Rickshaw Travel launches new trips to Myanmar and reveals this long isolated country to independent travellers

Rickshaw Travel has introduced Myanmar to its portfolio of experiential destinations and aims to bring travellers closer to the people, culture and nature of this fascinating country.

Myanmar is an extraordinary destination glowing with tradition and filled with shimmering temples and unique, authentic experiences. Still known to many as Burma, Myanmar was under oppressive military rule until recently and has been slowly opening up as it takes tentative steps towards democracy. In March 2016 Myanmar elected its first civilian president, which heralded further political shifts away from dictatorship and isolation. Now whole areas of the county, previously off-limits for years, can be freely visited and are ready to be discovered.

Rickshaw Travel has introduced a collection of trips and itineraries that will help travellers explore authentic Myanmar and experience life in the local communities. In a nation with well over 100 ethnic groups, Myanmar is rich in tradition and variety. From the dazzling Buddhist temples at Bagan, to the mighty Gokteik Viaduct and the spiritual Golden Rock at Mt Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar is packed with astonishing sites, but it is this combined with meeting the gentle and engaging local people that makes the destination so magical.

Lloyd Kane, Senior Manager at Rickshaw Travel said: “We are very excited to introduce Myanmar to our featured destinations and help support the growth of this emerging destination. With Myanmar’s political past it is more important than ever for us to encourage our customers to travel responsibly and with meaning. Although Myanmar opened up to mass tourism a few years ago we took our time to make sure we could offer the accommodations and excursions that sat in line with our meaningful values. We strive to help preserve and support world communities of every description, to ensure our trips are sustainable and responsible as well as authentic. We are now content that this is the case in Myanmar and want as many people as possible to see this beautiful country in the Rickshaw Travel way.”

All of Rickshaw Travel’s trips and excursions in Myanmar provide the opportunity to meet and learn from local people and allow travellers to see and experience the iconic sites in a different way. Whether guests are cycling around the lesser-known temples of ancient Bagan; trekking through the Emerald Hills of Kalaw to the shimmering Inle Lake and experiencing local life in a traditional Intha village; or taking a boat trip down the Dokthawaddy River and trekking through remote villages; Rickshaw’s new independent trips encompass the country’s wealth of natural and cultural wonders.

Rickshaw Travel offers ten bite-size trips and two suggested itineraries to Myanmar which can be pieced together to create an individual holiday. Rickshaw also recommends combining Myanmar with neighbouring Thailand to add some tropical beach fun to the mix. Since direct flights to Yangon (Rangoon) are rare, and most travellers to Myanmar come via Bangkok, Thailand makes for a logical addition to any journey. A minimum of three bite-size trips are required to build an individual itinerary.

Here’s a taste of some of Rickshaw Travel’s new bite-size trips:

New: Bagan Temples in the Mist
The Bagan Temples in the mist are one of the most iconic sites of Myanmar. More than 2000 Buddhist monuments are scattered between the rolling hills. On this three-day trip guests can take a guided cycle trip to the lesser-known temples and brush up on the fascinating Buddhist culture and history.
This three-day bite-size trip is priced from £168 per person (based on two sharing) and includes two night’s accommodation with breakfast, transfer from the airport, bike hire and guide.

New: Hiking through Emerald Hills from Kalaw to Inle Lake
Get off the beaten track and meet local hill tribes in this two-day trip from cool Kalaw to the shimmering Inle Lake. Kalaw, a former hill station for the British to escape the summer heat, is perched high up on the edge of the Shan Plateau surrounded by majestic mountains. Guests can take a couple of days to explore the lush landscape, sample local cuisine and soak up the cool climate in the hills before arriving at the vast Inle Lake. This two-day bite-size trip is priced from £185 per person (based on two sharing) and includes one night’s accommodation with breakfast, transfer from the airport, and trekking with guide.

