19 March 2013
10 March 2013
02 March 2013
02 March 2013
We’re safely back in London, and I’ve had time to catch up with life again. I promised to send you some detailed feedback on our trip.
The first thing to say is that we had a wonderful, wonderful time. The itinerary was fantastic, and it will be a long time before we forget all the sights, sounds and above all the wonderful people of Burma. That takes care of 95% of my feedback!
For the final 5% where there is room for improvement:
- It would be good if you could make it clearer in your Travel Tips that the first thing to do on arrival at the airport is to spend $20 on a SIM card so that one’s mind is at rest about the family at home perhaps needing to contact in an emergency. This would also allow for the odd newsy text message too. The internet connection at all the hotels was lamentable – I usually gave up after 30minutes trying to get online.
- Amara Resort hotel in Kalaw really needs to do something about sound insulation for those sleeping downstairs. I had a dreadful night with people marching up and down on the teak floorboards above me until about 1am and then getting up at 4.45 for their departure at 6am. The English family next door told me they were embarrassed for the sake of their children because of the honeymoon couple upstairs!!
- There is no longer an English cemetery in Taunggyi – it’s been built over by the sprawling city. However we did visit the pagoda on the hill, and Michael got his watch mended by a Chinese horologist!
- The Shwe Inn Tha Resort at Inle is showing signs of age. The decking is very uneven, with nails sticking up, our curtain pole fell off the wall and the light above the basin flickered on and off. Time for refurbishment
- We did visit the orphanage in Mine Tauk, but there were no children (they were in school) and no Mr. Thet Tun. The walk to the cemetery was long and hot, and we only found two gravestones and a hole in the ground.
- The Red Canal Hotel in Mandalay put us in a ground-floor room which I would say was meant to be a single. Michael’s side of the bed was against a wall with a sofa at the foot, so he had to climb over me to get out! There was no natural light, as there was a 10ft high wall about 3ft from the window.
- Sadly the lovely guide we had in Bagan spoke very poor English. I suppose we understood about 10% of what he was saying, and he usually didn’t understand our questions. But he tried SO hard.
- We didn’t bother to visit the Myingyan cemetery, as the guide told us it was a 2-hour drive in each direction and there was nothing else to see there. We’d been a bit put off cemeteries by this stage!
That’s about it – and as I said above, all of this only affected 5% of our enjoyment of what was a memorable trip. Thank you so much for arranging it.
02 March 2013
I tried to call you yesterday evening but unfortunately couldn't get
through. Right now I'm sitting in the sky lounge in Bangkok. I would like to
thank you for your help during my stay in Myanmar. Although it didn't work
out the way it should have I enjoyed my time in your country. You are
wonderful people and I hope you will stay this way even with more tourists
coming in and bringing other costumes. I have seen a lot of beautiful things
but also a lot of poverty which had a real big impact on me. Especially a
lot of children are affected by poverty. I hope that they will get a chance
to go to school and get educated, because that is the key to a better
future. I would really like to get involved in a project that helps children
to improve their future.
Good luck with moving everybody to the monastery and with the project. I'm
curious to know how it will go on! I hope to keep in touch!
Warm wishes to everybody and thanks to everybody for their help!
19 February 2013
Everything was fine, thank you!
Sri Lanka is an amazing place. We enjoyed Hill Country as well as the sea side.
Guide and driver were nice people and we had fun with them. A little bit more knowledge about the History and places of their Country would have been better, but we can’t complain. Really.
We couldn’t get the train from Colombo to Kandi, because local agency did not buy the tickets in advance… so we went there by car.
The accommodations were more than fine, apart from the Dickoya Bungalow… not really at the same level as the other places, but food was really good (homemade style) and pretty cheap!!
Both Tati and I ate Rice and Curries almost every day!
The weather was the main problem unfortunately, too much rain in the Hill Country (very rare in this period everybody said to us…), so we had to cancel the hiking on Adam’s Peak L L
We also cancelled the visit to Rain Forest in order to spend an afternoon driving along the south west coast down to Galle, where we had a nice dinner in the Fort.
We will have to go back soon, to enjoy the rest of this beautiful Country!
