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.

Mawlamyine and Hpa- An (which apparently means 'Frog Vomit').

Where to start?

James and Cate in Myanmar

The last few days have passed in a whirl.

We have been very busy all day, every day!








On our way from Golden Rock to Mawlamyine the 4th largest city in Myanmar we happened upon a procession of 3 boys off to become monks. Very unusually, it appears, a voice from the back shouted an order to stop so that we could catch up and take photos. A first first for our guide May.

A procession of boys off to become monks

Then on to the largest reclining Buddha in the world. Modern and made largely of concrete - unusual to say the least, with a second started but so far unfinished, and maybe never will be.

The largest reclining Buddha in the world Mawlamyine

Mawlamyine with its bustling markets provided the opportunity to chew betel nut (for the first and last time), try a fruit called an Ice potato (ugh) and another called snake fruit (OK).

Bustling markets in Mawlamyine

Nearby Bilu Kyan 'Ogre Island' was absorbing for the villagers divide their time between farming and cottage industries for the wholesale market. They get very few foreign visitors.
At various homes we watched bamboo hats, wooden crafts, and even rubber bands being made.
The undoubted highlight however was that after having bought a few wooden souvenirs from one family, who spoke no English and had never been further in Myanmar than the Golden Rock, they insisted we sample their lunch. It provided a rare and unique opportunity to find out more about local people and for them to find out more about us. May our marvellous guide proved to be a brilliant interpreter and there was much laughter and fun, particularly as they were sure the reason we are so pale is because we don’t eat enough rice! Afterwards May told us this reception was a first for her too - her second of the trip!

Cate invited into a local home in Ogre Island Myanmar

No pressure to buy is what makes Myanmar so unique, although this could change when we move to the more touristed areas.

Our boat trip along the Thanlyin River to Hpa-An was relaxing with dramatic scenery and passing traffic. To sum up our forays in the area in the last few days we have seen crumbling monasteries, tea houses (centres of business and relaxation but really an ideal place for a chat), splendid sunrises, golden sunsets, princely pagodas, meandering monks, golden Buddha statues in picturesque rows, holy caves, many macaques, a beautiful war cemetery commemorating those who lost their lives when forced to construct the infamous WWII railway, jungle shrouded mountains, palm-thatch huts, vivid green rice paddies, basking buffaloes, artificial lakes, and finally the very dramatic pagoda perched on a vertical gherkin shaped limestone rock with frangipani trees sprouting from the cracks.

Boat trip on Thanlyin River to Hpa An

River scenes on the boat to Hpa An

golden Buddha statues Myanmar

dramatic pagoda perche on a vertical gherkin. Boat trip to Hpa An

Must not forget the glorious sunshine and the delightfully helpful, friendly people. Myanmar is proving to be magical...... and these first 10 days have been made this special by our guide, May, and the driver, U Kyin. She is undoubtedly the best guide we have ever had, while he has looked after, and kept an eye on us all the time. They have together given us an unforgettable experience. We owe them our thanks.

James with our wonderful guide May and driver U Kyin

Next Bagan and Mandalay

Bewitching Bagan and Marvellous Mandalay
Kyaiktiyo: 'pagoda on a hermit's head'