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Back after 18 wonderful days

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Back after 18 wonderful days

What a fantastic country this is. We travelled with Bamboo Travel who used Asian Trails and we were extremely well looked after.

I would like to pass on a few things that stand out in my mind.

Airports and flying around Burma. What a pleasure! This from someone who hates airports. Security and staff are extremely pleasant and helpful. Except at Yangon none of the other airports weighed our luggage. The simple procedure of wearing a coloured sticker depending on the airline you travel with and then waiting for the man to hold up his board with the departing flight number on works really well. We had 3 flight delays in total. Each delay was 2 hours and due to fog in Yangon. We expected it to happen so was very patient but was really surprised when in Mandalay the staff bought out trays of coffee for waiting passengers. Now where else would you get such service!! It seems expected that when someone helps you with your luggage on arrival and departures they will want paying. Its only 500 - 1000 Kyats depending on what change you have. You may be perfectly capable to wheel your own luggage in a small airport but remember its very little and your giving someone a living.

Kyats and Dollars. We understood before we went that when eating in hotels the bill would be in Dollars and in local restaurants in Kyats. This was not so In our experience. Every hotel - we stayed in hotels such as The Red Canal and The Amazing Ngapali Beach Resort - food was in Kyats and services such as laundry and Spa treatments were in dollars. Therefore I would say get more Kyats than you think and then if need be you can always change them back on your return to Yangon. Just a word of warning here. I would not rely on doing it at the airport I would play safe and change in Yangon because if the airport exchange is closed you are in trouble.

Clothing and what to wear. Nearly everyone we saw dressed conservatively but I was horrified at the fishing village in Ngapali to see a few Europeans walking among the working fishing people in the most skimpiest swimwear. I can tell you that the locals did mind judging by the shaking of heads and raised eyebrows. It really did not look nice so please be respectful.

Malaria tablets. Do you /don't you. After much worrying I did and was glad I had. With the best effort in the world covering up and using 50% Deet I still managed to get bitten and continued to until I changed to 100% Deet. They obviously like me.

Some of the best bits:

Yangon: Shwedagon at sunset and people watching. The colourful street life of The Indian and Chinese Quarter.

Bagan: Hiring a bike. Coming across a Novice Monk Ceremony and being the only tourists there then invited to stay for dinner.

Mandalay: A whole day of cram packed sight seeing in and around the city.

Inle: Arriving before 8 at Indien Market. Again before any other tourists had arrived. ( Really recommend you do this as by the time the tourist do start arriving some of the tribes are packing up and going) Lunch in a villagers home.

Ngapali: Meeting the locals. Cycling to the fishing village. Watching the most beautiful sunsets from our villa with a Ngapali sunset cocktail in hand.

Loved the food so much better than expected and so much of it! The local Rum with a splash of lime juice!

.....and the not so best bits:

Sunset at a Bagan Temple. Even though we went to a quiet one the only atmosphere was of the tourists moaning at each other as they tried to get the best picture!

Pyin oo Lwin. I'm afraid this was the only place that we visited that I could have easily have missed.

Finally some of the most memorable moments were those we least expected those not on our itinerary but things we just came across or just happened. But by far the best memories for me will be of the wonderful people the delightful individuals we met. Those memories will stay with me forever.

west yorkshire
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1. Re: Back after 18 wonderful days

Thanks for a great report. we are just beginning to plan our trip and I have found this really helpful

Terrebonne, Oregon
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2. Re: Back after 18 wonderful days

Loved your trip report! I agree that the people you meet are the best part of a Myanmar holiday (which is really saying something when you are visiting places like Bagan and Shwedagon Pagoda).

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3. Re: Back after 18 wonderful days

Thank you for your report .

Pantin, France
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for Myanmar
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4. Re: Back after 18 wonderful days

Nice to know that you love our country !

Destination Expert
for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
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5. Re: Back after 18 wonderful days

Welcome back, and as you can imagine, I am delighted that you had a great time.

I used Asian trails many moons ago and I was pleased with them-they now seem to specialise in "bolt on tours" for overseas Agencies.

