Our 13 day trip to Myanmar was a perfect balance of relaxation, the opportunity to see some stunning sights and learn about the country. The itinerary worked through the untouristy southern towns of Moulmain and Hpa-An to Lake Inle with each place topping the previous. Excellent guides and very safe, courteous drivers and very attentive service from TravelLocal's Myanmar partner throughout the planning and execution of the trip.
Very response and the itinerary worked out on the basis of sketchy ideas (on our part) worked out really well.
This was a very good trip. The only real reflection we had was on the location of hotels. We were basically very satisfied with all the accommodation arrangements (given the fire at the Kandawygyi Palace hotel), but would have perhaps liked to be located where we could eat out more. We liked being able to walk out of the hotel to eat street food in Moulmein. Restaurant at Hpa-An lodge was fine, it was a cosy place and the food was good, but one had to eat in. The Chatrium was a good standard, its internal restaurant reasonable value but rather large and perhaps it would have been in this case more interesting to be stay in Yangon downtown (but we had picked the Kandawygi). Bagan Lodge was very nice - loved the swimming pool but a bit far from places to eat out locally, the restaurant was a bit limited. Inle Resort lodge was fabulous but the restaurant was rather gigantic and empty making it rather impersonal and the menu was rather limited (the could do with serving more local fish) and quite pricey, The hotel we somehow enjoyed the most was the Amara in Kalaw. It was nice and simple with a small restaurant. The point being that one of the benefits of travelling in a small group of 2 is to be able to stay at smaller hotels not catering for large groups. We have no complaints - and certainly were very happy with the lodges, but one idea would be perhaps to offer descriptions of two alternative styles of hotel in a location during the planning stage of the trip.
They were excellent. Very attentive to our interests, flexible and sensible on the itinerary, suggesting extra things to see. Drivers were very safe and courteous. Our guide in Bagan gave us a very good introduction to Buddhist statues which was particularly informative, but she just needs to be a little more confident in her English. We warmed to all guides who we felt really made the effort to be both professional and friendly. Moh-moh and Zapan the driver were excellent company.
Conisder going south, not just take in Bagan, Mandalay and Lake Inle! We had no regrets about skipping Mandalay.
All of it was memorable, but highlights we thought were the C7 Buddha sculptures in the Kawgun cave near Hpa-An - really impressive on the scale of things we have seen in all our trips. Bagan was magical and we just loved being in boats and wandering round the market on Lake Inle, which even though the activities were quite touristy we loved. We also were very taken by the small monastery we visited on the way to Heho airport on our way back from Lake Inle. Wathcing the sun go down over Lake Inle from the terrace of our lodge was quite special. Great trip - thanks