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133 Reviews

  • Reviewed July 2016
    M B

    AON- Discover Burma

    Excellent trip covering lots of distance and sights.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cant pinpoint any one in isolation. Saw so much at each destination. Markets in several towns , landscape in Bagan , Pagodas, Temples, Trek in Kelaw , exploring Mandalay , river cruises , Inle Lake area .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kay Thi Maw is an excellent Leader , ensuring things ran smoothly, sorting out any issues with efficiency, making herself available when we bought local items , always checking in regards to our comfort and enjoyment. Clearly proud of her country and rightly so . Gave clear instructions for the days activities and willing to answer any question we asked , her replies being informative and educational.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I went in Monsoon season but that actually turned out to be a blessing. Most of the tourist sites were low numbers so could get "up close " to things , no queuing . Weather wise it rained occasionally , especially in Yangon but certainly not enough to spoil anything or cause changes to itinerary . I would certainly go again in low season , even with the humidity levels. Be aware that its ALWAYS shoes and socks off , bare feet , when wandering around pagoda/ temple complexes, not just the actual single temple. This can make for very quick steps on stone/marble courtyards that have been subject to sunshine , even with the plastic ( hard on the soles of your feet) covering provided.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If staying at Grand United in Yangon then give yourself an experience and take the train from Shan station ( 5 minutes walking distance from hotel ) into Yangon . 3rd stop is nearest to Bogyoke Market and cost us a measly 100 kyats each ( about 10 pence ). The train stations are hives of activity and very different to UK . Just remember to get on and off quickly , there is no hanging around !
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Caroline Woodall

    Discover Myanmar before the rest of the world does!

    A fabulous holiday showcasing all of Myanmar's tourist hot spots. From the city of Yangon - visiting the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda, to the plains of Bagan with thousands of ancient pagodas, Mandalay - a river trip on the Ayeyarwady River, Kalaw - trekking in the mountains through fields of cabbages and pine forests, and Inle Lake with the houses on stilts, floating gardens & leg rowing fishermen.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the two days spent on boats - cruising the Ayeyarwady River from Mandalay - visiting a monastery and seeing how the monks live - to a day spent on Inle Lake - speeding across the lake early in the morning mist & then visiting the local market (on land not floating) - and going through the villages built on stilts above the water.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kay Thi Maw was fabulous - she went out of her way to explain everything that we needed to know - and more. She encouraged us to "spread our money" in the local communities - and took us to some great restaurants that other tourists would never know about. Kay was always impeccably dressed - she could be a catwalk model for Myanmar - and we took a photo every day of Kay in different sets of clothes. She is a great ambassador for Myanmar - and urged us to let everyone know what a great country Myanmar is.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go there before it becomes too touristy - there were already many tourists there - but not yet overcrowded.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We all did the Mount Popa excursion - it was certainly worth doing- it's a shame that Exodus don't include this on the itinerary.
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Robert Bates

    Very friendly country

    Despite all their troubles the people we met were the friendliest we have ever encountered. This is a country that could change a lot so go now!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Flying over Bagan in a hot air balloon. Also visiting villages and meeting the people.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We have had the pleasure of being on another trip with a guide who won the tour guide of the year from a well known travel magazine and can confidently say that Kay Thi Maw is on a par with that standard. She was outstanding in every aspect.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My main thing before we went was the money but it is simple. Yes, you do get a better rate for higher denomination notes but it is negligible to make an issue of it. I changed $400 at the airport when we arrived (including notes that had been folded and one had writing on it). That lasted two of us for the whole trip. You can change money in a lot of places so don't worry if you need some more during the trip. Food is better and cheaper at non-tourist places, Kay told us which ones were safer for our tummies! There are food options to suit everyone. You see a lot of temples and take your shoes and socks off a lot to go in them. If you don't have sandles then take some wet wipes if you like clean feet in your socks!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We had a great group of a wide age range which always adds to the trip. I would definitely recommend this trip for an overview of Burma. I always like to chat to the tour leader about the country to get a better insite and Kay was very open about the issues facing the country. When you spend your money try and make sure it goes to non-government organisations so that it benefits the people directly.
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Brendan Morrison

