- Bagan's ancient temples
- Pottery and village life
- Famous leg-rowing fishermen
This grassroots style trip is ideal for adventurous families wanting to experience this less travelled country. Using traditional horse and cart, we get off the beaten track to discover the plains of Bagan, punctuated by thousands of 800-year-old temples. We try our hand at pottery in Twante and spend time in villages and at an orphanage, getting to know the welcoming people that make this country such a treat.
We'll see the famous leg-rowing fishermen on Inle Lake and stop off at floating villages, markets and mystical temples. The trip ends in Yangon (Rangoon), where we explore the city centre and learn about local superstitions on Fortune Telling Street. Soak up the perfect lasting image of Myanmar, as we witness the sun setting over the glittering gold Shwedagon Paya Temple.
What makes this trip responsible?
There are many sensitive issues in returning to Burma and many questions asked about whether tour operators such as ourselves should be going back following years of boycott. George Orwell?s famous novel 'Burmese Days' based on his experiences their during British rule includes the lines 'Free speech is unthinkable. All other kinds of freedom are permitted. You are free to be a drunkard, an idler, a coward, a backbiter, a fornicator; but you are not free to think for yourself. Your opinion on every subject of any conceivable importance is dictated for you by the pukka sahibs' code'. Applying this quote to politics today and replacing 'pukka sahibs' with 'military junta' would arguably give an accurate reflection of life in Burma. The debate will continue to rage on if anything has changed under the current ruling junta but the simple answer is we still do not know; although we can research supply chains and try to ensure as much benefit as possible filters down directly to the people and communities there will be monies flowing into the military regime (junta).
Why we have chosen to return is on the back of a press release from the National League for Democracy in May 2011, this stated 'the NLD would welcome visitors who are keen to promote the welfare of the common people and the conservation of the environment and to acquire an insight into the cultural, political and social life of the country'. This statement echoes true with Exodus' long standing responsible tourism policy that, amongst other things states:
We will design and operate our holidays in a way that gives the highest degree of long-term economic benefit to the host communities, whilst also maintaining and/or improving the environment.
We will attempt to operate our holidays in a way that encourages positive cultural exchanges.
We will attempt to impart an insight and understanding of the host culture and community to our clients so that they can gain more from visiting them.
We have also taken advice from industry experts and organisations on our stance, Justin Francis the respected Managing Director of Responsibletravel and a leading voice in sustainable operations has endorsed our return stating 'The message from Aung San Suu Kyi is clear - she only wants tourism that will help the people of Burma and the conservation of the environment. Exodus, past winner of our Responsible Tourism Awards, has always excelled in this regard and I support their return to Burma and continuing commitment to responsible tourism.'
Want to see more?