River Cruise Testimonial for SALLY HIENER, AUSTRALIA, THE CHINDWIN, SEP 2017 | Pandaw.com
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MANDALAY PAGAN PACKET REVIEW

SALLY HIENER, AUSTRALIA, THE CHINDWIN, SEP 2017

Myanmar’s smiles can’t be suppressed, a lasting memory I will have from my first (and not last) trip to Myanmar is of an aching face at the end of the day – from smiling! The trip on the RV Kalaw from Bagan to Mandalay was everything I had dreamt it would be. The crew were exceptional, every one of them from the sailors who cleaned our shoes and helped us disembark and embark, the staff who manned the bar and served at the tables who were also ready with the Myanmar smile and a joke. A special thank you to Myo Naing the purser who went out of his way to make sure everyone had a wonderful holiday. Myo and three other crew took me and another passenger to their favorite tea house one afternoon, a great experience.

It was my birthday on board and I truly appreciated the cake, the entire crew singing happy birthday to me and my special present; it will be treasured always. Only negative I can think of was the 10-minute trip to a silk “factory” followed by over an hour in the retail outlet. In the factory there were 14 – 16 year girls working from 8am till 9pm five to six days a week. Our guide Brian was asked how old the girls were and he said 24. I did not believe this and asked through another crew member who questioned a girl and was told 14 – 16 years old. I understand that children often support families and this is a necessity in some countries, but I also understand that the silk industry is controlled by the “generals” and being forced to spend over an hour in a shop making purchases was unnecessary I thought. Perhaps we could have spent time in a local market as is done on other trips. The trips to the local pottery making village, lacquer-ware workshop and silver workshop were fine, although a lot of the silver jewellery in the shop was Indian not Burmese.

I was told that Pandaw cruises can be habit forming and I can understand why, I know I will be back. Your staff make the cruise so special, but then again so do all the Burmese people I had the opportunity to meet.

Thanks
Sally

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