Myanmar with driver and guide

This item appears on page 50 of the September 2010 issue.
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Three friends and I spent two weeks in fascinating and beautiful Myanmar, Jan. 24-Feb. 8, 2010. We chose to hire a private guide with a car and driver, which afforded us the opportunity to stop in villages that don’t often see tourists and to purchase from local artisans.

We were rewarded with moments of human connection, often without a common language — meeting students who were attending classes under a tree, visiting an orphanage and becoming integral parts of a spirit festival. The Burmese people were extremely benevolent and gentle.

We did not miss the “regular” tourist draws. Mandalay, Bagan, Mount Popa and Inle Lake were some of the magnificent places that we experienced.

Don’t miss the Moustache Brothers’ performances in Mandalay that take place every evening in the home garage of one of the brothers around 7 or 8 p.m. I don’t know the address, but it seemed that all the guides and taxi drivers knew where they lived. (Burmese are not allowed to attend these shows, so some taxi drivers might be reluctant to drive a tourist there.)

Our guide, Tony Hla Shwe (e-mail tonyhlashwe@gmail.com), spoke excellent English and was tolerant of the sometimes unexplainable actions of us four “senior” women tourists.

The cost of the 14-day trip was approximately $1,100 for a large van (AC wasn’t needed), all petrol and the driver’s salary and expenses. Tony charged $20 a day for his guiding fee and expenses. Shared by four people, this came to, incredibly, only $350 each.

We paid Tony directly for the rental van and he paid the rental company. Hotels ran approximately $10 to $15 per person a day for clean rooms with A/C.

If anyone would like additional information, I can be reached at 585/381-7420 or by e-mail at lynhowl@yahoo.com.

LYNDA HOWLAND

Pittsford, NY

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

Three friends and I spent two weeks in fascinating and beautiful Myanmar, Jan. 24-Feb. 8, 2010. We chose to hire a private guide with a car and driver, which afforded us the opportunity to stop in villages that don’t often see tourists and to purchase from local artisans.

We were rewarded with moments of human connection, often without a common language — meeting students who were attending classes under a tree, visiting an orphanage and becoming integral parts of a spirit festival. The Burmese people were extremely benevolent and gentle.

We did not miss the “regular” tourist draws. Mandalay, Bagan, Mount Popa and Inle Lake were some of the magnificent places that we experienced.

Don’t miss the Moustache Brothers’ performances in Mandalay that take place every evening in the home garage of one of the brothers around 7 or 8 p.m. I don’t know the address, but it seemed that all the guides and taxi drivers knew where they lived. (Burmese are not allowed to attend these shows, so some taxi drivers might be reluctant to drive a tourist there.)

Our guide, Tony Hla Shwe (e-mail tonyhlashwe@gmail.com), spoke excellent English and was tolerant of the sometimes unexplainable actions of us four “senior” women tourists.

The cost of the 14-day trip was approximately $1,100 for a large van (AC wasn’t needed), all petrol and the driver’s salary and expenses. Tony charged $20 a day for his guiding fee and expenses. Shared by four people, this came to, incredibly, only $350 each.

We paid Tony directly for the rental van and he paid the rental company. Hotels ran approximately $10 to $15 per person a day for clean rooms with A/C.

If anyone would like additional information, I can be reached at 585/381-7420 or by e-mail at lynhowl@yahoo.com.

LYNDA HOWLAND

Pittsford, NY