Burma

Burma customer reviews

We are very proud of the feedback that we get from our trips and are pleased to share reviews from past travellers. These are kept as up to date as possible. Do have a read through to get a real sense of the kind of experience that you might have on a family holiday travelling to Burma with us. And please do ring if you’d like to talk with someone who has been there and travelled with the kids.

Burma temple family visit

Dressing up in Bagan

Clayton Family (with children aged 12, 14 and 16)

Travelled Summer 2018
Dear LiddyThank you so much for all your immaculate planning for our trip. We had a really superb time. We were particularly impressed by our guides who were excellent.

Oats Family (with children aged 6 and 9)

Travelled Summer 2018
Briefly from Mum: Just a note to share our thanks for a fabulous trip. It was a brilliant adventure – boys loved it – we loved it – feels like we have been away for months. Trip ran seamlessly, guides in general top notch. And a bit of a shock to the system today with back to reality. Thanks again. 

More detailed from Dad:

Great trip thank you for organising. I was worried about the weather as the monsoon seems to have been worse this year but apart from a couple of days we had really good weather. Inle lake was fantastic, I would suggest as we did, that clients spend 3 nights there so you get a second day, which tbh was better than the first as went more of the beaten track.

The hotel at Kalaw has the potential to be lovely but the rooms were damp, however the boys loved the Elephant Camp, that was really awesome. The guides / drivers were good, knowledgeable and very different but we liked them all, one thing to note, had to push them to find decent lunch stops, suggesting to them where to go rather than sometimes their preferred stops.

Ivanova Family (with children aged 4 and 7)

Travelled Easter 2018
We had one of the best holidays, and big thanks to you and your team. The holiday was so enjoyable that we now recommend to our friends. J is doing an official write up about the trip, we will definitely send you one once done. Once again, thank you for all your help and thanks for encouraging us to stick with the original plan – we didn’t regret anything, in fact, love it a lot!

Bartolini & Prangle Families (with children aged 10, 12, 13 & 13)

Travelled Christmas/New Year 2017-18
Hi Kelly – Overall we had an amazing time, and all of our guides, drivers and transfers were excellent. Mr Htee (Kalaw and Inle) is such a lovely guide and very popular with families. He’s the one who tells you his life story within the first hour of meeting and he is very engaging and funny

We liked all of the hotels except the last one – more about that below.

Yangon – The guide – Set – was very good and spoke fantastic English. He was very knowledgeable, considerate of the children’s needs and helped us in taking group photos. He saw us right into our cabins on the train to Mandalay and spoke to the Steward about looking after us, making sure we were happy with everything before he left. The hotel – The Alamanda Inn – had good family rooms, great food and was in a good location.  They were also very flexible about our check-in and check-out times.

Yangon – Mandalay overnight train – As I said when we spoke we all loved the train trip and thought it was an eye-opening way to travel! Just need to make sure that you have wet wipes, a sarong and a portable phone charger.

Mandalay – The guide – Jo Jo (Kyaw Lin Khaing) – was everyone’s favourite. He was very attentive, had great English and was very chatty. He took brilliant group photos of us at every stop and was keen to know our thoughts on the places he took us, especially the food stops.  He even Whats App-ed a list of everywhere that we had visited with him and also the name and addresses of restaurants he recommended for dinner. The hotel – Mandalay City hotel – was a beautiful oasis right in the city. The children loved the pool, the service was good and we liked the rooms.

Bagan – The guide – Nini – had an encyclopedic knowledge of the temples and spoke perfect English. She took us to some lovely temples and amazed us with lots of interesting facts!  The hotel – Bagan Umbra – was just fantastic. Paradise, especially the pool, the spa and happy hour cocktails/mocktails!  We recommend the spa. They also made a lovely birthday cake for Alina and Sophia on their 13th birthday.

Kalaw – The guide – Mr Tee – was very funny and great at entertaining the children. As with the other guides his English was very good. He was the the only guide that didn’t provide us with water at any time, and we forgot to ask. Minor point really.  The hotel – Famous Hotel – had huge rooms and a great view.  The service was excellent (we were more or less the only guests there) and they were falling over themselves to try and please us. The only negative comment we can make was that the baths/showers weren’t great. The pool was small but kept the kids amused! There are probably better hotels if having a pool isn’t a factor. The elephant camp was brilliant and a real highlight for everyone – highly recommended!

