Explore's Hannah Green travelled on one of the first departures of our new Burma Highlights tour. Here she shares the highlights of her trip.
This was my first trip to Asia and I couldnâ€™t have asked for a better introduction to the region than Burma. The initial apprehension of arriving into Rangoon was soon alleviated upon meeting our local Tour Leader, Myo. His knowledge and sense of humour were to set the tone for the remainder of the trip and an unforgettable experience.
The Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon where we started our tour was without a doubt one of the most impressive sights Iâ€™ve seen, with its huge golden stupa and jewelled temples. However, it was Inle Lake, Mandalay and Bagan that were the real highlights for me.
We spent two days at Inle Lake on long-tail boats travelling between temples, monasteries, local craft workshops and floating villages where we met the local people and acquired a fascinating insight into local life and traditions. Despite the unexpected rain during our time here it was a relaxing start to the trip before moving on to go trekking in Kalaw and then follow the bumpy road to Mandalay.
The road to Mandalay was an experience in itself: nine hours travelling through unspoilt countryside, where we witnessed local festivities and traditional rural life before arriving in the fabled city of Mandalay. Here we took in temples by horse drawn cart and marvelled at the mile long U Bein Bridge.
Our next stop was the highlight for many of the group: Bagan. We arrived by way of a boat on the Irrawaddy River and it was clear we were in for a treat as we caught our first glimpse of the famous Bagan temples as the sun was setting. Photos cannot do justice to the incredible views of the temples that stretch as far as the eye can see. I could easily have spent longer than the allocated two days here.
Overall the trip was a huge success and Iâ€™d highly recommend a visit to Burma before it changes with the increase in tourism.
Hannah travelled on our Burma Highlights tour