A Destination Filled With Exceptionally Unique Experiences
Upon arrival in Bangkok, the innate friendliness of the Thai people welcome you to this storied city of brilliantly colored temples, jewel-bedecked dancers and joyous children, letting it weave its sensuous magic about you. Begin your journey with the excitement of exploring the klongs (canals) interlaced throughout the backwaters of the town, leading to the channels that bring produce to market, passing the storage docks for the gold-leafed royal ceremonial barges and gliding on to the splendor of the Grand Palace.
Continue with your exploration of these fascinating environs with a morning flight that carries you above the brilliance of glittering temples set afire by the rising sun, taking flight well above the jungle carpet to Myanmar (Burma), where the passage of time has seemingly stood still for generations. Yangon (Rangoon) displays remnants of its colonial past as showcased in the architectural splendor of its colonial-styled buildings and vintage marketplace. The glory of Yangon is Shwedagon Pagoda, a spectacular national treasure, its main spire rising to a height of 396 feet, meticulously adorned with thousands of semi-precious stones, and embedded by multiple layers of gold leaf. Buddhist pilgrims the world over visit the site, and there is a never-ending flow of Burmese who make it their daily habit to visit and pay homage.
Winging your way above the meandering Irrawaddy River, you head toward He Ho, the gateway to Upper-Burma. Upon arrival, your passage carries you across the rural countryside, passing pine-scented forest as you arrive into the quaint city of Kalaw, once a favorite hill station retreat for British administrative officials escaping the heat during summer months. One of the greater highlights of your entire journey and of this region is the Green Hill Elephant Camp, where these graceful giants have been rescued from the strenuous task of timber logging. The camp has a wide assortment of bird life and is actively participating in a reforestation program.
Your visit to Pagan (Bagan), a tranquil and wondrous town, will forever leave its mark upon you. Dating back to 108 A.D., the town was destroyed by Kublai Khan in 1287. Most of the 13,000 pagodas, stupas and temples that once graced the plains surrounding the town are long gone, but the 2,000 or more remaining tell a tale of former elegance and stature once displayed throughout this land. The town was known as the capital of Buddhism during its "Golden Age" and knowledge of that reality provides the local inhabitants with a measure of pride clearly evident on their faces and in their strides.
Mandalay is renowned for the beauty of its architecture as depicted by the Shwe-Nan-Daw monastery. Visiting the nearby capital of Amarapura is another highlight of the region, together with the sight of bamboo rafts and Chinese-styled junks that move both passenger and materials in a never-ending procession of boat traffic on a seemingly endless waterway. The skilled artisans of Amarapura create some of the finest sculpting in the country, together with the arduous task of gold-leaf pounding, which continues to be an art passed down generation after generation.
Complete your journey at Inle Lake. Vast and beautiful, the lake stretches some 9 miles in length and 4 miles in breadth. It is here that you will find the unique "leg rowers" who, while standing atop their longboat, wrap the lower leg around the oar and paddle their boat past the innumerable floating villages and colorful markets, oaring to lake center, where they drop in their bamboo woven basket, hoping for a bountiful catch.
Myanmar is one of the very few destinations where an air of innocence pervades the national ethos. Its populace is gradually being introduced to the 21st century, and whereas the changes forthcoming will alter what has been a cloistered society for generations, it presently offers the willing traveler an unique opportunity for a most memorable journey.
"Beyond perfect is my best description for our tour with First Cabin Travel to the wonder that is Burma." K. Kline Los Angeles
First Cabin Travel (858)-395-1076 CA Reg: 2017168-40