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Initial Plan Back from Santa Maria

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We sent Santa Maria the places we wanted to visit and the number of days in each. We have had a couple emails with Karene. Gave them some background info on how we like to travel, slowly and leisurely, suggested hotels and types we prefer. Told them we do not want to do hiking. We asked for additional ideas for places to add on to visit. Mrauk U is still closed per Santa Maria.

What we got back is a completely different itinerary, cutting back the number of days we want to stay in places. For example we wanted 4/5 days Inle Lake and they gave us 2. Bagan was reduced also to 2 days. They suggested Kalaw for trekking when I said we did not want to hike/trek. I have a feeling they may have sent us a canned tour which we do not want. I had suggested we arrange the places and hotels and then we could work on where we wanted drivers or guides from them. Perhaps this was not clear.

In Yangon the Traders Hotel Club Room is recommended. Anyone stay here?
I did not like their substitution for a hotel in Inle lake. I am suggesting Paramount Inle Lake Resort or Pristine Lotus Spa. Any other hotels suggested?

One place they suggest which sounds interesting is Hsipaw. This would involve a train ride to it. How are the trains in Burma? Has anyone been to Hsipaw?

@kathie, you suggested flying to Yangon and going directly to Mandalay which is what we proposed to SM. SM's itin still has us starting in Yangon for a couple days. I thought I read in one of your TR's that you met their rep at the airport, paid them and flew on to Mandalay. Is this correct? I want to keep Yangon at the end in the hopes that we can make some changes if Mrauk O opens over the next 6 months or so and your reasoning for ending in Yangon makes sense for that reason.

We will send them back our revised itin and highlight the changes. We tend to make our travel plans on our own, and have only worked once, Tonkin in VN, with a travel agency, so this is not a way I generally plan travel.

Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.

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