Dear Myo Lay and Edwin
Another fantastic job from the team, thank you
As I said in my earlier email, we had an absolutely fantastic time in Myanmar, and it is a holiday that will long in our memories. I think one of the things that made it so good were the three superb guides that we had. All three were so lovely and keen to tell us about their country and it really meant we got so much out of the trip. I could not praise them highly enough, but we were very grateful to them for their kind hospitality. Also, as a general comment, the whole trip was very well organised – we had no problems and always knew what was happening and had someone to help us. Anyway, moving on to the different places we visited and activities:
Yangon was a nice introduction into Myanmar, but, if I’m honest, it was probably the least interesting part of the trip. The market was a good trip, and of course the Shwe Dagon is very impressive, but it’s not like Bangkok (although possibly not a fair comparison). I think we had to visit Yangon as part of a trip to Myanmar, but I ‘m not sure I would recommend it as a city break to someone, if that makes sense. Anyway, we had a nice day with our guide, and the Shangri-La was very comfortable if not as memorable as the other hotels we stayed at.
Bagan was breath-taking. Just taking the car from the airport and see all the pagodas gave a sense of the scale of the place, which we then appreciated much more over the next few days. I know I said earlier how good all three of our guides were, but Swe in Bagan was particularly good – he just seemed to go to such an effort to make our trip fantastic. Obviously the pagodas and temples in Bagan are the main attraction, and we spent the first day touring the main area. It was really nice having a break in the afternoons to relax at the hotel before going back out in the evenings. Gemma loved the horse and cart ride in the evening sun, and then we got to watch the sun coming down over the pagodas sat on up in a quiet pagoda that we pretty much had to ourselves – magical. The next day we got to see a large novitation ceremony procession taking place in Bagan in the morning, and then visited one of the less common temples built into the side of a cliff, which was fascinating. After visiting Pakkoku, we then had a lovely river-cruise back to Bagan enjoying our lunch that had been prepared by our guide’s sister. That evening we went back out to watch the sun setting over the river with a cocktail which was beautiful. We really enjoyed our third day in Bagan where we had a cycling trip on the other side of the river and saw what felt a bit more like the real (less touristy) Myanmar. The hotel in Bagan was really nice – very comfortable big clean rooms and great for relaxing by the pool. The service, like everywhere, was first class.
The next day was our trip to the elephant sanctuary, which we loved. Such an amazing experience to get up so close to such amazing creatures. It also felt like the sanctuary was being run in the right way and they really cared for the elephants who were there to enjoy their retirement. The trek down to the sanctuary was a really nice way to get there too. In the evening we stayed at the Amara in Kalaw which was quite quirky – it felt like being back in England, partly because the weather was like a fine English summer’s evening (something we kind of miss living in Singapore).
After Kalaw we headed down to Inle Lake, and probably my favourite day of the holiday. We loved the long cycle ride along the lake, and then seeing the pagodas at Indein. On the boat trip back from Indein to the hotel we visited one of the floating villages, going to a silversmiths, the jumping cat monastery, and seeing the floating gardens. It meant we had a long day, but saw a lot and it was beautiful seeing the village on the lake in the evening light, before we arrived at our hotel just as the sun was setting. The next day we were back on the lake travelling to Nyang Shwe, and another day on the bike, but didn’t have to do too much cycling. We enjoyed the wine tasting, but I think the person who usually does the tour of the winery was not there that day, which was a shame, although our guide gave us a bit of a tour. I think we felt like by the end of the day we were perhaps running out of things to see, but did enjoy the boat trip back to the hotel in the evening light again, so were pleased to have the next day to ourselves. On our own we wondered down the road from our hotel, and then up into the hills to see a shiny pagoda that we had seen from the lake the previous day. It was also nice to enjoy the fantastic Villa Inle hotel that we were staying in and got to try out there spa. All the hotels we stayed in were nice, Bagan Lodge in particular, but Villa Inle was really special, as I am sure you know.
I think I’ve rambled on for far too long now, and am sure you must be getting a bit bored. In summary, it was a fantastic holiday and we really appreciate your efforts in organising it for us.