Inspirato’s collection of luxury vacation options features 900+ ways to explore the world. And while the club’s residences and hotel and resort partners are always a good bet, the most hands-on way members can travel is through Inspirato Experiences. With custom itineraries in exotic destinations around the world — and the expert care members expect — Inspirato Experiences let members dive deep into a new culture.

Earlier in 2017, a group of eight Inspirato Members voyaged to Myanmar (formerly Burma), located in Southeast Asia to the northwest of Thailand. The culturally rich country is a top emerging travel destination, thanks to its history, landmarks, and natural beauty. Like during the club’s other experiences, members enjoyed a hand-picked, 12-day itinerary that granted exclusive access to some of Myanmar’s biggest attractions and insider knowledge that travelers can get only from a local.

Members Ray and Tricia documented each day of their experience, sharing not only their daily itinerary, but the cultural facts and insights they learned all along the way.

The entire trip was five star. The accommodations, food choices, transportation choices, entertainment, cultural visits, and all the amazing little things that happen all the time, all conspired to make this an unbelievable five star experience.

Ray and TriciaInspirato Members

After 30 hours, four layovers, and an 11-hour time difference, the adventure kicked off in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, and the Belmond Governor’s Residence, a beautiful hotel to rest in after a long journey. Over the next few days, Ray, Tricia, and their fellow Inspirato Members immersed themselves in Yangon with their guide’s assistance.

They shopped at a sprawling bazaar, watched local kids play the country’s soccer-like national sport chinlone in the street, and visited the “massive” banana market (“massive because of its size and also the size of the bananas,” as Ray describes it). At several monasteries, they learned the traditions and customs of Buddhist monks and even participated in sacred activities such as prayer and blessing ceremonies.

“This was an incredible experience and it was a great chance to see the welcoming smiles of the Burmese people. We observed a number of ancient traditions and became immersed in the ceremonial activities of the monks,” Ray wrote. On day four, the group headed to the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar.

The magnificent, towering complex — encrusted in gold, diamonds, and jewels — houses numerous sacred artifacts, and left an unforgettable impression on Ray and Tricia.

“We were entranced by the beautiful collection of stupas, monasteries, workshops, and markets that surround the site, and kept coming across unexpected insights into the culture of Myanmar locals pointed out by our guide. Finally we came across a clear viewpoint of the amazing shrine and just stood in awe,” Ray wrote.

Next on Inspirato’s itinerary was a quick flight to Mandalay, Myanmar’s former capital, where the group boarded the luxury river vessel Sanctuary Ananda for a four-night cruise down the historic Ayeyarwady River. The voyage offered a glimpse into daily Burmese life in villages and towns along the river, including a school for orphans and a sunset visit to U Bein Bridge, thought to be the longest teak bridge in the world.

The tour eventually led to the ancient city of Bagan. The area is home to thousands of remaining pagodas and temples, each intricately constructed and boasting its own unique history. To get a bird’s-eye view — literally — the group took to the skies on a hot air balloon ride over the city. Other favorite activities in Bagan included a visit with their guide’s mother (a talented artisan) and a horse-and-buggy tour around the area.

The final leg of the Myanmar experience took Ray, Tricia, and their fellow members to breathtaking Inle Lake. Here, members stayed at Villa Inle Resort and Spa, a lovely boutique property right on the water.

“Inle lake itself is magical and the combination of the light and the water with the mountain and water scenery is special. Our villa has views of fishermen gliding by on the lake, water buffaloes cooling themselves off in the lake, migratory and native birds picking food in the wet land and farmers tending to the lake plots,” Tricia wrote. “Our room is gorgeous. Every direction is an incredible view.”

Over their several days at the lake, the group participated in a traditional boat race on the water — specially arranged by Inspirato — and learned the famously precarious balancing act that local fishermen perform on the edge of their longboats. They explored more villages to learn about the area’s silk-weaving crafts and learned how to cook a farm-to-table meal with an experienced chef.

Ray and Tricia happened to be celebrating their 30th anniversary, so their guide arranged a surprise: a tiki-lit dinner in a small house perched on stilts in the lake.

“It was a sight that just took my breath away,” Tricia wrote. “There was a bouquet of flowers on the table with a card wishing us 1,000 years of blessings written in Burmese. This was all before the meal even began. It was so very special. What a day!”

As the trip wound down, Ray, Tricia, and company soaked in every last bit of Burmese culture that they could. They spent time playing and talking with local children and taking a traditional Shen dance lesson before making the long journey back home.

Inspirato’s custom itinerary, a deeply knowledgeable and well-connected local guide, their fellow Inspirato Members, and a naturally fascinating destination all combined to make this a trip of lifetime for Ray and Tricia.

In 2018, members can travel to exotic destinations such as Colombia, South Africa, and Vietnam and Cambodia, all with thoughtfully curated, immersive itineraries and expert care at every stop. And if you are interested in a similar trip to Mynamar, our custom travel team can help arrange that. Learn more about how Inspirato Members experience the world, in both far-away locales and favorite spots close to home.

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