Myanmar’s often associated with political unrest and earthquakes.
But to passionate travellers, it’s landscapes of temples and jungle-covered mountains, long rivers, ancient cities and – most surprisingly of all – spectacular beaches.
The gorgeous west coast resorts are peaceful and pretty perfect for younger kids. Older kids will love the beaches too, just make sure to let them see some of the country before settling down by the sea.
Flights from the UK to Yangon and Mandalay all year round take between 14 and 16 hours.
Daily flights from Yangon to Ngapali on the west coast take under one hour.
The Pyu Ancient Cities in Central Myanmar are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Buddhism in South East Asia.
Fantastic beach resorts, historic hotels in Yangon’s Colonial Quarter, international five star hotels in Bagan and charming family villas on the west coast.
Myanmar isn’t a secret but it is significantly less touristy and developed than most other East Asian countries.
Colourful annual festivals like Yangon’s Pagoda Festival in February; Lake Inle Boat Festival in October; Taunggyi Balloon Festival in November.
The country’s strong family-centred culture’ s warm and inclusive for kids.
The former capital, better known as Rangoon, is where most visitors arrive in Myanmar. It’s a breathtakingly exotic city with many of the country’s most celebrated sacred sites and nowhere else has quite the same long and fascinating heritage. The grand colonial architecture is a little faded in places but still magnificent. Shwedagon Paya – Myanmar’s legendary pagoda – justifies an overnight stay itself. And teenagers will love the brilliantly noisy clamour and colour of Chinatown for stranger than strange markets, street food and sheer eccentricity.
From November to March, temperatures in Ngapali hover between 27 and 30˚ every day. The skies are blue, the beaches are bone-white and the Bay of Bengal’s waters are warm and crystal clear. Gorgeous resort hotels string along the coast against lush, green jungle-like forest. Fresh seafood is the staple of pretty restaurants in tiny fishing villages. Locals wander along the sands selling fruit and Buddhist monks occasionally stroll by. Try to imagine Thailand’s islands about twenty years ago and that’s Ngapali now.
The spiritual heartland of this mysterious country, whether you think of it as ancient Burma or modern Myanmar, is the central plain of Bagan. A 67km² landscape where thousands of towers and temples pierce dense jungle canopies and seem to stretch to an infinite horizon. It’s one of the most breathtakingly beautiful areas in Asia and shouldn’t be missed if you’re travelling with older kids.
Northern Myanmar is a restricted travel zone and not recommended for family holidays. If you’re planning to visit, check out UK Government Advice first.
Myanmar’s dense with rainforest, out of bounds in the north and proceed-with-caution on the Thailand border. The country’s dynamic rainy season is famously dramatic and often isolates entire regions. Domestic flights are the best way to cover longer distances and manage a multi-centre family holiday. In historic cities travelling around in tuk-tuk and taxis is the norm – more adventurous types can try ox or horse drawn carts. Cycle tours are a fantastic way to engage kids with heritage sites. There are overnight train services to Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake and Ngapali but, standards vary, so check before booking.