Are you looking for the next Southeast Asian destination to tick off your travel bucket-list? Myanmar is the place to visit! Formerly known as Burma, the country not only astounds tourists with its natural beauty, but also strikes a chord with its rich and fascinating history. The country only opened its borders to tourists in 2011; Myanmar offers you a chance to discover untainted, pure and picturesque Southeast Asian scenes which have long remained a mystery to outsiders....Start your trip in Mandalay, the perfect location to begin your journey of discovery in Myanmar. The city has plenty to offer; from its old Buddha statue at the famous Mahamuni Pagoda, to the night market which is perfect for souvenir shopping! Next, head north to Hsipaw, which was once a royal Shan city and has one of the oldest palaces in the country to visit, as well as simply stunning countryside! Later in the tour you will go to Pyin Oo Lwin, crossing an old British bridge (built in 1899 and still used to this day) to enjoy some of the most picturesque views you will ever see and snap. The Classic Myanmar tour offers you a snippet of a country that has so much to offer and show, leaving you wanting to return for more.
Tucan Travel are proud providers of incredible tours that cater for the adventurous souls of the world, whilst keeping one very simple thing in mind: sustainability. Their aim is to make adventure travel sustainable for the long term. To achieve this, Tucan Travel have implemented measures that respect the delicate ecosystems, wildlife and natural habitats that they are exploring, following strict rules to minimise the effects of tourist presence. They have developed waste management solutions to help recycle, repair and reuse materials, and have also introduced a carbon offset scheme that encourages the use of public transport wherever possible, further helping to minimise their carbon footprint.Many of Tucan Travel’s tours include opportunities to view local wildlife in national parks or at dedicated conservation centres. Animal welfare is big focus for Tucan Travel who even have their own policy which includes only working with suppliers who meet their animal welfare standards and offering wildlife encounters so long as it directly benefits that species. With so many sustainability initiatives and more, such as contribution to local community schemes, supporting the work of World Land Trust and LATA in Latin America, Tucan Travel are truly committed to eco-tourism and their long term target of sustainable tourism.
Arrive in Mandalay: Welcome to Mandalay, a city that invites you to re-visit old Burma (as Myanmar was once known) and learn more about the country's astounding history. Enjoy this free day in the city where you can get a head start in souvenir shopping at the Mahamuni Pagoda and see an old statue of Buddha. To get a real sense of what Buddhist prayer is like, walk through the Mahagandayin monastery, and quietly observe as hundreds of monks head to their daily prayer.
Hsipaw: Head to the Northern Shan State, where the most adventurous members of the group can put their hiking boots on to discover a number of Shan villages tucked away in the valley. This scenic town was once a Shan royal city, and you can visit the palace which still stands in this corner of Myanmar. Get your leg muscles ready for a guided walk through the paddy fields, which takes you past the villages, creeks, schools and monasteries of Hsipaw. You will get a chance to experience Shan traditions and life first hand, as well as getting your hands dirty while you learn some local skills such as cheroot (cigar) rolling and bamboo weaving.
Kyaukme: Take a local bus to Kyaukme, a small busy town nestled in the valleys and filled with Palaung villages. This area is still untouched by tourism, so you will get a chance to engage with the locals by purchasing snacks en route to your next hotel, and even trying to learn a few words of the local language during the bus ride! Once you arrive, your tour guide will be waiting for you to freshen up and prepare for a full day of trekking, offering you the opportunity to dive into Palaung life and enjoy local life in one of the many villages of the valley.
Pyin Oo Lwin: Board a train to Pyin Oo Lwin, and enjoy the scenic route which will showcase breathtaking views as you travel on the 100-year-old train track. While you cross the Goetiek Viaduct, built in 1899 and once considered the most splendid and longest bridge in the world, take the chance to snap some photos of the valley. Crossing the bridge will be slow and gives you the perfect opportunity to fill your travel photo albums with glorious images of your trip.
Mandalay: Spend the night in Mandalay, where you will have the time to see some of the sites you might have missed out on when you first arrived.
Bagan: Make your way south to Bagan, another location famous for its numerous Buddhist temples. When you arrive you'll be taken on a tour of the area and to see the most-visited temples. If you want to see more of the 100-plus temples in Bagan, hire a bicycle and take an excursion between these spectacular ancient buildings away from the crowds. Make the most of your two days in the area by venturing further afield to visit Mount Popa, the birthplace of the 37 nats (the protective spirits of Myanmar). If you want a truly astounding photo opportunity, take a hot air balloon ride for a bird's eye view of hundreds of temples poking out of the forest!
Kalaw: On the way to Kalaw, visit our planet's 'big friendly giants' at the Elephant Conservation Centre. This centre was only recently inaugurated, and it not only cares for the elephants but also protects the jungle, the wildlife that resides in it and the traditions of the local community. The elephants living here are free, in that they are no longer working elephants and it is strictly forbidden to ride them. However, you can get up-close and personal by washing and feeding the majestic creatures, while helping to keep them safe and happy.
Inle Lake: Head towards the calm waters of Inle Lake, travelling by train on a picturesque journey through the Shan Mountains. Once you arrive there, you have the day free to take an afternoon excursion of the lake or surrounding hills. The next day you will journey onto the lake and spend a full day discovering traditional villages built on stilts and inhabited by the Intha people. Visit floating gardens and watch fisherman row their boats with their legs! The lake and its villages are also famous for their weaving tradition - this is a great place to get some brilliant handicrafts as souvenirs.
Yangon: Fly to Yangon, another city that demonstrates how multi-cultural Myanmar is with its British, Burmese, Chinese and Indian influences. Whilst you are here make sure you visit the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most important religious site in Myanmar. Originally built in the 6th century AD, it has been refurbished and rebuilt several times over a number of years, and has now become the most astounding sacred site in the country.
Depart Yangon: It is time for your adventure across Myanmar to end. If you have a late flight enjoy some more time in the city discovering other sites or simply people-watching! Alternatively, book post-tour accommodation and extend your trip to experience more of the country.