Myanmar culture focus - Jan 12 - Jan 26, 2018

Traveler: ALAN G. - Local specialist: Wai Lin Tun

Everything went smoothly from start to finish. We were met at Yangon airport and transferred to our accommodation.
This was of a very acceptable standard.
Our trip to Bago was easy (an excellent driver) and our guide was knowledgable and informative.
The accommodation in Bago (Shwe Pyi Resort) did have some minor problems (power failures, termites? eating the bamboo bedheads, and the distance to breakfast). But I recognise that there were not a lot of alternatives. I was happy there but my travel companion (Jacqui) did need to move rooms.
The drive from Bago to Pyay was smooth and interesting. and we enjoyed the sightseeing and museum there. The spectacled Buddha was a highlight.
The accommodation was comfortable and spacious.
The drive to Mt Popa seemed very long and in hindsight we might have stopped more along the way to look at the scenery.
We were probably too late arriving at Mt Popa to climb the stairs but probably would not have done so even with an earlier arrival. If I were to do the trip again I would recommend a night or two at the Mt Popa Resort as it did seem to be beautiful.
The temples in Bagan are stunning and the number of them is astounding.
The accommodation was very good and was close to restaurants and bars.
At Bagan, Jacqui and I have different responses to our guide. Jacqui believes that he was not very communicative with her at first but that he treated me with more respect because I was a male. I am not sure if this was the case but we both found him to be knowledgable and (after a discussion with me) helpful in varying/amending our itinerary to ensure that we had extra time at the archaeological dig sites.
Jacqui was most impressed by Bagan and it was her favourite location - she is a history teacher.
Mandalay had some great experiences and our guide was informative and helpful. She made sure we had the best possible experiences while in the city.
Our accommodation (the Yadanarpon Dynasty Hotel) was spacious and comfortable.
I think that for both Jacqui and I the Teak Temple was the most amazing sight.
Finishing at Inle Lake was a good choice, as it was more "laid back" and touristy. The lake is beautiful and the pace much slower than elsewhere. The boat trip up the canal to Pa-Oh village was well worth the time. Accommodation (Inle Resort) was very comfortable. In future I would ask for a room closer to the restaurant and reception as it would be a long walk from the back rooms if it rained (unlikely in the day season).
Our guide, who seemed quite young, was very helpful and has excellent English. I believe that he will become an excellent guide who could take on longer sections of a trip in future.
Returning to Yangon, we had just enough time there to unwind and get ready for our trip home.

All up, the trip was very well organised and suited to our interests and level of fitness. I am happy that we did not pre-plan lunch and evening meals and the guides provided excellent suggestions and took us to places that were not too challenging for a western palate.
All flights , transfers and pick-ups were efficiently handled and all vehicles were clean and comfortable.

After meeting with all your guides, I feel that both Jacqui and I have a greater understanding of social and political life in Myanmar.

What would I change if I were to return?
I would try to get away from the more tourist busy areas to get an experience of Myanmar village and rural life.

Thank you, Wai Lin, for your thorough organisation.
Your efforts ensured that we had a great experience in your country.