Thank you for your arrangements and coordination!!
17 February 2013
Thank you for going to so much trouble to organise our trip to Burma. My
grandson, when he saw the itinerary, said we would be exhausted as we were
doing so much! In fact it worked very well as we could always relax in the
cars and were grateful for the foot wipes and bottles of water! Some of the
guides were better than others (of course) but all unfailingly polite,
charming and considerate. We found your country amazingly calm, safe, clean
and unspoilt and really loved it and everyone we met - so welcoming and
helpful. I am looking forward to meeting you in May when I can give you much
more feedback, if you want it! Highlights probably the river cruise, Inle
and the beach. We had problems with showers in one or two places and food
was surprisingly poor at the Green Haven Hotel and at the Yangon hotel
(Chinese restaurant excepted) and it was too far to find an alternative but
it was very good in all other respects and wonderful service.
I think I need to explain more about the beach hotel: we arrived late (we
spent nine hours at Heho airport) and were not given the usual warm welcome
but were told they only had a room with a double bed and would put in an
extra bed but we would have to change rooms in the morning. Tessa refused to
accept this as the booking confirmation specified a twin room (we had also
been looking forward to unpacking and spending three nights in one place).
Their excuse was that they thought I was with a husband and Tessa was a
child - pretty implausible as twin had been specified by you. I then
suggested, very politely, that perhaps they could put us in a twin de luxe
room for the night. The receptionist then disappeared for another age and
when she came back said we would still have to change rooms in the morning
which we accepted but then came back again to say no, it would have to be
the extra bed option and a move in the morning. I was very aware of the
language difficulty right from the start of the trip (some of the guides
just said yes with a smile to everything) so apoke very simply and slowly.
And it was then that we rang you and you sorted it (in the way I had
suggested in the first place). However, they were not very helpful and we
were kept standing at the reception desk for ages and we felt they could at
least have offered us a complimentary drink or meal. It was so late by then
that we had a 'light snack' in the restaurant and got huges portions each of
very boring food (rice omlette for me and fried noodles for Tessa, I think,
which was too much in all respects!). I think Tessa completed the form for
the hotel which was great in all other respects (perhaps except for the
corridor light shining through the glass panel above our door all night). We
much enjoyed our sadly shortened stay, because of the plane delay and ate
very well, and modestly, at the local bars. My other favourites were the
Shan Restaurant on the way to Inle and the Green Tea in Pindaya.
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the trip. It was one of the most exciting of my life, and the arrangements you made were superb. The guides were terrific, knowledgable and lovely people, all three. The hotels, the vans, the travel...everything was great. I can't thank you enough for all your efforts...and I am already looking forward to going back as soon as I can!
As soon as I get over my jetlag, I'd like to write more, and keep in touch.
I tried to work in all the things that I think might have interested me when I was first starting.
-- that "tours" have a bad rep and this was no tour
-- that we saw and did an amazing variety of things
-- that the guides were great
-- that we felt comfortable all the time
-- that we could afford it
-- that I would go again
But ask for any changes you want. It really was wonderful -- I don't want to give up Paris in my life, but I certainly want to return to SE Asia.
You don't arrange tours... you arrange to introduce people to countries. You gave us Cambodia and Burma - the people, places and arts old and new. The guides you chose were wonderful, helpful and knowledgeable. I always felt comfortable and cared for but never "controlled". We waded across a lake in Burma to see an elephant camp, drove down rutted roads to a pottery village outside Yangon, and wandered the markets and temples everywhere. We swam in the Bay of Bengal and saw golden pagoda and water buffalo during a six hour boat trip . In Cambodia, our guide, who knew more than an art historian about Ankgor Wat, taught us about ancient temple carving and practices -- and life in "modern" Cambodia.
Thank you so much. I never imagined it could be so easy, so full and so affordable. If possible, I want to try Laos next year.
A beautifully organised trip, the balance perfect between the various destinations. We had a wonderful time.
The highlights were the Golden Rock, which we visited a festival time so it was heaving with people, many very ethnic – a lovely hotel too, but thank heavens for sedan chairs for Di at any rate for about a third of the climb up the hill.
