CRISP NOTES IN MYANMAR
I have just returned from two wonderful weeks in Myanmar. Nothing negative to report - except for one major inconvenience.
The only currencies accepted are euro, US dollars or the local currency kyat (pronounced chat) - no Australian dollars at all at either banks or money changers. You tend to have to pay for hotel rooms and tickets to monuments, train tickets etc in US dollars but everything else in kyat.
Not a problem, you would think, except the US dollars have to be pristine - no fold line, no marks on the notes, no bent corners, no fading. I bought my US dollars before leaving and while I was aware of the situation and tried to ensure the notes I had were in good condition, I had no idea it'd be such a problem.
I left with $US3000 - fortunately way more than I needed as I had $1200 rejected on various grounds. Not even the major banks would take the notes deemed unacceptable.
During the entire time, I saw one ATM in Yangon and one in Nay Pyi Taw and only one shop (very upmarket and expensive) accepting a credit card, levying a 10 per cent surcharge for its use.
It's a cash economy. Be aware and ensure that the US dollars your bank provides you with are as new as new!
- Anne Buckley
PAINT THE TOWN
The Art Gallery of South Australia is well worth a "Reason to visit Adelaide in 2014" (Traveller, November 30-December 1). It contains a superb collection of historical Australian, North American and European paintings, and nine other art forms.
Nicholas Chevalier's Memorandum of the Start of the Exploring Expedition, 1860, and Septimus Power's The Battle before Villers-Bretonneux would be among the most outstanding paintings in Australian galleries.
- Bernard Shanahan
PRICE IS RIGHT
No wonder we jump on an international flight for our holidays. In The Big Six (Traveller, November 30-December 1) we see not yet opened - but already winning accommodation awards - Sea Sentosa Echo Beach Indonesia, rates starting from $175. There's the Andy Murray-owned luxury boutique country house Cromlix in Scotland - only 15 rooms and suites and boasting a three-Michelin star chef - rates starting at $350.
And then we have Hayman Island up north - lovely location but can't swim in the water from November to April for fear of dying from a jellyfish sting, and suffers from the tyranny of distance with difficulty attracting top-notch staff together with limited dining options, and the rates, well, starting at a mere $730. Note to the new owners: get real, it ain't the Bahamas.
- John Bennett
We have been to two of the homes away from home (Traveller, November 30-December 1) as part of the Beyond Travel tour, Budapest to the Golden Horn.
We experienced the one in Arbanassi village in regional Bulgaria, and also one in Sibiel village in rural Romania. We found the home-cooked meals to be excellent, and such a delightful change. The hostess in each case spoke little English but their cooking was well worth the visit.
- MF & JA Forster