The Very Best Of Burmese Days

Our very best of Burmese Days tour takes you on a journey from Irrawaddy villages to Buddhist shrines, with diversions away from the main sites and into the heart of the country. Admire architectural marvels, discover different cultures, and learn the secrets behind local arts and crafts on a journey to see the very best Myanmar has to offer.

Best time to visit Myanmar/Burma is the dry winter season from November to February.

Touring style: Professional English speaking guide and driver, private basis. 

Prices are seasonal, include hotels, breakfast, professional touring and transfers. Starts from:
GBP 2362 per person sharing a twin room, Standard Class Hotels
GBP 2800 per person sharing a twin room, Superior Class Hotels
GBP 3100 per person sharing a twin room, Deluxe Class Hotels.
International and domestic airfares are extra..

The Very Best Of Burmese Days at a glance
  • Day 1: Yangon
  • Day 2: Yangon to Kyaikhtiyo, Golden Rock
  • Day 3: Golden Rock to Moulmein
  • Day 4-5: Moulmein
  • Day 6: Moulmein to Hpa An
  • Day 7: Hpa An
  • Day 8: Hpa An to Yangon
  • Day 9: Yangon to Heho, Inle Lake
  • Day 10: Inle Lake to In Dein, Inle Lake
  • Day 11: Inle Lake to Heho, Mandalay
  • Day 12: Mandalay to Sagaing, Ava, Amarapura, Mandalay
  • Day 13: Mandalay to Mingun, Mandalay
  • Day 14: Mandalay to Monywa
  • Day 15: Monywa to Po Win Taung, Pakokku, Bagan
  • Day 16: Bagan
  • Day 17: Bagan to Mount Popa, Salay
  • Day 18: Bagan to Yangon
  • Day 19: Depart Yangon
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Day 1: Yangon

Arrive Yangon, formerly British Rangoon. Spread wide over tree-lined boulevards, crisscrossing waterways, Yangon’s architecture is a dazzling mix of British colonial and Burmese spiritual, the golden stupas of the great pagodas soaring above the green teak canopy. Begin your tour at the Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda to marvel at the great reclining Buddha, the length of 5 London buses, before immersing yourself in everyday Burmese life at a local tea shop.

Refreshed, journey with your English speaking guide to Kandawgyi Park, a green oasis within the city, for views across the lake to the glittering Karaweik barge. From here continue to Shwedagon Pagoda, its shining stupa towering a hundred metres above the city, to experience the spiritual calm of the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Overnight in Yangon.

Distances and journey time:

Yangon Airport to Yangon city centre (20 km): 45 mins

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Day 2: Yangon to Kyaikhtiyo, Golden Rock

Depart Yangon early to journey by local train to the ancient Mon capital of Pegu, now Bago. From Bago continue to Kyaikhtiyo, your departure point for the Golden Rock. A short journey (45 minutes) by open truck along a winding road will bring you to the junction camp, rendezvous for your ascent (1 hour) to the Golden Rock. Enjoy the spectacular views as you climb easily along the paved trekking path, or if you prefer a ride on the shoulders of porters in a specially made sedan chair. The Golden Rock, covered in gold leaf and balanced precariously on the edge of a cliff, is one of Myanmar’s main pilgrimage sites, the pagoda said to house a hair of the Buddha. Overnight near Golden Rock.

Distances and journey time:

Yangon-Kyaikhtiyo (167 km): 4 hrs

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Day 3: Golden Rock to Moulmein

Descending the mountain journey by road to Moulmein, now Mawlamyine, the capital of the Mon State. Immortalised by Kipling, and once home to George Orwell, Moulmein is a delightfully scenic town. Experience the bustle and colour of the fruit and vegetable market before heading up to a hilltop pagoda for a panoramic view. Overnight in Moulmein.

 

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Day 4: Moulmein

From Moulmein head south to Kyauktalon Taung Pagoda, perched on a sheer limestone outcrop, and the incredible reclining Buddha of Win Sein Taw Ya, the world’s largest. Take time to reflect at Thanbyuzaya, the terminus of the infamous WW2 ‘Death Railway’ from Kanchanaburi, before marvelling at the iconic Kyaikkami Monastery, situated on a rock outcrop jutting into the sea. The temple is located in the old colonial period town of Amhurst, where there will be time to stroll at leisure along the beach before returning to overnight in Moulmein.

