Travelling with kids doesn’t have to preclude visiting more unusual travel destinations. While Burma may be reserved for the more adventurous traveller, it’s nevertheless an exciting destination for families with children. The Burmese are very welcoming towards children, and the experience of visiting this far-flung country is an informative one for younger members of the family, who will quickly befriend their Burmese peers and discover a way of life very different to their own. Here are some of the highlights of visiting Burma with the kids in tow.
Adults and children alike will be thrilled by the experience of a waterborne tour of serene Inle Lake and its unusual floating villages and markets. You have a choice of vessel for your tour; dugout canoes or long tail boats are both popular options, both unusual craft that will make your children feel as though they’re on an adventure straight from the pages of a book.
One for the older kids perhaps, but cycling is a great way to explore the sweeping Plains of Bagan and the thousands of ancient temples scattered over it. Traversing this fascinating archaeological site, your kids can pretend that they’re Indiana Jones as they follow goat tracks to discover the nooks and crannies of these crumbling ruins.
Yangon, previously the capital and formerly known as Rangoon, is most famous for the Shwedagon Pagoda, a glittering stupa that may well impress your kids. But not all children will be interested in temples, so sweeten them up with a trip to Yangon Zoological Gardens, which is the second largest zoo in Burma and a pleasant retreat from the bustle of the city. There are 200 species and 1,100 animals here, including Asian elephants, Bengal tigers and marsh crocodiles, and children can even help feed the monkeys. With a natural history museum, aquarium and amusement park also occupying this 70-acre site, you could easily spend a whole day entertaining your kids here.
Burma’s Thingyan festival is basically like a giant water fight, so the kids are bound to love it. It takes place mid-April, marking the New Year festivities. People throw water over each other as a mark of respect and blessing, and as the festival coincides with the hottest time of year, this cleansing ritual can be very refreshing. Designed to wash away the bad luck and sins of the previous year, it happens in the streets in the first four days of Thingyan, though people really get into the spirit of it on the second day. Don’t worry about getting your clothes wet – in the Burmese heat, you’ll quickly dry out.
Known as ‘yoke thé’, traditional Burmese puppetry is an artform that dates back to the 15th century. It’s a quintessentially Burmese experience that you can watch at the Htwe Oo theatre in Yangon, as well as in other historic places such as Mandalay and Bagan. Catch a puppet show and watch your kids captivated by the intricate marionettes playing out traditional Burmese stories to a musical accompaniment.
Images provided by Burma travel experts Insider Journeys