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Jellifer

Myanmar Mysteries - first time on Azamara

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7th November - Yangon

 

Rain rain rain. And a bit more rain. Our tour today was ‘Island Pagoda Discovery’. Our first stop was Thanlyin, about 30 mins drive from the ship. There we were met by some local merchants in their horse carts and there was chance to go for a short ride on them. It didn’t look a great prospect in the rain and the animals didn’t look very happy so we gave that one a miss. We had free time to look at the market which was fascinating, so many unusual sights and smells to see. There was a large fruit & vegetable market with weird and wonderful produce. Many stalls selling household goods, clothes and we even found some fairly decent fake handbags! Fellow travellers said they had seen chickens having their heads chopped off but thankfully we didn’t see that. I wish it had been better weather and that we’d had longer to look around. 

 

Next up was Kyaik-Khauk pagoda. Unfortunately there was a power cut here meaning the escalators and lifts could not be used. The guides led us up the marble stairs but they were treacherous due to the rain. Several people took a tumble, including one chap who cut his shin quite badly. At this point a lot of people thought it wasn’t safe to continue but the guides insisted the show must go on and took is to the next stop was Kyauk Tan, a floating temple in the middle of the river. Only 3 people from our bus elected to go over to the island as the rain was still torrential. The rest waited on the bus for an hour. 

 

Finally we had a guided walk around a local village which seemed pretty deserted. Everyone returned to the ship pretty grumpy and soaking wet. I know there’s nothing we can do about the weather but the tour operators should have the authority to amend itineraries if required. We should never have tried to climb the stairs at the first temple - white marble floor + rain + bare feet was madness and I hope those that fell are ok. 

 

 

 

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7th November - Yangon

 

We were due to set sail from Yangon at 10pm but first of all there was some fun to be had - White Night! We were so lucky to get a break in the rain which meant the event was able to go ahead as planned outside on deck 9. We decided to eat first in Discoveries and then join the party. The restaurant was lovely and quiet so we had enough time to chat to our favourite server, Marinelle and her assistant Dudi. They are wonderful, anticipating our every need - by far the best wait staff I’ve encountered. 

 

We joined the party and had great fun. Cruise Director Ernest and his team were working so hard singing and dancing, making sure that everyone was having a ball. Smooth Sensations were playing and they were fabulous too. It was a wonderful party and when it finished at 10pm everyone moved to the Living Room to keep dancing until the wee small hours.  This was my first experience of White Night and I thought it was super and extremely well organised.

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White night Discoveries menu... sorry I must’ve got excited when the pudding menu came around and forgot to take a picture. 

 

 

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8th & 9th November - at sea 

 

2 lovely sea days to catch up on some much needed sleep. The weather was still changeable and was a mix of sun & showers. Some people commented that there weren’t many activities planned on sea days around the ship. I liked the fact that loud music wasn’t blasting all the time but there wasn’t a lot you could do if it was raining. I tended to sit in the Living Room snuggled in a blanket reading my book and watching the world go by. I also liked visiting the frozen yogurt station to grab a pot of the sweets they had laid out as toppings.... best gummi bears ever! 

 

 

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10th November - Penang, Malaysia 

 

We had booked the ‘Grand Tour of Penang’  and our first stop was the Kek Lok Si temple, the largest Chinese temple in south east Asia. There were quite a few steps to climb but it was worth it. The temple was lovely, with a really tranquil feel. 

 

 

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What a good positive attitude you have!  And someone who wasn't disappointed in the size of the bathroom. At last!  And yes, there is plenty of storage in them. Small, but perfectly formed. 

 

Keep enjoying. 

 

Phil 

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Next stop was the Burmese Buddhist temple just across the road. There were also plenty of stalls here for picking up more souvenirs. Prices were reasonable and both Ringgits and US$ were widely accepted. 

 

We we had lunch provided in a local hotel, in the ballroom no less. Buffet was extensive with both local and western dishes along with sushi, fruit and desserts. 

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After lunch our next stop was Entopia, a butterfly garden. It was really well laid out with some great wildlife - not just butterflies. There were all sorts of creepy crawlies to watch including some absolutely mahoosive spiders that I would not like to meet on a dark night. We only had an hour here but thoroughly enjoyed it. 

 

 

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Edited by Jellifer

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Overall we had a really great day in Penang, wish we could have stayed longer to explore. I’ll just have to add it to my list of places to go back to. Our guide, Vincent was really friendly and helpful. 

 

I think this was the night that we saw Cruise Director Ernest’s stage show. He is a great entertainer, a bit cheesy, but can really belt out a tune. The song choices were not all to my taste but he did a great job. He even went as far as roller skating to ‘Starlight Express’ having been a long-standing cast member. Amusing moment when during his Tom Jones routine a member of his team threw a large pair of men’s underpants at him!

 

 

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Our last port was Port Klang, which is about 90 mins from the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. I’d been here a few times before on business and also prior to a Borneo trip. Our first stop was the new King’s Palace - we were only given a few minutes to take photos through the gate. Next was Independence Square, where the Malaysian flag was first raised in 1957. It was interesting to see the blends of architecture here. We then stopped at the iconic Petronas twin towers for a photo stop. Finally we went to a craft centre and had far too much time here. I think we picked the wrong tour here to be honest, it was still enjoyable and the guide, Ali, was great but I’d rather have seen more of the city. 

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Edited by Jellifer

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