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nan_49 Jul 8th, 2005 04:26 PM

Myanmar - Need help with in-country tour operator
I am interested in traveling to Myanmar and am lookin for an in-country operator who can make arrangements for me. I am a middle-aged woman traveling alone and plan on visiting Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle lake. I'd like to fly between locations, stay at higher end hotels and have a private guide and driver. Any suggestions on which agency to use?

glorialf Jul 8th, 2005 07:36 PM

Gracious Myanmar (ask for Sonny) or Myanmar Travel (ask for Myriam). Both are excellent -- they used to be husband and wife and one agency. Myriam is Swiss -- Sonny is Burmese.
Whichever one you use ask to have Nyi Nyi as a guide. He was the best guide i have had in 30 years of travel. In fact we are returning to Burma specifically to see him again (we're going thru Sonny at Gracious Myanmar).

cram Jul 10th, 2005 11:52 AM

In Oct/Nov last year my wife and me travelled extensively in Myanmar, care of a local travel agent which was very reasonably priced and did an absolutely wonderful job for us. I posted a trip report in Nov 2004.
Orchestra is the name of the agency and their email address is
[email protected]

nan_49 Jul 10th, 2005 02:58 PM

Thanks to both of you for your recommendations. I will contact both agencies. Aside from the typical sites, are there any "make sure you don't miss" things to do? Any help will be greatly appreciated.

glorialf Jul 10th, 2005 04:06 PM

Make sure you spend time getting to know the people. Don't rush around just looking at temples. Spend time not only in Inle Lake but in the Shan State as well. The people and the various cultures are what make this country so wonderful. Sit in tea rooms with your guide; visit families; go to villages where tour groups don't go.

How much time do you have?

nan_49 Jul 10th, 2005 07:42 PM

Gloria - I have almost 2 weeks. Any ideas on an itinerary? I was planning 3 nights Bagan, 3 nights Mandalay, 3 nights Inle Lake and surrounding area and several nights in Yangon. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

glorialf Jul 11th, 2005 08:47 AM

Nan-What are your major interests? I was most interested in the people (not the temples) but everyone is different. I was also there for close to four weeks.

I'd suggest:
Yangon - 3 days
Mandalay - 3 days - 1 day day trip to Mayamo
Bagan- 2 days
Inle Lake - 2 or 3 days
Shan State - (Heho perhaps or other city) - 2 or 3 days

If there is any way you can get to Mogok (I think you need special permission) it was the high point of my trip.

glorialf Jul 11th, 2005 09:16 AM

Here was my itinerary. Keep in mind my major interest were the various ethnic minorities -- not the temples.

12/30-1/1 -Yangon
1/2-1/4 - Inle Lake
1/4-1/6 - Kalaw
1/6-1/8 - Pindaya
1/9-1/11- Mandalay
1/12-1/16 - Moguk
1/17-1/19 - Mandalay
1/20 - Maymo
1/21 - Mandalay
1/22-1/23 - Bagan
1/24-1/26 - Yangon

cram Jul 11th, 2005 11:50 AM

I agree that Pindaya is absolutely worth a visit when you are in the neighbourhood of Inle anyway.
I also recommend the trip to Mrauk U, by river from Sittwe. Fly into Sittwe with the earliest flight you can get and make arrangements to travel on directly to Mrauk U, because Sittwe is about the most desolate and depressing place I've seen in Myanmar. Mrauk U, however, and the river trip are very worthwile, though.

nan_49 Jul 11th, 2005 03:52 PM

Again, thanks to both of you for your destination ideas. I, too, am interested in people and photography but I'm also looking forward to the temples. I sounds like I should try to stay a couple of days in the Pindaya/Kalaw areas. I don't know if I'll have time to travel to Mrauk U. I only have 2 weeks.

audeyes Sep 20th, 2005 08:12 PM

I'll be traveling in Burma in early October. I'm considering spending some time in Pyin U Lwin, and would like feedback about the city from anyone who has been there recently (within 1-2 years).

glorialf Sep 21st, 2005 07:41 AM

I was there about 5 years ago. It was worth the visit but I would recommend doing it as a day trip from Mandalay rather than stay over. Some interesting caves and the town was nice to walk around. But not worth overnight.

cochin321 Sep 21st, 2005 06:55 PM

i used myanmar travel in jan. and was in myanmar for 10 days. My guides name was Tun , and was by far the best guide i ever had. I will be more specific on why if you are interested.

plummie Sep 21st, 2005 08:50 PM

We're going through Myanmar Travel next month. Please tell me why to request Tun.

gammyflink Sep 22nd, 2005 04:35 AM

nan_49: I would love to do a trip to Myanmar similar to yours. Is there any way I can find out about your trip? Will you be posting a trip review? Is there some way I can give you my e-mail address? I'm not that familiar with Fodors. Thanks so much. And thanks to all of you who responded, especially glorialf with so much good info. I also prefer people to temples!

glorialf Sep 22nd, 2005 05:12 AM

Grammyflink--when do you want to go to Burma and for how long? And what are your major interests? As with nan, I would strongly urge you to book Nyi Nyi as a guide. We are going back to Burma in January just to see him. Best guide we've ever had. A wonderful young man. You can book him and arrange your tour through gracious myanmar. Ask for Sonny (his English is excellent) who owns it and tell him Gloria Friedman referred you.

glorialf Sep 22nd, 2005 05:14 AM

Here's the website for gracious myanmar. As I said, when you email ask for Sonny.

gammyflink Sep 22nd, 2005 02:50 PM

Thank you Gloria. I wish I could give you my e-mail address but I am reluctant to post it on the web. You are a fantastic resource! The human landscape is my travel passion and I've heard lovely things about the Burmese people. I can't go until winter 2007 but I'll keep the info. Happy travels!

glorialf Sep 22nd, 2005 03:03 PM

Grammyflink-- since you have so much time there are some wonderful books I would recommend reading for a better understanding of the culture, history and political situation. If you're interested, I'd be happy to come up with a list.

nan_49 Sep 22nd, 2005 05:45 PM

Gammyflink - I will be traveling in December and will post a report in Jan. I agree that Gloria has been invaluable in planning my trip. I've taken all of her advice and so far, it's been great. Thank you Gloria.

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