Dress sense-I too have been disappointed in the common sense of a certain type of tourists, tripping around temples in strapless dress's and kitten heels. I do wish the Burmese were not so polite and just turn them away or throw a burka over them as would happen in a Muslim country. I have also seen the same type wandering amongst the local villagers in Ngapali and I find it totally disrespectful, especially as many of the Rakhanise are also Muslim.

The offenders mainly seem to be Italian.

Edited: 5:51 am, March 15, 2012
St Austell
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6. Re: Back after 18 wonderful days

Quite agree with the comments of shameful behaviour and dress sense of a few visitors. We saw a man walking bare chested at Indein which was totally inappropriate, and a woman with a skirt way above the knee at Shwedagon Paya. I am amazed she was not told to leave.

And another thing that definitely annoyed me, was the noise made by visitors at Maha Ganayon monastery at Amarapura. The hundreds of monks were queuing in contemplative silence, but tourists were talking loudly, laughing, pushing cameras in the faces of the monks and were constantly being asked, politely, to stand away from the road and to remove their shoes when they entered the courtyard where food was being served to the monks.

I sympathised with you about the bites. Those nasty mosquitoes also had a real go at me, especially in Bagan, and despite my liberal plastering of a deet based repellent at all times. I took last year's bottle and I think I paid the price for that. Next time, it will be fresh stuff!!!

Enough of the moans ... I loved your trip report and it brought back our own wonderful memories. Thank you.


Edited: 6:28 am, March 15, 2012
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7. Re: Back after 18 wonderful days

I certainly learnt a lot from this forum before I went and I am very grateful to all the help I received especially from SS!

A few other things I would like to share with the first timer.

Flying times. I thought chunks of my precious days would be spent in airports and planes with no real idea of just how much time. You do need to get to the airport at least 1 hour before a flight and here is a list of direct flying times and as you can see not so long:

Yangon - Bagan 120 mins

Bagan - Mandalay 30 mins

Mandalay - Inle 30 mins

Inle - Ngapali 60 mins

Ngapali - Yangon 50 mins

Food and drink costs.( Just a taste of) A question that nearly all of us want an idea of.

Staying at the Savoy in Yangon we went in search of somewhere to eat on our first night. Having heard good reports about the near by Thai restaurant "Sabai Sabai" we thought we would give it a try. Except we couldn't find it! Luckily we had a torch with us as we tried to avoid all the holes in the pavements as we headed more and more out of the way!! Eventually defeated and with feet swollen from the flight and the heat of the day we returned the way we had come spotting a place called "Friendship" cafe that I had also read a really good report about on here. It might not have looked much from the road but it was really good. 4 large beers 2 curries a stir fried dish and 2 massive dishes of rice. We had ordered far too much and the bill was not bad at 18000! And the bonus was it was right opposite our hotel. Needless to say we enjoyed it so much we returned the next night - and ordered less!

Other really good value meals we had were at Ngapali at the Sea Queen and the Bay of Bengal both situated outside The Amazing. A meal at the Sea Queen of Red Snapper ( the size of my elbow to knuckles) 5 tiger prawns a dish of fried vegetables rice and 2 beers cost 13000 K !!!!!! At Bay of Bengal 1 Papaya salad 1 pad Thai and 2 large beers 9000k. Note that the size of portions are enormous!

Hotel prices are more expensive. In Bagan we ate in the hotel where a meal of 1 starter and 2 mains cost us $22. As you can see much better value out of the hotels.With the most disappointing meal of the holiday at The Red Canal in Mandalay. One night we were not very hungry and too tired to go looking for somewhere to eat so decided to have something small at the hotel. We chose a Keema Nan to share something we eat at home that is very filling and packed with meat plenty we thought to share. Well when it arrived it was a very poor specimen with next to no filling and so small. It cost 8000k! I was appalled!!

Finally just to say take more money than you think you will need. It gives you peace of mind and you will probably find that like us you come back with a lot more than you think.

South Pacific
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8. Re: Back after 18 wonderful days

What a great trip report, shakespearestarr!!

Thanks. Very helpful. :)

9. Re: Back after 18 wonderful days

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