    Discover Myanmar

    The trip and all its activities was a great way to be introduced to the beauties of Myanmar. From the grandeur of the Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon to the abundance of temples in Bagan, best seen from an early morning balloon flight. From the village artisan industries on Inle Lake to the sunrise over U Bein Bridge. This trip does its best to give an insight into the varied splendours of the emerging travel location.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The roar of the burners as the balloon gently lifted off into the early morning sunrise, and the first glimpse of the temples emerging from their slumbers shrouded in a cloak of mist and smoke from the cooking fires will remain with me for many a long day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joseph is a fantastic tour guide. He is very professional in his presentation, and passionate about his country. He is organised, caring and has a good sense of humour. He was flexible when necessary but still managed to cover all the items in the itinerary. His daily itinerary sheets, distributed each evening were invaluable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it. Enjoy it. And be prepared to remove shoes and socks LOTS of times!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are very lucky you may get Joseph as your tour guide. He is brilliant.
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Mary Daley

    Myanmar Magic

    The Exodus program was varied, energetic and interesting, and additional value was added by both our well-organised gentle guide Nyi Nyi Lwin, as well as by the lively interest of the well-travelled fellow travellers in the group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is not possible to distill all the marvellous experiences to favour just one of them. The stories associated with each pagoda and stupa, ballooning at sunrise in Bagan, cycling, hiking in the beautifully cultivated and fertile fields, lunching in a village home, purchasing village crafts, boating on the Aveyarwady (Irrawadddy) River and on Inle Lake, market visits and bargaining, and so much, much more. Other travellers have written more fully on the program, and found a favourite moment, but I cannot. I woke every day with a sense of happy anticipation and I was never disappointed.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    When travelling to a foreign country but with limited time, it is not always possible to understand the prevailing culture and faith system. Background reading helps, and the Exodus reading list was especially helpful, but I have concluded that our recent trip to Myanmar (Burma) exceeded my expectations because of the candour of our guide Nyi Nyi. Nyi Nyi ‘s delightful explanations to our questions contributed to make the Discover Myanmar (Burma) trip one of the best of its kind. Indefatigable Nyi Nyi gave us an intriguing story for every pagoda, temple, stupa and statue that we visited, and though some of us wilted a little at the numbers, I was not one of them!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was uncomfortable about the lack of recycling for my plastic water bottles. I wonder if Exodus can explore an alternative facility, where hotels might triple-boil the water for us, and travellers could then safely refill our water-bottles each day. The model for this was seen on an Exodus walking trip in Nepal.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Janet Dixon

    Discover Myanmar

    I was pleased to be able to visit this fascinating country before tourism takes a strong hold on. The people are so friendly and smile at you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The hot air balloon ride was brilliant. Able to see pagodas near and far to the horizon. The boat trip at Inle Lake was excellent, we saw so much in one day - the leg-rowing fishermen, lotus factory, silver factory and floating vegetable gardens. We also visited the pagoda complex at Indein.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kay Thi Maw was our leader, and she looked after us very efficiently. At times we were an unruly bunch, but with her sense of humour she managed to get our attention and listen to her instructions. Her English was very good, and her passion for her country is immense

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take $100 notes in pristine condition with no creases or folds. You will get a higher rate for $100 than you will for $50 and then a lower rate still for $20,10,5.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared for some early morning starts. The holiday is "full on" .
  • Reviewed January 2016

