Myanmar ( Burma ). Myanmar Cultural Adventure

Extend Your Stay

Contact the Program Director for extensions in Myanmar and within Asia.

Ancient City of Mrauk U

For the first time in centuries it is possible to travel through this forgotten part of Myanmar where time seems to have stood still. Opened to tourists in 2013 the Mrauk U area offers fantastic scenery, remote Chin villages, plantations, jungle, boat rides, and a glimpse into a rich living history that few people outside of Myanmar have seen. Mrauk U, the former capital of the Burmese Rakhine kings, is a sprawling temple complex of over 700 structures. Tour magnificent temple art and architecture, from centuries old dynasties, reminders of ancient civilizations that existed in Myanmar (then Burma) long before tourism arrived.


After landing in Sittwe, start your drive to Mrauk U. The drive takes about 4 hours and is along a scenic road filled with interesting stops along the way with opportunities to meet locals and take pictures of the breathtaking scenery of green paddy fields and the river. Stops include a visit to a local weaving village, an old monastery where you can have tea with the head monk, a small cave temple and a walk to a viewpoint of the surrounding countryside. As you approach the Mrauk U area stop to visit the Mahamuni pagoda and the Vessali ruins – an old kingdom in this area. Transfer to the Mrauk U Princess Resort and have the afternoon free

Hop on a bicycle to discover some of the Mrauk U temples and the local town. The area around Mrauk U is mostly flat, making bicycles one of the best ways to explore this sprawling complex at leisure.

The Rakhine dynasty, based in Mrauk U, reached its peak during the 15th century. In those days Mrauk U was a busy trading port that was frequently visited by Dutch, Portuguese, Middle Eastern and Asian traders. The capital Mrauk U was rumoured to be one of the richest cities in Asia, comparable to Amsterdam or London. What’s left today is a historical site with 700 temples built in a very different style from the Bagan temples. After getting your fill of temple hopping, head back to the Mrauk U Princess Resort and have the evening free. [BL]

A 1,5 hour trip by boat over the Lemro River brings you to a Chin village. Meet and have a simple lunch with a local host family. Your guide will show you the traditions and culture of the Chin people and you can meet some of the older women who have the iconic face tattoos of this region. The always curious family members will be given the chance to ask more about your home country, your family and your own traditions.

Return to Mrauk U by boat and car. In the afternoon, head back to the complex to visit more of the temples in the Mrauk U area. Overnight at Mrauk U Princess Resort [BL]

Get an early morning start for a 4-hour cruise over the Kaladan River which has stunning views of the surrounding fields and mountains in the distance – certainly a highlight of the trip to Mrauk U! The banks on both sides of the river are low, allowing for excellent opportunities to watch daily life passing by while lounging on the deck of the ship.

On arrival in Sittwe harbour, a car will transfer you to the airport. Fly to Ngapali Beach or onward to Yangon.


Group Size 
 Land Cost $1,420  $1,350  $1,220 
 Internal Air (Yangon - Sittwe) $165  $165  $165 

Princess Mrauk U Resort - beautiful property with views of the rice paddy fields, the blue mountains, and the Mrauk U river. 21 spacious guest rooms, private jetty

Sailing the Mergui

Burma may have opened up but there’s a far flung coast that remains untouched, that offers what travelers come to Myanmar to experience – pristine nature and living cultures. Just across from the Thai border, the archipelago, Myanmar’s only marine national park, was only opened to outside travelers in 1997. With only a few of the 800 islands sparsely populated and a couple dozen visitors to the entire area each month, the Mergui Archipelago remains one of the planet’s most unspoilt destinations. As you sail through this magical archipelago you’ll have the opportunity to meet and interact with the Moken people, sea gypsies who have sailed these waters for hundreds of years. You’ll spend time on white beaches lined with palm trees and ringed by dense jungle. Think swimming in azure water amongst colorful reef fish and coral. Now, picture eagles circling above and gibbons and monitor lizards eyeing you from the thickets. The Mergui is a spectacular area that few others have yet to experience and an experience that few others will ever compare to.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Kaw Thaung. Upon arrival to Kaw Thaung airport transfer for the jetty to board your sailboat and begin your adventure into the Mergui Archipelago!

After a welcome aboard the yacht, set sail to Barwell Island where you’ll spend the evening on the beach. Go for a swim in the clear, warm water before dinner and drinks. Overnight onboard [BLD]

After a refreshing swim start your passage to Island No 115, an island often frequented by the Moken sea gypsies. In the afternoon you will reach a group of islands called the Mid Group. If time permits, you can go for a dinghy excursion into a nearby mangrove forest on Island No 88. After, you will have dinner in a beautiful, secluded area. Overnight onboard [BLD]

Sail towards the little village on Nyaung Wee Island where you can visit the local sea gypsy settlement. Tack west to Great Swinton Island. Take a jungle walk along the creek and collect seashells on the huge beach. For those interested in Buddhism, you can visit a local monastery. The evening is rounded out with snorkeling and drinks on deck. Watch the bioluminescent plankton as after the sun goes down. Overnight onboard [BLD]

Early morning sail to tiny Ohway island for the best snorkeling and fishing in the region. Observe the colorful life of the reef, full of soft and hard corals and, tropical fish. After lunch you will set sail for Jar Lann Kyun where you will anchor in the large fjord, one of the most spectacular bays in the archipelago. In the mangrove forest you can watch hornbills as dusk. Enjoy dinner on board and relax under the starry sky. Overnight onboard [BLD]

Long, leisurely sail towards Za Det Nge Island with its beautiful bays and beaches. Visit Rhino Island on the way and enjoy the turquoise water and white beaches. Finish up the day with a dinner party on the beach at Za Det Nge Island. Overnight onboard [BLD]

After a long brunch you’ll sail back into Kaw Thaung. Transfer to Ranong airport for your international flight home.
The Meta IV was designed by the naval architect Thomas E. Colvin, who gave the vessel her beautiful shape and robust hull. She is made entirely of Thai teak, one of the best woods for building classic boats. The Meta IV was constructed in 1998 as a private yacht for a Swiss businessman who made his fortune in hotels. In 2010, the Austrian skipper Herbert Mayrhauser found her at a pier in Phuket and immediately fell in love. After two years of intensive restoration work and refitting, Meta IV started her new life as a luxury charter vessel in the fall of 2012.

Meta IV measures 85 feet in length. That's longer than the Santa Maria, the boat that Columbus sailed into history when he discovered the Americas. In fact, with all her space, you could almost forget you were on a yacht. The sheer size and the facilities on board make for a getaway that you won't forget.

The Meta IV has four guest cabins, each fully air conditioned with ensuite bathrooms and electric toilets. Two of the cabins boast queen-size beds, while the other two feature twin beds. Behind the cockpit is the triple stateroom. The entire aft of the boat is shaded and fitted with multiple dining spaces and sunbathing areas.

The boat's centre is dominated by the generous galley and saloon dining area. But chances are that you'll be enjoying most of your meals outside in the sun or in Myanmar's mild evenings.


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