Myanmar tour; Sicily tour, and Southeast Asia tour

This item appears on page 4 of the April 2011 issue.

Report from Myanmar…

Myanmar’s magic has besotted us. My husband and I were there for 16 heavenly days, Dec. 15-31, 2010, with Asia Photo Travels & Tours (No. 9/A, Hospital St., Pyi Thar Yar, Baukhtaw, Yankin Township, Yangon, Myanmar; phone [95-9] 5010501).

The land cost of $4,000 each included five in-country flights, hotels, all meals, a car and driver in each location, the guide and tipping. The hotels were four-star and the food was wonderful.

We were lucky to have Win Kyaw Zan, owner of Asia Photo Travels, recommended to us by friends. A wonderful guide, Win is fluent in English, understands innuendo and irony, and has a wonderful sense of humor. We found his knowledge and understanding of beauty, people, archaeology and Buddhism extraordinary.

Add to this his magnificent ability as both a published photographer and a photography teacher and the trip was an educational feast.

We explored Yangon, Mandalay, Inlay Lake and Bagan plus Kengtung’s fascinating tribal groups. The warmth and kindness of the people of Myanmar, the history, archaeological sites and the landscapes all are treasures for the senses.

It was a glorious trip. We plan for another with Win. We are happy to provide any information; e-mail us c/o ITN.

— SUSAN YOUNG, Los Angeles, CA

Report from Sicily…

For our 11th trip to Italy, my wife, adult daughter and I chose Sicily. My travel agent recommended Sergio La Mattina at La Mattina Travel (via Roma 471-90139, Palermo [PA], Italy; phone +39 091 6118227), and we took a fantastic tour from him, Oct. 4-14, 2010.

After several e-mails about our interests, Sergio drew up a 10-day itinerary beginning and ending in Catania. Our tour covered the major archaeological area as well as great scenery in Taormina, Palermo, Erice, Agrigento, Ragusa and Siracusa. We had our own driver and wonderful local guides.

The hotels all were top-notch. For example, our room at Hotel Villa Athena in Agrigento looked out onto the Temple of Hercules! Our lunches often were at small, out-of-the-way restaurants that a tourist would be unlikely to find.

The total cost of the trip, including two hotel rooms at each stop, eight lunches, driver, guides and admissions to all sites, was $4,000 per person — not inexpensive but, given the quality of the service, hotels and meals, well worth it.

— DAVID E. ANDERSON, Meadville, PA

Report from SE Asia…

Concorde Travel (1st and 7th floors, Galuxe Bldg., 8-10 On Lan St., Central Hong Kong S.A.R., People’s Republic of China; phone 852 2526 3391) is an outstanding company for anyone interested in Asia, and my husband, Richard, and I are so glad we saw their ad in ITN, where they have loyally advertised as long as we’ve been taking the magazine (since 2003).

We took a 24-day trip to Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, Nov. 6-30, 2010, customized for us by Concorde; we first contacted them in March. Concorde Travel not only was able to arrange an itinerary incorporating all our plans and activities but was less expensive than other companies we approached.

Excluding overseas flights, it cost $11,929 for the two of us, covering five SE Asia flights; hotels and breakfasts; transfers; tours with private guide and driver, and a seven-night Mekong River cruise.

The service was superior in every way, and the manager Belinda Wong was outstandingly efficient and courteous. We had a perfect trip, highlighted by wonderful hotels and guides.

In future, we will always give our first thought to ITN advertisers, especially the “regulars.”