Myanmar the History and Mystery that is Burma
In the autumn of 2012, Aegean Odyssey will embark on her first season in the Far East. She will take our guests to the mystical countries of India , Sri Lanka, and then onto Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar, the last ‘closed’ country in the Far East. All cruises have been meticulously planned to highlight the most important historical and cultural aspects of the places we visit.
For our Southeast Asia itineraries, we have selected a number of new lecturers who will be travelling with us including Colonel Gerry McCormack, a military historian. Take a look at his overview on the highlights of Myanmar explaining the changes going on in the country also known as Burma. This amazing part of the world is already proving to be a big attraction for many of our past passengers, who are eager to visit a country so incredibly rich in history.
“You have probably noticed that Myanmar is back in the headlines again because change is in the air. Whilst for the hardy travellers it has always been possible to have a safe and enjoyable holiday there, some people were a little wary. It was a regime that harshly kept its citizens on a tight leash, its currency was suspect and there were horror stories of how it dealt with dissention.
With elections two years ago and recently in the beginning of April this year, at which the mystical Aung San Suu Kyi won, there is clearly a mood of relaxation in the halls of power. More and more visitors will be applying for visas. Burma is already a highlight of many travel journalists with many predicting the country will be the ‘hot’ destination of 2013.
In spite of their travails, the people of Burma are cheerful, want to practise their English -most are very fluent – and the food is Asian with a Burmese twitch. Even for a simple meal the side dishes seem to swamp the area set aside for the main dish. Their drinks, cold and tasty are refreshing and welcome. The alcoholic drink most available will be one of their many beers. Breweries reflect the care with which the British passed on the noble art of brewing!
For many who visit Burma there is a constant need to pack and unpack but I’m sure that those passengers lucky enough to travel later this year will appreciate using the Aegean Odyssey as comfortable base from which to move around. Once the ship is tied up in the heart of Yangon, (formally known as Rangoon) a simple stroll from the ship or a more organised tour are easily achievable. Yangon itself brings together all of the key elements of life in Myanmar. Ancient pagodas, gold covered spires, university grounds, parks, lakes, market squares and even a hotel to rival Raffles for its intimate colonial atmosphere on the river bank.
Many guests on our Burma cruises may choose the optional tour inland to follow the ‘The Road to Mandalay’ on the banks of the mighty Irrawaddy River. The old palace grounds and Mandalay Hill, made famous in the reports from the 1800’s are still in situ and well worth a visit. Similarly, another optional tour is to the thousands of temples in Bagan, another short flight away, which will take you back to a time when Personal Ritual in your own temple was all the rage.