Lake Inle – We had Mr Tee again as our guide here.  The hotel – Golden Island Cottages – was amazing…

The boat tour of the lake was very interesting. The cooking lesson was good, we did lots of preparation but no cooking as they only had 2 fires to cook on. We were surprised drinks weren’t included as Mr Tee had said that everything was taken care of, but again a minor point.

Ngapali beach – The hotel – Amazing Ngapali resort – was just picture perfect!  Lovely beach, nice pool, fantastic staff, lovely rooms, great food (we had all our meals there), great cocktails, fab spa, great location, very efficient at the airport arriving and leaving, we all loved it and were sad to leave!  The internal flights were all very good too.  We went on the free hotel bus to the market, but in retrospect we hadn’t really needed to as every guide had taken us to better markets.  We organised a snorkelling trip through the hotel which was great.

Yangon – As I have already said to you we don’t think you should use the 7 Mile Residence again. It is not a hotel, it is serviced apartments and the pool was unclean so we didn’t use it. The restaurant was shut because of New Year (so no dinner or breakfast – though we left too early for that anyway) and the staff that we managed to find took a long while to sort us out with our rooms and didn’t really seem to know what was going on. (Stubborn Mule Travel comment – in light of this feedback we will not use this hotel any more and have already sourced a good alternative)

The transfer from and to the airport was very efficient.

Norman Family (with children aged 8 and 14 and T’s mum)

Travelled Christmas 2017
Liddy, Kelly & all at Stubborn Mule
Thank you so much for putting together a wonderful trip to Myanmar. Everything worked really well and the guides and drivers were excellent. We will definitely be recommending you to friends for trips to Myanmar and elsewhere. It’s very hard to give a highlight or to single out a particular person – just to say a big thank you.

Christmas was very special for us as well, being back on Christmas Eve at the orphanage where I have worked before and seeing friends who are making such a difference in so many people’s lives, inspiring others to do the same. The children are growing up in a wonderful loving environment – some have reached adulthood. The first group were all made orphan in Cyclone Nargis 2008.

We are now in Bangkok on our way to Dubai, the chance to experience something very different for a couple of days.

Best wishes,
T

Dear Kelly – Once again thank you to you and Liddy for an amazing trip. We have already recommended you to friends and you will no doubt get some bookings as a result!  It was fabulous and the guides were great. Top two hotels without a doubt were the one in Kalaw (Mountain Dream hotel) the Ngyapali Beach (Amata) one.

Kind regards,
V

Bristoll Family (with child aged 10)

Travelled Easter 2017
We had a fantastic trip thanks and didn’t want to come home, we can’t fault any part. The actual trip itinerary was perfect for the amount of time we were there and included the right mix of sight seeing and relaxation. Highlights, too many to mention but include the trek to the village as it was a real insight into how people live, Inle lake, A loved Ngapali beach the hotel was a real treat, and the Shwedagon Pagoda was pretty special.

Our tour guides were fantastic, very knowledgeable, their English was brilliant and we must give a special shout out to Mr T who was our guide for the trek and Inle, he is one of the nicest people we have ever met. We are going to send an email to to let them know this.

We would have no hesitation in recommending Stubborn Mule and quite fancy a trip to Mexico next year. Is this something you do or if not can you point us in the right direction.

Jenkins Family (with two children aged 5 and 8)

Travelled February 2017
We had a wonderful holiday!  We all really enjoyed Burma, and having travelled a lot in SE and South Asia, I thought it was a fantastic first place to take the kids because it was so calm, with so little of the hustle and hassle/hard sell that you can sometimes get in Asian countries.  The kids did tire of Pagodas even more quickly than I had hoped, though I still think they loved seeing them (they just were not so keen to hear the details!)  But they loved the fact that everyday seemed like an adventure – in terms of location, sights and particularly the transport!

The organisation was fabulous – all our guides met us exactly as planned and were great in their own ways.  While not at all a criticism, I did think some of our guides were a little unsure how to adapt their programme/pitch to kids (by Mandalay, my girls were on ‘Pagoda strike’ but it was hard to convey this message to the guide, and she wasn’t sure what to do to make the experience more appealing to kids :)).  Some of the guides only directed the information to us, instead of perhaps finding a way to make it interesting to and appeal to the kids. I realise they probably felt they needed to give the adults the cultural information.

