Ticket to Burma

Until recently, only the most intrepid travellers ventured into Burma. Now that the civilian government has firmed diplomatic relations, the National League for Democracy has also droppe

Published: 29th March 2012 03:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 09:48 PM   |  A+A-

29burma01

(Express News Photo)

Until recently, only the most intrepid travellers ventured into Burma.

Now that the civilian government has firmed diplomatic relations, the National League for Democracy has also dropped its unofficial travel boycott.

Globetrotters are making bookings for treks, bike rides and hotair balloon rides to see the country’s hidden treasures.

BAGAN

The old city consists of over 2,000 pagodas from the 11th to 13th centuries spread over 16 miles.

Hot air balloons over Bagan are offered, courtesy Chennai-based Travel Tours Private Ltd (`17,000 approximately).

The flight, about 45 minutes, includes hotel pickups and light champagne.

Children aged eight and above are allowed.

The balloon rides start between 5.30 am and 6 am, to avoid the unpredictable tropical weather.

Details: 44800800.

Did you know? In order to preserve the pagodas, only horse-driven carriages are allowed around them.

INLE LAKE

Local fishermen, known as Intha, employ a distinctive rowing style which involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar.

Women, however, row in the customary manner.

Look out for: The floating vendors on their teak boats who sell flowers, tobacco and utensils.

MINGUN BELL

The world’s heaviest functioning bell (height: 16 feet) weighs approximately 90 tons.

To achieve a pleasant sound, the bell was cast with an alloy of five metals: gold, silver, bronze, iron and lead.

Did you know? The Irrawaddy river was dammed in order to transport the Mingun Bell to its original location.

NGA HPE CHAUNG

The monastery, located on Inle Lake, houses dozens of Shan Buddha images, but is more famous for its jumping cats, trained to jump through hoops.

Gold leaves are often sold at the pagodas to gild the Buddha image or stupa.

Look out for: The Burmese cat, said to exhibit doglike traits - being taught to fetch and play tag.

PACKAGES

Ezeego1.com offers two-week packages, with stops at Bagan.

The Irrawady and Inle Odyssey (11D/12N) includes a cruise on the RV Pandaw.

The itinerary also features an option to cook lunch and a ‘Yangon for Foodies’ session.

Rs 1,63,208 per person.

The Very Best of Myanmar package (13N/14D) comes with the option of a biking and wine tasting trip to a winery located in the Shan Hills.

Rs 95,914 per person.

Airfare: From Rs 34,232 onwards.

Details: ezeego1.com

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