When it comes to travel, I have been blessed. I have had all sorts of travel experiences, even two Private Jet Tours. Both trips left an imprint but the first one was really special. Was it the mode of travel or the destination, Myanmar?
On this trip, I wasn’t a guest. I was a worker bee, one of two escorts for a special group of five travelers. Our destination was; Laos (Luang Prabang) and Myanmar, (Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan & Inle Lake) the Golden Land, best known as Burma.
This is the land of gilded pagodas and traditional ways where men still wear longyi (a sheet of cloth, two meters long, eighty centimeters wide, wrapped around the waist and running down to the feet) and women apply thanaka to their faces. Burmese women feel great pride when they are asked to explain the golden paste covering their faces. This traditional skin conditioner has been used in Burmese society for centuries and is a cherished part of the national identity. Burmese people believe that thanaka bark cools their skin, tightens the pores, controls oiliness and protects from the sun.
Myanmar is like nothing you can ever imagine. It is like going back a hundred years. In rural areas, trishaws (a bicycle with a passenger side car) and horse and buggy are the mode of transportation. Rudyard Kipling wrote, “This is Burma, which is unlike any place you know about.” When I visited in 2011, my sentiment was the same.
The main entry point to Myanmar is Yangon (Rangoon) a home of the 2,500 years old Shwedagon Pagoda, which enshrines strands of Buddha’s hair and other holy relics. The Pagoda is 110 meters high, gold plated and encrusted with over 4000 diamonds, the largest of which is 72 carats. It is clearly one of the wonders of the religious world and one can experience the insider’s view of this magnificent symbol of Buddhism and the meaning it has to the lives of Burmese people.
Mandalay, evokes the splendors of the Burma of old. But, most people will be surprised to learn that Mandalay is not an old city, not even a medieval one, rather a new city that was created by King Mingdon Min of Burma in 1857 as the new capital of the Kingdom of Ava. The city, neatly planned with its lettered roads and numbered streets, is a British creation. Today, Mandalay lies at the end of the Lashio Road and is, by Burmese standards, a relatively prosperous center for trade with China and for the growing trade with India.
A highlight of the former royal city of Amarapura is the U Bein Bridge, which is the longest expanse of teak in the world, The bridge connects Amarapura with a small, traditional Burmese village, where you’ll feel that you’ve taken a step back in time.
Bagan is located on the banks of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River and it is a home to the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins in the world (over 2,000) with many dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. Here one can delight in seeing it all from the hot air balloon at sunrise–an experience one doesn’t forget.
And then, there is the Inle Lake. No place like it in the world! At least not the world I have had the opportunity to discover. Inle Lake is a magical, enchanting place set in the hills of the southern Shan state in the eastern part of Myanmar, bordering China, Laos and Thailand.
The lake is nearly 100km long and just 5km wide with more than 200 villages on or around it. Most of the inhabitants are Intha people (sons of the lake). The villages have been constructed on stilts over the water while floating gardens have been cultivated out of water and silt from the lake. This is a paradise for both professional and amateur photographers.
Only here, can one find “leg-rowers” who have developed a method of rowing with one leg. With the other they balance precariously on the back of their sampans leaving their hands free to drop the tall nets over passing fish. And it is here that one can find “the long neck ladies” of Inle. The women gained fame through their custom of wearing heavy brass coils around their necks giving the appearance of an elongated neck. Inle Lake is a gem; one of those places you do not want to tell a soul about so as to maintain its charm and character; but you just can’t keep it to yourself either.
See Yourself On A Private Jet Tour?
It is the ultimate experience, especially in destinations where distance is an issue and a number of commercial flights are needed to connect the points of interest. India and China are few of those destinations where private jet is not a luxury but almost a necessity. And for anyone interested in touching on several continents, around-the-world tours by Private Jet is a once in a life time experience.
I specialize in arranging trips like this. Here is a link to the itinerary for this Myanmar trip.
Call or email me and lets get started!