Given the incredible number of Pagodas in Mandalay, it probably makes sense to start a tour of the country there (instead of ending there as we did), as we all had pagoda/monastry fatigue to some extent by the time we got there.  It is hard to say though, as having the boat trip to Mandalay at the end was very relaxing.

We really enjoyed Yandabo, which I don’t think you had heard of before  – I think one of the highlights in fact for us all. It is just a sleepy stop along the river, with not a lot to do, so it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you get to be up close with two villages (the one it is situated in, where they make pots and if you take the boat trip the Hotel offers, you visit another farming village where you really get to see local life, alone (you are the only tourists there) and you get to see the water buffalos coming down to cool off etc).  The kids loved that.

Just so you know, the hotel does charge $20 per adult to go over to the other village and for a ‘tour’ – I was a little surprised as it was the sort of destination where I think this might better have been included in the hotel price (as there is not much else to do there, including for the staff, and the ability to visit the village is on the website without mention of price!). As I know you typically pay for tours from hotels it is hard to say exactly why it felt odd being charged for this one, but it did.  That said, we really enjoyed the experience, especially the kids, so it was worth it.  The hotel itself is lovely.

The kid’s highlight of the trip was certainly the elephant camp (even though Sarah was sick that day, and in fact vomiting as we drove to the farm!).  She perked up completely, and managed to feed and wash the elephants.

Oh, and we met the President of Burma, who stayed in our hotel in Mandalay!  He spoke to us all, so that was quite special.

Anderson Family (with two children aged 10 & 12)

Travelled Christmas/New Year 2016/17
Feedback from mum… Dear Liddy, Happy New Year to you.  We returned on Saturday eve and just wanted to let you know that we had the most wonderful time in Burma – your local partners were fantastic and the Moh Moh who scooped us up from Mandalay was absolutely lovely and the girls especially loved her – they called her hover board Moh Moh because she is so elegant!!  The visits around Mandalay were excellent – the boat trip and the trip to the Ubain bridge etc were all great considering we were still quite tired from the trip.  I should also say that Mr Eggs the driver was excellent.

The hotels were all good – I wasn’t so impressed with the Thande Hotel in Bagan but I know that was one of our choices.  The Triumph Hotel was great, as was the Thitaw Lay House in Kalaw which was just lovely and Mark who ran it was incredibly helpful and his breakfasts with home made banana bread and pancakes were delicious  – Mr Hti was a delight and so very funny which kept us all entertained and the kids managed a 20km walk through the hills – helped along by his incredibly funny sense of humour.

The Amata Resort at Ngapali was indeed a lovely spot and the beach was fabulous – it was a shame that the family rooms (with interconnecting doors) were at the back of the resort and rather noisy and had very little outlook – unfortunately the resort was very full so they couldn’t move us but the room was comfortable.

Just a fascinating trip and both Nick and I were constantly amazed at the changes there – ATM’s, traffic and of course the Burmese attitude was far more positive and much happier which was good to see – the food was absolutely fine for the kids and they had no trouble with the curries and rice dishes – they did miss the sweeter things but so good for them to forego chocolate over Christmas and there was v little complaining, we thankfully survived any ‘jippy’ tummies and we did have ice in drinks and ate salads although only in restaurants that looked relatively clean and in the hotels.

Both girls felt that the elephant sanctuary was the highlight of the trip – so thank you for booking that – I’m also glad that we decided not to do the 2 day trek, the 1 day was quite enough for them and I was so grateful to get back to the guesthouse for a shower and to sit by the fire.  I would very much recommend to your clients the train journey from Kalaw to Heho when travelling to Inlay – it was a lovely way to travel for a couple of hours.

All in all a really well organised trip and thank you for organising – we have already recommended you to a number of our friends.

