Classic Myanmar
from $3480
Duration: 12 Days
Travel to Myanmar and discover a country of mythical landscapes, ancient treasures and some of the friendliest folk you’ll ever meet. From the glittering spires of Shwedagon Pagoda, and the ancient temples of Bagan, to the tranquillity of Inle Lake and the lively atmosphere of Mandalay, Myanmar will excite, impress and intrigue you. Full of rarely seen sights and stories just waiting to be told, come and experience the magic of Myanmar.
  • Begin a Myanmar discovery with the symbolic and iconic Shwedagon Pagoda, a magnificent glittering temple crowning Yangon
  • Experience the incredible sight of Bagan’s sea of temples and explore the best of 4,000 temples and monasteries
  • Enjoy an afternoon cruise to Mingun, and visit the world's largest pagoda, then return to watch the sunset over the Ayeryarwady River
  • Soak up the tranquillity of Inle Lake and sample the hospitality of the Shan people, one of many groups that contribute to the ethnic diversity of this colourful country. Stop in for a home cooked lunch at one of the villages near the lake and learn more about local life
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Yangon - Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Yangon - Kandawgyi Lake
  • Yangon - Walking tour
  • Mandalay - Gold Leaf Pounding Workshop
  • Mandalay - Mandalay Hill
  • Mandalay - Kuthodaw Paya
  • Mandalay - Shwenandaw Monastery
  • Mandalay - Mandalay Palace
  • Mandalay - Boat trip to Mingun
  • Mandalay - U Bein Bridge
  • Bagan - Archaeological tour
  • Kyunkalay - Village visit to Action Aid community project
  • Inle Lake - Boat sightseeing tour & local lunch
  • Inle Lake - Indein Village temple ruins
  • Inle Lake - Traditional Shan dinner
  • Day 1 Location: Yangon
    Min Gala Ba! Welcome to Myanmar. The former capital of Myanmar (Burma), Yangon – meaning ‘End of Strife' – has been through tough times. Surviving protests, natural disasters and economic uncertainty, this city remains the commercial, historical and cultural heart of Myanmar. An airport arrival transfer is included (if booked in advance) and there will be a Welcome Meeting at 6pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. Arrive at any time today, and in any free time before the meeting, get your bearings and a taste of this wonderful city. Perhaps take a walk to Sule Paya then down to the Victorian Strand Hotel to admire both the colonial architecture and the bargaining madness of Bogyoke Market. Maybe take an Urban Adventure with a local guide, such as the Let Yangon Take You For a Ride, or take the circle train through the city and suburbs and see local life in Yangon.
    Day 2 Location: Yangon
    Yangon is Myanmar's largest city and home to a wealth of ancient relics, attracting an extraordinary mix of monks, pilgrims, worshippers and tourists. Get to know this fascinating city better on a morning walking tour, including a visit to the old colonial area. In the afternoon, explore one of the great sites of Myanmar – the legendary Shwedagon Pagoda. The legendary gold-gilded pagoda is studded with diamonds and gems, and is said to contain eight hairs of the Buddha. It’s a particularly impressive sight at sunset when the lights come on and the stupa shines beautifully. Spend the afternoon walking around the complex, taking in the history, spiritual significance, beauty and ambiance of this ancient site.
    Day 3 Location: Mandalay
    This morning head to the airport and catch a flight to Mandalay. The departure time will vary depending on flight availability. The flight takes approximately one hour, and after landing it’s approximately a one-hour drive to the city and your hotel. Mandalay is Myanmar’s ‘Jewel City’, and you’ll savour the sights, sounds and flavours of this bustling metropolis on a city tour. Learn about the city's gold-leaf pounding industry and visit Mandalay Palace, Shwenandaw Monastery and Kuthodaw Paya. Head to Mandalay Hill in the evening and catch a spectacular sunset over the city. Tonight you might enjoy a walk to one of the markets, where a great time can be had enjoying the hustle and bustle or bargaining for local wares.
    Day 4 Location: Mandalay
    Spend a free morning at your leisure before regrouping in the afternoon and making our way down to the city’s waterfront. The lively scene offers an interesting backdrop for your boat trip upriver to Mingun. Head to the archaeological site of Mingun, the location of a number of interesting sights, including the world's largest (albeit unfinished!) pagoda – Pahtodawgyi. It’s also home to the world’s second largest ringable bell, the beautiful white Hsinphymae Pagoda, and temples dating back hundreds of years. The river is effectively a major trading, communication and commuting route and a wide range of different boats, barges and steamers can be viewed along the way. The journey usually takes 1 hour on the way there, and 40 minutes on the way back. Enjoy a free evening to soak up the beautiful riverside life in Mandalay.
    Day 5 Location: Bagan
    Today, enjoy a scenic drive from Mandalay to Bagan (approximately 5 hours). On the way, stop at U Bein Bridge, the world's longest teak bridge. Arrive in Bagan, Myanmar’s ancient city famous for the Bagan Archaeological Area, where more than 2,000 Buddhist monuments tower over green plains. Ready yourself to experience one of the most impressive archaeological wonders of Asia tomorrow.
    Day 6 Location: Bagan
    Explore the incredible sights of Bagan today. This archaeological site is where Theravada Buddhism was introduced to the Kingdom of Bagan, and was once the site of 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries. Today, the ancient city still has over 4,000 brick and gilded ruins, and is a remarkable sight. Nyaung U’s lively market contrasts with the eerie silence of the plains littered with temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins, including Gawdawpalin, Thatbyinnyu, Ananda and Shwezigon – all names of temples and pagodas that bear testament to a glorious past. The graceful ageing of the temples, the stucco peeled off by the dusty winds, has revealed beautifully rusty red bricks that glow golden brown in the sun. Marvel at the spire-lined skyline, the lion-guarded doors, the wood carvings inside, and the foliage-covered ruins. After visiting a local lacquerware workshop to gain insight into a craft this place is famous for, you might catch a glorious sunset from one of the ruins.
    Day 7 Location: Bagan