Day 5: Moulmein

Journey by local boat to Bilu Kyun (Ogre Island) to experience traditional Mon village life. Pass a magical day in a bygone world, spending time with local craftsmen as they share their skills in traditional handicrafts such as the making of bamboo hats, walking sticks, and slate blackboards. Overnight Moulmein.

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Day 6: Moulmein to Hpa An

Depart early to journey along the scenic Salween River to Hpa An Town, the capital of Karen State, stopping to explore a riverside fishing village on the way. Discover at leisure the bustling and friendly town of Hpa An, before heading out to a riverside pagoda to experience unforgettable sunset views. Overnight in Hpa An.

Distances and journey time:

Mawlamyine to Hpa An: 61 km, 1 hr

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Day 7: Hpa An

Hpa An is set within dramatic limestone ‘karst’ scenery, home to the sacred Zwegabin Mountain, the symbol of Karen State. Begin your day wandering through the lively and colourful local market before heading out into the picturesque countryside to explore caves, tunnels, pagodas. Complete your day journeying by foot, road and boat to the surrounding villages to experience traditional Karen life.

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Day 8: Hpa An to Yangon

Travel by road through rubber plantations, beneath limestone crags to Yangon, breaking your journey at Zhotoke Pagoda to marvel at the ancient carvings amid the ruins of the early Mon city of Savarnaphum. Late lunch, and your afternoon at leisure in Yangon.

 

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Day 9: Yangon to Heho, Inle Lake

Following an early breakfast at your hotel, transfer to the airport for your flight to Heho. From Heho, a scenic one hour journey by road brings you to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Stop along the way to admire the ornate carvings, the collection of Buddha images at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery. At the jetty, a private motorboat will take you to Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular natural attractions. Pass villages of the local Intha people, constructed on stilts above the lake, the unique leg-rowing fishermen, the floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud, anchored to the mud with bamboo poles. Absorb the spiritual calm of the lake’s main sanctuary, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, containing five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf.

OPTIONAL: Join a local Inthar family in preparing lunch. Learn about the traditional ingredients and preparation techniques of Burmese Cuisine.

After lunch explore the local crafts of Inle Lake. Call in at the silk and lotus weaving village of Inpawkhone, and a cheroot factory, where women make Burmese cigars by hand in the traditional way. If time permits complete your day with a stroll through one of the lakeside villages. Overnight on Inle Lake.

Distances and journey time:

Heho Airport to Nyaung Shwe (28 km): 45 mins

Nyaung Shwe Jetty to Hotel on Inle Lake (10 – 20 km): 30 – 60 mins

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Day 10: Inle Lake to In Dein, Inle Lake

Following breakfast, immerse yourself in the bustle and colour of the lake’s morning market. The market rotates around the villages of the lake in a 5-day cycle, thronged by the surrounding hill tribes trading their crops, animals and wares. Journey along a canal to explore on foot the Pa-oh village of In Dein. Spend time at a local school, observing the children at their lessons. Wander through the beautiful Alaung Sitthou area, climbing the covered stairway to the top of a hill dotted with picturesque ancient stupas to take in the magnificent views of the lake below. Returning to your boat, settle in for your cruise of the lake before returning to your hotel for dinner. Overnight Inle Lake.

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Day 11: Inle Lake to Heho, Mandalay

Collect your bicycle for an easy journey by road from Nyaung Shwe to Red Mountain Estate, a winery tucked into the Shan Hills. The route will take you down quiet and flat roads (5-10km, depending on hotel location), past farms and villages to the winery, your tour concluding with an optional wine tasting. Return by bicycle to your hotel, or meet your car for airport transfer. Around midday transfer to Heho Airport for your flight (1.5hrs) to Mandalay. On arrival, your car and English speaking guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Overnight in Mandalay.

Distances and journey time:

Mandalay Airport to Mandalay city centre (41 km): 60 mins

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Day 12: Mandalay to Sagaing, Ava, Amarapura, Mandalay

Leave Mandalay to cross the mighty Irrawaddy to Sagaing. Dotted with over 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is widely regarded as the religious heart of Myanmar. Home to 3000 monks at meditation, experience the spiritual peace of pagodas such as Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin, and U Min Thone Sae. For a change of pace experience rural Burmese life at Sagaing’s local market, almost unknown to tourists, where you can find wares and handicrafts from local potters and silversmiths. Calling at a small pottery village, observe the process of making the ubiquitous water-pots found throughout Myanmar. Leaving Sagaing, continue south to the city of Ava, Myanmar’s capital from the 14th to 18th centuries, where a short ferry ride will take you across the Irrawaddy to your waiting horse carriage.