Feedback from Dad… Thanks also from me Liddy, it was a superb trip. I cycled from Kalaw to Inle and it was a highlight for me.  Mark at Thitaw Lay House helped arrange it and I hired a decent Trek mountain bike for $15 from Mr Joe in Kalaw, he delivered it to the guesthouse and also suggested a great new route off the main road that was easy to navigate but would have been impossible to find out about otherwise as it’s not on Google Maps yet!  Our driver returned the bike to Mr Joe for 5000K and Mr Hti sorted out that as the driver barely spoke English.  I’ve emailed you the strava log of the ride and if other clients want to know about it please do put them in touch. At 88km it’s not an easy family ride but anyone with a decent level of cycling fitness and a good supply of snacks could do it.

Aeberhard Family (with children aged 4, 7 and 9)

Travelled Autumn 2016
We had a wonderful trip, we enjoyed our stay in Myanmar very, very much! Everything was well organized and went smoothly. Thanks a lot for this! We don’t really have anything negative, maybe that the guides wanted to show us even more than was planned and this was sometimes a little bit too much for the kids.

But since we enjoyed it so much and since it was so interesting, we did not stop them (I know we could have done so).

One of the highlights was the train ride of course and also Lake Inle. It was marvelous!

After this trip I wanted to ask you whether you also organize tours in Java (or north Myanmar/Thailand/Laos)? We have not finally decided on the destination for our spring holiday but it might be one of these. We will be 9 or 10 persons then, with even younger children.

Family C (with three children aged 5, 8 and 10)

Travelled Easter 2016
Thank you so much for organising our family’s trip to Burma. Taking three children aged 5, 8 and 10 away was a little daunting despite the fact that I have backpacked on my own across all sorts of wild and rugged places. From the early stages, we really appreciated the care and individual attention you paid to organising our experience.

You really listened to our plans and devised a truly tailored trip, gave some detailed and useful pre-trip hints (Nutella with malaria pills got our stubborn 5 year old happily taking them) and oversaw small details such as a birthday cake for my 10 year olds birthday, which really made our time in Burma special. During the trip we were well looked after by all our guides, I have rarely been so delighted to see anyone as I was when our guide met us at the carriage of our overnight train with cold water, wipes and suggestions for breakfast.

We have some many amazing memories of the trip. The kids loved going to elephant camp where they got to wash an elephant (you wouldn’t believe how tough and leathery their skin is) and the elephants are all well looked after unlike other sites in Asia. They also, inevitably, liked the swimming pools. I’m glad we spent a little more to get a number of hotels with pools as the promise of a splash around at the end of the day helped keep the children going on a number of sightseeing trips.

They also loved water festival, which was on when we were in Mandalay. I was initially a bit wary – open trucks full of people, sometimes in masks, firing buckets of water over passers-by. But it was all really well natured and honestly so hot that a bucket of water tipped over you was a blessing. We just needed to remember to keep our camera in watertight bags at all times. Our hotel in Mandalay, which you recommended was great – they had dancing at the hotel each afternoon, which the kids happily joined in and set up a hose outside which our 10 year old was thrilled by as he went and sprayed anyone unlucky enough to walk or drive past.

The famous highlights of Burma that I’ve wanted to see for years really lived up to their name. Bagan was extraordinary – miles of temples and a really memorably horse drawn cart took us around at sunset. It was incredibly hot as we managed to hit a heat wave so were trudging around in 45 degree heat. But a welcomed A/C minibus helped the kids enjoy it and meant they could escape when needed, as did our Indiana Jones impressions. Having a group of just us was also helpful as we could change the itinerary around. We skipped a couple of sights as the kids had had enough. It also made the transfers between places much easier as we could simply stop and stretch legs when needed. Our guide and driver were also helpful when our children suffered carsickness and we could travel, stop and switch seats to help matters as much as we liked.

Inle Lake was amazing with hills surrounding the lake and lots of villages, farms and houses built over the water. Travelling in a boat past hotels, tying up at a jetty for lunch made for a really unique experience. We visited a floating market and a number of workshops. I thought the kids might get a bit bored, but actually the iron forgery was a great hit, as was the umbrella-making workshop.

We also went on a trek from Kalaw. This was a little hot, but the kids made it through. The trek was quite long and challenging for our 5 year old, but the 10-year especially had a great time and some of my best memories of the trip are walking along chatting to the kids and telling stories to pass the time. The trekking isn’t like the Himalayas following stunning scenery. But there are pretty forested hills and plenty of terraced rice fields.

