We travelled to Yangon by cruise ship and had 2 nights stopover. We wanted to see as much as we could and what better way to see it than with a local, rather than on a cruise ship bus.
There is little doubt that the best way to see Myanmar is not by cruise ship. The distance from the town and the poor condition of the roads means that a 30 minute drive can turn into a 3 hour drive, but if you want to see the place book a private driver before you go there. Sure there are taxis at the port gate, but the cabs are rarely air conditioned and the drivers have varying degrees of English. By booking in advance you can determine where you want to go and what you don't want to do.
We hired Zaw Hein for our first day. He picked us up at 9am and we did not return to the ship until after 10pm. We like to walk and so he built lots of walking with the locals into the tour. We saw the beautiful Shwegdagon Pavillion in daylight and at sunset, we visited Karaweik Hall on the Lake where just walking into this sensational building and seeing all the local regional costumes and sampling the foods made a traditional buffet bearable.
Best of all we got to hear about and see real life in Burma - where the rich live and where the poor live. We learnt about the very young children who come to the city to work. We saw how poor people were but they always had a smile for us. We did not see a beggar. We saw the beauty of the Pagodas - so much wealth in such a poor country but totally respected.
Zaw was not available for the second day and we used his "brother" Mark Gyi whose English and story telling was every bit as good.
Every penny we spent went directly into the pockets of Burmese. A win win situation for us both.
You can contact Zaw on [email protected] He offers a full service travel package and will suggest day trip, hotels and organise flights.
Mark Gyi was everybit as good. Contact him on [email protected]
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