Temples and Trails of Burma
Burma, Discovery, 14 days - from £1,845 (land only) - from €2,585 (land only) - from $2,980 (land only)
By: Andrew and Mig Barley, Wiltshire, UK
We did this holiday because we had a good experience on a trip to Uzbekistan. We first heard about you through our friends with whom we travelled to both Myanmar and Uzbekistan. Our Pre trip queries were readily answered largely because a member of KE staff was familiar with the trip. They also efficiently organised extra days at the start and end of our holiday. The support crew on the trek were friendly and helpful and above all produced wonderful meals. The itinerary and pace suited us perfectly. The buses were all comfortable and always available as needed. Sai, the original Mr Fix it, ensured that every opportunity was taken to ensure we had the best experiences wherever we went. Examples include stopping a journey to experience a wedding, Visiting Kakku, ensuring that we were able to photograph the fishermen at Inle Lake as the sun set, securing the best brand new rooms at Hupin Hotel on Inle Lake, visiting a novice ceremony at Bagan, getting ahead of or avoiding crowds in the busier places. The support team obviously enjoyed working with him. His leadership was the main reason that our high expectations of this holiday were exceeded. Sai was charming and friendly, a great ambassador for his country and clearly committed to ensuring we had the best possible holiday. We were very satisfied. The walking in the hills, meeting the local people and observing their way of life. The initial visit to the Shwedagon pagoda was perfectly timed as an opening visit as it was mind blowing and gave a hint of what was to come. We would travel with KE again.
By: Caron Smith, London
Louis was a very diligent and conscientious leader. He has extensive knowledge of his country, its history and in particular some of the regions in which we were traveling, which really helped us to understand what we were seeing and experiencing. He took great pains in attending to the minute details at all times, to make sure we were well prepared for the day's activities, and got the most out of them. He also identified the particular area of interest (or lack of interest) among our small group, and was very flexible in changing the arrangements to suit them when appropriate. His personal knowledge and attitude contribu ted hugely to the success of the trip.
By: Rita Schmit, Luxembourg
The trip met my expectations and even went beyond. Lake Inle, the walks from monastery to monastrey, the cruise on the river wher we could relax after the walks. We had a very good group, no disturbing elements, all 12 got along. We particularly liked the size of the group. Other providers pack over 20 people into one group, which is inacceptable...
We chose KE as we met a KE group in Ethiopia and were surprised about how united they seemed to be and we liked the size of the group: we were 25 in our group!!!
Yes, definetely, we have been convinced by the services offered by KE and we are about to book a one week walking holiday to Morrocco.
By: Keith O'Malley & Jonna Wegefelt, London, UK
Many thanks for a great trip. Our guide, Lucky Star, was a star. He was efficient, friendly, fun, intelligent, sensitive and realistic/honest about his country. We learnt so much from him, and he made the trip especially enjoyable and interesting. The hotel accommodation was all a lot better than we expected. The support team on the short trek were exceptional. Friendly, efficient and fun.
By: Patrick Wherity, Skipton, UK
I most enjoyed the trek, meeting local people on the walk and staying in the monasteries were great experiences. Waking up to the sound of monks chanting and the novices giggling behind the curtain. Almost everybody we met were pleased to see us and all too willing to interact with us even though most could not speak much English. The trek crew were extremely helpful and good humoured and we were sorry to see them go.
Our guide, Lucky, couldn't have been more helpful, very organised and sociable and had a great sense of humour. He was very knowledgable about the recent history of Burma and very willing to discuss the problems that the country currently faces.
By: Janet Ironfield, Bury, Greater Manchester
Quality of the hotels was superb, vastly exceeding everyone's expectations. The restaurant and hotel food was good if not excellent: it was something of a gastronomic tour! I would also like to record that the local leader and staff were excellent when it came to accompanying and accommodating clusters of the group walking at a slower pace and they were assiduous at back-marking. This is not always a given and I feel the local agent should be commended for this.
This trip ran like clockwork! I think it was the most efficient tour I have ever experienced. Everything was punctual, the coaches (no cramped minibus for us!) were clean and cool and comfortable. The staff were courteous, always good humoured and, apparently, happy. They all received their tips.
Despite Burma's not having been at the forefront of tourism for a number of years, it is my view that KE and clients can rightly have confidence in the local agent. I for one am very impressed. The standard of transport and the hotels massively exceeded expectations as did the professionalism of the local agent and staff. Burma itself was a delight and it was a privilege to visit at a time when the country is on the cusp of great changes. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.
By: Caroline Salisbury, Kent
I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and would whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone. Nyi Nyi was a definite a "Top Ten" guide and tour leader (in-joke with the group). His knowledge, enthusiasm, humour and un-ending care and organsiational skills was superb. I can honestly say that he was the best tour leader of any trip I have ever been on.
By: Patricia Clark, London
This was my first experience of group travel and did not disappoint, at all, because of the care and preparation of the organisation. It was a wonderful and rewarding experience and good value for money
By: Vanda Tillotson, London
The trip far exceeded my expectations. The memories will last a long, long time. The food was very good indeed. Why KE? Trustworthy and reliable.
