Classic Myanmar tour

Ancient temples swallowed by the jungle, rice paddies, local markets, stunning beaches, fiery cuisine, smoking incense at the feet of a golden Buddha, and the friendliest locals around.

Moderators: sinecure, TravelFun, ballu, jimshu, JaliscoJudy

Classic Myanmar tour

Postby highuman » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:45 pm

My husband, another couple and I want to go to Myanmar next fall (2013), and are considering G adventures' Classic Myanmar for 14 days. Since we have never traveled with them, I would love to hear from anyone who has already taken this tour. Or have you taken another similar tour, to Myanmar--any advice, did you have good guides, what were the hotels and meals like? Favorite parts of Myanmar?
Thanks,
highuman
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:59 pm

Re: Classic Myanmar tour

Postby moviegeekjn » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:40 pm

I visited Myanmar 13 months ago with another adventure company, but the itinerary was very similar. Highlight was Bagan... and you'll generally find this is so for most. The people are wonderful--friendly, and you'll be amazed at how most are VERY eager to have their pictures taken (without expecting any fee in return).

Hotels were basic but clean... Staff always helpful and friendly.

Meals became a bit monotonous when following guide's advice. He was a bit cautious and steered us primarily towards restaurants/cafes that offered "safe" food... basic fare w/ rice. Only once did he offer our group a "safe" venue for more authentic Burmese food... but I was sick for a day from that (and had to resort to tea & toast). However, I ventured on my own earlier to a Burmese restaurant in Mandalay that was highly recommended in Trip Advisor--amazing meal, very tasty, and stayed perfectly healthy.

As with most developing countries, be cautious with food choices... stick w/ bottled water & soda. By the way, instead of drinking Coca Cola, get the local cola soda--it tastes similar and will be half the cost.

Since you will be visiting numerous stupas and pagodas where you MUST remove shoes and socks, it would be a good idea to bring sandals/flip-flops or easy to shed footware.

WiFi and Internet connections are very, very spotty in Burma. Their high speed acts like dial-up service IF you are lucky. The best connection I found was in Mandalay.

Have fun and get out and explore while you are there. Your itinerary sticks to the safe and friendly parts of Burma ... It is certain to be gaining more and more tourists, so hopefully you'll still be able to experience the country before it gets overly touristy.
User avatar
moviegeekjn
User Rank: Nomad
User Rank: Nomad
 
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:16 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Classic Myanmar tour

Postby destiny » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:25 pm

My wife and I did this tour with gadventure in Nov 2012. It was great and well organized. Here are some tips.
Money: The advice you have heard is bring new pristine US $s. I would suggest UNCIRCULATED bills. The slightest rip or little ink mark will render it useless and US $s are the only currency you can use to get local money. Forget about the new ATM they rarely work. No travelers cheques accepted.
Temples: As reported wear sandals for your whole trip. There were lots of temples so by week 2 there was serious Buddha burn out. There was more scenery in week 2 which was a nice break from the temples.
Hotels: We had 3 excellent hotels which were a joy. Most of the others were grubby but livable. Hot water was a luxury and at times water pressure was weak.
Food: No complaints but veg soup was pretty watery. The local wine got surprising praise by the wine lovers in the group.
Transportation: 15 of us had a bus that sat 20-25 so there was lots of room. Plus water was provided all the time. Lots of stops for breaks where you could buy snacks and drinks.
Travel mates: 15 fellow travelers ranging from 19 years old to two guys in there 70s. Brits, Irish, Cdn, Aussies, Russian, Singaporean and one American. Almost all were seasoned travelers and knew the etiquette of Gadventure touring.
Weather: November was hot in the south in Yangon (33c) but nicer up north in Mandalay, Bagen, Inle Lake (25c).
Myanmar hasn't changed all that much since I was first there in 1984. Best to see it now before it changes. Best of travels......
destiny
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:06 pm
Location: New York State via Canada

Re: Classic Myanmar tour

Postby dave893 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:09 pm

How fit do you have to be to do this trip? Is there a lot of bike riding?

Thanks
dave893
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:35 am

Re: Classic Myanmar tour

Postby moviegeekjn » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:26 pm

Good chance of bike riding in Bagan ... but if you are unable, you can probably hire a ride for a greater fee. You don't have to be super fit to do the day trip bike riding, but it does require a moderate amount of effort. It would be advisable to bring a headlamp as it may be getting dark after last stop for getting sundown views & pictures.
User avatar
moviegeekjn
User Rank: Nomad
User Rank: Nomad
 
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:16 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Classic Myanmar tour

Postby moviegeekjn » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:31 pm

Pristine US dollars are an absolute must!!! The people examining them look for the slightest imperfections... just one small stray ink mark will be enough to reject your $100 bill, making it useless.

