A very interesting and stimulating trip around the main sights of Burma. Friendly people, amazing sunsets and sunrises, Bagan and Lake Inle are absolutely stunning, and the way that the country is changing is fascinating.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Really, there were no words to describe the balloon flight over Bagan. If you have the slightest inclination, book it and do it well in advance as they get booked up early. It is the best way to fully appreciate the size of the site.
I also really enjoyed U Bein bridge at sunrise, the trek and the time with Tommy, the cycle ride, the trip across the lake, the boat trip...yes, too much to mention as ever.
- What did you think of your group leader?
- Scott was a good group leader, well able to cope with such a large group. Even though he himself was struck down by the dreaded stomach problems, he attempted to continue and make sure our trip was not impacted, whilst still trying to ease the problems of other members of the group. And at the same time, he was endeavouring to coach the two trainee guides.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Firstly, I get the impression that stomach problems are not that unusual (over half our group were hit), so as well as taking the normal precautions with water and ice, a good stock of stomach medication and toilet roll is advised. We noticed that the hotels were not over generous with toilet paper supplies and there are times that you don't really want to have to go to reception.
Secondly, this country is changing fast and not totally able to keep up with the surge in tourism. Hotels can be of varying standards. Things don't always go to plan. Telephones in hotel rooms don't always work, nor does always hot water or electric.
There is a lot of bare foot walking in temples, better not to have anything that requires a lot of effort to take on and off.
If you are a wine drinker rather than a beer drinker, take your own wine to Mandalay, as it doesn´t seem to be sold there (yet). The wine from the Red Mountain vinyard is surprisingly good.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Personally I think Exodus are going a bit far with 18 in a group, you lose the sensation of being a small group and you can feel a bit disruptive being anywhere in such large numbers, especially in restaurants. Also, this trip centres around a lot of sunrises and sunsets, for which it is important to be on time, and the more people, the more time it takes to get around places, especially for the less experienced guides.
This is a very good trip where you get to see something of a quite incredible country. Because the country is changing so quickly, the experiences I had will be very different from someone in even three months time, although the sheer beauty of some of it, I hope, will always remain the same. Highly recommended.