YANGON, 23 December 2020: A new kid on the block in Yangon’s crowded travel agency sector, Exploration Travel, recommends 10 top experiences for your wish-list to keep dreams alive until international travel resumes to Myanmar.
Right now, Exploration Travel is promoting “10 must-do activities (all single day outings) for local residents keen to explore Yangon and get some fresh air and for international travellers planning future trips.
1. Sa Ba’s new online cooking lessons
Whether it’s arranging donations for the poorest in town or exploring new markets; Sa Ba tours always comes up with something new. Together with the Sa Ba team, you can cook along with family and friends from all over the world since lessons are online. It starts whenever it suits you. Comprehensive ingredients and equipment list will be sent so you can shop and prepare before the lesson and if there are ingredients, you can’t find the chef will happily suggest alternatives.
Dishes include ohno khauk swey, Shan noodles, many salads and curries. Options are available for vegetarians, vegans and celiac. Operated by Sa Ba Street Food Tours.
2. Be a farmer for a day
The tour crosses the river by ferry to a former Irrawaddy company shipyard that still has some old tools dating back more than 100 years. It continues by car through the countryside to an ancient pagoda and a small town called Kungyangon famed for its bean cakes. A countryside cooking demonstration is organised outdoors cooking on a campfire, followed by traditional Myanmar village games such as pole climbing or bamboo balancing. A real day out in the field to get your hands dirty. Operated by Green Season Travel
3. Painting in the park
Ideal for children but also for adults the talented painter Sai Pyae Sone Aye picks you up at home and takes you to one of the parks in Yangon for an open-air class of watercolour painting of about 2.5 hours. He first explains the basics, and then it’s time for you to give it a try by yourself. Operated by Sai Pyae Sone Aye.
4. Overnight trip on the river
Enjoy cruising along Yangon River to Twante and observe life along the river. The boat has five air-conditioned cabins and is ideal for a family or a group of friends.
Departure at 1100 and return the next day at 0900. Price per person: 270,000 kyats (based on six persons) – including boat charter, breakfast, lunch and BBQ dinner. Operated by Moken Cruises.
5. Spiritual Shwedagon when it’s not business as usual
The private tour walks discovering what the Shwedagon area looks like when it’s not business as usual. The tour walks you through small alleyways past historical monasteries and libraries. No entry to the Shwedagon platform, but it is still an interesting walk including a few fantastic glimpses of the Shwedagon from a distance. The guide presents the history, beliefs and answers questions about life in this special neighbourhood. Price per person: 55,000 kyats. (based on two persons) – including half-day car, guide, snacks & drinks. Operated by Exploration Travel.
6. Yangon Explorer (interactive tab-tour / treasure hunt in Downtown Yangon)
You will be equipped with a tablet PC and an app that features challenges you need to solve along the way. This rally will engage you with local shopkeepers, merchants and unique professions along the streets of Yangon. Choose your preferred routing and solve the fun and educational tasks. Price per person: 45,000 kyats (based on four persons) and possible for more group – including guide and a tablet per group. Operated by Exploration Travel.
7. Day trip to the countryside
Explore beautiful green areas just outside Yangon and enjoy a relaxing day trip which includes a leisurely boat ride, a home-cooked picnic lunch in a private garden along a small creek in a small village. The tour continues partly by car and on foot to discover an ancient Mon pagoda. Price per person: 55,000 kyats (based on four persons) – included transportation, guide, home-cooked lunch and boat). Operated by Exploration Travel
8. Shopping trip
Join an interesting day tour exploring some of the arts and crafts of Myanmar, including a visit to a glass factory. A guided tour in a small group includes Bonjour, Hladay craft store and Art gallery. After that, you drop by an old glass factory that was destroyed by Cyclone Nargis in 2008. There’s still plenty of old glassware to be found as you walk around the factory compound – a fascinating almost surreal experience. (Small groups two to six persons.) Price per person: 35,000 kyats – includes half-day car and guide. Operated by Exploration Travel.
9. Motorbike riding lessons
Participants get to join a private motorbike driving class to learn how to change gears on a 250 cc Yamaha. Exploration Travel’s MD Edwin Briels tried the motorbike lessons himself and called it “fantastic.” Under the watchful eye of an instructor, you learn the ins and outs of driving a motorcycle safely in a quiet area of the countryside. Price is 95.000 Kyats per person, including instructor and motorbike. Operated by Discovery Rides.
10. Biking Uncharted horizons trip
One of the most beautiful ways to escape the city. The tour starts just across the Bago River, 15 km from downtown Yangon, in the town of Thanlyin. The route passes Hindu temples, mosques, monasteries, an ancient church ruin, quaint villages and reservoirs with floating gardens, as well a vibrant market.
Tour length (cycling): around 30 km, duration around five hours. Price per person: 60,000 kyats (based on four persons joining) including transport to the starting point, bike rental, guide, water, snacks. Operated by Uncharted Horizons.
All tours are operated while taking care of Covid-19 safety regulations and local communities’ consent and could be subject to last-minute changes.
Edwin Briels is the MD of Exploration Travel Myanmar a sustainable travel agency focussed on creating new and exciting travel experiences around the country. He also manages Lalay Lodge (www.lalaylodge.com) and biking company Grasshopper Adventures Myanmar (www.grasshopperadventures.com/destination/bicycle-tours-in-myanmar). Contact him at email@example.com any of the above experiences or other Myanmar travel-related questions.