3 independent reviews for Myanmar holiday, A taste of Myanmar

Reviews for Myanmar holiday, A taste of Myanmar

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review 26 Feb 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Not easy to answer as there were so many. The people are fantastic, so cheerful and helpful and in some areas foreigners are a bit of a novelty - we were asked to pose for photos quite often. Culturally the place is very diverse and different; the history of the various peoples is very interesting and although there are Buddhist pagodas and stupas all over the country there are many variations. Getting around was also great with different transport often local services.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Climate. We were there in "winter" i.e. Feb. The evenings and early mornings are cool/cold particularly in the hills and northern areas so taking trousers, socks and a warm top or jacket is essential. The temperatures very quickly rise after about 9am. So layering clothing is a good idea. Often there is a breeze so the effects of the strong sun can be underestimated. The dress code, if there is one is very much casual. We found that lightweight, easy dry clothing was most useful and there are lots of places to get laundry done if required. Money. Guide books state USD are useful. They are accepted but only in absolutely pristine condition and for exchange the rate is low for denominations below $50. Frankly it is hassle and given the re are ATM's and banks all over you are better off just getting the kiat local currency. Accommodation. We were delighted by some of the places we stayed; people are very friendly and helpful and go out of the way to make your stay pleasant. Everywhere we stayed was clean but in the outlying areas some of the facilities, like plumbing was somewhat basic. This is no problem, everything works unless you expect luxury levels. Food. The range and quality of produce in Myanmar is amazing and the cooking is too. Curry, rice and noodles are somewhat ubiquitous though, including breakfast in some places. Their food is tasty but not particularly spicy (garlic and chillis are often given separately as a condiment). The street food varies but freshly cooked food over charcoal is usually OK. Local restaurants very often cook food in the morning and leave it so be aware of when you eat particularly lunchtime. Bottled water is everywhere and often in taxis, on buses and boats you are given a bottle automatically. Culture. Much of the population is referred to as Burmese especially in the Shan state to the north east. The tribes within the Shan are very proud of their traditions and heritage. Buddhism is universal (though other religions are very much tolerated) and most people we met are quite devout in the beliefs and practices. Visiting Buddhist sites is welcomed and the dress code of covered shoulders and legs is expected. Most temples, monasteries etc are well maintained so going barefoot is not a problem. Hot surfaces underfoot can be encountered and some places apparently are very slippery when wet. Photography is quite acceptable including of the monks and nuns - though be aware that whilst they may be happy being photographed some of the people are sensitive to you doing so. Part of our vacation was walking to and staying in some of the Shan villages. We learned whilst there that not all the local people are happy with this arrangement; there is no danger of hostility but the smiles and co-operation with you invading their villages are not always forthcoming from everyone. Transport. Traffic in Yangon and Mandalay is not good. Yangon is badly congested, Mandalay is frankly mad by our standards. Air pollution can be quite bad. In those two places you need to allow for time to get places particularly if you need to to time flights, trains etc. Local transport is great fun but it is not quick. Also be prepared for some discomfort in seating and space. Politics. The Myanmar people are very much aware of the current problems in the west of the country and there is some militancy in the northern and eastern areas. They will be very helpful in gently advising visitors about the military i.e. don't photograph them or try and go in any locations. The military is apparently a totally separate community so encountering them is infrequent, mainly security at certain sites. Whenever we passed a security point with army present they were perfectly cheerful and helpful. Tipping / Donating. Tipping is not expected and confined to exceptional service. It sounds strange but over generosity can cause embarrassment. Begging, requesting money is very much frowned upon unless the person is physically disabled (and assumed to be unable to work). Advice, actually a request was definitely not to give anything to unaccompanied children. There is a problem with education in the country where many cannot afford schooling, some families want they children to work and obtaining money from tourists often is more desirable than going to school.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The company we were concerned with Khiri who employed local guides throughout and were very good at advising us as to the best places to get genuinely local products, meals etc. A nice idea was to take some notebooks, pencils etc and donate them to the teachers at local schools for the benefit of some of the poorer children. Everywhere we stayed there requests about saving or not wasting water etc.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent. Different, thought provoking, interesting, great fun.

review 5 Jan 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Ballooning over Bagan, cooking at Inke Lake and the visit to Schwedagon temple in Yangon. The hotels with the exception of the Clover Hotel in Yangon were brilliant and all very helpful.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Get a very clear programme from the Myanmar travel operator as communication and the interface did not work in Mandalay and Inle Lake. Information was missing and/ or limited leaving us to 2nd guess what was going on and what we were responsible for!!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Benefited local people - yes but not sure about reducing environmental impact and support for conversation. The local operator could make this clearer as this wasn't obvious.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

4 stars out of 5.

review 12 Nov 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

I love the people of Myanmar....inner beauty, friendly and welcoming. My favourite memory was "A Day in Mandalay" cooking class..... Picked up at our hotel in the morning (only 5 on the tour) travelled to a traditional tea house... then to market to choose our vegetables and fruit, cooking class in a local village, nap then bicycle ride in the country side and sunset finish. We were given the recipes and spices to take home.... Amazing day.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Pack simple and light....with clothes that can be washed out and dry fast (including shoes- I had crocks that were great for puddles/mud when it rained) Women Must cover your shoulders and no shorts or short skirts. I actually purchased a longui for next to nothing.. It was cool and comfortable in the heat.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, this is very important to me

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Fabulous

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