Exploration Travel Myanmar has announced a new tour to visit the Unesco World heritage temples of Bagan virtually with private, live tours to individual clients. In the first week of operation the company already sold several tours to clients from Tour operators in Germany and the Netherlands and is planning to expand to other tour operators worldwide and other locations in Myanmar.
According to Exploration’s Managing Director, Edwin Briels, the main reason to launch these virtual tours is to “create jobs and income for Bagan based tourist guides who have been deprived for income for many months now”. Overseas Tour operators can book a private tour in Bagan that lasts about 45 minutes, using Zoom software. The guide has a camera with stabilizer, an electric bike and a mobile phone connection and takes the clients through a certain route explaining about the history of Bagan, life style in the village and showing some of the highlight temples like the Ananda and the Dhammayangyi temple. During the whole tour clients can ask the guide to move the camera in any direction, ask questions and have a live virtual tour with a private guide who is the eyes and ears on the ground.
Edwin continues: “as an additional advantage, clients can ask family members or friends to join the tour from the comfort of their own house and enjoy the trip together as we can easily accept a group of 10 persons at the same time”. We have also received requests from clients who visited Bagan in the past and want to re-visit with the same guide so they can also show their family members what they experienced pre-Covid times.
The company has been restructuring and is actively adapting to the new normal since the Myanmar government closed its international airports in April 2020. After the first Covid-19 waive, the company took over Grasshopper Adventures Myanmar aiming to offer more experiences in nature and more active biking, trekking and kayaking tours. It also re-focused on the local Myanmar and expatriates market in Yangon and created new experiences within Yangon division. Recently the company re-opened its sustainable Lalay Lodge in Ngapali beach after successfully passing the Myanmar government Covid-19 safety regulations. Besides that, Exploration Travel is working a lot on creating more awareness on possible experiences in Myanmar with regular articles about traveling in Myanmar in the Myanmar Times and Myanmore Magazine. The aim is to show tour operators and travelers worldwide that Myanmar has so much more to offer then just temples.
Exploration Travel is the first DMC in Myanmar actively offering these virtual tours after having seen the success of similar concepts in Singapore and from the start-up www.virtualtrips.io which recently received considerable funding. “Just as with our physical tours on the ground, we wanted to make the virtual tours more personalized and therefore we opted for this version for individual clients giving the possibility to ask questions and interact” says Edwin. While it’s a perfect way to get the feeling to be out of your home for a while, it won’t be the same as the real physical touring in Bagan, says Edwin, and it can be used now and in the future as a nice gimmick to get a sense for an area and to get an idea of which place to visit once international travel starts again. It will also be good in the future for clients who can’t physically travel due to health, family or financial restrictions or to visit areas that are currently restricted for foreigner visitors, like for example the temples of Mrauk U in Northern Rakhine state.