Sabaidee, Mingalar Ba and Hello
This is the first blog of Khiri Travel’s sales manager in the United States, Michael Healy. He has just returned from a trip to Asia where he was busy with meetings, hotel inspections and discovering new lands. In this blog he shares a bit about his trip which may give you another glimpse into Khiri, our guides and our region.
The first part of my journey brought me to cool and calm Vientiane for meetings with the Khiri staff from all five countries. Spending time with the energetic movers and shakers of Khiri Travel is always inspiring and informative. It is great to work at a company that truly follows through with their commitment to clients and travel philosophy.
One major project we spoke about and I am excited to share is our continued commitment towards sustainability. Our partnership with “Plant a Tree Today” will allow us to calculate emissions caused by Khiri staff’s flights throughout the year and plant trees to help offset this. We will not only plant the number of trees needed but will double this number to help create a better environment for all.
After Vientiane it was off to the 4th annual Luang Prabang Film Festival. Being a sponsor for this wonderful event is what Khiri Travel is all about. The festival is a celebration of local work, creativity and adventure. Another day was spent having a picnic lunch on the Mekong with traditional Lao food and planting trees with the Luang Prabang office staff. Laos holds a truly special place for myself, as I believe the slow lifestyle and friendly smiles are something that we can all learn from.
After Laos it was off to Myanmar! A country with a fantastic and diverse mix of culture and scenery. One of the first things I noticed was that the talk of how touristy it has gotten is greatly exaggerated. It really is a country full of authentic experiences and friendly faces. My trip consisted of all the details taken care of by Khiri Myanmar in such a seamless way I only had to worry about enjoying myself. A wonderful local guide in Yangon met me at the airport with a packet consisting of all my flight itineraries, hotel vouchers and my daily programs. Because our guides in Myanmar always confirm the flights 24 hours in advance, clients need not stress about getting to the next destination.
Yangon, with the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, bustling markets and gorgeous colonial buildings is the perfect start to any Myanmar adventure. Touring local markets with my guide who carefully explained everything to me was such a pleasure and the perfect introduction to the land. It was then off to Bagan; the land of thousands of ancient temples. Here my guide Min Min was born in old Bagan and showed such knowledge and pride in the area it was impossible not to fall in love. He then invited me to his family’s house for dinner where I was able to taste all the local delicacies and learn that Bagan is much more than it’s historical temples. Lastly it was on to Inle Lake. Where Yangon offers you a taste of city life and Bagan a glimpse into history, Inle Lake shows you the raw natural beauty.
My Inle guide Myo met me at the airport in Heho and we biked from there to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway to Inle. Mostly downhill and through picturesque fields and mountains it’s a wonderful alternative way to reach your destination. Myo, one of our freelance guides grew up on the lake and has the passion and enthralling personality the lake inspires. In speaking with him it was an honor to hear his high praise for Khiri. He has worked for many travel companies over the years but said he now prefers to work solely with Khiri because the programs are much more varied. This notion was apparent during my time in Myanmar. Even when in the major hotspots with other tour groups, our guides and office staff have truly mastered going left when everyone else is going right. I would be remiss to not mention the sunsets at Inle Lake. Sitting on my hotel balcony facing the sunset with the vibrant colors jumping out at you in every direction is one of those rare moments when you feel so at peace yet so alive.
The trip eventually had to end and a return to the office was inevitable. It was great to get out and see my work in action while refreshing my passion for travel. The Khiri team, our guides and our region truly make a lasting impact even for the most seasoned traveler. After trips like these I am always so proud to call myself a member of Khiri and to help share our passion for discovery.
Khawp Jai, Kyei zu tin ba de and thank you!