Mandalay Guide Soe Soe
Our time in Mandalay was greatly enhanced by a terrific local guide. We spent a jam packed day and a half with Soe Paing who asked us to call him Soe Soe and could not have been happier with the service. Not only is he extremely knowledgeable about his city and the surrounding areas, he is a genuinely nice guy that we enjoyed spending time with.
Along with hitting many of the must see spots listed in the guide books, he arranged for a very intimate visit to the Moe Hti Aung Si Monastery and Meditation Center where we were in awe of the monks and nuns in all forms of meditation & study. We then had a unique opportunity to experience the most memorable meal we had in all of Myanmar.
Soe Soe seemed to have a close relationship with the monk in charge there and had received permission to bring small groups (No tour busses!) to not only visit the Center but also to be served the same lunch that the monks and nuns were served. We were taken to a room behind where the monks & nuns were lunching and were served by the local village ladies who volunteer to serve the monks. Before he worked as a tour guide, Soe Soe spent 10-years working in multiple capacities in the Mandalay Jade Market so we took advantage of his experience there on a tour of the market. This turned out to be one of my personal highlights of the entire trip. To see a clip from that day, click on the above video link.
Soe Soe offers tours via other transportation but his full day rate for an air conditioned van was 40,000 Kyats. He also arranged transfer from our hotel to the train station and the assistance of the driver in making sure we got on the right train for 5000.
Both the car and the van provided by Minthu were clean, in good repair and he was always on time. In addition to the transportation charges, Soe Soe’s guide rate for touring was roughly $25 for a full day and $15 for a half day.
We couldn’t have been happier with the service.
email@example.com / telephone 09402538362
Chances are you won’t be able to lunch there but one of the most enjoyable meals we had in all of Myanmar was lunch one day at the Moe Hti Aung Si Monastery and Meditation Center. Soe Soe seemed to have a close relationship with the monk in charge there and had received permission to bring small groups (No tour buses!) to not only visit the Center but also to be served the same lunch that the monks and nuns were served.
Typically, Myanmar monks will eat a simple breakfast very early in the morning and then a more elaborate lunch at about 11:00 am. That is their last meal of the day. We were told at some monasteries that we visited in Myanmar that the monks and nuns were allowed fruit juices in the afternoon but at this one, we were told they were allowed only water until breakfast the next day.
We were served an excellent lima bean soup that came with a bowl of crispy condiments (fried onions & roasted nuts), a good selection of different curries including some with chicken and fish and several vegetable dishes like stir fried string beans & garlic. Everything was good. The ladies who served us were volunteers from the local neighborhood who prepared the food and served it to the monks and nuns at the Center. They were so kind to us and full of questions about who we were and where we came from. I am happy to report that we acquitted ourselves well and demonstrated to these kind ladies how much we enjoyed the meal.
After eating, several of the young nuns came by the table to talk to us as well and we enjoyed walking the grounds of the Center and adjacent school for the novice monks.
I’m writing this in Bangkok where we are beginning our journey home from a 2-week trip to Myanmar. Our time in Mandalay was greatly enhanced by a terrific local guide. We spent a jam packed day and a half with Soe Soe and could not have been happier with the service. Not only is he extremely knowledgeable about his city and the surrounding areas, he is a genuinely nice guy that we enjoyed spending time with. Along with hitting many of the spots listed in the guide books, he arranged for a very intimate visit to a monastery and meditation center where we were served the same lunch as the monks and nuns by the local village ladies that prepared it. We also took advantage of his experience working in the jade trade on a tour of the jade market, which was one of my personal highlights of the entire trip. firstname.lastname@example.org / telephone 09402538362
I would like to recommend very highly a guide we had for Mandalay and region. His name is Soe Paing, we just called him Soe Soe-
and on his card it says also Happy Travels, e.g. he can also help to book bus tickets give information about local customs and culture and other services.
He organized a lovely tour for :
Sagaing, Inwa and Mandalay city and sunset at Irrawady River hotel.
from 8am-6pm including some very interesting markets, such a Jade, since he worked there once. He never pushed for shopping- he actually takes you to places where there are not a lot of tourists (anticlock) I paid him USD 20.- for the whole day (it might be more by now) he is very honest, reliable and very pleasant. He speaks english well, you can discuss the itinerary with him.
He knows a driver with a AC car- I paid 40 000K for the trip mentioned above.
Next day, Soe Soe was busy, so we just booked the driver for Mandalay Hill, U Bein Bridge (it s good to take the boat there for sunset) and we paid again 40 000 K for a whole day. Of course it depends on the distance, it can be more.
He very promptly replied to my mails. His details are below:
mobile no 09.402538362
he has also a website for more information about him:
he can also be contacted via face book