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James and Mark are packed and raring to go. Destination: Burma

Kipling wrote of Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda in his Letters to the East:  ‘A golden mystery upheaved itself on the horizon – a beautiful winking wonder that blazed in the sun, of a shape that was neither Muslim dome nor Hindu temple spire. "There's the old Shway Dagon" said my companion. The golden dome said "This is Burma, and it will be quite unlike any land you know about" '.

I certainly hope so! I have been looking forward to this trip for… well, years. I am finally embarking on a 2-week research trip with my South East Asia specialist, Mark Wright. The itinerary is jam-packed. We’re trying to do everything anybody might ever want to do in Burma, plus inspect all the best and most charming hotels in each location. We’re both really looking forward to seeing the crumbling colonialism of Yangon and Mandalay;  colourful hill tribes and British hill stations; floating fishing villages and cruises along the Ayeyarwady River and Lake Inlè; and of course, an abundance of gold pagodas, monasteries, temples and stupas almost everywhere we go.

I am most excited about visiting Burma’s ancient Bagan temples, one of the richest archaeological sites in the world, with some 5,000 monuments peeking out from thick isolated jungle. We will end the itinerary on the south coast at Ngapali Beach where we will hopefully eat some great seafood with our feet in the sand before heading back to London.

Judging by the number of enquiries we’ve had in the last year, you are just as intrigued by Burma as we are. As always, but particularly so with Burma, it is our duty to keep our finger on the political pulse and find out all there is to know on the ground. If you’ve any specific questions about Burma please post them on the comments section of this blog post or tweet us @ampersandtravel and we will investigate your queries while we are there.

We will report back with all of our discoveries, photos and video footage captured from our travels. Watch this space…