I would recommend going for the cultural experience. It felt very like going back in time, with oxen ploughing the fields, hill tribe women weaving in houses and the peace and quiet when there are no roads nearby. For the children it was a real eye opener, sleeping in local houses with no plumbing or inside toilets and walls made out of woven bamboo. Spending nights in family houses they played with the village children at night, climbing up trees and my son was taught a great game which seemed to be a form of ‘keepy upy’ football with a bamboo ball.

Family W (with two children aged 8 and 11)

Travelled Easter 2016 – Borneo and Burma
We’re just over a week back and l want to email to thank you for such a fabulous trip! As we spent the last few days on the beach (perfect location!) we tried to capture the highlights as a family. l asked my son (11) how he would describe it to our friends he said, “mummy you just couldn’t in words!”. We had so many highlights that the list just kept going!

The expertise and friendliness of the guides as though they were a ‘safe covering’ over our family, was fabulous. The homestay, Saba tea plantation, night rainforest treks, the overnight train (18 hrs!) watching rural life go by, (my husband thought his wife was returning to her teenage backpacking days!) the character of Mandalay, horse and cart ‘taxis’ around the pagodas of Bagan, we loved lnle lake and life on stilts, cycling round the paddy fields watching 16 of the fastest rice planters in Myanmar! And as for the elephant camp, that was such a wonderful family experience. It was right up there on the ‘best experiences ever’ list!

Our guide had asked us to write to you especially with feedback about the homestay in Borneo… what a truly authentic experience and a top of the list for our daughter, playing and swimming with the village children. The family were just lovely and brought a local picnic to the river. We could have stayed for days! Want to complement the guide Chris too. He was very family-focused and his outlook on tourism in the homestay was so sensitive.

So Liddy without having you to read on and on…we had a stunning time and really hope that the experience matters long term in our children’s lives as an exposure to culture and a celebration of the diversity of our world. It was a poignant time in the history of Myanmar with the presidential elections taking place and Aung San Suu Kyi’s long struggle for a democratic government finally being recognised while we were there. So what an education the trip was for our children and helps instil so many values we want for our family life.

Thank you too for ‘stepping in there’ to help David with accessing the care he needed with his dog bite. It was a tense time for us as we anticipated him having to leave the country. You were an answer to prayer! When the bank balance recovers, the culture experience needs a major top up and my children’s mummy needs another reminder of her backpacking days, we will be back to you!

Family R (with three children aged 4, 7 and 9)

Travelled February 2016
My husband and I had been travelling quite a bit before children. It had been about 10 years since our last big trip and we decided to take the plunge with our 9, 7 and 4 year old boys. I cannot recommend stubborn mule enough. Liddy was fantastic, she gauged exactly what we were after. All the hotels and guesthouses were clean and comfortable in good locations. We had some lovely local guides especially Pue in Mandalay and Mr T in Kalaw.

The itinerary was really well thought out for families such as bumpy ox cart rides and visiting the elephant sanctuary. The pace was perfect and there were no hidden extras. Compared to other agents I found the prices really competitive.

It was a fabulous holiday and we are already working out where to go next! As a mother who normally has to arrange everything it was fantastic and so relaxing to have everything arranged and sorted by a thoughtful and trustworthy company. Thank you.

Family K (with two children aged 4 and 8)

Travelled Christmas 2015
Thanks it was wonderful. We had an amazing time and everything was really easy. The hotels and guides/transfers were great. We fell in love with Mr T, our last guide. He was brilliant at judging when to give us space to wander around and experience things on our own. Thanks again.

Family C (with two children aged 12 and 15)

Travelled Summer 2015
Thanks for your email. Yes, we had a wonderful time in Burma with lots of unforgettable adventures and experiences and only a couple of sense of humour failures by the children! They loved it and so did we and we have some lovely memories.

We were unlucky with the weather in Mandalay and Bagan where it rained quite a bit, but after Bagan, conversely the weather improved dramatically and we had a mostly dry trek and good weather at Inle Lake, which was wonderful!

Family B (with two children aged 7 and 10)

Travelled Summer 2015
We just got back last night – we stayed a week in Bangkok/Koh Chang after our fab trip with you. Will defo send you a v detailed email with update on all restaurants we went to etc, but suffice to say for the mo, it was absolutely fab…would highly recommend to anyone, your company were superb, quite honestly the best and most personal travel company I’ve ever travelled with. I’ll send detailed email as soon as I can. Thanks so much.

