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Postcard From Our Traveler: A Guide Beyond the Ordinary

January 17, 2014
Zaw Zaw Aung, Myanmar guide extraordinaire

Zaw Zaw Aung, Myanmar guide extraordinaire

When we first discussed traveling to Myanmar, we stressed that the most important thing to us would be the quality of our guide. We wanted a guide who was knowledgeable about culture and history, who would be able to guide us through important historical and religious sites and also be our escort into authentic, remote tribal villages. We wanted a guide who could communicate well in English, and would be very good company.

In matching us with Zaw Zaw Aung, you gave us all we requested and much more. The time we spent in Myanmar was truly exceptional because of Zaw Zaw’s many skills, both professional and personal.

As a guide, Zaw Zaw knew where to take us and when to take us there to have the most rich and authentic cultural experiences. He found a Nat Festival and took us there. He found a celebration of young men from prominent families dressed as princes on horses and elephants prior to becoming monks and escorted us there. If we passed the home of the widow of an important tribal leader or some traditionally tattooed ladies or “long neck women,” Zaw Zaw arranged to have us welcomed into their homes. When there was an English class going on, Zaw Zaw arranged for us to meet with students and teach a class. Zaw Zaw knew what time to visit each place to see not only the sights themselves but also the local people and their customs. Zaw Zaw was knowledgeable about history and current events and offered us deep insights into his country.

In addition to being enriching and informative, time spent with Zaw Zaw was also heartwarming and fun. Zaw Zaw is one of the most open and caring people we have ever met. We invited him to join us for many meals because his company was so delightful that we didn’t want to part when the touring was done. He was kind enough to spend some of his well-deserved rest time visiting with us.

When we requested a change in our program, deciding to skip a visit to Kalaw and spend an extra day at Inle Lake, Zaw Zaw made sure the change in itinerary went smoothly. Every request we made during the trip was accommodated graciously and, what appeared to be, effortlessly (although clearly Zaw Zaw put much effort into making it seem so).

When either of us did not feel well, Zaw Zaw was compassionate and helpful, going above and beyond anything we would have expected to make us comfortable and at ease. He was very sensitive to our preferences, noting what we liked to eat, how we liked to pace ourselves, the kinds of experiences we liked to have, even that we liked to have cleaning wipes on hand wherever we went. Without us ever asking, he took care of all of those things. He was always generous with his time, connections, insights and resources.

We cannot thank you enough for finding us such a wonderful guide and person to spend our time with.

- Miriam & Robert

Miriam and Robert recently returned from a Custom Journey of Myanmar (Burma). Asia Travel Specialist, Chris Dunham, planned their itinerary. This was their first trip with Asia Transpacific Journeys.

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