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A&K might have Mayanmar's (Burma's) best vehicle fleet, but we're always open to expanding and improving it - even if it's just a temporary addition, purely for your enjoyment. When our guide, Goldene, saw her party admiring the Yangon (Rangoon) colonial era buses, she worked some instant travel magic. While everyone tucked into lunch, she slipped away to flag down a driver and negotiate a private charter. The guests emerged to find one slightly dilapidated, but seriously photogenic, wooden bus waiting to return them to their hotel. 'It made our trip,' they wrote
The knowledgeable and charming Goldene - she has guided the likes of George Soros and Mick Jagger - is one member of our brilliant team offering an authentic taste of Burmese life, where surprises and spontaneous excursions are par for the course. You've also told us about four-hour hikes in the central mountains that ended up taking double that time because every single village wants to host a welcome meal; and golf courses where caddies disappear into lakes to fetch your wayward drive before placing the ball on a perfect fairway lie. Burma is truly unique.
Yet for all it unexpected treats, divine landscapes and rich Buddhist culture, this blossoming East Asian flower remains a challenging place to visit, with a young infrastructure. Choose an Abercrombie & Kent Burma (Myanmar) holiday in 2014 and you're in the safe hands of one of the country's oldest private travel companies. Established in 1997, it's part of an experienced, superbly connected regional network of staff on call 24 hours a day.
They'll show you Yangon's (Rangoon's) cobbled streets and elegantly fading architecture, before heading north to Inle Lake's stilt houses, where fishermen make one-legged rowing look ludicrously easy. There's Bagan's plain of 2,230 temples, a site to rival Angkor Wat, and you can cruise the Ayeyarwaddy or Chindwin rivers, gliding serenely past villages, paddy fields and pagodas.
They're wonderful sights, truly wonderful, but we're pretty sure you'll remember the people most of all. A&K arranged for one guest to visit the tattooed village ladies near Mrauk U. Forget bland formalities, she heard their passionate views about river damning and very real fears of flooding. Myanmar (Burma), as we say, is a holiday like no other.
Best time to be thereMyanmar (Burma) has three clear seasons: from March to May are the very hot summer months, the wet and humid monsoon runs from May to October and the cold dry winter lasts from November to February. The best time of year to visit is late November early December when the rains have gone, the landscape is lush and green and the skies are crystal clear. However any time from late November to March is a good time to travel.
Yangon (Thai Airways via Bangkok)
12 hours 55 minutes via Bangkok
GMT +6 1/2 hours
Required for UK passport holders
Yellow Fever certificate if arriving from an endemic area
I would also like to make special mention of Thida Win - she is an absolutely wonderful guide - very kind, patient, knowledgeable and a consummate professional in undertaking her job. She made sure that everything happened seamlessly without any hitches whatsoever - she is a great advert for A&K and for Myanmar.
Suggested itineraries in Myanmar
Sanctuary Ananda 10 Nights Mandalay – Homalin – Bagan
Sanctuary Ananda 7 Nights Mandalay - Bagan - Mandalay
Frontiers of Myanmar (Burma)
Sanctuary Ananda 3 Nights Bagan – Mandalay
Sanctuary Ananda 4 Nights Mandalay – Bagan
Hilltribes of Myanmar (Burma)
Highlights of Myanmar (Burma)
Quintessential Myanmar (Burma)