- This is an excellent trip to see the highlights of this magnificent country. It has a relaxed pace so there is some free time to do your own exploration and the beach extension is a must for some luxury and rest and relaxation at the end.
The highlights for me were Shwedegon Pagoda in Yangon, Inle Lake and the sunrise we arranged ourselves at Bagan. Well worth the early start! It is a very special country which is still in its tourism infancy. Visit now!
Having been on many Explore trips before I was slightly disappointed with our tour guide George who did the minimum to get by and was not always forthcoming with information. Usually on these trips I have been lucky enough to be provided with a detailed daily itinerary, suggestions of what to do in each place, choices for dinner and optional excursions and sometimes a map. Often they have accompanied us for dinner or made sure the reservations has gone smoothly but he only joined us for the final group dinner which many of the group thought was so he could collect his tip. We also had to ask about the included lunches, were then told they were not included until after we had ordered and eaten and eventually given the 7000 khats to buy the remaining two lunches as he said it was too difficult to organise.
When members of the group were poorly he was very reluctant to check on them until we insisted that they might need a doctor as they had been ill for a number of days and missed activities. We also left one member of the group behind at the reclining Budah temple (luckily she ran after the bus and caught us up)and were never given his contact details or room number in any of the hotels we were staying in. While he was pleasant enough I got the impression he didn't really want to be doing the job. Maybe I have been spoilt in the past by exceptional tour guides but was hoping for a similar experience this time.
There was another Explore group a few days behind us and other group members talked to them and this highlighted the differences in approaches and attitudes between the two guides. They had a notice in the hotel each day with all the information you needed to enjoy each place to the max.
We organised our own sunrise trip in Bagan and a have suggested that this could be offered to other groups as it was well worth doing. We also organised our own trip to the hot springs.
Published on: 15 April 2016