Also Mrauk U which we simply adored. It's a great place for mini trekking up hill and down dale and seeing at close hands how real people live work and survive. Of course we saw the great temples – the Shittaung complex inevitably sticks in the mind, and the internal chambers with their magnificent carving – but the sort of impression that will stick in our minds were the little family clustered round the water pump, she working it with her feet, he taking the resulting water and sprinkling it on their small holding with watering cans made out of oil cans, and the tiny children looking after each other. And of course the voyage upstream to the Chin villages with the tattooed ladies, a wonderful happy and relaxed day. The hotel was fine, the food excellent, and the staff incredibly attentive, but it's tiring a little. Fine for us, but there are newer ones going up. We have to add that for the right people we would recommend Mrauk U for a first Burma visit as a substitute for Bagan; although there are big differences, we preferred MU, no doubt about it.
The wildlife sanctuary was quite marvellous. So many varieties of birds, and including some of our faves, specifically three different types of kingfisher. Very exciting. The accommodation not tired but verging towards exhaustion, not that we cared, although I couldn't make the shower work till early on the last day when I had already given up. I think that the comment I would make – intended helpfully – is that travellers like us will accept anything, provided we know what to expect. I think that the problem with this place is that it doesn't seem to be often used and the staff clearly didn't check whether everything worked. Food fine though.
The oxcart ride round the ruins at Thayekhittaya was also a memorable experience, for its novelty if nothing else. Rather special oxen too.
So there it is. Everything we hoped for. Thank you, thank you
Diana and Daniel
Greetings, my dear MiMi,
Did you know that I am very special as born on a Wednesday - morning - which is when Buddha was born.
Never seen so many Buddha's in my whole life - totally Buddhaed out - 90,000 in one place, 80,000 in another and the 18 inch Buddha made up of hundreds of Buddhas! Each temple one went into the Buddha - or mostly many of them were such a surprise as so different. Thank god for their faith which makes them into such accepting gentle people - need to be with the Chinese on their doorstep and infiltrating. With NIgel we were up - pre dawn, and the moody misty morning before the sun came up, and as it went down, over the Mrauk U temples was breathtaking.
Just back and had the most wonderful and fascinating time. Well done for organising it all. Everything went so well. We had amazing picnic lunches Expected sandwiches of that nasty cheap colonial bread but had chicken and noodles. So delicious. Loved it all - did not get into my drawing for the first few days but picked it all up quickly and it amused so many people and made them relax and our trip much more fun. Could not face the dreadful ex British breakfasts, the bread, nasty cheap strawberry jam and something resembling butter so it did not take me long to have Burmese breakfast of soup with noodles. Managed to try the crispy bamboo worms!
Quite one of the best trips we have all ever done.
The schedule on the last day was very tight as the plane was delayed and we had about half an hour turn around to get our international flight in Yangon. Our guide did wonders to look after us and we know she made endless telephone calls - all luggage and us out of the plane in a flash, transported by bus to the international terminal and onto the flight just in time. Nowhere else in the world could that have been more efficiently done.
We have such happy memories and my journal is a treasure. Bought me two special small golden umbrellas - those we saw at an initiation ceremony at Lake Inle so I have opened them - how exotic, and will somehow attach them to my sofa on the veranda - the others all bought huge ones, but I bought one made of saris in India so could not be too disappointed when there were not enough for the 4 of us.
Where shall we go next Christmas?
So it was great fun and marvellous adventure with lots of memories and stories to tell. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to Burma (where my mother was born)
Best wishes for a happy year ahead.
I have been meaning to write to you for ages now to thank you so much for organising our trip so very well to Burma. The guides were just brilliant and the way that the last day was organised with the connecting flights was absolutely phenomenal. I don't think that an operation could have been smoother anywhere else in the world.
The itinerary was perfect and gave us just the right time in each place and having the two boat experiences was such fun - each day better than the previous day. The people of Burma were so warm and friendly and gracious and we felt very blessed to have had the opportunity to visit your beautiful country.
Thank you so much for all you did to make our trip so special,
With warmest wishes,