Gay Tours and Travel to Myanmar
After three decades of self-imposed isolation, the unspoiled beauty and tranquility of Myanmar are to be treasured. We think it is one of our most interesting destinations, not only because of the remarkable things to do and see there, but because the country's cultural integrity has remained largely intact, somewhat frozen in time by years of sanctions. Spectacular pagodas seem to dot every landscape. With our expert guides and insider knowledge, our Foreign fast food outlets and mini-marts are conspicuously absent, and most Burmese still wear traditional dress, but that is going to change quickly. KFC has already opened its first store in Yangon, and other burger/pizza/convenience store chains are already making plans. See the unspoiled Myanmar before it fades away.
Planning Your Holiday to Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake, and Beyond
Before you start packing your bags, it is well worth reading stories about Myanmar in several of our newsletters: www.clubsanook.com/newsletters/. Myanmar's new openness has caused a virtual stampede of foreign visitors who no longer have to feel guilty about traveling there. This has put a good deal of stress on the tourism industry there and hotel rooms have been hard to come by lately. So our best advice to prospective visitors is to plan as far in advance as possible.
During its decades of political and economic isolation Myanmar changed very little. Those days are over. Tourism is booming, and tourism's infrastructure is struggling to keep up. Sometimes there are simply not enough hotel rooms to satisfy demand, which is why we encourage guests to plan Myanmar well in advance. Myanmar is also changing. Like many places in Asia, the "old" things that visitors often revere are being replaced with the new. Yangon has fast food outlets now, and that is only a symptom of a greater trend. Sadly, Myanmar will become decreasingly "authentic" with time. See it soon since you will probably want to remember it as it was one day. With nearly two decades of experience and inside knowledge, our attention to all of the details, and Myanmar's best local guides, you are sure to have a much more rewarding experience in Burma than if you spend your time attempting to deal with transportation, language and other logistics on your own. You would have to be pretty crazy to even try that.
Convenient Modular Programs
Whether you are a first time visitor to Myanmar or return guest. Purple Dragon Pioneered offers all-inclusive travel programs to Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake and beyond. Our Classic Yangon package is great for guests who have limited time but want a taste of Myanmar. These four packages, Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle lake, plus numerous optional side trips and other options. A luxury cruise between Mandalay and Bagan? Absolutely!
Our two-night introduction to Burma's colorful capital. In addition to the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, you will see traditional markets, the National Museum and some of Indochina's loveliest colonial architecture. If you make advance arrangements you can even visit the country's School of Fine Arts.
A three-day, two-night tour of an exotic ancient kingdom. Mandalay is probably Myanmar's most colorful, most interesting city. We take you to monasteries, pagoda's and a magnificent palace as well as Amarapura, which was twice the capital when Burma was a kingdom. Or you may want to see Mingun, a massive, abandoned pagoda.
One, two or three days in a breathtaking lost city. You can see Bagan as a one-day side trip from Yangon. However, there is so much to see that you will want to spend at least two days there. This ancient, abandoned metropolis of massive temples is vast and on the scale of AngkorWat, Borobudur and Khajuraho.
Take a three-day dip into the Shan States' great lake. Inle Lake's shores are dotted with ancient and colorful villages.
This extended itinerary merely illustrates how you can combine the packages above to create a longer tour. We can customize this itinerary just about any way you like by adding other destinations and activities. To see the most you should plan to spend ten to fourteen days.
Choose from many options to make your visit to Myanmar everything you hoped for. Look here for many additional places to visit and transportation options.
Optional Side Trips
Purple Dragon Pioneered has designed unique side trips that fit easily into your Myanmar itinerary:
Mingun, Amarapura and Inwa are offered as optional add-ons in Myanmar's second largest city.
A day trip to one of Myanmar's most sacred sites can be added to your Bagan adventure.
Also see our Custom Tour Options page for plenty of additional suggestions and a suggested "Grand Burma" itinerary.
Gay Life in Myanmar
Gay and transgendered people in Myanmar are rarely openly apparent, except for spirit mediums who channel the energies of revered and feared nat spirits. You will likely not see people expressing their sexuality through dress or behavior. Ladyboys, commonly seen and tolerated across the border in Thailand, are virtually absent here. The government works hard to prevent the rise of a sex industry and to control nightlife which encourages this. It is common to see men holding hands as they stroll. Charming, yes, but they are probably not sisters.
There are no specifically-gay nightlife venues in Myanmar. Cruising does take place and some nightlife venues provide social opportunities for gays and lesbians. Myanmar is not a place to visit with the expectation of a romantic encounter. That said, a cheerful smile and good humored flirtation are a great way to make new friends anywhere.
Myanmar has three seasons: rainy, cool, and hot. The rainy season is from May to mid-October, with temperatures 25-30 centigrade. The cool season is from November to January. Average temperature swill be 20-24 degrees centigrade. The hot season is March through May, and average temperatures are 30-35 C.
Purple Dragon pioneered LGBTQ travel to Myanmar, but everyone is welcome on our tours!
Photos: Daniel See, Allen Shores