New: Planes, Trains and Watermobiles
Travellers will begin this four-day bite-size trip with a guided walk through the verdant paddy fields and Shan villages in the northern Shan State where they will learn about local life and home industries such as cheroot (cigar) rolling and bamboo weaving. They will take a boat trip on the Dokthawaddy River, walk to a 150 year old Shan Monastery and, after trekking past mountains and visiting Palaung communities, be rewarded with a comforting home-cooked meal. Travellers can finish the trip with a train ride to Pyin Oo Lwin over the 116 year-old Gokteik Viaduct, formerly the second highest railway bridge in the world.
This four-day bite-size trip is priced from £515 per person (based on two sharing) and includes three night’s accommodation with breakfast, domestic flight from Kyaukme to Pyin Oo Lwin and other transport as described, guided trek and boat ride.

New: Village Life on Inle Lake
This three-day trip will be a breath of fresh air for nature lovers. Providing a sanctuary for thousands of waterfowl, the Inle Lake is a 13 mile-long freshwater lake situated in the southern Shan State. It is dotted with stilted bamboo houses, floating gardens, and colourful markets where travellers will witness traditional handicrafts in production and have lunch at a local family’s home. The trip also includes a boat excursion on Inle Lake. This three-day bite-size trip is priced from £228 per person (based on two sharing) and includes two night’s accommodation with breakfast, transfers and boat excursion.

New: Along the River to lost temples
Mrauk U is located within the Northern state of Rakhine and is considered the second most important archaeological site in Myanmar. Hundreds of imposing temples are scattered over the sprawling green landscape with traditional Burmese villages, extensive countryside and rice fields nestled between them. On this trip travellers will head off the beaten track by boat and car from Sittwe to explore this relatively untouched area. This four-day bite-size trip is priced from £398 per person (based on two sharing) transport and guided tour of the temples.

New: Secluded shores of Ngapali
Ngapali is a beautiful beach lined with palm trees and golden sand and offers a different Burmese experience. Arguably the best beach in Myanmar, it manages to maintain a sleepy village feel. In between watching the fisherman or local farmers with their ox and carts guests can relax and enjoy the laid back pace of life. This four-day bite-size trip is priced from £198 per person (based on two sharing) and includes accommodation with breakfast and transfer.

Travellers can also unveil the Secrets of Golden Rock, a large, precariously balanced golden boulder perched high on top of Mount Kyaiktiyo; take a spiritual journey to the Magical Monasteries of Mandalay; see the spiritual Pagodas of Yangon on a short trip to the largest city of Myanmar and enjoy a traditionally colonial British High Tea in the Highlands of Shan.

Rickshaw Travel’s Myanmar Travel Specialist Paul Speller said: “Myanmar is the epitome of travel with Rickshaw – a remote, awe-inspiring destination full of natural wonder and one that retains its culture and traditions. We’re delighted to be able to offer the freedom and flexibility for our customers to explore Myanmar independently and at their own pace – away from organised tours. Alongside our local partners in country, we have worked hard to bring together a number of bite size trips and itineraries that will offer real meaning and value to those who travel with us and also to the locals that call this beautiful country their home. We use independently-ran accommodation and employ guides that are native to the regions in which they work and we will continue to develop our ties there in order to ensure travel to Myanmar remains sustainable, responsible, and meaningful.”

Myanmar has two major airports: Yangon (south) and Mandalay (north of capital). Although there are no direct flights from the UK, travellers can fly with Thai Airways, China Southern, Emirates or Qatar Airways and make the most of exploring during their stopovers. Currently Return flights from London to Yangon are priced from £555 outbound in March 2017 with Emirates. Rickshaw Travel can organise international and flights to all of its destinations and the team of travel experts will always aim to secure the best deals and options to suit each traveller’s need.

To see the full range of trips and itineraries to Myanmar please visit: www.rickshawtravel.co.uk or call Rickshaw Travel’s team of experts on: 01273 934 823.