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Four recommendations

Adelaide
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70 posts
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Four recommendations

Having just returned from Myanmar, with so many lovely impressions, I thought that rather than give a long blog on our travels and experiences, I would pick the 4 things that had the greatest impact:

1. INLE LAKE – you can see fine temples, shrines and pagodas in many other areas of Asia, but I doubt that you will see anything as fascinating as Inle Lake. Its vastness, the way the people live on this shallow lake and capture floating vegetation for growing vegetables was amazing. The crafts people (weaving, silverware, cigars) were very natural and welcoming and the experience of buzzing around in long tail boats will be something that I will remember for a long time. By far the best thing we saw in Myanmar.

2. THE VALUE OF A GOOD TRAVEL AGENT. We have never really used travel agents before, preferring to arrange everything ourselves, but things in Myanmar started to get a bit complicated so we gave in and worked through a local agent. Probably the best thing we ever did. We suggested destinations, hotels in preferred order, and a couple of guided day trips and everything was organised to the smallest detail – airline ticketing, transfers, hotel vouchers, people to do your check-in, great guides – went like clockwork and saved a lot of stress. And I think that the extra that you pay for the agent is offset by the better deals that they can get with the hotels, airlines etc. There are many good reports on TA about Myanmar agents, ours was Tour Mandalay and we were very happy.

3. THE GOVERNOR'S RESIDENCE. We don’t actually know how much we paid for hotels because the costs were packaged with transfers, air tickets and two day tours, but it must have been significantly less than the rack rates advertised on the hotel websites, which ranged from around $50 for our cheapest up to more than $400. All were fine, but the Governor’s Residence was in a class of its own. It is not a big ritzy hotel with lots of amenities, but a small boutique hotel where you can relax in peace and quiet, and make the occasional foray into the busy chaos that is downtown Yangon. Not cheap, but it’s the only place I would stay if I returned to Yangon.

4. THE WEATHER. Maybe people will contradict me, but the selection of season seems to me to be of utmost importance. I couldn’t imagine zipping around Inle Lake in the rain or in high temperature and humidity. Or bouncing around in the back of a horse cart in Bagan in torrential rain. Likewise, being confined to your room at the Governor’s Residence rather than sinking into the lounges around the pool would greatly diminish the experience. Even if it is much cheaper in the hot or wet seasons, I would definitely opt for December-February when the chances of perfect weather are most likely.

Rob

Warks.England
Destination Expert
for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
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1. Re: Four recommendations

Thanks Rob,really good advice.

provence
Destination Expert
for Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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2. Re: Four recommendations

Thanks Rob - off on Saturday - any recommendations for places to eat and rough price guide for food/drinks at the Governors Residence?

Simon

Adelaide
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3. Re: Four recommendations

The food at the GR dining room was good - modern eurasian style, but quite expensive by Yangon standards (around $100 for 2 mains, 1 dessert and a couple of glasses of wine). The Padonmar restaurant is within walking distance and while the food and prices were fine, it mainly caters for large tour groups who arrive by the bus load. I think your best bet would be Monsoon - sufficiently upmarket but quite reasonable prices (less than $50 for two including wine/beer). But you do need to book.

rob

Adelaide
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70 posts
35 reviews
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4. Re: Four recommendations

The food at the GR dining room was good - modern eurasian style, but quite expensive by Yangon standards (around $100 for 2 mains, 1 dessert and a couple of glasses of wine). The Padonmar restaurant is within walking distance and while the food and prices were fine, it mainly caters for large tour groups who arrive by the bus load. I think your best bet would be Monsoon - sufficiently upmarket but quite reasonable prices (less than $50 for two including wine/beer). But you do need to book.

rob

Bali, Indonesia
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for Ubud, Pemuteran, Yogyakarta
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5. Re: Four recommendations

I went to Monsoon several times and liked it as well, never made reservations or had to wait for a table. But then we were there in October. And another upscale good choice is Green Elephant..lovely open air restaurants with branches in Bagan and Mandalay as well.

We did have drinks at the Governor's Residence and high tea at the Strand which was a fun thing to do for a one-time experience.

Pantin, France
Destination Expert
for Myanmar
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6. Re: Four recommendations

Interesting post !

provence
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for Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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7. Re: Four recommendations

Thanks for the replies - very useful.

Simon

Brisbane, Australia
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8. Re: Four recommendations

Rob did you actually stay on the lake? If so, may I ask where?

Great post!

Tokyo, Japan
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for Hakone-machi, Minato
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9. Re: Four recommendations

Ditto on Rob's post!

Do Inle (Inlay) Lake LAST as it will be extra special to remember! December is COOLLLLLLLLDDDD at night. And at 6:30 in the morning on a boat if you need to catch the 9:30 am plane at Heho! The lake is a MOUNTAIN lake, with mountain temperatures. Daytime photos are deceiving! The sun is warm, but once it goes down, it's "winter." Be sure to take your knitted caps and gloves! A down jacket is a must if you get cold easily! You might even want to sleep in them! A thatched-roof ceiling doesn't keep a hotel bungalow warm!

December (near Christmas) brings "carolers" at some of the hotels. It was a treat to listen to the staff donning Santa caps singing in English! Also, Myanmar Treasure Resort in Inle invited people from the jetty village to come sing. (And fed them afterwards.) The staff said they were from the "Christian school." Their minister gave a LONGish sermon in Myanmarese and an assistant said a prayer. The only word I could understand was "Amen," but the parishioners (adults and many children) all closed their eyes and nodded their heads, so it must have been well worth listening to. :-)

Adelaide
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10. Re: Four recommendations

Yes, stayed at Inle Princess Resort. Quite good but takes about 45 mins to reach the the floating villages/markets.Inle Princess isn't right on the lake but on a quiet channel. There were some places closer to the villages that were on the main lake and they may be a more convenient option. Also stayed at Amazing in Nyaung Shwe on the last night because we had an early departure.