Burma overland tour from Thailand
Description of Burma overland tour from Thailand
After hundreds of years it is finally possible to travel overland between Thailand and Burma, and on this small group tour you’ll be one of the very first to do so, traversing the Htee Khee border to Dawei and the remote states of Mon and Kayin. These areas have been little visited by Western tourists and are home to dramatic limestone mountains, pretty villages and strong tribal traditions that date back centuries. The Mon were one of the earliest civilisations to inhabit this area, and their clothing, food, language and musical instruments remain true to their origins. The Kayin, meanwhile, are an indigenous jungle tribe with much-lauded boxing skills and their own separate language and traditions.
There are more cultural encounters to be had in the Eastern Shan state, a region that has only recently become accessible to tourists, and is known for its stunning mountain scenery and vibrant green rice paddies. Here you’ll meet local tribes including the An, the Akha, the Lahu and the Palaung and learn about their diverse cultures and religions, including Buddhism, Christianity and Animism.
You won’t miss out on the better known Burmese highlights either, and will spend time exploring the ancient temples of Bagan and taking to the waters at Inle Lake, which is known for its stilt-house villages, Buddhist temples and leg-rowing fishermen.
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PlanetThis tour is very much an overland journey. We only use 1 internal flight at the very end of the tour. We are limiting our environmental impact on the tour by using local buses travelling with local people rather than on private tour bus.
Much of the accommodation we use on this tour is in extremely remote areas and are therefore almost entirely self-sufficient, using local sources of food, labour and construction materials for example on Day 12 of the tour.
Much of Burma has been heavily deforested. This tour travels through areas of Shan State where much of the forest still remains intact and in good condition and is therefore an important refuge for flora and fauna as well as providing resources for local ethnic tribes. We believe that sending small groups to this area will help to encourage the government to protect these areas and ensure that the forests remain intact for the benefit of wildlife and also the local people.
We are also minimising our waste impact by having some meals on the tour prepared by local people in their homes for example in Day 6 and Day 12. These meals consist of simple local cooked food by local people using produce from their surrounding land with no packaging waste.
PeopleOur very small group size and limited departures mean that our impact – both culturally and environmentally when we visit Burma is small. This tour spends much of the time travelling in areas inhabited by remote tribal people. By only scheduling a handful of small group departures a year, we will have minimal impact on the traditional lives of ethnic groups.
We are working hard to promote destinations that so far are not well known to mass tourism. We are investing in the future, in the belief that along with our local team we can create sustainable social benefits for corners of the world such as the remote areas of eastern Shan State, that to-date have been overlooked by larger tour operators.
We will not provide travel plans for individuals who are not prepared to travel in a courteous and responsible manner and we ensure our guides and clients are sensitive to local attitudes and act responsibly in their interaction with local people.
Clients and guides are briefed on local customs and general courtesy (such as asking permission before taking photographs/dress-codes/conduct in places of worship etc) and behave appropriately.
In Burma we use a supplier who offers local employment opportunities for both the tour support process and indeed the actual tour logistics meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. For example on this tour clients have meals in small villages cooked by local people.
On this tour our clients are accompanied only by locally based staff and guides. Unlike some other small group tour operators, we do not send UK or other non-local staff to escort our clients unless absolutely unavoidable in order to support the local workforce.