Guy-Noel Marques, his wife Valérie and their daughter MeiLi (2)
The Marques flew Air China and Air Bagan during their whirlwind 12-day tour of Myanmar, which included trips to Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Chaung Tha Beach, and Inle Lake. Myanmar Golden Image Travels & Tours (www.myanmargoldentravel.com, firstname.lastname@example.org) organized the family’s flights within Myanmar, as well as a car, a driver and a bilingual tour guide.
For accommodations, the Marques recommend the Savoy Hotel in Yangon (www.Savoy-Myanmar.com), the Inle Resort Hotel in Inle Lake (www.inleresort.com), the Red Canal Hotel in Mandalay (www.hotelredcanal.com), the Thiripyitsara Sakura Hotel in Bagan (www.bagan-thiripyitsaya-sakura-hotel.com), and the Hotel Max at Chaung Tha Beach (www.hotelmax-chaungthabeach.com).
The Best Part
With thousands of temples and pagodas, Bagan had a magical atmosphere, and was even more beautiful than Angkor Wat. Their hotel was in the heart of the countryside, with not a tourist in sight. MeiLi enjoyed the horse-drawn cart ride at sunset to one of the temples.
At Inle Lake, all of the hotels float on water, and similar to Venice, everyone travels by boat. The family loved traveling by boat from village to village to see the lifestyle of locals.
The Marques witnessed a colorful and mystic Buddhist boat procession on Inle Lake. MeiLi had fun dancing to the music and mimicking the local dancers. They also watched a boat race, an event that occurs only once a year.
The Worst Part
The Marques did not expect the roads to be in such poor shape. The nine-hour ride to Chaung Tha Beach was especially grueling.
The people of Myanmar are open-minded, friendly, and speak relatively good English. The agency arranged everything for the family – making sure they covered all the tourist spots and activities on their itineraries.
The owner of the travel agency warmly greeted the family when they arrived in Yangon, and was kind enough to see them off with a present. Back in Beijing, they also received a follow-up e-mail.
The family highly recommends Myanmar Golden Image Travels & Tours, as they will customize trips according to your needs. They also recommend renting a bicycle in Bagan and hiring a horse-drawn wagon for a ride. While in Bagan, early risers should check out Balloons Over Bagan (www.easternsafaris.com), a hot air balloon tour over some of the most beautiful terrain in the world.
In Mandalay, don’t miss the "lunch of a thousand monks."
The Marques had a safe trip in Myanmar with their young daughter, but do not recommend straying too far from the major cities with small children. In an emergency, traveling by plane is the only option, because car rides are long and uncomfortable.
Their English-speaking tour guide Nang Aye Nyein Ei (e-mail email@example.com), comes highly recommended. She is great with kids and very knowledgeable about Myanmar culture.
Upon leaving Myanmar, visitors must pay a "tax" at the airport. Negotiate with your travel agency to include this fee in your package. Suggested costs are USD 20 per person (free for children under 2 years old).