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Local Spotlight: Interview with our local experts in Myanmar

by Timothy Vivian-Shaw

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Be it beholding a towering golden temple in Yangon, the rich red earth of the Bagan Plains, or the still blue waters of Lake Inle, you are certain to be blown away by the colour and variety of Myanmar. This month we caught up with our local experts to talk favourite memories, family values and holidays with princesses.
 

TL: What is life like in Myanmar? What is your fondest memory?
Life was simple in the past, but things are changing, with growing opportunities now Myanmar is open to the west. My fondest memory is of joining my father in a local tea shop, to drink tea and watch him discuss the ‘state of the nation’ with his friends. 
 

TL: What is your favourite place in Myanmar? Why?
Bagan. Every time I visit it gives me an enormous sense of pride to know that our country was home to one of the world’s great civilizations.
Yangon

TL: What three words most represent Myanmar for you? And why?
Compassion – It lies at the heart of Buddhist faith, and is also a rule of life for the people of Myanmar. 
Tradition – Many of our traditions and practices are ancient, which is important to remember as the country moves forward. 
Welcoming – The people are very friendly and love to meet visitors. 
 

TL: What is the Myanmarese culture like?
The way of life in Myanmar is founded upon Buddhist beliefs and teachings. Family is very important. 
 

TL: What is your favourite Myanmarese food?
My favourite food is Mote Hin Gar, a combination of noodles and a flavorsome fish soup.


TL: Do you know any cool facts about Myanmar that most people wouldn’t know?
Most Myanmarese names are chosen by the day of the week a person is born on. For example, if someone born on Wednesday, the name will start with “Y”, but if someone born on Monday the name may start with “K”.


TL: What are the experiences people travelling to Myanmar definitely shouldn’t miss?
There are so many places! Seeing the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon city is essential. If visiting the ancient ruins of Bagan, they are best seen by hot air balloon. Taking a boat across Inle Lake or an extended cruise along the Irrawaddy is a great way to see Myanmar.


TL: Do you have any top tips for any TravelLocal customers thinking of visiting Myanmar?
Don’t forget the food. Myanmarese cuisine is often overlooked compared to its illustrious neighbours – China, India and Thailand – all of whom have world renowned cuisines. But Myanmarese food is very delicious and varied, so make sure you try many different dishes when you are here.


TL: What is the story behind your company? What inspired you to start the business?
After a successful career as a guide, I founded the company to create the type of life changing holidays I know Myanmar can offer. Teaming up with some of my old colleagues allowed us to get started quickly and to set about creating a company with a high level of expertise and personal service for our guests. 


Lake Inle TL: What have been your favourite and most memorable experiences as a tour operator?
During a recent tour to the Northern Shan State, we were asked to look after group of special guests. It turned out that one of the guests was a princess that liked to travel as a normal tourist. We were able to show her many off-the-beaten-track locations where she could interact with local people naturally. 


TL: What’s next for your company?  
To keep improving on our existing services as well as expanding our organic farming activities, which help local communities and protect local environments.


TL: And we’ve got ask - do you have a dream holiday destination that you want to visit?
I would love to see the lavender fields of Provence, France.


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