Journey through timeless scenes to the remains of the Royal Palace and Fort, and the ancient wooden monastery of Bagaya. As you meander through the Burmese countryside, observe local life among the many small villages located around Ava’s ruins. Journey the short distance to Amarapura, another former capital, meaning ‘City of Immortality’. Begin your tour at a silk weaving workshop producing exquisite, handmade pieces, before entering the great monastery of Mahagandayon, housing more than a thousand monks. From one tranquil place continue to another, go next to the wondrous U Bein Bridge. Stroll more than a kilometre across this 200-year-old footbridge, the world’s longest teak span, constructed from 984 teak posts once part of the deserted Inwa Palace. Overnight in Mandalay.

Distances and journey time:

Mandalay-Amarapura (13 km): 30 mins

Mandalay-Sagaing (21 km): 50 mins

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Day 13: Mandalay to Mingun, Mandalay

Following breakfast, transfer to the Mandalay jetty to board your private local boat for a cruise (1 hour) along the Irrawaddy to Mingun. Mingun is awesome in the true sense of the word, the massive, unfinished brick built stump of Mingun Pahtodawqyi split by an earthquake in the 19th Century dominating the ancient city, the Mingun Bell, at 90 tonnes the world’s largest uncracked ringing bell. By contrast, the stunning and unique white pagoda of Hsinbyume, intended to represent the mythical Mount Meru, floats serenely above the ruins. Cruising back to Mandalay aboard your private boat, enjoy your freshly caught lunch before arriving at Mahamuni Pagoda. This pagoda is home to one of Burma’s most revered Buddha images, overlaid through time with gold leaf to a thickness of several inches. Leave the pagoda to wander through traditional workshops, observing craftsmen create wondrous wood carvings, kalaga tapestries, produce gold leaf with skills and techniques developed to serve the Royal Burmese Court unchanged through centuries.

OPTIONAL: Join local craftsmen in their workshop to create your own, unique puppet. A fantastic, hands on experience of local craft tradition providing for you a memorable and meaningful souvenir.

Continue to Kuthodaw Pagoda, its 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scripture earning it the title ‘The World’s Biggest Book’, and on to Shwenandaw Monastery, the only remaining building from the 19th century Royal Palace, notable for its exquisite woodcarving. If you wish, head to the top of Mandalay Hill to experience sunset over the city. Overnight in Mandalay.

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Day 14: Mandalay to Monywa

Following breakfast, depart Mandalay for your journey by road (3 hours) to Monywa, a typical Burmese town on the banks of the Chindwin River.

Arrive Monywa at noon for your hotel check in. After lunch, begin your exploration of Monywa at Thanboddhay Pagoda, a massive temple containing over half a million Buddha images. Continue to Boditahtaung Pagoda, housing the largest reclining Buddha image in Myanmar (100m long, 27m high). Close by marvel at the world’s largest standing Buddha, Laykyun Setkyar, towering an incredible 423 feet above the plains. Complete your day on the bank of the Chindwin to watch the sun set over this mesmerising city. Overnight in Monywa.

Distances and journey time:

Mandalay-Monywa (100 km): 3 hrs

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Day 15: Monywa to Po Win Taung, Pakokku, Bagan

Following breakfast depart Monywa by road for Po Win Taung (1 hour). This extraordinary complex consists of 947 sandstone caves, excavated over centuries from the surrounding hills, containing what is considered by archaeologists to be the richest collection of Buddhist mural paintings and statuary in South East Asia. Stroll a hundred metres to discover monasteries and temples carved into narrow rocky cliffs. From Po Win Taung continue your relaxing journey down this ‘road less travelled’ for a further 90 minutes, passing local farmers on the way, scaling palm trees to extract the juice from which they produce palm tree sugar. Pause to take in the peace and tranquillity of rural Burmese life at Kyet Su Kin village, wander among the people to experience their lifestyle and culture. For a change of pace, board your private local boat at Pakkoku for a leisurely cruise (2 hours) downstream to Bagan, for check-in at your hotel. Overnight in Bagan.

