Newsletter DEC 2020
2020 what a year – anything positive at all?
We usually support a variety of People and Planet projects outside the tourism sector. This time, with funds that we have left, we decided to support people from our own industry who need to feed their family. All our stations around the country have listed the names of boatmen, drivers, guides and other people who are struggling financially. To ease the burden a bit, Exploration Travel is giving almost 100 families 50.000 Kyats (about 40 Usd) to help them in the new year. Several overseas agents have already financially supported guides and other people in Myanmar in the past and their help has been very much appreciated. For other agents; it’s the season of giving, so in case you have any funds that are in search for a good cause, please do let me know how we can help facilitating.
Domestic flights have restarted on 16 December although still many restaurants and hotels remain closed. Passengers are requested to show a negative Covid-19 test result and in some areas stay additionally 3-7 days in hotel quarantine while waiting for second test result. The Myanmar government asked Yangon international airport to prepare to reopen from 1 January 2021 although that hasn’t been confirmed yet.
The government has been very cautious to ensure they can control the disease and are working to ensure Myanmar is a “Safe and Enchanting destination”.
Dolphin sightseeing – a recommended 2 day tour!
A fantastic 2 days leisurely boat trip starting from Mandalay, includes glamping on the riverside and join a local fisherman in the morning to see him communicating with the dolphins. I do recommend this of the beaten track experience on the river for your clients and support the dolphins as well as the community. While the tour is not luxury, it is very comfortable and sleeping in a tent on the riverside is unique and very much worth doing so. Contact us for more information on this tour.
New – Bagan virtual tour
While we see a light at the end of the Covid tunnel we’re certainly not there yet. We are all eagerly waiting to travel again (and for guides to earn an income) and we have developed a 45 minutes virtual tour showing some of the best temples of Bagan as well as a bit of rural life. We set-up a live Zoom connection between your client and our guide in Bagan who is equipped with a camera stabilizer, headset and an e-bike to take your clients for a live tour around Bagan. Ask questions, ask to move the camera in any direction and have a live virtual tour with a private guide who is your eyes and ears on the ground. Get in touch to ask details how to book this tour.
More background on the country – what to read & watch
Talking about “slow travel” and taking this to the extreme; National Geographic’s journalist and story teller Paul Salopek started in January 2013 on a 21.000 mile journey on foot (that’s over 33.000 km!) that will take him from Africa to the rest of the world, tracing the footsteps of evolution and our ancestors. Along the way he is telling stories of people he meets and daily life in the countries he visits. He is currently in Myanmar and I had the pleasure of meeting him a few months ago during a dinner in Yangon. What probably struck me most, is probably his down to earthiness and calmness, how well he is informed and very much in touch with reality and how humble he is.
It’s been a busy year somehow and certainly a year that has given me time to re-think, re-organise and re-charge and I am ready for a more positive 2021.
Wishing you a fantastic 2021!
Managing Director Exploration Travel
Edwin Briels and his team have been creating experiences for travellers to Myanmar for over 20 years. After working for companies as Balloons over Bagan and most recently Khiri Travel, Edwin Briels continuously finds new paths to travel and experiences to show clients the story of Myanmar and engages you in a fascinating journey through this country with the most welcoming people you will ever meet.
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