Battlefield tours extend to Myanmar

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YANGON, 12 July 2018: Battle of Imphal Tours has expanded its tour options beyond Imphal and Kohima in northeast India to Myanmar.

The Myanmar tours give tourists a fuller picture of the decisive World War II Burma Campaign, which started the downfall of Japanese imperial ambitions in Asia.

A specialist battlefield tour company, founded in 2012 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the bloody 1944 Battle of Imphal in Manipur India is offering four itineraries to neighbouring Myanmar.

The Japanese memorial outside Mandalay.

The Essential Burma WWII Tour lasts seven days, the Chindits Tour eight days, the Leisurely Burma WWII Tour 17 days, and the Full Burma Campaign Tour 14 days.

The latter trip has the option of three extra days so visitors can cross from Manipur in northeast India to Myanmar at the Moreh-Tamu crossing, a route rich in strategic significance during the Burma Campaign.

Battle of Imphal Tours was founded by Hemant Singh Katoch, who has published two books on Imphal: The Battlefields of Imphal: The Second World War and North East India, and Imphal 1944: The Japanese Invasion of India.

“Myanmar and northeast India are bound together by their shared experience of the Second World War,” said Hemant. “That’s why we now link the battlefield sites of Imphal and Kohima with those across Myanmar, which has dozens of historically significant locations. Only by covering both sides of the India-Myanmar frontier do you get a proper feel for the full drama and terrain of the Burma Campaign,” he said.

Imphal-based Yaiphaba Kangjam (‘Yai’), the company’s principal battlefield guide, will lead all tours in Myanmar.

The remains of the bridge at Sittang (Sittaung).

Battle of Imphal Tours has linked up with Khiri Travel Myanmar to handle the logistics, transport and hotels often in remote areas of the country.

Khiri has also built a strong reputation as a film fixer for British TV productions in Myanmar such as Burma, My Father and the Forgotten Army, with Griff Rhys Jones, and Top Gear.

“Many people in the UK and beyond have family history with Burma,” said Khiri Travel Myanmar managing director, Edwin Briels. “We work closely with local people and institutions to help reconnect visitors with places that have emotional and historical significance for them. We also welcome anyone interested in a fuller understanding of World War II.”

People and travel agents interested in visiting the WWII battlefields, museums, war graves and commemorative sites of India and Burma should visit battleofimphal.com which has specific itinerary information, photographs and testimonials.

In October 2015, the Burma Star Association awarded a Certificate of Merit and Friendship Badge to Hemant Singh Katoch, founder of the Battle of Imphal Tours, for pioneering battlefield tours around Imphal and Kohima.

The letter of commendation was from Colonel Viscount Slim, president of the Burma Star Association and son of the late-Field Marshal William J. Slim, who had commanded the British Fourteenth Army to victory at Imphal and Kohima in 1944.

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