Distances and journey time:

Monywa-Pho Win Taung (24 km): 45 mins

Monywa-Pakokku (86 km): 1h30

Pakokku-Bagan (42 km): 2h

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Day 16: Bagan

Begin your day on the upper terraces of a temple, looking down through the mist at the hundreds of pagodas dotted across Bagan. From here, travel to the magnificent Ananda Temple, one of the most revered in Bagan then on to Myinkaba village, home to Gubyaukgyi Temple, noted for the beauty of the mural paintings of its interior, the well-preserved plaster carvings of the exterior. A short distance further Manuha and Nan Paya, two smaller temples, contain exquisite Buddha statues behind fine stone facades. Your exploration of local workshops will reveal skills and techniques passed down through generations of craftsmen, to produce the wood crafts and lacquer ware Bagan is noted for. Late in the afternoon board your private horse cart to journey back in time past fields, temples, houses, pausing to explore monuments, interact with local people. Complete your day to ascend an elevated temple, watch the sun set over the plains before returning to your hotel. Overnight in Bagan.

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Day 17: Bagan to Mount Popa, Salay

Following breakfast, for a change of scene immerse yourself in the bustle and colour of the fabulous morning market at Chaulk, where people from surrounding villages come to buy and sell fruits, vegetables, animals, wares. Continue your journey by road to the village of Salay, an important Buddhist centre famed for the fine carving of its wooden monastery. Turning east, journey through timeless scenes to the extinct volcano of Mount Popa, believed to be home to the ‘nats’, ancient Burmese animist spirits. With inquisitive monkeys for company, make the easy ascent to the monastery at the peak for stunning views of the surrounding countryside, before descending once more for your journey back to Bagan.

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Day 18: Bagan to Yangon

Transfer early to the airport at Nyaung U for your flight to Yangon. On arrival, your English speaking guide will greet you for transfer to your hotel for check-in. Join your guide once more to experience Yangon’s eclectic architectural mix, faded colonial charm cheek by jowl with Buddhist spirituality and splendour. Your route will lead you from the Post Office, typical of the British Colonial era, to the Sule Paya, passing the Strand Hotel, Mahabandoola Garden, Independence Monument. The restaurants, temples, tea shops of Little India, Chinatown, lead you to Bogyoke Market, formerly Scott’s Market, an opportunity to pick up any final gifts and souvenirs from the many stalls selling traditional Burmese goods and handicrafts. The rest of your afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Yangon.

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Day 19: Depart Yangon

Today at your leisure, before transfer to Yangon airport for onward flight or extension to your beach resort in Ngapali.

OPTIONAL Circle Train: Transfer to Yangon Railway station for your circular train journey to the outskirts of Yangon (20-30 minutes). The slow moving train offers a unique opportunity to observe the bustling and colourful life of the rural Burmese people. Disembark to visit Kyi Myin Daing market, where street vendors sell local wares and produce. Meet your driver to return by road to your hotel.

Highlights

Bagan: one of the world's greatest archeological sites

Spread across a plain in a curve of the mighty Irrawaddy, where once 13,000 temples, pagodas and stupas stood more than 2,000 remain

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Hpa-An: relaxed pace of life

With the backdrop of the dramatic mountain Mount Zwe Kabin covered in luscious greenery, Hpa-An is a distinctive rural city and one of the most beautiful towns in the Karen State

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Inle Lake: Picturesque and magical

Against the green backdrop of the Shan mountains, the peace and tranquillity of Inle Lake will transport you to an inner calm

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Kyaiktyo and Golden Rock

Situated high in the Eastern Yoma mountains of Mon State, the Golden Rock Pagoda is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Burma

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Mandalay: last royal capital of Burma

The last Royal Burmese capital, Mandalay remains the artistic and cultural centre of Myanmar

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Mawlamyine: colonial Capital

The Moulmein of the British East India Company and the novelist George Orwell, and once British Burma’s colonial capital, Mawlamyine today is a city wonderfully rich in culture and belief.

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Monywa: Buddha images and spectacular sunsets

Set idyllically on the banks of the Chindwin River, Monywa is a fascinating trading town between Mandalay and Bagan.

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Mt Popa: home to the Nats

Mount Popa, a volcanic hill standing proud of the surrounding plain, home to Myanmar’s most important spirits, the Nats.

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Oriental Ballooning

From the colonial splendour of Mandalay to the magnificent temples and stupas of Bagan – from the magical waterways and mountain scenery of Inle to the glittering blue waters of the Bay of Bengal at Ngapali, your view from the gondola beneath a hot air balloon will stay with you forever.

