My favourite group tour: Beautiful Burma

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Our Beautiful Burma group tour is a trip packed with stand-out destinations and unforgettable experiences, from visiting the evocative former capital of Mandalay to playing with rescued elephants in Kalaw. It's a tour of best bits; so choosing the best bits is tough. Nevertheless, tour leader Tara has stepped up to the plate with a few of her tour favourites...

Destination: Inle Lake

There’s something about firsts… And although it’s been quite a few years now, and I’ve been back many times, I will never forget my first sunrise over the mountains at Inle Lake. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it more stunning ever since. Like I said, must be something about firsts… It’s still my favourite place in Burma! If you have the chance, try to go to one of the early morning local markets, you’ll find yourself on a different planet!

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For Tara, the first sunset over Inle Lake was unforgettable

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Visit a market at Inle LakeExperience: Hot air ballooning over Bagan

I had taken a hot air balloon ride once before, over the karst formations in Vang Vieng, Laos, so the flat plains of Bagan couldn’t possibly impress me as much, I thought. I was wrong! The early morning light creates the most beautiful shadows of the ancient temples dotting the entire area. Especially in the green season, it’s absolutely breathtaking!

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Ballooning over the ancient temples of BaganRestaurant: Marie Min

Marie Min in Mandalay is officially an Indian vegetarian restaurant. So you might think that the menu would be limited to some vegetable curries and a few simple salads. True, meat isn’t one of the ingredients. But they put almost every other existing ingredient in every single dish - you wouldn’t believe the explosion of flavours. The staff are wonderful and location is quiet and cosy. It's the best meal I've had in town, and I’m not even a vegetarian.

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Take time to visit Marie Min, even if you're not a veggie

For more on food in Burma, read: "A brief introduction to Burmese cuisine"

Hotel: Amara Mountain Resort

My favourite hotel on the Beautiful Burma tour is without a doubt the Amara Mountain Resort in the town of Kalaw, a former British hill station in western Shan State. Its colonial style architecture and traditional atmosphere make you want to extend your stay and spend a couple of days reading in the lovely garden or doing some hiking in the stunning Shan hills.

Amara Mountain Resort

Night spot: Lucky 7

You can find "Lucky 7" tea shops in different neighbourhoods in Yangon, and they all serve the same delicious snacks - from spicy samosas to sweet local desserts, and with a waiting time of only a few minutes. Lucky 7 is the perfect place to hang out and chat with your friends while stuffing up on cheap and tasty treats!

Tara leads our Small Group Tours across Burma and Indochina. To join one of our Small Group Tours, get in touch with one of our travel consultants today!

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