Postcards from Abroad

Whether your dream is to stay in a colonial-era bungalow in the middle of a tea plantation, an Indian princely palace, or to cruise in luxury the Irrawaddy to Mandalay, we never tire of searching for your next great travel destination. This is the place to share with us your most recent adventures.

Bewitching Bagan and Marvellous Mandalay

James and Cate in Bagan

Bagan, an ancient city in central Myanmar where there are over 2000 temples is quite overwhelming. Some are topped with golden stupas and most contain large Buddha images. The temples are in varying states of disrepair and various earthquakes over the years have have had an effect which adds to their charm and fascination. 





Bagan Temples

These sacred temples rise from the plains and carpet the countryside like mushrooms. We have never experienced so many temples scattered about, it is just unbelievable and truly unique. As you explore the area they are everywhere, beside you or within easy eyesight.

Bagan Temples 2

On a free day we hired electric scooters to explore further. This was a new experience and one to be recommended. Too hot to cycle!

A visit to nearby Mount Popa meant we explored several villages, learning how palms and tamarinds are vital to the local economy. We watched palm juice being collected and boiled to produce palm sugar. In addition how delicious fiery toddy is made.

Collecting Palms Mt Popa

Making tamarind paste

Tamarind collection is a long and laborious task. The shells are most useful for making tamarind sauce and paste which enhance the taste of many different dishes.

Tamarind processing

On the slopes of Mount Popa, an extinct volcano, the Taungkalat monastery perches on top of a huge rocky outcrop; sadly it was rather hazy on the day of our visit.

Taungkalat Monastrey Mt Popa

Most importantly we sampled a tea leaf salad, a typical entertainment in local homes providing an opportunity for something to eat, a friendly chat and a cup of tea.

Then it was time to meander our way to Mandalay cruising on the RV Paukan 2012 enabling us to watch the world go by and see how local baskets and pots are made. The large pots sell to a wholesaler for 4,000 kyat (pronounced chat) which is just over £2.00. All that work for such little reward seems wrong. The pots are a real work of art.

RV Paukan Bagan to Mandalay

A real bonus for us on our cruise was that there was only 2 other people with us, a charming Dutch couple. As we had 27 crew looking after us we were thoroughly spoilt.

On board entertainment - a puppet show made us realise just how skilled you need to be! Handling 16 strings all at once took great concentration. Being taught about Longyi tieing was brilliant and it was great to try thanaka; think it looks better on the locals though!

Mandalay the second largest city involved a hive of activity - monks receiving alms, looking at ‘the world’s biggest book’ - 729 engraved tablets of stone each individually housed in a small temple, gold leaf making, the world’s longest teak footbridge, more glistening golden Buddhas, perfect pagodas; lurching and creaking our way by train over the Gokteik Viaduct-Myanmar’s highest bridge and not forgetting the delightful building King Mindon died in, a small teak pavilion with the most beautiful carvings.


James and Cate in Myanmar 2

Never a dull moment in amazing Myanmar; sadly our adventure is nearly over, next Inle Lake and finally Ngapali.

Intriguing Inle Lake and Natural Ngapali
Mawlamyine and Hpa- An (which apparently means 'Fr...