Burma by Land.
Come explore ancient Burma—today’s Myanmar—a magical land that just recently opened up to Western visitors.
Begin in Yangon (once, Rangoon), a remnant of British colonial days. Fly to Inle Lake for a look at floating farms, balletic leg rowers, and ethnic villages. Then to the royal capital of Mandalay, ancient (and sacred) Sagaing, Amarapura, another ancient royal seat, and Bagan's exquisite Plain of Pagodas.
Once Southeast Asia’s most secretive sister, shy Myanmar has dropped her veil to give us a peek at her cultural beauty and richness. This country goes beyond unspoiled—she is graceful, intoxicating, serene, “quite unlike any land you know about.” Even 100 years after Rudyard Kipling wrote these words, they still ring true.
Here is a sample journey to Myanmar that explores the country by land. It visits the most important sites of old Burma. Remember that R. Crusoe can create a Burma journey of any length to meet your exact specifications.
Old Burma by Land. Sacred Shrines. Villagers & Artisans. And the River of Lost Footsteps.
Day 1-2: Yangon, Myanmar
• Arrive in Yangon.
• City tour including Sule Pagoda, Chaukhtatgyi Paya and its Reclining Buddha, and Shwedagon Pagoda.
• Kandawgyi Lake royal barge replica.
• Option to morning meal ceremony at Kalaywa Tawya Monastery by special invitation.
• National Museum, Bogyoke Aung San Market.
• Evening at leisure.
Overnights in Yangon
Day 3: Heho, Inle Lake
• Fly to Heho, drive to Inle Lake.
• By private longtail boat, explore the lake including leg rowers, floating farms, and Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda.
Overnight at Lake Inle
Day 4: Inle Lake Region
• Five-day market.
• Temple complex in Indein, crafts villages.
• Traditional canoe ride to a local village to visit a family in their private home.
Overnight at Inle Lake
Day 5: Inle Lake, Mandalay
• Morning at leisure on Inle Lake.
• Drive to Heho, fly to Mandalay.
Overnight in Mandalay
Day 6: Mandalay, Sagaing, Amarapura
• Mandalay city tour by trishaw.
• Drive to Sagaing, tour ancient city including Sagaing Hill, Zayar Theingi Nunnery, and traditional silversmith.
• Drive to Amarapura, weaving workshop, U Bein Bridge, optional sampan ride on Taungthaman Lake, option for traditional marionette performance.
Overnight in Mandalay
Day 7: Mandalay, Bagan
• Mahamuni Paya, Pyi Gyi Mon barge, Shwenandaw Kyuang, Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mandalay Hill.
• Fly to Bagan.
Overnight in Bagan
Day 8-9: Bagan
• Explore Bagan Plain of Pagodas UNESCO World Heritage site including Shwezigon Paya, Htilominlo Pahto, Ananda Pahto, Gubyaukgyi cave temple, lacquerware workshop, pony cart to watch sunset over the pagodas.
• Option for hot-air ballooning over the Plain of Pagodas.
• Sunset cruise on the Irrawaddy River.
Overnights in Bagan
Day 10: Bagan, Yangon
• Fly Bagan to Yangon, connect to international flight home.
Per person sharing room from $5,890 for the 10-day Old Burma by Land sample itinerary
Internal air per person (estimate) $780
For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son tour specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.
The best time to visit Burma is between November and February. During these months, you can expect the least rainfall and the most moderate temperatures. The period from March to May brings intense heat. Monsoon season begins sometime between mid-May and mid-June, bringing frequent rains that persist until October. Monsoons peak from July to September.
Burmese Hero: Aung San Suu Kyi.
Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy (NLD). In a 1990 election, the NLD won 59 percent of the national votes and 392 of the 485 seats in Parliament. In spite of her election, however, Suu Kyi was already under house arrest, and she remained so until her most release on 13 November 2010.
Aung San Suu Kyi was born in 1945 in Yangon. Her father, Aung San, founded the modern Burmese army and negotiated Burma’s independence from the Britain in 1947. He was assassinated by his rivals later that same year.
Suu Kyi's mother, Khin Kyi, gained prominence as a political figure in Burma. She was appointed Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960, and Suu Kyi followed her there. She graduated from college in New Delhi with a degree in politics and continued her education in Oxford, obtaining a B.A. degree in philosophy, politics and economics. After graduating, she moved to New York City and worked at the United Nations, primarily on budget matters, writing daily to her future husband, Michael Aris, a scholar of Tibetan culture living in Bhutan. In 1971, they married.
In 1988 Suu Kyi returned to Burma, at first to tend for her ailing mother but later to lead the pro-democracy movement. After 1985, Aris was denied entry into Burma. In 1999, he died of terminal prostate cancer.
Around the time Suu Kyi returned to Burma, the long-time military leader of Burma and head of the ruling party, General Ne Win, stepped down. Mass demonstrations for democracy followed that event on 8 August 1988 (8–8–88, a day seen as auspicious), which were violently suppressed in what came to be known as the 8888 Uprising. On 26 August, Suu Kyi addressed half a million people at a mass rally in Yangon, calling for a democratic government. However in September, a new military junta took power.
Influenced by both Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence and by Buddhist concepts, Aung San Suu Kyi entered politics to work for democratization. She helped found the National League for Democracy (NLD) in September 1988, and in mid-1989, she was put under house arrest. Offered freedom if she left the country, she refused.
In 1990, the junta called a general election. The NLD won 59 percent of the votes, guaranteeing Suu Kyi’s party 80 percent of the parliamentary seats. But the results were nullified, and the military refused to hand over power, resulting in an international outcry. Suu Kyi was kept under house arrest in her Yangon home.
From 1989 to 2010, Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest. During that time, she was prevented from meeting her party supporters or international visitors. The Burmese government kept her imprisoned because, as it stated in the New Light of Myanmar, a government newspaper, it viewed her as someone “likely to undermine the community peace and stability” of the country. She continuously appealed her detention, and many international figures called for her release as well as that of 2,100 other political prisoners in Myanmar. On 12 November 2010, days after the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won elections conducted after 20 years, the junta finally agreed to Suu Kyi's release,and her house arrest term came to an end on 13 November 2010, six days after an internationally criticized general election in Myanmar.
In 2011, discussions were held between Suu Kyi and the Burmese government that led to a number of official gestures in response to her demands. In October, one tenth of Burma's political prisoners were freed in an amnesty, and trade unions were legalized. Later that year, the NLD announced its intention to re-register as a political party in order for a number of its members to run for parliament.
International luminaries arrived in Myanmar to meet with Suu Kyi—Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, British Foreign Minister William Hague, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and others. In December 2011, Suu Kyi officially registered as a candidate for the lower Parliament. She called for international media to monitor the upcoming elections. In April 2012, she won a Parliamentary seat and the NLD won 43 of the 45 contested seats, making her the leader of the opposition party in the Lower Parliament.
During her years of struggle Suu Kyi was recognized by myriad international organizations. She received the Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize (Norway) and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought (from the European Parliament) in 1990, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding from India and the International Simón Bolívar Prize from Venezuela in 1992. In 2007, Canada made her an honorary citizen, only the fourth person ever to receive the honor. In 2011, she was awarded the Wallenberg Medal and in 2012, she was received the Congressional Gold Medal from the United States. In June 2012, Suu Kyi was finally able to deliver her Nobel acceptance speech in Oslo, two decades after being awarded the prize.
On 6 July 2012, Suu Kyi announced that she wanted to run for the presidency in Myanmar’s 2015 elections.
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