18 September 2012
The Other Thailand and Myanmar
Travel by rail and river to remote regions of Thailand and Myanmar and discover a slice of rural life beyond the tourist trail.
In remote parts of Asia where few western travellers go, our company does not fear to tread. After all, the world's most hard-to-access regions are among the most authentic and ripe for adventure, and discovering exciting new places is what our intrepid team enjoys most. But to us, off-grid travel does not mean cutting comfort; in fact it's quite the reverse when you go exploring aboard our luxury train and river cruisers.
Embark on a South-East Asia AdventureClick here to view our South-East Asia Adventure. Combine a journey on the Eastern & Oriental Express with a voyage on Orcaella, our new river cruiser (launching July 2013). Like all our itineraries, this is flexible and can be tailored to your own personal interests. Enquiries >
The Eastern & Oriental Express offers a collection of journeys, Chronicles of South-East Asia, that see the train stopping at small stations off the main beat. Its Epic Thailand route heads north east from Bangkok out into the rural plains of Isaan, where it pulls to a halt at a tiny village. Guests can visit rice fields in the company of a farmer who introduces his community and its way of life. It's possible to take part in a traditional Thai ceremony and meet the region's famous mudmee silk weavers.
Next stop are two Khmer-style temples where there are few foreign visitors to distract attention from the verdant setting and ancient stones carved with gods. It's the chance to roam in peace and soak up the atmosphere of these Angkor Wat-style shrines that take you into another world.
Your journey can then move on into an even more reclusive world. Fly to Myanmar and spend languorous days scouring Yangon from an historic teak mansion in a garden dotted with lily pools. The Governor's Residence, once home to the official in charge of the Shan states, is a characterful base from which to visit tea houses and chat to the regulars over sips of the country's oolong brew or to discover the wealth of religious sites that fan out from the mighty gold-spired Shwedagon.
Then it's on to the Ayeyarwady River, where the Road To Mandalay and (from July 2013) Orcaella river cruisers await. Glide past pagodas and riverside settlements where oxen lumber down to the water's edge and access a distinctly different rhythm of life. Floating between the two great destinations of Mandalay and Bagan, into vast, open terrain dotted with riverside dwellings, takes you close up inside a land barely changed since Rudyard Kipling's day. Or head to Bhamo near the Chinese border or along the mysterious Chindwin, which flows from Myanmar's northern mountains.
Those keen to go somewhere truly off-piste could add on a Myanmar extension trip - to Mrauk U (Little Bagan) or the Buddhist site of Golden Rock. But perhaps these should wait for a return visit - and a journey even deeper into the unknown.