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Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar and offers some of Asia’s most fascinating markets, pagodas and a remarkable collection of 1,000 ruined stupas at Inhein Village that date back to the 13th century. Fresh fruit and vegetables and are grown near and on the lake and some local garment manufacturers can be visited.

I arrived at the Sanctum Inle Lake Resort from Taunguyi by boat to the hotel’s own boat jetty which made it quite a unique experience. I stayed in a cloister deluxe room which had a wonderful view over the hotel gardens and Inle Lake.

At Sanctum Inle Resort arches and cloisters reference the monastic life. The hotel has integrated all of the modern comforts, from plush beds and air-conditioning, cable-televisons, minibars and Wifi. The bathrooms are large and feature a separate bathtub and a rain shower. (However the water pressure was very low and the hot/cold water regulation was a bit of a challenge. Unfortunately, this could not be fixed during our stay.

The hotel’s Cloister Bar is partly a bar, partly a lounge and offers everything from cocktails to wines and beer as well as the entire menu of The Refectory restaurant. The Refectory Restaurant offers Shan State culinary delights such as noodles, soups and salads from the hotel’s own gardens. There are international dishes available as well.

The hotel has a beautiful infinity pool which offers a stunning view of the sunset over Inle Lake. The hotel has a gym and bicycles are available to explore the surrounding area.

I tried a massage at the hotel’s Sanctuary Spa. The massage  was aromatherapy style and my request to do it on the softer side was very much adhered to by the therapist. (She did however not let me choose the oil as offered in their Spa-menu).

The hotel caters to individual guests as well as smaller and larger groups of travellers. The hotel promises a place of inner peace and calm and serenity in their brochure. This is kind of conflicting with selling their rooms to larger groups. While seeking peace and relaxation one could be disturbed by the arrival of forty to fifty people in a group invading the pool area or the breakfast room at the same time.

I had a pleasant stay at this new hotel in Inle Lake and all staff members I met were friendly and helpful. The food that I tasted was delicious and nicely presented.

If staying at Inle Lake, I would most certainly stay at the Sanctum Inle Lake Resort again and would add two or three days more to the stay for relaxation and unwinding.







Air KBZ is a privately owned airline based in Yangon. Air Kanbawza, known as Air KBZ, was established in June 2010. The airline is owned by Myanmar’s Kanbawza Bank and operates 4 ATR 72-500 and 5 ATR 72-600 aircraft, seating is 74-78 seats.

I checked in at Yangon’s new domestic airport terminal for an early morning departure to Heho. Baggage check-in and security check were fast and efficient and there was still plenty of time for a coffee at the terminal before boarding 15 min before departure. The flight departed on time and a small snack was served. The cabin was clean and tidy and I enjoyed having a good view from a window seat. Baggage was delivered quickly once all passengers walked to the small terminal building. The return flight went smoothly and departed on time. I enjoyed both flights and I think Air KBZ is a good choice for domestic travel in Myanmar. I have used Myanma Airlines (not existing anymore) and Yangon Airways previously. My preference would clearly be for Air KBZ.


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PP Hotel Yangon

On a recent stay in Yangon, I took the opportunity to look at the newly opened Pan Pacific Hotel which had its grand opening in December 2017. The hotel is part of the new Junction City shopping complex which is a totally new experience in Yangon. The mall is a large, western-style shopping mall with brand names which have never been available in Myanmar before. There is also a western-style supermarket with many brand-name items from Thailand and around the world.

The Pan Pacific hotel is a tall building and offers a number of different room categories and several food and beverage outlets. The hotel has an executive floor with lounge. There is a gym and a swimming pool available. Room rates are still competitively  priced and will probably not increase significantly as a Kempinski Hotel will open its doors soon. A Peninsula Hotel is also due to open on the same street in the future. The hotel occupancy was only 25 % on the day I visited. Pictures show different room types and the executive lounge which was deserted that night and there was also no food on display due to lack of guests.

I found the rooms pleasantly decorated, all of them with nice bathrooms. The rooms are bigger in size than the average hotel room in Yangon and some rooms/suites offer wonderful river or city views.









The Excelsior Hotel Ernst with a view of Cologne Cathedral, the Dom, was built in 1863. Carl Ernst was the constructor and first owner of the hotel, which was formerly called “Hotel Ernst”.  Eight years later, in 1871, Carl Ernst sold the hotel to Friedrich Kracht. Four years after buying the hotel, Kracht died and his wife and son, Carl Kracht, had to manage the Innenstadt hotel. Meanwhile, the hotel had become part of Cologne’s better society, and in 1884, Carl Kracht was appointed Prince of the Cologne Carnival – a big honor in Cologne. From early times, the hotel had famous guests, such as German Emperor William I and American artist Andy Warhol.

In 1889, Carl Kracht married Emma Pauline Baur of the Swiss Hoteliers family Baur, who owned both the famous Hotel Baur au Lac and the Savoy Baur en Ville. Carl Kracht and his family lived in Zurich and he managed the Hotel Baur au Lac. After his wedding, he appointed a general manager to take care of the Hotel Ernst’s operations.

From 1908 to 1910 the Hotel Ernst was rebuilt and re-opened as Grand-Hotel Excelsior Hotel Ernst with at the time unparalleled comfort: 100 rooms out of 250 had a private bathroom. In 1918, after World War I, the British Army moved into the hotel and used it as their headquarters during the occupation of the Rhineland. On 31 December 1926 Excelsior Hotel Ernst celebrated its second re-opening after the British army left. During World War II, a part of the hotel was damaged and the owner family was very concerned to rebuild it as soon as the war was over. So, another re-opening took place after the end of World War II.

