Tag Archive: Travel

Myanmar part 2 – Bagan and Mandalay

FishermenMyanmar

Myanmar – alluring and mysterious. In December 2015, I was fortunate to spend 14 days travelling around this wonderful country.  Here’s part 2 of my travel story…

After our day at Inle Lake (think of the iconic pictures of the fisherman, standing on one leg in their boats using cone-shaped nets), day 4 of our travels saw us taking a Taxi to Heho airport (the name made me smile!) – the smallest airport I’ve ever been to – to catch a plane to Bagan and the Su Tine San Royal Palace Hotel.

Balloons in Myanmar

Balloons in Myanmar

Beautiful temples, dramatic shapes and filigree, colours of the country…and hot air balloons everywhere.  

This place is just awesome; there is so much one could say about Bagan. It is so rustic, has so much charm and completely transports you to a different time. Everywhere you turn there are pagodas and stupors. It’s truly stunning and once again the photos don’t do it justice.  Please visit Bagan for yourself.

Fact: there are over 4000 temples in Bagan

“No matter where you  go, there’s another golden pagoda”

Day 5 and Mandalay.  I’ve wanted to visit Mandalay for so long that it was worth the effort to get there. After an hours ride in pick up truck, we were cramped into a bus for 5-hours with too many other people! It was dark by the time we arrived in Mandalay – just enough time for a beer at a local bar, a chicken kebab and bed!

“Mandalay is the wealthiest city in Myanmar, with the newest airport and the most disorganised chaos”

What a day in Mandalay! One of the wonderful things about this country is that the local people are so keen to share their knowledge which leads to wonderful local finds. With so many sights to see, and only a few days to see them all, Bebo, a local man, drove us around the city, explaining the sights and sounds. Places have so much more meaning when a local tells you the stories about them.

One of our favourites was Mahumuni Paya, a temple on top of a hill where we took an incongruous lift up to the top and escalators down and met a group of Arsenal supporters (we behaved ourselves!), is home to a 13ft tall, 2000 year-old image of Buddha. Male devotees apply gold leaf to the statue which means that there is a 6 inch layer of pure gold over it. This is the central shrine, with a golden roof and long passageways. Bare-footed, we wandered around browsing the stalls and soaking up the atmosphere.

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Next stop was the famous U Bein Bridge. Built out of 1086 poles standing in the water, and with water lapping at the planks that balance between them, the bridge is one of Myanmar’s most photographed sites. It’s not until the rainy season that you can see why it’s needed. The whole area changes from vegetable gardens into a big lake.

 

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U Bein Bridge – the 1.2-kilometre bridge was built around 1850 and is believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world.

After many, many photographs of the bridge and a good night’s sleep, we used our own steam to meander around the city before we would head to yet another airport. We walked along a 230ft-wide moat and well over 4 miles of crenellated (my new favourite word, it means the square cut outs that you see on the top of castles), reconstructed 26ft-high walls that form a vast square around the site of the former Mandalay citadel.

So onto our next internal flight, this time to Yangon, from where we would head to the beach and some much needed sun, sea, sand and cocktails!  Another 5-hour drive took us to Nwge Saung (pronounced We Song) beach. Crazy that a cab costs £60 when a 7-hour uncomfortable bus journey is £38. Arrived at the gorgeous Eskala 5* resort, looking like something the cat dragged in with two rucksacks and a bottle of Mandalay Rum. The look of surprise on their faces was priceless. Spent the rest of the day by the pool, drinking Hawaiian Blue Cocktails and soaking up the sun. Went for a walk into the ‘village’ in the evening and had a delicious dinner at a Burmese seafood restaurant. Back to villa for a pre-bed Mandalay rum and coke, and a game of crib whilst listening to music on the beach and watching fireworks.

Life is good and I’m looking forward to the beach…

If you would like to know more about Myanmar and other bespoke holidays that we can put together for you, please get in touch either through our website  http://my.notjusttravel.com/your-perfect-travel or call us on 01279 724239. We’re looking forward to creating Your Perfect Travel.

 

Myanmar part 2 – Bagan and Mandalay

Myanmar – Alluring and Mysterious

Myanmar – alluring and mysterious. Since it started to welcome visitors in 2012, it is a country that has experienced rapid change, yet there is still a lack of widespread infrastructure and Western comforts. This is part of it’s appeal to me.  In December 2015, I was fortunate to spend 14 days travelling around this wonderful country.  Here’s my travel story, and with so much to see, be warned, it’s in 3 parts!

