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Who's been to Burma?

Travel Forums Asia Who's been to Burma?

Last Post This thread is marked as being about Myanmar
1. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2013 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I'm seriously considering the Gap/Bootsnall Tour of Myanmar. What's your opinion?
Any and all answers appreciated. Gracias

2. Posted by jokar (Budding Member 27 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!


Well the tours seem to give you a pretty good overview of Myanmar outside of the former capital. I would say though, that the tours do not cover the "real" Myanmar, e.g. the villages, the day markets etc. These you will have to go see on your own, but considering that the Myanmar government closes off most of the country from foreigners, chances are that you may not be able to get to them. The military has road blocks along the routes leading to villages.

Nonetheless, if it is your first time in Myanmar, the tours look like good introductory trips.

3. Posted by jekalo (Full Member 118 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

When are you planning on making the trip? The time of year you visit can greatly impact your experience. Today there is rain in Yangon but it is a nice change from the 100+ temps of last week. Nov to Feb are the best months to travel if you would rather not fight the heat or the monsoons. I personaly like it right now though because of the incredibly colorful landscape. The trees are blooming with yellows, reds, purples and also there are blooming vines and shrubs and orcids.
If you come in April you can also see the water festival, its a hoot, but travel is hard then because so many things close down for the festival. It is possible to travel to many parts of the country now by train or boat as well as by air but depending on how the vote goes on May 10, things may change rapidly. I would encourage you to come, by tour or independant, its a unique place in a world that is losing a lot of its unique places due to globalization and tecnological advancements. People always seem to want to be like someone else they have seen on t.v. or in the movies instead of being proud of who and what they are. Just human nature I suppose.

4. Posted by QCLisa (Budding Member 40 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I was in Burma last year and had a private guide, car and driver. We had no problems, went to villages, through villages, stopped along the way, ate roadside food, saw local markets, etc. I think if you are with a package you never really see the "real" anything. It is all what they want you to see. With a private tour, you tell them where you want to go and what you want to see. I was very happy with our time in Myanmar and would go back in a heartbeat. Inle lake was one of the most spectacular things I have seen. If we had in the U.S what they have there, OMG, you would never get in! Now, I did not try to go to restricted areas. But that being said, you can see the oppression of the people. You can talk to locals. I was shocked, some while weary, were honest and open. All in all it was a super place. We felt safe, never had any problems and I only had my luggage gone through once without me supposedly knowing. I do think the government keeps very close tabs on individuals. Honestly though, I was a local elected official and expected it. Don't break the laws, act respectfully and I have found that for the most part people are warm and welcoming.

You can do a private tour for not much more money and it is well worth it!

5. Posted by buzzard (Respected Member 187 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I'm not familiar with this particular tour, but I would definitely encourage you to go and visit Myanmar. Group tours have their good and bad points; generally I avoid them, preferring to see places on my own (and getting lost is sometimes the most fun!) and going wherever I choose. Myanmar is surprisingly very easy to navigate and get around: English is spoken widely (and well), the people are incredibly friendly and helpful, and there are many transportation options (daily flights to most major tourist areas, bus & train journeys, boat rides).
There still exists this myth that tourists visiting the country are "supporting" the ruling junta, but I don't agree with that at all. The locals, in every town and village I've visited (8 trips in the past 3 years) are overwhelmingly supportive of tourists visiting their country. And there is a lot that tourists can do to help the locals and spread the money around. Now, more than ever, people need more money to survive with the higher cost of fuel and food. If you visit Myanmar, get off the well beaten tourist track and visit local orphanages (and schools in some cases) and monasteries. Go to teashops and family-run restaurants. Ride a bike around, or take long walks, and meet the people. You will find the Burmese to be very open (just don't be the one who starts a conversation about politics!) and hospitable. As another poster said, it's hard to find really unique countries and cultures in this era of globalization. Myanmar remains one of those undiscovered gems; where people still have their own way of dressing (longyis, and wearing thanaka) and behaving (polite and respectful). Obviously, things are very difficult for the populace these days (having to live under the oppressive junta, and dealing with poor infrastructue and high cost of living), but the people still go about their lives with dignity and good humor. You can learn a lot about life by visiting their country and seeing the way they survive.

6. Posted by Lavafalls (Travel Guru 155 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I went to Burma with just a lonely planet and a fist full of cash. It was super easy to travel around with out a tour, even though a bit rustic. I would say it would be better to just go on your own. Organized tours give the most money to the Burmese government while if you travel by yourself most of your money will be going to small business owners. Most of the guesthouses are owned by people that are trying not to work for the government. The best time of year to visit is jan-feb. Try to avoid the hot dry season it is horrible.

7. Posted by Lavafalls (Travel Guru 155 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Oh lastly there are no ATM's in Burma and it is really expensive to cash travelers checks. Big lots of cash (USD).