    AON - Discover Burma

    A truly wonderful trip. There is so much to see and do in this country. Go soon as the feeling is that there will be big changes over the next few years. There is a real sense of optimism regarding the new government which will come into effect in March this year. The standard of the hotels was much better than I thought it would be from reading the trip notes. The one exception was the Hu Pin hotel at Inle Lake where the bathroom was poor and there was a stagnant water 'moat' outside the front door.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many to choose from but Shwedagon pagoda, Inle Lake boat trip with the bonus of an awesome sunset on the way back, trek around Kalaw visiting the minority villages and being dressed up as a Palaung bride, Bagan, the markets with Min explaining what everything was and how it was cooked, the procession of the young boys going to begin their novitiate.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Min Zaw Lin was a wonderful leader. He was very helpful when my luggage didn't arrive in Rangoon until late the first evening, he was caring when people were unwell, all the admin went smoothly and with no fuss - Min remained calm at all times. He explained all the options available to us and told us a lot of the history of his country and provided maps of the towns which made it easy to find our way around. He is clearly proud of his country and also has a good sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Mostly the people are very friendly and smiley. Sometimes their limited English made asking for certain things rather complicated (and comical), particularly in the bar in the Golden Country Hotel in Mandalay. We did find that some of the vendors in the more popular visitor sites could be rather pushy. Mostly though it was easy to bargain with people and people were friendly and smiled whenever you caught their eye.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You will wash your feet many many times on this trip!! Not just when you take shoes off to visit a pagoda but generally from the dust. We were often given wet wipes but it would be a good plan to take some of your own. Food was good and varied and wine when available was very drinkable. Everything is very reasonably priced.
  • Reviewed January 2016
    Mary-Laure Bollini

    Amazing trip

    An amazing trip with many impressive and magical places combined with super friendly and smiling people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day we saw something special, so it is difficult to say. The day at Inle Lake ended with a beautiful sunset which made it even more special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Min Zaw Lin was super well organised, made sure we were all happy, replied to all and any kind of questions we had about history, politics, habits, rules, food, music, tattoos, etc... and took great care of everyone when we were not well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I had flip-flops for the temple visits but for the couple of days where we also had to walk a little bit more, sandals would have been better. A hat and sun cream are definitively needed. The laundry services at the hotels worked well. I wish I had more time to discover the south and the beaches.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't hesitate to go soon to this beautiful country!
  • Reviewed December 2015

    AON Discover Burma - outstanding

    A huge & varied itinerary covering a huge amount of the culture of this fascinating country. Highly recommended.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Views over Bagan

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nothing too much trouble for this outstanding trip leader Kay Thi Maw - sensitive to individual requirements and providing a packed itinerary with an inordinate amount of interesting information about the country & the immediate environment . A genuine pleasure to be with a truly lovely person. You don't get better than this... Wonderful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's a busy itinerary but you can duck out of specific visits if you need a rest! An incredible amount of the country is visited and the accompanying information from the excellent guide puts everything in a a meaningful context. All the arrangements are made for you to ensure a stress free experience.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Tourism is new to this country there are a few issues that need to be handled sensitively but Exodus are well placed to manage your expectations without compromise.
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Claire Smith

    A fascinating insight

    Just returned from a jam-packed two weeks in Myanmar. This trip certainly squeezes a lot into the limited time and I felt like I got a real taste of the country and its welcoming people thanks to that.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me, the best parts of the trip were the (optional) hot air balloon flight over the pagodas of Bagan at dawn - expensive, but worth every penny. Exploring some of the pagodas on foot, being privileged enough to watch the novice monks filing into lunch (albeit in view of quite a few tourists) and the cave temples at Pindaya were also highlights. The food was also generally of a very good standard.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Kay, was absolutely brilliant. Extremely friendly, organised, knowledgeable and passionate about her country and with a great sense of humour - I cannot fault her.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was colder than I thought it would be in Kalaw and in the mornings/evenings at Inle Lake - take a decent jumper or a coat! Also there are a few very early starts (before 5am!) but all worth it. You will be taking your shoes (and socks if you wear them) off A LOT to go into pagodas and monasteries, so take flip-flops!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotels used on this trip were all better than I expected with spacious and comfortable rooms, wifi, sufficient breakfast choices etc. My only slight negative is that some were a little way from the centre of town so it was difficult to just walk somewhere for dinner or during free time. Food in Myanmar (once outside Yangon) is ridiculously cheap - I struggled to spend more than £10 a day in total on lunch and dinner.