In 1986 a new wing was constructed. The hotel is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World group and the Kracht family is still the owner.

My check-in was pleasant, swift and the agent escorted me to the room and explained  all features of the room.

My room was a Grand Deluxe room in the Hansewing. It was generous in size with a comfortable bed, a working desk, an all-inclusive minibar and a good sized bathroom.

The hotel has a piano bar and two restaurants, both of which are famous. Restaurant taku has one Michelin star and offers modern Asian cuisine.  The hotel’s second restaurant is the famous Hanse Stube restaurant.

Hanse Stube restaurant is well-known for its elegant and friendly atmosphere. It is an award winning restaurant  and has become famous in Germany.  People from Cologne, as well as international guests, have been enjoying innovative French cuisine combined with regional influences at this restaurant for decades.

I had breakfast at the Hanse Stube restaurant which offered a wide choice of food and freshly prepared egg dishes. The service was a bit unconfident and slow but that may have been due to the fact that only a single staff member was on duty at the time. It was early morning and only about 4 – 5 guests were present but the full buffet was available.

There is a small gym with a sauna, steam room, rain and a cold shower  and a relaxing room available on the top floor. The gym is impeccably clean, featuring plenty of towels, drinking water, fruit and all necessary items for a relaxing evening after a busy day.

The Excelsior Hotel Ernst is a very pleasant hotel. Modern, centrally located, just opposite the Dom and 2 min walk from the main train station and the Rhine River. The staff I met were friendly and helpful. The hotel tends to get very busy during Fair times and enjoys many return guests.

I can highly recommend the Excelsior Hotel Ernst in Cologne if you are looking for a luxury hotel with an excellent location and distinguished service.









Configuation : 168 seats > 3 fare categories: Best, Smart and Basic





Eurowings is the low cost subsidairy airline of the Lufthansa group. Eurowings operates flights within Germany, intra-Europe and a few long haul flights out of Cologne (long haul flights will be transferred to Düsseldorf airport from Summer 2018).

The Cologne flights are mostly operated by “Germanwings”. Germanwings is now fully integrated into Eurowings and will soon fly in Eurowings colours only.

Eurowings sells 3 ticket categories. “Best” which are seats in the first 3 rows of each aircraft and gives you free drinks and a little snack which you can choose for the buy-on-board menu. “Smart” gives you more flexibility in your ticket and offers you a free drink and a pre-packed snack. “Basic” offers you very low fares, no flexibility and no inflight meal or refreshment service. (not even a glass of water)

My outbound flight was delayed by 2 hours due to weather so the crew offered free drinks and snacks to all passengers. They worked efficiently on this 50 minute flight and it was an ok experience.

On the inbound flight there was a another delay, this time no proper announcement was made and a rather grumpy crew with an unmotivated attitude were on duty. Since Eurowings flights are operated as Star Alliance codeshare flights, with Lufthansa and SWISS, it is difficult for some passengers to understand why different levels of service are offered to various passengers onboard. For example, some passengers were getting served with snacks and drinks whilst others were left out or had to pay for a simple glass of water. (You don’t even get a small bottle or a can for yourself if you buy a drink).

I am not a fan of no-frills airlines and I did not particularly enjoy my experience on Eurowings. (Especially when the flight is sold under full service airlines code-shares). Little information was given about flight delays (except SMS) and passengers were treated more like cattle than human beings. Despite the fact that Cologne Airport has many jet-bridge gates, most Eurowings flights are operated via bus-gates which makes a time consuming and uncomfortable travel experience.








Swissotel Amsterdam is a four-star boutique hotel located by Dam Square, in the heart of Amsterdam’s historic city centre and a short walk from Amsterdam Central Station. The hotel is surrounded by shops, museums and restaurants and is a 20-minute drive from Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport.

Check-in at the Swissotel was a breeze. The front office agent was very welcoming and recognised me as a Swissotel Circle member and immediately upgraded me to a swiss-select room with a nice view over the square. It was a corner room with a small staircase going up to the bedroom. Nice clean room with electric curtains and a comfortable large bed. There was a working desk, a minibar and a Nespresso machine. The bathroom was small but the shower was large with a hand shower or a rain shower to choose from. The bathroom was layed out in grey stone and looked very chic. The hotel had a small gym and an outsourced restaurant called Royal 89. The restaurant looked nice and fresh but I did not try it. I checked out within 2 minutes and the same friendly front office staff member offered me a bottle of water to take with me on the way out.

My stay at the Swissotel was a pleasant experience and the best thing about the hotel is its location on Dam Square, right in the city centre and  just minutes walk from the main train station. Verdict: good standard hotel with reasonable rates during the off season.

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Zurich-Amsterdam, B-737-800 Configuration 20-144 Economy Class

I checked-in online for this flight but due to a electronic glitch mobile boarding passes were not available. However, I passed through airport security with the printed version and was issued another boarding pass at the gate. The flight was booked very light and there was plenty of room for everyone to feel at ease. The airplane was a Boeing 737-800 and looked a bit tired inside. Some seats were a bit dirty and there were many seat pockets which were missing the safety card and/or the Inflight Magazine/Duty Free Shopping List. The flight departed on time and a snack was served, including a choice of coffee and tea. The flight attendants were friendly and pleasant. Verdict: a solid product within the European Market.

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