Golden Hills of Burma
- Highlights of Burma and the remote Chin Hills
- Golden sunset over the temples and pagodas of Bagan
- The unique animist culture of the Chin people
- Mandalay and the U Bein teak bridge
- Cross the Irrawaddy to Mandalay`s Mingun Pagoda
Our journey in Burma, the Golden Land, begins in the former British colonial city of Yangon. No visit to Burma is complete without a trip to the magnificent Schwedagon Pagoda, the cultural heart of the nation, and a walk around the historical colonial district of the city. Our Burmese odyssey continues with the short flight to Bagan and it's plain of 4000 temples, beautifully crafted by the Burmese Kings and dating back to the 11th century. From here we journey into the Chin Hills for our 7 day trek, home to the ethnic Chin people who are of Tibeto-Burman ancestry. Few westerners have visited this area, only recently opened to tourists, where many of the women have tattooed faces and wear tribal clothing. The trek is a delightful walk through forested hills, tea plantations and lush valleys and offers an insight into the lives of the Chin with their mix of Buddhist, Christian and traditional Animist beliefs. The people we meet will be as curious about us as we are about them, and the variety of accommodation - from monastery to school house - allows us the unique opportunity to get close to village life. At the end of the trek we head for Mandalay where we visit the U Bein teak bridge at sunset and the ruined pagodas of Mingun. This holiday combines time in 3 of Burma's culturally rich cities with an off-the-beaten-track experience in a beautiful and unspoiled area, culminating in the ascent of Mt Victoria (3063m), named for the Empress herself. A adventure travel connoisseur's holiday choice!
KE's Position on Travel and Tourism in Burma
Off-limits for 15 years, the National League for Democracy (Aung San Suu Kyi's political party) announced in early November 2010 that the boycott on tourism should be lifted. With the general message from the Burmese people also encouraging outside visitors, we made the decision to set up our first ever holiday in Burma. From the outset, we were careful to design the itinerary with the help of a Burmese agent who, as much as is possible, makes use of independent and privately-run businesses, rather than those run by the military regime. We feel that it is appropriate now to let KE clients have the chance to make their own minds up about this fascinating and fast-changing country and believe that tourist visits by well-informed people, who have an interest in Burma's social and political issues, can be of benefit to the Burmese people.
Is this holiday for you?
Generally, the trekking conditions on this Burma holiday are relatively easy, following good paths between villages at a relatively moderate altitude throughout. The maximum altitude is 3055m above sea level, at the summit of Mt Victoria. This is not a difficult or sustained trek and on average you will be walking for 5 to 6 hours per day. Please note that the Chin Hills are a remote area, where few tourists have travelled before. Accommodation and sanitation throughout the trek is at a very basic level. Whilst the Chin Hills are cooler than the plains, the climate is warm and relatively humid even in the later winter months which is something to take in to account. The route connects several valleys separated by ridges, so there is substantial height gain and loss for most days. You should be comfortable with walking for 5 or 6 hours each day at a moderate pace over 7 days. This holiday should be well within the capabilities for anyone of good fitness.