Burma - the Golden Land
12 days from only £2369pp Show price breakdown
Selected Departures available up to November 2014, prices from £2,599pp flying from London Heathrow
Selected departures up to November 2014
Imagine stepping back to a time without mobile phones, cash dispensers or even supermarkets. Imagine discovering a deeply spiritual, traditional society that’s only just opening up to the outside world. This is Burma - intriguing, alluring and still the preserve of the discerning visitor. Now’s the time to experience this remarkable country’s true authenticity before it takes its place on the tourist map!
You’ll visit cities, lakes, hill stations, rivers and temples. You’ll travel by internal flights, long-tail teak boats and on charmingly slow railways. You’ll even go by horse and cart between thousand year-old pagodas scattered across Bagan’s serene plains.
High in the eastern hill country is the vast Inle Lake, its mirror-like surface reflecting the surrounding verdant landscape and lakeside stilt villages full of fascinating little workshops and colourful markets. We are discovering quintessential rural Burma, where traditional dress is the norm and cars are a rarity.
With over 130 ethnic groups, Burma’s people are incredibly diverse. You’ll see the Intha, the Shan and the intriguingly named Pa-O tribes. However, one homogenous trait exists that will delight - complete genuine friendliness, engaging ever-smiling faces and delightful children who are ever-curious about their visitors.
Burmese cuisine is unknown outside its borders – a fascinating fusion of Indian, Thai and Chinese influences, with plenty of noodle, rice-based dishes and curries, milder than Indian and extremely tasty. And for desert, try some fermented tea-leaves – an acquired taste!
Firstly, we visit Rangoon (Yangon), Burma’s colonial capital with several Victorian buildings to see in between the busy traditional markets and fascinating street life. The highlight though is the astonishing Shwedagon pagoda, arguably Asia’s greatest Buddhist temple, rising like a vast gleaming golden finger puncturing the sky. Glowing beautifully in the sun it dominates the entire city.
You also stay two nights in Mandalay, Burma’s second city, full of industrious workshops and tree-shaded monasteries it's overlooked by Mandalay Hill, site of a fierce battle at the end of World War Two, but now better known as the gathering place for friendly orange-clad monks, always keen to welcome you and practice their English on their welcome visitors.
Off the beaten track, we’ll also visit Burma’s best known hill station, Maymyo. Founded by the British, cool and peaceful, with numerous half-timbered houses and bungalows which would not be out of place in rural Britain, it’s a glimpse into a lost colonial world.
Finally, we stay for two nights in Bagan, the country’s most classic sight – an enormous plain, staggeringly studded with over 3,000 ancient pagodas and stupas of all shapes and sizes. Bordered by the Irrawaddy River, this was Burma’s hugely wealthy, 13th century capital and these shrines are the only remains of a once enormous city.
So come with us to discover an astonishing and timeless land striving to join the modern world, but on its own terms; a land of huge variety in topography and culture; a land rich in fascinating history and steeped in two thousand years of Buddhist belief – Burma, the golden land.