 

Myanmar Meanderings – Part 1

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Kandawgyi Nature Lake https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kandawgyi_Lake

 

Driving around the car-jammed M25, en route to Heathrow airport, I let out a little wee….  not that kind! – the “weeeeee” sound that meant “we’re off!” Myanmar (formally known as Burma) has been on my hit list for a while and now I was heading there with my favourite man, for Christmas and New Year. First to Bangkok, our transit point, and then onto Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, and it’s mix of colonial architecture, modern high-rises and gilded Buddhist pagodas.

We eventually arrived in Yangon at 9am where it took an hour to clear passport control, not because it was busy, it just takes a while as the people are so laid back. A 15km drive saw us at Hotel Esparado, where we dumped our backpacks (so incongruous, turning up at a luxury hotel with backpacks!) and took in the views from the shore of Kandawgyi nature lake. My first impression – gorgeous temples, lots of family gathering together, and the smell of incense everywhere. I love it here already.

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Commuters heading home from work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A walk around Yangon assaulted our sensibilities. It has yet to be commercialised and so we only saw about 6 other tourists all day, making us feel like part of a well kept secret. The locals we met were so friendly, insisting on us taking their photographs and taking the time to talk.

I’d sum the city up as being high rise grandeur juxtaposed by slums. My photos don’t do the city any justice as they can’t convey the friendliness, the feeling of hustle and bustle and the smells. And the fact that I’ve never seen so many bananas!

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Shwedgaon Pagoda lit at night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then as the sun sets, Chinese lanterns were lit in the trees along the streets – magical. By the time we got back to our hotel, the Shwedagon or Great Dagon or Golden Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar, was lit up, the gold sparkling in the light. Just stunning.

Fact: The 325ft Zedi (the pointy-dome bit on top) is adorned with 27 metric tons of gold leaf, along with thousands of diamonds and other gems, and is believed to enshrine eight hairs of the Gautama Buddha as well as relics of three former Buddhas.   (Lonely Planet: Myanmar)

The next morning saw us heading off to Bogyoke airport for an Asia Wings flight to Inle Lake. On arrival we had a little hairy ride … to the wrong hotel, partly because our driver didn’t speak or read English – should have learnt Burmese before we got here. The Amata Garden Lake hotel is divine even if the Wifi is very slow and intermittent. That’s OK, we’ll be just fine having a massage, cycling, going to the floating market, and boating on this enormous lake.

After a great sleep, we caught a boat to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway to Inle Lake. It’s a very busy town, the most touristy we’ve seen so far, but traditions still prevail with the locals getting on with their daily life undisturbed by us foreigners.

“Myanmar is very different to any SE Asian country I’ve been to. Another 5-10 years and I’m sure it will be very similar”

Arriving at Inle Lake was wonderful.  After meeting our boatman Dewo, we headed out to the many villages by motor boat. Sitting in two wicker chairs plonked in the boat, moving from side to side and back and forth, added to the excitement! We saw so many fascinating sights – silk making, silver and gold designing, weaving, boat making, tool workshops. All was going swimmingly until Dewo went too fast through the mangroves and the boat engine conked out. We were a fair way from hotel and our call for help ended with us paddling most of the way back before another boat came to our rescue!  We missed the floating market and fishing village but were greeted like royalty back at the shore – with the owner of hotel bringing cold towels and so many apologies that it didn’t matter in the end. All was rectified by a wonderful cocktails on the terrace watching the sunset. Bliss.

Back on dry land and at Nyaung Shwe (the main town at Inle Lake) we hired bikes to cycle to the Yan Aung Nan Aung Hsu Taung Pye Paya (don’t ask me to pronounce it) 26ft-high sitting Buddha. It was well worth the effort. I’m really falling for this country.

Join me next month for part two of my travels

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A lacquer workshop where women make making bowls, tissue boxes, chess sets, and coasters from bamboo, then decorate them by hand. So much time and effort and the finished products are such good quality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wine made just outside of Inle Lake. Makes a nice change from Myanmar beer

Myanmar – Alluring and Mysterious

If February is the month of love…

For some, it’s cards and roses. For others, it’s chocolates and dinner for two. For us, it’s a romantic break (booked via Your Perfect Travel, of course). If you’re in the mood for love this month, take a look at our list of quintessentially romantic destinations. What are you waiting for – go on, book it today!

