Burma highlights tour

“Compact yet comprehensive, with nine days in Burma this tour covers all the key highlights, from the shimmering Shwedagon Pagoda to the culture-ringed Inle Lake.”

Highlights

Yangon | Shwedagon Pagoda | Bagan | Mandalay | U Bein Bridge | Boat tour of Mingun and Sagaing villages | Inle Lake cruise | Leg rowing fishermen | Visits to artisan workshops

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Date
Price
Basis
25 Jan 2018
US $ 2095
excluding flights
6 spaces left
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08 Feb 2018
US $ 2015
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18 Oct 2018
US $ 1935
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15 Nov 2018
US $ 1965
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20 Dec 2018
US $ 1965
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24 Jan 2019
US $ 2055
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07 Feb 2019
US $ 2055
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07 Mar 2019
US $ 2055
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17 Oct 2019
US $ 2095
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14 Nov 2019
US $ 2095
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19 Dec 2019
US $ 2095
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Our top tip:
Travel light - there is lots of traveling, and laundry facilities are available en route.
Trip type:
Small group, min age 16. Max. group size 16.
Activity level:
Leisurely - moderate.
Accomm:
Standard hotels, en suite rooms.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome. Single rooms available with surcharge.
Included:
Accomm., breakfasts, transport by private bus and internal flights, listed activities, tour leader, international flights if booked.
Meals:
Breakfasts only.
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Burma highlights tour

Community:
We are conscious of the economic welfare of local communities and take as much opportunity as possible to buy local crafts and produce (on at least 4 days of the tour). One of our clients’ favourite locations to do this is the famous floating market on Inle Lake where locals gather with their colourful boats to sell fresh produce and traditional wares. There is a five day cycle for the floating market that literally circles the lake; here people come to sell their traditional wares early in the morning and return to their village for the afternoon. Depending on its current location we will be able to visit it, but if not, there are plenty other places to support cottage industries along the way e.g. learning about traditional cigar rolling at Myin Chan.

Activity:
We do believe in leaving no more than footprints and encourage the disposal of litter and even the collecting of existing litter on this tour. However, this tour also actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants, use markets to purchase traditional gifts and crafts and get a real impression of Myanmar. We hope, therefore, what is left behind is a positive cultural exchange and the feeling that the tourism industry can grow in this country.

Act Local:
All of our tour leaders are local and they are given regular training on responsible tourism issues so they can help preserve the way of life in their area. By using local leaders, we also hope they educate their own communities to help them maximise from our visit. Clients also gain a more genuine, passionate insight into the country.

Sanon Restaurant and Training School:
On our itineraries we include a meal at Sanon Restaurant and Training School. This is part of the Myanmar Youth Development Instituteand they do great work training disadvantaged youths in hospitality skills.

UK office
It all starts at home so we have first worked to reduce our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies in place, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Group size
We operate small group tours that have a low impact on the communities we visit and we always ensure our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. This allows us to stay in unique and characterful accommodation that would not have benefitted from tourism due to their limited size.

5 Reviews of Burma highlights tour

4 out of 5 stars
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In depth story review

“Bagan is just awesome. I could go back there again and again, sit in a café and watch the world go by.”

Reviewed on 05 Dec 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The trekking in kalaw was my memorable moment.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring hand gel for hands

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes and hopefully at some stage, they will do something about their rubbish.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A few too many pagodas, temples monasteries in the beginning. It got more interesting as time went on. Our guide was excellent.

Reviewed on 05 Mar 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Sunset at Shwedagon Pagoda. So many local people and Monks enjoying the atmosphere. Also the cruise on Inle Lake, the cottage industries and seeing the local fishermen.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Book it now. It is a wonderful insight into Myanmar. The country and the people are delightful.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent. Especially the tour guide. His knowledge, sense of humour and overall a very nice "guy".

Reviewed on 17 Nov 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Full day on and around Inle Lake. Traffic in Yangon is terrible, we wasted so much time sat in traffic on our two days there.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


This is a full on trip with lots of early starts and busy days, with not that much free time. Go prepared for that and pack light, very easy and economical to get
laundry done at places we stayed. Lots of barefoot walking at temple and pagoda sites.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Tour leader operated a tips kitty, and did make sure that the groups saw him tip local guides, drivers, porters and restaurant staff. Mysteriously his account at
the end showed that he had spent every last Mynamar Kyat of the kitty, very well planned or what!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Good in that it gave an insight into Mynamar history and culture, it is described as Highlights which it was. Tour Leader Aung was not in the top league and
didn´t really have the presence or personality to be a leader, Many long hours on bus journeys when he might have been expected to give the group details of
the next activity/visit, or some background to where we were to visit, but instead sat isolated at the front and said hardly anything most of the time. One of the worst tour leaders I have experienced in over 20 years traveling on this type of trip.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Malcolm,

Firstly, thank you for your comments, we are always keen to hear all feedback so that we can action with our local team.

Regarding the tipping kitty, this is meticulously planned based on the group size so that the leader is aware of exactly how much he/she has to tip each provider. We find this is a far easier way to ensure good service but also to ensure that all is accounted for.

Regarding your comments about the leader, Aung, we have further looked into this. Aung has only led 3 trips before, so is somewhat new, but his overall score has been 4.58/5 which is about company average. We have discussed the feedback with him however and it is understood that he needs to be more forthcoming with information in the future. We are therefore providing more training before he leads another trip but we apologise that you felt that his performance was below standard for your trip.

We do hope that this explanation provides an adequate response to your review and offers you reassurance that we are continuously working on ensuring our trips offer a high quality experience.

Reviewed on 18 Jan 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


I can honestly say it was one of the best trips I have been on. Our guide Joseph was the perfect guide: he was kind, gentle, patient, was able to answer every question any of us asked him, had a great sense of humour and was a real pleasure to be with.

The country is incredible – it’s beautiful, the people are friendly, the history is
astounding…. We did and saw so much – I cannot pick my best highlight as it’s
impossible to choose just one. I was also very fortunate to have a wonderful group to share the experience with.


2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Some days start very early so don't expect many lie-ins. If you're a lady traveler, pack long trousers or long skirts as you'll visit temples or pagodas on most days.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?




4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?



Reviewed on 27 Feb 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The visit to Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon on the final day - the culmination of a
feast of sights and experiences packed into a fairly hectic schedule.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Limit your luggage. Laundry offered half way through. No need for 'smart'
clothes. Wifi much more widely available than guidebooks or trip notes suggest.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It benefited local people to the extent that we stayed in small private hotels,
ate in local restauranats and bought souvenirs from local craftsmen and hawkers.
We also visited a local orphanage and donated rice and money. Our guide handed out tips on our behalf to porters and other helpers (and gave us a printed record of what he had distributed.)

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent. We got on very well as a group of 12, had a full and varied programme
and a first class guide - knowledgeable with a sense of humour and extremely
efficient on the organisational side of things. Made it a very memorable vacation
we have already recommended to friends.

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