Burma (Myanmar)

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We are planning a trip for next Jan. (2012) and would like to hear from travelers who have been there with suggestions, ideas or just general impressions. Thank you.

We spent 2 weeks in Burma this spring with a guide (not a tour, just the 2 of us). It was one of our most fascinating trips ever. The trip was arranged by Scott Wild of Wild Card Adventures (swild7@juno.com). The itinerary provided variety and it was a superb learning experience. Would be happy to answer questions.

We have a two week trip coming up in Jan 2012 with Betchart Expeditions (small groups) which is the same company and guide that took us on an incredible solar eclipse tour with natural history emphasis in China and Pakistan. So maybe some general travel tips about Burma would be helpful - what to wear, impact of the weather, food, and any travel survival tips that make out trip equally rewarding as it sounds like your was. Books to read ahead of time, movies etc. Did you do any hiking?

Dress is totally casual. We wore shorts, but they weren't too short. No need to cover up as in Muslim countries. We wore sandals virtually all the time, as you have to remove your shoes to enter temples and pagodas, of which there are many. The weather in January should be nice. We were there in the spring and it was very hot. We found the food very agreeable and tasty, with good variety (and reasonable!). It was really an easy trip physically. We didn't do any hiking, but walked whenever possible. A very good introductory book is the Myanmar version of "CultureShock! - A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette." You should feel your guide out as far as discussion of the government; ours was very open and willingly shared the negative aspects of the current and past regimes.

Hi Kaylouise, I'm hoping to visit Burma this winter with a friend. Could we contact your guide or do we need to go through Wild Card Adventures? Thanks.

It would be better to contact Scott Wild at the above email address. He is very good and easy to work with and will accommodate your wishes.

I was there in January a few years ago. It was one of my favorite trips. The people are amazing, very friendly and gentle. Burma was one of those places that felt far away from my world.

Buddhism is very much a part of everyday life. We happened across a small ceremony of one young boy becoming a monk,I think at Schwedagon in Yangon, as well as a large ceremony in at one of the temples in Bagan where the people gave donations of food and money, which was handed out to a long line of monks walking by.

If you are staying in the hills, it can be chilly in January. We had blankets and hot water bottles in one hotel, I think in Pindaya and I know that I wore my jacket in the morning on the boat rides on Inle Lake.

Writing all this makes me want to go back!

My favourite experience is flying over Mandalay on a Balloon Ride. The view brought was so amazing, do not know exactly whether it can be compared to the Balloon Ride over Bagan or not. Anyhow, Burma is still so amazing and beautiful.