WIT Agent Pam Davis recently had the opportunity to with V’Explore to Myanmar. She discovered that there has never been a better time to explore this fascinating nation. Read on to find all about this still-enigmatic country.
“NOW is the time to go. Tourism is now on the rise a bit. There are now direct flights from China into both Yangon and Mandalay.
Yangon, the biggest city, is easy to explore
“Starting the trip in Yangon, we spent the night on arrival at the Suli Shangri La Hotel. The Yangon airport is not too far from the city center, but the trip takes about an hour because the traffic is incredible. The hotel is lovely – my room overlooked one of the major temples of Yangon.
Buddhism in Myanmar means temples…
“Buddhism is everywhere in Myanmar – it is more a part of everyday life for the people than anywhere else I’ve been. Even in the streets of Yangon you see monks with bowls collecting food offerings. People cook breakfast with a little extra, then go to the streets and give it to the passing monks. This happens throughout the country. People also go daily to pray in the various temples and shrines.
Visited Shweadgon Temple which is the major one in Myanmar, took a quick walk through the downtown area to see the old British colonial buildings, and ended at Scott’s Market, a covered market in the center of the city. Stayed at the Rose Garden Hotel in Yangon.
…A LOT of Temples
“Flew to Mandalay in the morning of the next day and stayed at the Mercure Mandalay Hill, a very nice property. Mandalay also has a number of temples, a castle with wall and moat, and Mandalay Hill which is topped by another temple and has a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside.
There’s even a breathtaking Land of Temples
“Flew to Bagan. Bagan has been added to the UNESCO world heritage list for its temples. The temples are built on a plain, nearly 40 square miles filled with temples that date anywhere from 1100 to the current day. We were taken by a horse cart to visit the main sites, and participated in a meditation session with one of the monks. Spent 2 nights in Bagan at a property called The Hotel at Tharabar Gate. It was lovely, and near one of the main entrances to Old Bagan.
Explore: River Cruises in Myanmar
Buddha statues and Bungalows at Beautiful Inle Lake
“Flew to Inle Lake. This was an interesting area – lots of different tribal groups with different traditional dress that is still worn. In the lake there are houses built on stilts where the fishermen live, and the fishermen have an interesting way of rowing dugout canoes with their leg while standing up – I guess it frees their hands for fishing with nets and baskets.
We also visited a cave where there were over 5000 Buddha statues that had been placed inside. We were also there during the Full Moon Festival where 5 Buddhist statues are taken from the main temple and rowed on very ornately decorated barges to 5 different villages in the course of a week.
Stayed at the Treasure Inle Lake Resort which had overwater bungalows built on docks stretching out into the water. There is a lot of building in this area – a new Novotel Resort and a beautiful property called the Aureum Palace Hotel which is a 5 star property.
Read more about Buddhas & Boats on Inle Lake
Final Impressions of Myanmar?
I found the country to be very beautiful, the people warm and welcoming.
Enjoyed the country and enjoyed traveling with V’Explore. I’ve found their service to clients to be excellent and they have excellent ground services in all the countries where they travel.
Good to Know Before You Go
Daily costs are very affordable
Meals and taxi costs are very low – a dinner with drink at a hotel restaurant came to $10.
A “high tea” at the Leading Hotel in Yangon was $18.00 and rivaled anything you’d see at the Empress in Victoria.
Be Prepared to Haggle
You do need to practice your bargaining skills when shopping in the handicraft markets, but for $5-$20 you can get some beautiful things. Even in shops, the list price is just a suggestion and you can almost always get a 15-20% discount by asking.
The Countryside is Rugged
In the countryside the roads aren’t as good so everything just moves at a slower pace. As long as you have a good local operator they take all of this into account when doing the transfers.
Traffic is Rough
Traffic throughout the country is horrendous – a 5 mile trip can easily take an hour, 2 lane roads become 4 lanes automatically and you are sharing the road with cars, trucks, horse and bullock carts, scooters.
Interested in checking out options to Myanmar? Call our travel agents at 503-224-0180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.