By: Jessica Kavanagh, Ireland
Journeys and Nyi Nyi Tun were both excellent. There was not a single time when plans went awry, buses didn't turn up or hotels weren't expecting us. I was very impressed with the level of organisation at both a macro and micro level. I would certainly recommend a KE holiday to others and will hopefully manage to book a second trip with KE in 2012
By: Linda Chapple, Buckinghamshire, UK
I wanted to go to Burma in January and KE were one of 7 that could accommodate this. The final decision was made on the fact that we would be walking in the hills and meeting local people. I cannot praise the local support team enough. Nyi Nyi Tun (leader) was above average in all things. The way he communicated with the villagers we met, laughing and talking to them, was obvious that he loved his fellow countrymen. He went out of his way to share their lives with us, showing us various everyday things and bringing the trip alive. I particularly liked the fact that he spoke such good English that I was able to understand everything he discussed with us without struggling to decipher what he was saying.
By: John Freeman, Chesterfield, UK
Nothing was too much trouble for Nyi Nyi (leader), if we wanted to try something different or change the itinerary slightly to include additional events or meet more locals, it happened straight away.
By: Liz Gambier, Middlesex, UK
A wonderful holiday. Although I was the oldest, I was well able to manage the walk. An amazing trip - I hope to be back! I most enjoyed the variety of scenery, walking and cultural activities and the company of others. The highlights were Bagan, Inle lake and the trek. It exceeded my expectations.
The tour leader was wonderful - he was enthusiastic and told us much about life in Myanmar. The luggage was moved almost the whole trip without any effort on my part.
The tour required considerable effort to bring it all together - many different coaches, and different modes of travel - boat and air. Well done! The monastery accommodation was very basic, washing facilities limited.
By: Carol Griffiths, Isle of White, UK
I have travelled extensively and this was my best trip ever. Myanmar is a wonderful country and I feel priveledged to have visited it before the "tourist dollar" arrives - hopefully they will not let the country go the way of Thailand etc. I loved seeing all the rural life and meeting the people - so friendly and welcoming. It was so much better than my expectations. The scenery was spectacular and people were so very friendly, no "one pen, one pen".
Our guide Nyi Nyi Thun was absolutely superb - I will be nominating him for a Wanderlust Magazine best travel guide award. His love of his country and countrymen (apart from the military government!)shone through, and we were welcomed everywhere we went. He looked after all our transfers,check ins, bus trips, baggage handling, sightseeing etc quietly and efficiently- even down to getting the best seats on the riverboat trip, and finding the best photos. He is a national treasure! The accomanying trek crew were absolutely superb under his guidance - they even noticed when my Sigg bottle was empty and replenished it with the water they were carrying.
The standard of accomodation far exceeded expectations.I much appreciated the "full board" option as a single traveller, it is easier all round. Good value for money single supplement - nowhere did I get an inferior room. The trek accomodation was very basic, particularly the first night, but all part of the adventure!
By: Helen Chater, Kent, UK
It was a good mix of sightseeing and trekking. We enjoyed the trek as it gave us an opportunity to see local people in the villages and fields as well as spending time in the monasteries. I can't fault the guide (Lucky Star) or the trek crew. Lucky Star had a wealth of knowledge on everything and conveyed that information in a very easy and professional way. He was very approachable, helpful and enthusiastic. The trek crew were amazing - they were involved in everything (food prep & serving, guiding, conveying information etc) and always with a smile.
We were amazed by how friendly the Burmese people were - they were very pleased to see us, wanted to talk to us and to show us how they lived. We've travelled extensively but have never experienced such openess before. If anyone asks, they should visit Burma now, before it changes. An amazing experience.
By: Janet Harrison , Watford, UK
We had a fantastic adventure and were blessed with an amazing group of fellow travellers. Such a privilege to be in Myanmar before Starbucks! We had the adventure of a life time.
By: Daryl Cutts, St Albans, UK
Hotel accommodation was a mixture of good and excellent. Staying in the monasteries during the trek was a fabulous experience. There was a bit too much food on offer ie breakfast, lunch and dinner, especially on those days when we weren't trekking - although I realise that this can be managed by eating small amounts, there seemed to be quite a bit of waste. I loved that we did so much in the time available - even the longer than expected trek days.
Nyi Nyi (our guide) was open in sharing his views on the political, social, economic and cultural situation in Myanmar and this was a positive part of the holiday for me. Practically he was very efficient and also looked for consensus among the group to make some decisions where appropriate and accepting if opting out.
I most enjoyed the trekking - partly because that's the kind of holiday I prefer anyway as it's more physically active than being transported from one place to the next - but also because it allowed the opportunity to appreciate landscapes particular to Burma, aspects of village life and to stay in monasteries. I loved the day on Lake Inle - partly because it meant being outside all day but also because of all the interest (local communities living on the lake etc).
By: Robert Oldaker, Luxembourg
This was a very satisfying and enjoyable holiday. The walking was harder than I had expected but nevertheless thoroughly enjoyable. The trek was the highlight of the tour but other events, such as the day spent on the Irrawaddy River and visitng the pagodas at Bagan, were totally memorable too.
Nyi Nyi Ton was overall an excellent leader who was both local agent and trip leader. His local knowledge made things happen. For example, we were invited into the house of someone celebrating their son becoming a novice Buddhist monk purely because of Nyi Nyi's bravado!