 

Favourite romantic destinations:

 

  1. 1.    French Polynesia

Made up of 118 islands dispersed across the South Pacific, stretching for more than 2,000 glorious kilometres, this collection of beautiful archipelagos are known for their coral-fringed lagoons and over-the-water bungalows designed for the most romantic and laid back of holidays. We challenge you not to feel the love in such places as Bora Bora, Moorea or Tahiti. Even their names conjure up that feeling of warm sun, soft sand, lazy days….

 

 

 

2. Venice, Italy

Building a marble city on top of a lagoon might not have seemed to be a great idea but those Venetians knew a thing or two about architecture. They also know a thing or two about love and romance, which is why this amazing city is on our list. Dreaming of masquerades, music, gondolas and art? Then allow us show you the places to go that will fire your imagination and unlock your heart to love.

 

 

 

3. Seychelles/Maldives

Nestling in the Indian Ocean, the islands that make up the Seychelles and the Maldives offer the variety needed to suit every type of traveller, from luxury hotel complexes to boutique hideaways for two, and they are more affordable than you might think. Indulge your romantic side and let us whisk you away to your desert island paradise. Sun, sea, sand and love – care to dip your toes?

 

 

 

4. Marrakech

If your idea of romance doesn’t involve lying about on the beach, then this is the city for you. Full of mind-boggling sights, sounds and smells, this is an experience you will be talking about for months to come, we promise. Imagine sipping a cocktail on the top of a 18th-century riad, remembering your day of discovery, snakecharmers, magic and mystery, listening to the sounds of the city far below you. Utter bliss.

 

 

 

5. India

This used to be the travel destination of our bravest and most intrepid travellers, but it’s no longer true. India offers our romance-hunters exotic and vibrant memories, unexpected but truly staggering. Let the colours of India’s passions indulge and excite your senses and visit one of the world’s most wonderful, and romantic, destinations.

 

 

 

We have lots and lots of magnificent destinations that we’d love to introduce you to. Give us a call on 01279 724239 or visit our enquiries page http://bit.ly/1R41sLw We are here to make your holiday perfect.

If February is the month of love…

Zika Virus – Is it safe to travel?

 

Zika Virus – is it safe to travel?

Zika – a bad-assed virus? Well yes, it’s not great but according to current research, for most of us it’s only nasty if you (or your partner) is or is trying to get pregnant or if you have any auto-immune diseases.  80% of the rest of us won’t notice symptoms (even if we have picked up the virus) and those of us that fall ill may feel like we have a mild case of flu or conjunctivitis (itchy and gunky eyes).

 

I’m being asked by potential travellers to destinations such as the Caribbean or South America whether they should still go. An honest answer? It’s up to you. If you’re pregnant or wish to get pregnant in the near future – no. If not, then consider the information available from WHO (The World Health Organisation) and make up your own mind. Me? I’m off to Costa Rica next month. I will take precautions to protect myself and my family from being bitten by the mosquitoes that carry the virus but I’m not cancelling my trip.

 

Here are some of the most recent facts about Zika but please bear in mind that scientists are discovering more about it each week and please visit your national advice service (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ in the UK) for the most up-to-date guidance.

 

Currently, the Zika virus is present in the Americas, Caribbean, Cape Verde, Pacific Islands, Thailand and the Maldives.

 

How do you get the virus?

●      The virus is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes Mosquito

●      The mosquito bites during the day, particularly mid-morning and late afternoon before sunset. It seems to love the feet and ankles and likes living around stagnant water.

●      The mosquito can also transmit the Dengue and/or Chikungunya viruses.

What are the symptoms?

●      For the 20% of us that have symptoms, the most common are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. Other symptoms may include muscle pain and headache.

●      Symptoms usually begin 2-7 days after infection.

●      It’s usually a mild disease lasting a few days or a week and rarely requires hospitalisation.

It apparent that the virus is a very real threat to pregnant women particularly in their first trimester (although there is some risk throughout pregnancy). Whilst the mother may not suffer any symptoms of having caught the virus, there is a potential link with microcephaly in newborn babies.

What should you do to prevent catching Zika?

●      Try your best to avoid getting bitten, however, this is very hard as the Aedes mosquito is active during the day. Wear protective clothing (long sleeves and trousers) and apply mosquito spray regularly – use one that contains DEET.

