Burma - The Road To Mandalay

Burma - The Road To Mandalay

The Forgotten Army 1944/45

BattlefieldExperienceHistory

Burma - The Road To Mandalay

The Forgotten Army 1944/45

BattlefieldExperienceHistory

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Tour Introduction

This is a unique opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful parts of Burma (now Myanmar). We experience the rich culture and learn of the country’s colonial past including the suffering which followed the fiercest fighting during World War II. Mike Bradley is your guide and is a leading expert on the Burmese Campaign and the now infamous Forgotten Army.

Highlights are numerous; you will meet with local Burmese and gain an insight into their culture and lives. Climb aboard a private day cruise on the Irrawaddy to historic Bagan, during which we hope to see some of the crossing places of the Allied Forces as they drove the enemy out of Burma, hard to imagine such ferocities on the river today as we enjoy its serenity. In the major cities we stay in some of the best hotels, while in remoter areas the accommodation may be simpler but will undoubtedly ‘make’ the tour with its idiosyncrasies.
The itinerary is full of cultural experiences and military history and is set to become a TCE flagship tour.

Background

The invasion of Burma by Japanese forces in early 1942, resulting in some military disasters for the British, Commonwealth and Chinese forces including the blowing of Sittang bridge that left half the British soldiers on the wrong side of the river and straight into the hands of Japanese. It was these prisoners amongst thousands more who were forced to construct the aptly named Death Railway.

After regrouping and with improved air support, General Slim and his famous 14th Army defeated the Japanese at Imphal and Kohima on the Indian border in the spring of 1944, whilst long range penetration forces (the British ‘Chindits’ and the US ‘Merrill’s Marauders’) operated behind enemy lines in the Irrawaddy valley. The Allies fought their way back into Burma, crossing all the major rivers, and recaptured both Mandalay and Meiktila in the spring of 1945 leading to the Japanese surrender that summer.

The casualties in these harsh jungle conditions were heavy at over 70,000 – many of whom are commemorated in the atmospheric Htaukkyan War Cemetery and Memorial – which we will visit.

Burma eventually gained its independence from Great Britain in 1948 and it will be interesting to see the effect of the recent democratic elections when we visit.

Highlights

  • With Leading Burmese Campaign expert Colonel Mike Bradley
  • A tour steeped in culture and military history
  • Cruise the Irrawaddy

"I have done this tour many times, and my customers have always enjoyed this unique experience in a fascinating and unspoilt country with really friendly and welcoming people."

TCE Guide Mike Bradley

Itinerary

Day 1 & 2 – Depart. Fly from Heathrow to Rangoon via Bangkok. On arrival transfer to the beautiful Inya Lake Hotel and enjoy free time for the rest of the day.

Day 3 – Rangoon. Tour of colonial Rangoon, see the working river, the Old Court House and enjoy refreshments at the famous Strand Hotel. In the afternoon visit the Anglican Cathedral and the famous Scott’s Market now known as Bogyoke Aung San Market, and the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred in the country and recently renovated.

Day 4 – Sittang Bridge. Today we visit Htaukkyan War Cemetery and Memorial with 6,374 commonwealth war graves and more VC’s than any other cemetery. We then continue on to Moulmein stopping at Sittang Bridge and hear about the military disaster of 1942. After checking in to our hotel we explore other places of military interest in the town.

Day 5 – Moulmein. Today we travel out to the northern end of the Burma/Thailand Death Railway and visit Thanbyuzayat cemetery, where many of the prisoners who worked and died on the railway are buried. Explore the area south Moulmein before returning to hotel for the evening.

Day 6 – Rangoon. Today we return to Rangoon and check back into the Inya Lake Hotel. Have the afternoon free to explore the city and partake in some shopping

Day 7 – Mandalay. Transfer to the airport for an internal flight to Mandalay ready for an afternoon sightseeing tour of sites like Gurkha Hill and the Old Palace. Check into the wonderful Mandalay Hill Resort.

Day 8 – Maymyo. Drive to Maymyo a colonial Hill Station and check-in to the Kandawgwi Hill Resort with lunch at leisure. Sightseeing around this beautiful and fascinating town steeped in military history, with a special visit to the Botanical Gardens with its exotic trees, shrubs, and flowers.

Day 9 – Mandalay. Return to Mandalay through beautiful countryside, visiting other places of interest on the way back to the Mandalay Hill Resort, including the site of the Jungle Warfare School run by Calvert.

Day 10 – Irrawaddy Cruise. Board the day cruise on the Irrawaddy and appreciate this mighty river on the way to Bagan. We will see the sites of the crossing places of the Allied forces in early 1945 as they drove the enemy out of Burma. Overnight in Bagan.

Day 11 – Bagan. Sightseeing in this historic town with its temples, stupas and pagodas, before returning to Rangoon by air. Check-in to the Inya Lake Hotel for a farewell dinner and our final evening.

Day 12 – Return. Morning flight to Bangkok and afternoon flight to London arriving in the early evening.

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