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Are Independent Private tours available?

Brisbane
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Are Independent Private tours available?

Hi All

I have been reading threads here since my husband told me two days ago that he would prefer to visit Myanmar 2012 instead of previous plans to go to Vietnam. He is uninsurable so we cannot join any of the usual tours for which an insurance certificate is understandably mandatory.

We fully understand the risks of travelling as we do but have made the decision to LIVE while we are alive and travel several times yearly without insurance.

Is it possible for me to do my usual thing and make arrangements such as itinerary and maybe accommodation myself and get a private guide who can take us around to harder to get to places and obtain domestic flights, city tours etc?

Previously we have gone as private tours sans insurance with Exotissimo but they seem not to offer such a product in Myanmar.

Thank you, in advance

Archi

Edited: 18 December 2011, 11:55
St Austell
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1. Re: Are Independent Private tours available?

Archi!! Fancy meeting you here then?!

I will leave others far more experienced than I am to answer your question properly, but we are heading over to Myanmar in a few weeks time and will be doing much as you would want to do, although in our case, we have entrusted a local agent to do the accommodation bookings for us, and also to arrange internal flights. He has arranged airport transfers for us and a car and driver for one week where we want to travel to specific places away from the "Big 4" and to include trekking and whatever. It strikes me that anything is possible and although we have not opted to have a guide or to have our time mapped out whilst we are staying in each area (preferring to have the freedom to do our own thing...) this could be easily arranged, either through him or when you are there.

I will send you a PM with any details you want of our tour and also who we are using to do our bookings and other holiday arrangements. Hope all is well with you and yours.

Sue

Warks.England
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for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
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2. Re: Are Independent Private tours available?

To confirm what Susie says.

Whilst you can book hotels direct, flights are a bit of a problem booking on line so the recommendation here is to book the basics ( hotels,flights and transfers) with an agent in Myanmar and to arrange your International flights yourself, in fact many posters here are doing just that.

When you are here the Agents, or the hotels can arrange drivers and guides so you can be as flexible as you wish.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Are Independent Private tours available?

Absolutely. I went on a private independent tour. Just me. I had a guide and car with driver everywhere. It was not inexpensive. But I enjoy traveling this way and you can do it in SE Asia for a reasonable amount of money.

I like having them book everything for me including the boats, flights, hotels, etc.

Brisbane
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4. Re: Are Independent Private tours available?

Hey, Susie! I am surprised to be on this forum myself - it happened so suddenly not a full day after my return from Colarado! Shouldn't be really, as we are definitely Asian orientated travellers as opposed to African or European focused.

Silverswimmer and glenaa - Thank you all for your advice. I can see that I have a lot of research to do.

My understanding now is that, once I work out where we wish to go, I should either book the first few nights and arrange what follows with the hotel or contact a local agent to arrange domestic flights, hotels and whatever touring we decide on. The latter will probably be my choice. I have been contacted by an agent whom I've seen mentioned in other posts but are there many around? It was easy to find agents for our Laos and Cambodia trips but so far Burma agents are less obvious.

Thanks again

Archi

Warks.England
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5. Re: Are Independent Private tours available?

Your latter option certainly seems to suit you -prebook your hotels,transfers and internal flights with a local Agent, giving you the freedom do do you own thing in the towns and areas you visit.

If you input Agents in the spyglass above about half a dozen regular recommendations will pop up. It is very seldom you hear bad reports of agents, yes sometimes there are hickups but nothing serious.There are dozens of Agents with web sites but take recommendations here from fellow travellers or pm them or me for personal advice.

Planning is great fun,isn't it?

Brisbane
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6. Re: Are Independent Private tours available?

Thank you, silverswimmer. I am really getting into the planning now! Love to research and make all my arrangements myself!

It looks as if either August or September will be the easiest months for us to get away from home but I see that this is the wet season. Would any of the usual places be particularly prone to excessive flooding at this time? [I'm remembering visiting Vientiane just after massive flooding of the Mekong, the aftermath of which was very disturbing.]

Many thanks

Archi

Australia
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7. Re: Are Independent Private tours available?

Hi Archi,

We are going to Myanmar in Feb for second time as it is a magic, magic country. We, too, are Asian orientated when it comes to travel these days as we find it more exciting and "fly by the seat of your pants" than Europe etc. We use a travel agent in Myanmar as they are fantastic...Myanmar Shalom. We can't speak highly enough of them. In fact, we had a tripadvisor guy from Boston who we had recommended them to and he emailed me today to say how happy he'd been with them. You'll find in Myanmar that booking flights, hotels etc is much cheaper going through an agent than doing it yourself. They will work the itinerary to suit whatever it is you want to do and what type of accommodation you prefer. We travel with their assistance ie accommodation, flights and drivers booked but we can do whatever we want to do. We are going on a 9 night trip in Feb for US640 pp which is really good value, especially when we've been there before and know where we will be staying etc. Very good value but the main thing for us is that you still feel independent. We are taking my friend this time as we have raved about this beautiful country to her fo soooo long she now wants to see it for herself. You can fly there from chiang mai now, too, so if you want to combine a bit of northern thailand with myanmar it is very doable these days. If I can help you with anything don't hesitate to ask. I'm happy to be an ambassador for Myanmar!!!!

Regards, Pam

Warks.England
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8. Re: Are Independent Private tours available?

Archi

Weather in August/September , like anywhere in the World, has become very unpredictable- I have been in September and found it hot and dry,especially upcountry. This year was a heavy monsoon season with disruption to road travel but this site is a good weather tool as it gives live weather for most areas of Myanmar, and more importantly, the annual averages.

http://www.weatherreports.com/Myanmar/Thandwe

(change the location with the pop up list at the foot of the page "Myanmar")

Edited: 20 December 2011, 16:31
Brisbane
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9. Re: Are Independent Private tours available?

Thank you Pam and silversmith

I guess that we take pot luck with the weather anywhere now.

Archi

San Diego...
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10. Re: Are Independent Private tours available?

Absolutely. We booked our hotels, domestic flights, boat ride from Mandalay to Inle Lake, and all airport / boat transfers through a private tour operator: Tour Mandalay. We could have arranged for private tours, but chose not to do so. Tour Mandalay was perfect: all hotels requested were booked (cheaper than we could have booked them ourselves - I checked), all flights were booked, and all transfers were made as promised. Tour Mandalay did a perfect job, and I rarely give anyone 100%. Tour Mandalay deserves it.