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Land of the Golden Pagodas
With Panoramic Journeys

Myanmar / Burma

Myanmar (or Burma) is one of the most beautiful and untouched countries in Asia. Its amazingly varied countryside ranges from high snowy peaks in the north to rolling hills and colourful fields of Shan state, the fertile plains of the Irrawaddy and stunning white sandy beaches on its coastline. Myanmar is a multi-ethnic country with over 200 different tribes and dialects, but one thing is universal - wherever you travel in this magic country you will be greeted with a smile. This is why we love it as a destination for our small group tours or private holidays.

We fell in love with Burma (or Myanmar) shortly after the country opened up and started encouraging tourists to visit, a move calculated to help toward the eventual transistion to becoming a more open and democratic nation. 

We are highly aware of the current challenges of this process and deplore the plights of various ethnic minorities in the country so have thought long and hard about whether to still travel to Myanmar.  We have concluded that we will, believing that a boycott will do more harm than good.  We set out to always work with privately owned, local, ethical suppliers in a sustainable way and we vet the hotels and partners we use to ensure they meet our criteria.  Over the years we have supported the growth of tourism in the country and worked with many wonderful people  whose livilihood depends upon visitors.  These people have nothing to do with any political unrest or actions and we wish to continue to support them if we can, thus we continue to work in country with those we trust and who benefit from the tourist income. To make sure that you are as safe as can be we adhere to UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice regarding safe travel areas.  We also encourage you to study the travel essentials document we send you on booking on how to travel in Myanmar in a manner respectful of local traditions. 

Looking back to that first visit it was the people of Myanmar that we truly fell in love with; smiling, friendly, hospitable and excited to show you their beautiful land.

And what a land: the spectacular shining golden pagodas of Schwedagon and Mandalay, majestic Buddha statues, the 2000 temples of Bagan plain, enchanting Inle Lake or the unspoilt Ngapali beach are major highlights on any tour.

However we also like to dig a little deeper by trekking into the hills of Shan State to stay overnight with a family in their home, take trains with the locals, charter a yacht to sail the barely touched Mergui achipelago (maybe meeting a sea gypsy family) and of course get up-close to the action at one of the colourful festivals.

Myanmar is a magical, spritual land where we feel privileged to craft wonderful journeys for our guests.  Let us plan your tailor-made tour or holiday and turn it into an experience that will stay with you forever. 

"The most spectacular country, with the most wonderful people - organised with sensitivity and attention to detail. Classic highlights mixed with something a little different - all with the Panoramic Journeys touch that makes every trip so magical and eternally memorable"

Di Nicholson

Essential Information

Getting there

There are no direct flights to Myanmar from Western Europe, USA or Australia. You have to go via Bangkok, Malaysia, Doha, or Singapore, from whence there are regular direct flights to Yangon. Qatar Airlines fly three times a week via Doha from UK and is a very good option. The flight via Bangkok generally offers a greater choice of airlines and ticket prices vs. other routes and Bangkok is a great stop over.  We have agent contracts with a flight consolidator, and can purchase flight tickets for you, we are also ATOL bonded.

Health

You will need to talk to your doctor about vaccinations for the trip well in advance of departure. You should discuss getting vaccinations for hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis, as well as confirming that your vaccinations and boosters are up to date. Vaccinations for hepatitis B, rabies, tuberculosis, Japanese encephalitis and cholera are also sometimes recommended for travel in Burma. Exact requirements may depend on the regions you are visiting, activities you are participating in, and the length of time you are spending in the country.

Visas

You will need a visa to visit Myanmar, which will need to be obtained before departure this can be done by post or in person at the embassy. The E-visa system has recently launched and although more expensive can be done online and takes one week to process.

Travelling responsibly

We design journeys that use locally owned hotels, restaurants and shops- Come with cash to purchase Christmas and birthday presents for years to come! Give time to any cultural exchange that you have whether it be a conversation with a rickshaw driver, a chat with a crafts person or a exchange with a market stand holder. Don’t go rushing in with your camera poised.

Burma has three seasons:

Cool Season - October to February with average temperatures 20-24C;

Hot Season - March to May with average temperatures 30-35C;

Wet Season - June to September with average temperatures 25-30C.

The ideal time to visit Burma is during the cool season. However, even during the wet season, Yangon normally only receives morning and afternoon showers, while rainfall in Bagan and Mandalay is very low. The weather around Inle Lake and in Shan State is quite pleasant all year round but cold at night from December to February.

Read more about When to visit Myanmar

Currency

Myanmar’s national currency is the kyat (pronounced ‘chat’), abbreviated as ‘K’ but US dollars are also widely accepted. Banknotes are available in the following denominations ranging from K1 to K1000.  Only US dollars (and sometimes Euros and very occassionaly GBP) can be exchanged in Myanmar. Take only crisp clean notes as these are most likely to be accepted.

Electrical Plug Sockets

Sockets sizes vary across the country, so it is useful to travel with a set of multiple plug adaptors readily available at electrical and travel stores. Electrical supply in Myanmar is 230 volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. Visitors are advised to check the voltage tolerance of electrical appliances (usually printed on the appliance) before using them.

Tipping

Tipping is common place and US Dollars will be very acceptable.  When you book a journey with us we will provide you with a detailed practicalities document with advice on appropriate tipping levels.

What to pack

Myanmar is obviously a large and climatically diverse country so giving advice on clothing is difficult; pack for the time of year!  It is important to note that arms and legs must be covered when visiting religious sites and shoes must be removed.  Insect repellant is important and anti-bacterial hand wipes will be very handy.  A torch/flash-light and a sun hat will be useful and sturdy, comfortable shoes will help you enjoy your holiday.

Jade

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