●      Sleep under a mosquito net.

●      Avoid areas with stagnant water where the mosquitos breed.

●      If you (or your partner) are pregnant or are considering pregnancy in the near future, you are advised not to travel to infected regions.

Please remember that the mozzies have chosen some outstanding countries to live. They are vibrant and exciting place to visit with some of the most welcoming people you will ever meet. You have little reason not to travel unless you are planning or expecting your own bundle of joy.

 

Useful link:

http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/zika-virus-update-and-advice-for-travellers-including-pregnant-women/

Becoming a Travel Agent

In 2012 I made a rather radical decision to leave my life in the UK behind and go travelling. Having no plan in mind, other than heading first to Thailand, I got on a plane and set off in June 2012. What a fantastic experience it was. I visited 12 countries in 12 months and had the time of my life, meeting so many wonderful kind, caring people along the way and they will be part of my memories for a lifetime. I was always going to return in June 2013 due to committments at home, but I did decide that travel was in my blood and to be able to carry on travelling to some extent was a must.

So, setting up a travel company was the perfect progression for me. Having started in September 2013 following a training programme to get me up and running, I  haven’t looked back. In just short 5 months £200,000 worth of holiday bookings have been made and I’ve managed trips to Benidorm, Puerto Banus, Morocco, Tunisa and Bulgaria, plus a few UK breaks as well. It just goes to prove that you can have a successful business and still travel.

This week sees the launch of our new Partners in Travel product, which gives people the opportunity to earn a residual income without doing very much at all.

Start your very own travel business with no training and no selling required. Simply sign-up today and we will give you:

– Live Bookable Website Worth £10,000′s
– Marketing Tips and Tools
– High Commissions
– Cost Price Holidays
– Sell Flights, Cruises, Hotels, Holidays
– 100% Financial Protection

30 day money back guarantee!

For more information take a look at our short video presentation at http://yourperfecttravel.partnersintravel.co.uk

Or, give me a call. I’m always happy to chat about holidays and the opportunities available for people who want to enter the travel business at any level.

Norma Fenwick

Your Perfect Travel

www.yourperfecttravel.co.uk

Tel: 0845 463 0882

Becoming a Travel Agent

Wedding and Honeymoon Abroad

Your Wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. It is a day that should be filled with love and unbridled joy. At Your Perfect Travel we understand completely how special a wedding day should be. As Wedding & Honeymoon travel experts, we live and breathe love and romance. Whether you are looking to get married on a Yacht overlooking the New York skyline or on a desert island somewhere in the middle of an ocean, Your Perfect Travel can make your dreams come true. We can organise a wedding or a honeymoon to any destination in the world. Please see below for an idea of what we could do for you.

Imagine an oasis of a million colourful lights sparking like perfect diamonds within the midst of a baron desert. This oasis is alive with excitement, life and love. Each twinkling diamond has its own unique love story which will inspire and enchant you.

This is Las Vegas the real city of love. A place where every dream can become a reality and every love story is like a movie. To marry the person you love in Las Vegas is a truly magical and unforgettable experience. There are literally 100 different ways you can get married in this incredible city.

Your choices range from saying “I do” in the world famous Little White chapel where you will follow in the footsteps of Las Vegas royalty by celebrating your wedding in the same place Frank Sinatra wed Mia Farrow.

Another option is to marry high above the Las Vegas strip in a private helicopter overlooking the splendour of this captivating city. Or, perhaps, you would prefer to have the true Prince and Princess experience by becoming betrothed in the palatial surroundings of the Bellagio Hotel, a world renowned opulent resort which has appeared in countless Hollywood blockbuster films and remains the most iconic property in all of Las Vegas.

In the words of Elvis Viva Las Vegas!

We at Your Perfect Travel are so much more than just travel consultants; we are your dream makers. Let us make your perfect wedding day dream a reality, contact our wedding & honeymoon experts now and let the dreams begin.

              

Wedding and Honeymoon Abroad

Personal Travel Agent who will find you the perfect holiday and the best deal available. from Your Perfect Travel has updated their news.

Why choose us:
The ultimate customer service experience is provided to all customers, regardless of the amount spent on a holiday. Exceptional after-booking care and service is a given. Unlike most agents who take care of you until you book, we like to look after our customers before, after and during their holiday.

Personal Travel Agent who will find you the perfect holiday and the best deal available. from Your Perfect Travel has updated their news.