    Drive about 45 minutes to reach Pakkoku, about 45 minutes away. Here, we’ll spend roughly an hour at the biggest thanakha market in Myanmar, as well as a local wet market. Thanakha is a cosmetic paste made from ground bark and is an ancient beauty treatment in Myanmar, said to treat wrinkles, sun damage, and acne, and even believed to help with fevers and headaches. From the markets, we’ll head to a local tea shop where you can choose to try some tea and local street foods. We’ll then drive another 45 minutes to reach a small village, called Kyunkalay. This is a tiny place that you won’t find in any guidebooks or on Wikipedia — entirely undeveloped with no electricity, no school for the local children, and not even a monastery until 2017. The main form of transportation is by oxen cart and bicycle. We’ve partnered with ActionAid Myanmar, an organisation working to bring human rights and social justice to neglected communities. ActionAid doesn’t believe in handouts, instead helping communities to find their own sustainable solutions. Intrepid has formed a partnership to help introduce tourism to the community of Kyunkalay in a way that is responsible, sustainable, and won’t negatively impact their culture and heritage. You’ll get to walk around the village and learn about important tasks locals do, such as harvesting beans and vegetables, or growing flowers. We’ll then join a local family for lunch in their home, where you’ll be able to learn more about what life is like in this part of Myanmar. Walk to the nearest jetty, where we’ll cross the Ayeyarwady River, the largest and most important waterway in Myanmar. We’ll reach Nyaung U Jetty on the other side, and from here your leader will help you to arrange for local transportation back to your hotel, or into the city to explore more on your own.In the afternoon, return to Bagan for free time and further explore this amazing city. You might hire a bicycle or even take a horse carriage and enjoy your own exploration of the seemingly endless archaeological sites. If you’d rather stay in town then there are the cafes or the nearby Nyaung U Market – one of the more interesting markets in the country.
    Day 8 Location: Inle Lake
    Today drive approximately 25 minutes to the nearest airport in Nyuang U, and then hop on a plane to Heho (approximately 40 minutes), the gateway for Inle Lake. The calm waters of Inle Lake are the life-blood for many ethnic minority communities. They live in stilt houses along the lake's shallow fringes and surrounding areas. You’ll drive through picturesque countryside and rolling hills to your final destination, Nyaungshwe (approximately 45 minutes). This afternoon you might like to rent a bicycle and ride out to a local winery, where you can sample some of the local varieties and enjoy great sunset views. Otherwise, the town of Nyaungshwe is easy to walk around and explore. Notes: You will notice that the weather is rather cooler here due to the high altitude. At certain times of year there can be lots of insects around the lake. Please read ‘what to take’ section for further information.
    Day 9 Location: Inle Lake
    A full day is spent on the lake seeing local life, exploring the floating gardens, and catching a glimpse of the local Intha fishermen who are famous for their unique 'leg-rowing' technique. The Intha leg-rowers navigate their long, narrow craft by standing on the stern with one leg and wrapping the other around the oar. This unique style evolved because the reeds that cover the lake and the floating plants make it difficult to see above them while sitting. The lake is also home to a wide array of bird-life including egrets, cranes, ducks, storks and various birds of prey. Visits may be made to some of the local villages, home to cottage industries such as silversmiths, weavers and cigar makers. If you’re lucky, you might even see the rotating market which circles the lake every five days. Here you can buy traditional wares produced by the locals. Stop in at one of the villages near the lake for a home cooked lunch experience and perhaps help out with some of the cooking. The surrounds will be simple, but the food delicious!
    Day 10 Location: Inle Lake
    After breakfast, take a longtail boat down a long, narrow canal to the Indein ruins complex (approximately 45 minutes). Disembark and discover a pagoda and stupas built in the 8th century. Explore the atmospheric ruins; crumbling stupas being reclaimed by greenery, and up a hill over 1000 zedi from the 17th and 18th centuries. Enjoy views across the valley and lake from the pagoda, browsing through the rows of shops along the corridor uphill, or just marvel at the surroundings. After some time exploring you will start a walk towards the Na Daung Kyang village, the home of the Danu and Inthar ehtnic groups, and learn about their seasonal agriculture. Then continue to Shwe Indein Pagoda, and onwards to a a local lunch stop at the Nyaung Oak Village. After lunch you will enjoy some further scenery on a walk to the Kyaunk Taw Village, then pass through bamboo forests on a walk back to the jetty where you will meet your boat and return back to the hotel. (Full day trek distance - 12km, totalk walking duration of 4 - 5 hours depending on pace.) This evening, reward all your efforts today with a traditional Shan dinner, where you’ll get to sample some of the local-style culinary specialties. Notes: The amount of walking advisable today will depend on individual and group fitness and wishes, and also the time of year. In the hotter months from March to October, reduced distances are often advisable, and arrangements can be discussed with your tour leader the day before.
    Day 11 Location: Yangon
    Catch a morning flight back to Yangon (approximately 1 hour – departure time will depend on flight availability) and discover more of this beguiling city in some free time. Visit Sule Pagoda in the heart of downtown Yangon or acquire some local handicrafts at the nearby Bogyoke Market, a major bazaar known for its colonial architecture and winding cobblestone alleys, or join an urban adventure to explore Yangon's streets by night. For a leisurely change of pace, perhaps indulge in high tea at the historic colonial hotel, The Strand. Maybe relax after a day of exploring with dinner at one of the many restaurants – sit back on a balcony, watch the sun set over the glittering spires of Shwedagon Pagoda and enjoy the last night of this unforgettable Myanmar adventure.
    Day 12 Location: Yangon
    There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. As there is plenty to see and do in Yangon we recommend extending your stay a few extra days to make the most of all it has to offer. Perhaps do some of the activities suggested at the beginning of the trip, or ask your leader about our range of Urban Adventures day tours.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    04OCT2020
    Return Date:
    15OCT2020
    3480NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    25OCT2020
    Return Date:
    05NOV2020
    3480NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    01NOV2020
    Return Date:
    12NOV2020
    3480NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    20DEC2020
    Return Date:
    31DEC2020
    3565NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    09 Jul 2020

