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“Exotic voyages travel package to Burma – excellent”

We travelled with 2 children (ages 8 and 12) to Burma in March/April 2015. We booked an itinerary Yangon/Mandalay/Bagan/Inle Lake/Yangon with Exotic Voyages (www.exoticvoyages.com, agent Ms. Thanh Bui Viet Nhat). We were very happy with the responsivity and flexibility of Exotic Voyages, the choice of their English speaking and educated guides, and the booking of the inland flights which were were also able to alter slightly with their help during our visit.

*Yangon: 2 nights in hotel Sule Shangri La (well-run, well situated near Scott’s market and Sule pagoda, with nice pool, excellent restaurant)
*Mandalay: 2 nights in hotel Mandalay Hill Resort. Good but not great hotel. Old plumbing. Restaurant pricey for the quality but overall not bad. Nice pool.
*Boat trip dowq Irrawaddy river to Bagan: took 11 hrs because of circuitous route to avoid sandbanks. Beautiful and slowed the pace of the trip. Would do again.
*Bagan: 4 nights at Tharabagate hotel. Excellent. Quiet. Beautiful pool. Well run, well situated. Visit to Mount Popa was memorable (777 steps to mountaintop gold temple, with monkeys climbing up along side you). Lunch at the Mount Popa resort as well with stunning (!) view.
*Inle Lake: Novotel hotel. New hotel. Beautiful rooms. Nice rooms. Beautiful sunset views. Restaurant without nearly a single Burmese dish (!), hotel staff somewhat new to the task of running the hotel, but overall good. We appreciated the free upgrade to a Villa (Wow, a super super spacious place with cathedral ceilings!). If you spend an extra day on the trip stay in Inle Lake or in Bagan.
*Yangon: 2 nights again at Sule Shangri La. Circular train ride through Yangon was fun. Drink at

March/April (early summer) was a good time to go since it was relatively off season (few Western tourists which tend to come Nov-Feb). Temperatures were 35-40 deg C w/ 50% humidity, but bottled water is freely available so just keep drinking. For kids (and adults) it’s nice to have a pool. 2 hours in the pool per day prevents pagoda fatigue for kids. Very few mosquitos (some evenings at Inle Laek but many more to be found in Washington DC or the south of France) though we went through the DEET ritual and malaria prophylaxis (not bad with the newer meds even for those with sensitive stomachs; info on vaccines at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/burma). Recommend visit all the different craft workshops. This is a unique experience in stepping back into the 19th century. Amazing, beautiful artistry (silk weaving, gold leaf pounding, silver smith, wood carving of furniture/puppets, boat making, umbrella making, paper making, cigar making and more). Visa was easily available through government website with fast turn around (a few days, read details about duration of validity, and when to initiate requesting it relative to the start time of your trip; Tourist visa only allowed you to stay at registered hotel, motel, inn, guest house and resort., valid for 28 day stay. Visa expiration 90 days http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/). Burmese people speak some English since it’s taught to some extent in public school. People are warm, kind and love to take pictures of your kids (which allows you take pictures of them and their kids). Would love to go back some day with a similar itinerary.

This review was originally posted on Trip Advisor

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