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Yangon: Golden stupas and glittering pagodas

The many shady green spaces, golden stupas and glittering lakes of this former Burmese capital lend Yangon a unique charm

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Accommodation

Bagan, Deluxe Class
Bagan Lodge

The Began Lodge is located on the edge of the Bagan archaeological zone, the gateway to some of the world’s most magnificent temples and pagodas

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Bagan, Deluxe Class
Aureum Palace Hotel & Resort

Spreading across 27 acres of landscaped gardens, Aureum Palace Bagan is located in Min Nanthu Village in the eastern plains of Bagan

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Bagan, Superior Class
Hotel@Tharabar Gate

Hotel@Tharabar Gate is located in the heart of the plains of Bagan amidst tropical gardens

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Bagan, Standard Class
Bagan Thande Hotel

Located at the south-west corner of the ancient walls of Old Bagan City, on the banks of the River Ayeyarwady

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Hpa An, Speciality Lodgings
Keinnara Hpa An Lodge

Run on sincere ecological principles, and staffed by local people, this delightful lodge is set idyllically amid dramatic river and mountain scenery.

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Inle Lake, Deluxe Class
Inle Princess Resort

Inle Princess Resort rests on the eastern shore of Inle Lake within the blue treetop ranges of the Shan Hills

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Inle Lake, Deluxe Class
Villa Inle Resort & Spa

Spread over more than 20 acres on the eastern fringe of Inle Lake near Maing Thouk Village

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Inle Lake, Deluxe Class
Aureum Resort & Spa Inle

Aureum Resort & Spa Inle is perched on the shores of Inle Lake with both water and land access

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Inle Lake, Speciality Lodging
Thahara Inle Heritage

Enjoying a location in the middle of Inle Lake, this unique property is accessible only by a one hour boat journey from Nyaung Shwe

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Inle Lake, Superior Class
The View Point Lodge

Situated between rice paddy fields and the main canal leading from Nyaung Shwe to Inle Lake

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Inle Lake, Superior Class
Myanmar Treasure Resort

Sitting right on the lake waters, Myanmar Treasure Resort, Inle, offers elegant accommodation

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Kyaikhtiyo (Golden Rock), Standard Class
Mountain Top Resort

Located an easy 10-minute trek from the fabulous Golden Rock pagoda, this simple but comfortable hotel enjoys superb panoramic vistas and is the best choice here.

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Mawlamyine, Standard Class
The Mawlamyaing Strand Hotel

Set idyllically beside the Thanlwin River, this landmark hotel enjoys fine views over the city, and out across the estuary.

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Monywa, Standard Class
Win Unity Resort Hotel

Located on the shore of Kan-thar-ya Lake, the resort enjoys a tranquil and picturesque setting.

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Mandalay, Superior Class
Mandalay Hill Resort

Mandalay Hill Resort lies at the foot of Mandalay Hill with a panoramic view of a myriad of pagodas and its beautiful moat

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Mandalay, Superior Class
Hotel by Red Canal

The Hotel by Red Canal is a cosy boutique hotel located in a quiet part of the city, minutes away from Mandalay Hill

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Mandalay, Standard Class
Yadanarpon Dynasty Hotel

Yadanarpon Dynasty Hotel is a 10 minute walk to the Mandalay Royal Palace situated in the peaceful, silent zone of 65th Street

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Ngapali, Deluxe Class
Sandoway Resort

Nestled amongst coconut palms on the pristine beach front where its villas and cottages are scattered throughout

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Ngapali, Deluxe Class
Aureum Palace Spa & Resort

The magnificent white stretches of sand beaches of the Bay of Bengal provides a secluded and romantic setting

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Ngapali, Superior Class
Amata Resort & Spa

Amata Resort & Spa is located near Mya Pyin Village in Ngapali Beach

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Ngapali, Superior Class
Bayview Beach Resort

The beachfront Bayview Beach Resort is situated on a beautiful stretch of sand on the northern end of Ngapali Beach

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Yangon, Deluxe Class
Belmond Governor’s Residence

Belmond Governor’s Residence is an imposing teak mansion dating from the 1920s within the elegant Embassy Quarter

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Yangon, Deluxe Class
The Strand

The historic Strand Hotel built in 1901 by the Sarkies Brothers has long been recognized as one of Yangon's landmarks

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Yangon, Superior Class
PARKROYAL Yangon

The PARKROYAL Yangon encapsulates the charm of colonial Myanmar in a modern setting

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Yangon, Superior Class
Sule Shangri-La Yangon

Formerly known as the Traders, Sule Shangri-La, Yangon, enjoys a prime location in downtown Yangon

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