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Alternative Burma Expedition – Summit Mount Saramati
Join this alternative Burma expedition to the Nagaland and Sagaing regions and take on Mount Saramati, South East Asia’s highest peak.
Mount Saramati stands 3,826 metres and is located on the Indian border in the northwest of Burma. You will follow ancient tracks, starting from the village of Naga, until they run out. From there, it’s up to the team and their local guides to make a way to reach the summit…
- Climb Mount Saramati, on the border with India
- Visit a very remote and hardly visited part of Burma
- Experience uninterrupted views of the forest valley surrounding the mountain
- Stay in local villages and sample local cuisine
- Discover a traditional way of life in Naga village
- Explore a remote area within a remote country
- Experience a land that Indians once considered a “secret garden”
- Take an unforgettable river boat journey down the Chindwin River
Permits to summit the mountain are rare and there are only two known records of non-local ascent. Which means that you’ll be among the first and few to achieve this goal. With support from local guides the team will travel by jeep and boat through several amazing villages in order to begin the ascent on foot. Basecamp will be made at 3,000 metres as the team works together to do attempt some intense ‘off-roading’ to reach the summit.
The Naga people and the land they inhabit have a long history of conflict. Colonialism and their location next to a border have contributed to a long standing struggle to maintain tradition and culture. The adventure will come at from all sides as you immerse yourself in the history, culture, and physical effort required.
This is an unforgettable alternative Burma experience. Enquire today to be among the first to accomplish this challenging goal.
The team will arrive into Yangon and take a short flight up to Homalin. Here, you’ll meet our local guides and buy supplies that are unavailable once in the hills. From here, you’ll take a public boat up the Chindwin River: it promises to be an unforgettable experience so be prepared for screaming engines and a bone-shaking journey! You’ll then drive to Khet Kaw and stay in the village school, before setting out on foot towards the next village. We’ll catch our first glimpses of Saramati along the way and have the opportunity to stay with the local priest.
Over the next few days the ascent up to Saramati will continue, camping in hammocks or staying in local villages depending on what is available en route. The team will follow a mixture of footpaths and tracks with some serious off-road trekking, and base camp for the summit attempt will be at 3,000m.
The descent follows the same route back and will be much faster as the team becomes more familiar with the terrain and the environment. At the end of the trek, we’ll be picked up by a 4×4 to take us further south then we’ll return to Homalin by boat. After a well deserved beer and bed, the team will fly back to Yangon where the expedition will end.
Mount Saramati sits right on the Indian border with Himalayan peaks stretching to the west and although it is not a member of the Himalayan club, it should not be underestimated. Straddling the border it is technically India’s highest non-Himalayan mountain, and we will be exploring it from the Burmese side. Saramati is located in in Sagaing, a region in northwestern Burma, also known by its Indian state name of Nagaland. This area is landlocked and largely inaccessible to foreigners; a place of incredible beauty it was once considered a secret garden but has been left forgotten and isolated from the rest of the country and the world.
The Naga people
Nagaland has been fighting a secret, often brutal, war for independence for decades. Portrayed either as a land of ruthless guerrillas or exotic natives, Nagaland is in fact a complex and divided region, with an incredible history. Defined by the Naga Hills that form a barrier between India and Burma, it has long been a land of continued contention between ruling powers over time.
The Hills were completely isolated from the outside world until the British colonisation of India in the 19th century. The Naga comprised several tribes, each with their own colourful culture, language and stories. They had a strong warrior tradition, raiding nearby villages (headhunting was common practise) and met the incoming British with continued guerrilla resistance and warfare. Eventually the region came under administration of the British and much of the traditional culture and Naga identity was lost. Many converted to Christianity through missions and it remains the main religion of the area, despite Burma being a predominately Buddhist country.
The Hills are full of stories. The 1944 Battle of Kohima took place less than 100km from Mount Saramati. It was the turning point in the WWII Japanese offensive into India and is often referred to as the Stalingrad of the East. The battle was highly significant and took over 10,000 casualties from both sides. Ursula Bower, a debutante from Wiltshire, became the only female guerilla commander in the history of the British Army, leading 150 Naga warriors against the Japanese invasion.
There are approximately two million Nagas belonging to 27 tribes spread over both Burma and India yet they remain in ethnic limbo, divided between tribal traditions from both Indian Nagaland and the Naga Hills of Burma, and the infiltrations of continued attention from foreign cultures.
Suitable Team Members
Team members should be willing to be part of a team working together to achieve the goal of the expedition. They should have an adventurous and robust spirit. All our expeditions are achievable by people with an active and healthy lifestyle. This expedition is the same. It will be tough at times as the ascent travels through rough mountainous terrain over several continuous days.
You will be required to be fit enough to:
- Walk – up to 25km a day.
- Carrying – up to 20kg.
- Terrain – over rough, mountainous, steep terrain at altitudes up to 3900 m.
- Climate – in an exposed yet temperate climate.
In towns (Yangon and Homalin) we will be staying in hotels. Despite the recent development of hotels in the capital, the standard is still quite basic and there are frequent power cuts. In Layshi and some of the Naga villages we will stay at a local guesthouse or homestay where available. The villages stop as we climb higher and, from there, we will be sleeping in hammocks.
All our food will be sourced in country. In towns we will eat in local restaurants and cafés. On the expedition we will have a local cook and expect simple yet nourishing food. Common staples include noodle soup for breakfast, vegetable soups, seasonal vegetable and meat dishes and lots of rice.
We will take an internal flight to and from Homalin. We will then take a local boat up the Chindwin River to Thatmanthi and then a 4×4 to our trailhead at Layshi. From there the expedition will be on foot, supported by porters who will carry food, cooking supplies and some of the group kit.
Dates: 10 – 26 Nov 2017
Price: From £3,499 GBP per person (land only)
- Professional expedition leader
- All local guides and drivers.
- All transport outlined in the itinerary (including internal flights Yangon – Homalin).
- All accommodation (including hammocks).
- All food/meals.
- All permits and permissions.
- International flights.
- Tips to local guides.
- Personal equipment. A full list will be provided upon booking .
When it comes to getting off the beaten track these guys can’t be beaten. They lead pioneering expeditions to some of the most remote regions on earth. The organisers are dedicated to creating imaginative experiences for adventurers around the world and their team of expert military guides are some of the most experienced in the industry.
Nowhere is off limits and no idea is too crazy. They have achieved ground breaking world firsts such as mountain biking in Afghanistan and mountaineering in Iraq and their first ever expeditions to walk across Madagascar and pioneer white water rafting in South Sudan both made the headlines…. and a bit of history.
Being wild and wacky is one thing but with their background as commanders in the British Army and experienced team of specialists in every kind of terrain and environment means that all of their adventures are thoroughly planned and the safety and security of teams is always their highest priority.
Expeditions can be inherently risky, but they do everything possible to minimise potential hazards and for that, and the utterly extraordinary trips they put on, we salute them.
Burma Expedition – Summit Mount Saramati
- Trip Code: AWA264
- Dates: 10 – 26 Nov 2017
- Price: From £3,499 GBP
- Location: Burma
- Group: 12
- Length: 16 Nights
- Adventure: Join a unique expedition team setting out for Burmese Nagaland and the Sagaing region.
“Experience the real Burma away from the clamour of the major tourist sites, and climb mainland South East Asia’s highest peak: Mount Saramati.”