One additional note on meals....portions. Suggest not ordering both soup and entree... either one will be enough for one meal. And getting ideas on just how large the portions are from the waiters beforehand was a waste of time.
User avatar
moviegeekjn
User Rank: Nomad
User Rank: Nomad
 
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:16 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Classic Myanmar tour

Postby destiny » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:13 pm

Fitness level: The walk up to the Golden Rock is paved with patches of asphalt but is pretty steep. We had rain at one point that made it very slippery and then it got dark. There are locals that will place you on a litter and carry you up. The price gets more expensive as you get closer to the top. 8000 Kyat is fair. The 2 70 year olds in our group were in good shape and they made it up. 3 early 30 year olds half way up in the rain gave up and were carried. Make sure you see the Golden Rock at night and at dawn, you will be out numbered by praying locals 20 to 1. It was a favourite place for us.
Bagen does have lots of bike rentals but the challenge is the heat not the terrain.
Many temples are several stories high with awkward steps and do take an effort but generally the view is beautiful. Mount Popas's temple is a long walk up stairs which may be daunting to those that have mobility restrictions. But there are many other temples that are ground level and offer relief from the sun and heat.
destiny
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:06 pm
Location: New York State via Canada

Re: Classic Myanmar tour

Postby desiree2 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:44 pm

Hi
I agree with the above comments from destiny about bike riding and heat. Bagan is almost flat so the terrain is OK (roads a bit rough), but I think that most would find the heat a bit too much for riding.
I'm not really that fit and I did find the walk up to Golden Rock a challenge, but there's no way I could lay back in a litter and get carried up! I did pay someone to take my day pack, which at the bottom of the hill seemed a little lazy, but by the time I got to the top I was pleased that all I had to carry was me. :) Just take your time, stop and enjoy the view and you'll be fine. The truck ride to 'base camp' is an adventure in itself. Take precautions if you are at all prone to motion sickness.
The number of stairs to Mt Popa (770) seems daunting but it was a lot easier than Golden Rock. The fact that the stairway is covered and therefore shaded, made it a lot better. Again there are no prizes for those who get there the fastest.
Myanmar is a great place to visit, the people are just wonderful, and, as noted in a previous post, actually want to get their photos taken! Without payment!
The temples at Bagan are just unbelievable and I loved Inle Lake where entire villages are on the lake.
Enjoy your trip
Desiree
desiree2
User Rank: Elite World Wanderer
User Rank: Elite World Wanderer
 
Posts: 360
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Classic Myanmar tour

Postby JackyM » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:16 pm

Some very helpful posts here - I am booked on this tour for November and cant wait!

I am a keen photographer and have just bought a new DSLR so if anyone has any tips or hints to get the best or unusual photos that capture the essence of Burma I would love to hear.

Also has anyone taken a balloon flight over Bagan? Is it worth the $300 ish price tag, and is it the best way to get that iconic photo overlooking the temples or can you get something similar from climbing the temples on the included tour? How challenging it is to climb the temples? I am not the steadiest on my feet and get nervous if steps are unstable/steep - I would hate to find at the last moment that I am unable to get up high to get the photos I have dreamt of.

Last question (for now) - clothes - I want to travel light but are there any opportunities for laundry? Any suggestions on what to take/what not to take? I saw the comments on sandals - are flip flops sufficient for these temple visits or are trekking sandals more appropriate (i.e. something a bit more secure for the terrain). I would take hiking boots and flip flops anyway, so would only take my trekking sandals if they are really necessary.

Thanks in advance, Jacky
JackyM
User Rank: Traveller
User Rank: Traveller
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:19 am

Re: Classic Myanmar tour

Postby desiree2 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:12 am

Hi
I went to Myanmar 12 months ago with another company. I was unaware of the ballooning and was disappointed when I couldn't book on the day. Another group member had booked and paid in advance. She said it was a wonderful experience but she also told me that the view from the temples was almost as good. She may, however, have just said that to make me feel better :) . I can only really remember one temple being a little tricky and requiring crawling up stairs rather than walking up them due to the steepness. I wouldn't recommend flip flops for all the stairs. I just wear walking sandals (my last pair cost all of $20, so they're certainly not anything special) which do for anything but the most serious of walking for which I just wear joggers. The steps to the temples can be a little narrow (not built for Western feet) but aren't unstable. Again, just take your time. If it's any consolation, going up is fine, getting down is a little bit more difficult, but you'll have your photos by then :D .
Have a great trip!
Desiree
desiree2
User Rank: Elite World Wanderer
User Rank: Elite World Wanderer
 
Posts: 360
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Classic Myanmar tour

Postby mcworldtraveler » Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:57 pm

Thinking of this trip; did u go and how was it? thnx
mcworldtraveler@hotmail.com
mcworldtraveler
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:57 pm

Re: Classic Myanmar tour

Postby JackyM » Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:27 pm

The trip was great and it was my 7th with G so I can recommend it, all I would caveat is that the price has gone up a lot since I did it, because hotels and flights have gone up so much. So when I researched my trip this tour was the cheapest and I got more days for my money, I don't know if that's still the case but im sure everyone has put their prices up. If you go, take clean USD, its true that even a small pen mark could leave you with a useless note as they won't accept it. Enjoy
JackyM
User Rank: Traveller
User Rank: Traveller
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:19 am


Return to Asia

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest