonial downtown of Rangoon;  the day exploring Awa and Amarapura from Mandalay, particularly in the horse-and-cart;   the rickety slow train journey on the way up to Kalaw (take care near open doorways as the train lurches!);  wandering around Mandalay at night after a visit to a beer station;  the temple-strewn landscapes of Bagan;   and then swimming and sunbathing at Ngapali!  But it's a pity that the itinerary doesn't include Sagaing, as it looked wonderful as we passed on the river.  The downside was, as usual with Explore, the relentless traipsing around ruins and the shufling around craft shops. But that's a small price to pay for seeing so much of Burma. And you can always do your own thing and find independent experiences when the group herding gets too much.  We were surprised by the cold nights at Kalaw and even in the evenings at Inle and the beach - you'll need to take several layers.  And you'll need the days on the beach after all the sightseeing - and before the grim endurance test of the flights back. I can recommend using the Plaza Premium Lounge in the satellite terminal at KL - c.£35 for 5 hours quiet and comfort, with free hot meals and drinks, beer, shower and even a massage!  So if you're wondering whether to take this trip, I'd say just do it!
 
0 Linda, 11/01/12
Awful flight H/R, KL, Yangon the time changes knock you. Try and get your own flight (possibly) via Bangkok.  Food has great variety due to the country's location.  Everything is freshly cooked so no rush!  Freshly squeezed fruit juices cheap/marvellous.  Fantastic water-born trips. Great to have more than 1 night in an hotel!  Very welcoming, happy people/beggars, rare, dont chase/beg.  Great to have so few tourists anywhere! Make sure your feet are hardened as the no. of Pagodas are - well!  Weather in Nov. warm, pleasant. Variety of transport was really good. Hotel standard good, except for 1 place.  George, guide, good English, grt sense of humour and very quick re learning anything re the English language.  Accommodating, but is yet to learn 'group control' - think we were his first 'large (14) group.  He was great!!  Hope Explore can re-organise the flight times etc - very debilitating at the moment!  CAN REALLY RECOMMEND get there before the masses!  Everything very casual, easy, laid back.
 
 
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