Hidden Myanmar with cazenove+loyd
As Myanmar has only relatively recently started to welcome visitors, much of the country is still unexplored and it can be hard to get off the defined tourist trail in comfort. But at cazenove+loyd that is what we specialise in: exploring the lesser-known pockets of countries, so that every trip we create is extraordinary. Of course, when visiting this spectacular country, you must see the golden temples of Bagan and explore bustling Yangon, but there are many wonders that lie beyond the obvious in Myanmar, just waiting to be discovered.
I have just returned from a trip to Myanmar and have detailed three of my best secret finds below.
CYCLING IN MANDALAY
Mandalay should not be deemed just an industrial city. At first, it might not appear to be the most charming part of Myanmar, but we say otherwise. Discovering exhilarating new activities is what we love most and recently in Mandalay, we hit the jackpot. We found the perfect combination to make for a truly memorable experience: remote, untouched countryside and a sturdy bicycle.
We work with top expert guides in Myanmar who can take you on a tremendous adventure on your bike through some of the most wonderful parts of the country, completely undiscovered by tourists. This four-hour trip is a treat for the senses, passing quaint villages, schools, small markets, animals and ancient ruins.
You will see the country in a completely different light. Everything feels organic and you become far more immersed into the raw culture than you ever would in the back seat of your air-conditioned car. This extraordinary journey ends at the U Bein Bridge, which is believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world and is one of the classic symbols of Mandalay and indeed Myanmar.
EXPLORING GOKKYI VILLAGE
Many visitors never get to see rural Burmese life because the tourist infrastructure is simply not there. But this makes it all the better and more authentic for those who do. We are fascinated by this side of Myanmar. Gokkyi is a remote village located 300m above sea level. We often suggest clients spend the day meeting villagers clad in traditional colourful dress, who will join you to explore the market area and gain an insight into a rural lifestyle that has not changed for generations.
THALE OO WALK NEAR INLE LAKE
A visit to Inle Lake is an absolute must on any trip to Myanmar. One can spend days on end watching Burmese life go by from the seat of your long-tailed boat. But Inle is not just about life on the lake and for something different, we can design a fascinating walk through the surrounding countryside starting from the village of Thale Oo and wandering through quiet villages that only we know about. Begin your walk on a flat and shaded bullock cart road through the heart of the village where peanuts, tomatoes, garlic, sugarcane, rice and vegetables are grown and traditional bamboo houses line the roads. Stop at a local rice mill, made entirely from wood, and see the process of separating grain, husk and bran. Carry on climbing uphill through an old monastery, and you reach the small PaO village of Ywa Thit renowned for its weaving of bamboo baskets. And in just a couple of hours, you will have seen an authentic snapshot of Myanmar.