Great trip, great group, great guide. An extermely picturesque country, and a lot of hope from locals that things are changing for the better. Tourism infrastructure is trying to keep up with rapid growth in Western tourists, so flights can be delayed (or occassionally crash), airports are quaint and at capacity, sometimes the tour group was split between hotels (often quite distant from each other).
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Going to Pindaya caves and being amongst 4,000 bhuddas, very serene and spirtually powerful.
Crusiing on our boat across Inle lake, pursued by fishermen (the rowing with one leg around the paddle while standing is certainly unique) and seeing the floating farms and gardens.
A further highlight was the Yangon circular railway (takes 3 hours), this was an incredible opportunity to journey through all of Yangon and out to the country and be with locals.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Yan was organised, positive and constructive. He wanted to impart the cultures of Myanmar and linked us to many really intersting locals as we travelled around Myanmar.
Some of the group struggled with deadlines, return to bus times, and Yan did his best to marshall the group (we were 18) to time.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Myanmar is struggling to keep up with the rapid growth in tourist numbers, and while there have been many recent political reforms there is still some way to go.
Locals were really friendly and interactive (especially the money changers :-). We always felt safe.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
For a third of the trip the group (we were 18) were split between two hotels and they were not within walking distance of each other. Exodus did not inform us beforehand that there would be likely splitting of the group and this did create some challenges in socialising and getting around.
The leg of the trip which includes landing at Helo, driving to Kalaw, then driving up to Pindaya, then driving back down to Inle Lake was a bit bizzare. Given Kalaw and Inle Lake are less than an hours drive from each other this leg of the trip would be better managed as: fly into Helo, drive to Pindaya, see the bhuddist caves, drive down to Kalaw, then short trip to Inle Lake (this would remove about 6 hours of driving).