Family M (with three children aged 10, 13 and 15)

Travelled Summer 2015
We are in Kao Tao enjoying the beach after 2 fabulous weeks in Myanmar. Thanks so much to you and your colleagues! It was all great but highlights were:

Alamandra is a great, a great base for families. Rooms 7/8 particularly good
Bagan great. Good guide. Hotel very comfortable, pool great. Slightly lacking in ambience but good. Moon restaurant a favourite.

Kalaw perfect. Trek was outstanding. Brilliant guide who stayed with us on Inle and who was very thoughtful. Great food on trek too.
We loved staying in the monasteries.

Inle was outstanding. Hotel was more than wonderful. Exquisite rooms, great food. Exceptional.

Bus to Yangon was fine.

The guide on the trek was outstanding. Do feed that back. His name is Ny Paw.

Although kids bit travel sick as first part very windy! Overall, a fantastic trip. Thanks so much for all your help. Logistics perfect throughout.

Family C (with two children aged 6 and 8)

Travelled Easter 2015
Hi Liddy – thanks for getting in touch – we’re intending to email you with some restaurants to recommend and other stuff on best bits etc – will probably get around the that at the weekend. It was all fantastic – we loved it. The children also had a great time – they did find some of it challenging but did really well and got into the swing of things pretty quickly. Be in touch will more detail soon.

Family B (with three children aged 9, 12 and 15)

Travelled Christmas 2014 / 15
We had a wonderful trip and it is on my ‘to do’ list to send you a summary of what we thought was great and any areas that could be changed slightly. We loved Myanmar – I have never met such friendly people.

There were plenty of ‘pinchers’ who made a beeline for our blond 9-year-old son but he tolerated it pretty well. We live in Asia as you know so are used to the stares and people wanting photos but the Burmese took it to a new level but were as smiley and as unthreatening as is possible. Our eldest son (15) was a particular hit with the several ‘lady boys’ we encountered which we found hilarious – him less so although could see the amusement factor – and our 12 year old daughter lost count how many times someone stared at her face close up declaring ‘beautiful’!

Family P (with two children aged 6 and 15)

Travelled February 2015.
As we are leaving Myanmar today, C and I wanted to drop a quick note to thank you for the little presents received at our hotel in Yagon, and a trip very well organised through your beautiful country.

What actually made a significant difference to us are three excellent guides we met on the way, and who we were really appreciated as it was easy to connect with them, they were very knowledgeable, and they clearly adapted their style and approach to our needs and wishes:
– in Kengtung, Kham Kyar
– in Mandalay, Edward
– in Kalaw, Mr Hti

We would very warmly recommend all of them to any tourist visiting their region.

Family P (with no children)

Travelled October 2014
Thanks for writing to us. We did indeed have a wonderful honeymoon. It was a huge success and the organisation was fantastic. Burma is a fascinating country and everyone was very welcoming. Seven Star travel were excellent and I would highly recommend them.

Family N (with two children aged 9)

Travelled summer 2014
After our conversation, just wanted to reiterate that we had an amazing holiday! The restaurant in Mandalay is not called the ‘Crispy Duck’, but the ‘Golden Duck’, oops sorry! I have been teased so much about that, our guide even found a painting in a temple of a duck, just to rub it in even more!

The Green Hill Elephant Camp was an amazing highlight. Contrary to what their website say, you do not need to wear long trousers and a long sleeved top at all. They provide traditional trousers and a hat, plus flip flops and a towel – it is so well organised and thought through. The lunch was gorgeous and so filling we just needed a picnic in our room for tea.

The efforts they are going through to teach the locals to not drop litter, providing a local primary school and inviting every visitor to plant a tree is admirable – as well as looking after 7 elephants, which have had a tough life! The leader is inspirational and totally passionate about the project, a definite must on the itinerary.

I think Mt Popa needs a major clean up before I’d recommend anyone to go there. Our guide said that he and his colleagues are trying to make this change happen through an organisation he belongs to.

Our guides and drivers have been lovely, I’ve invited one of the guides to stay at ours if he manages his travels (I hope he takes me up on it).

Thank you for organising this lovely part of our trip.

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