    Trip title

    Classic Myanmar

    Trip code

    TTKA

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    Travel to Myanmar and discover a country of mythical landscapes, ancient treasures and some of the friendliest folk you’ll ever meet. From the glittering spires of Shwedagon Pagoda, and the ancient temples of Bagan, to the tranquillity of Inle Lake and the lively atmosphere of Mandalay, Myanmar will excite, impress and intrigue you. Full of rarely seen sights and stories just waiting to be told, come and experience the magic of Myanmar.

    Style

    Comfort

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    Boat,Private Bus,Plane

    Physical Rating

    2

    Joining point

    Summit Parkview Hotel

    350 Ahlone Road Dagon Township

    Yangon

    Yangon

    MYANMAR

    Phone: +95 1211888

    Joining point description

    Summit Parkview Yangon offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. The property features a fitness centre, 24-hour front desk reception, and an on-site restaurant serving international dishes. Rooms are fitted with a flat-screen cable TV, air conditioning, an electric kettle, hairdryer and minibar. All rooms have private bathroom facilities. Please note in some cases Intrepid are not able to secure the same room type that we stay at on your tour, for accommodation booked before or after your tour. You may need to change rooms before or after your tour, the hotel will assist you if this is necessary. The hotel is a 5-minute walk to People Park and Shwedagon Pagoda.

    Joining point instructions

    Please note a complimentary arrival transfer to is included if arriving on Day 1 or you have pre booked accommodation with Intrepid. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 15 days prior to your departure. There are 2 exits at Yangon Airport Terminal 1: Exit 6 & 8. Your transfer driver will be waiting for you at Exit 6. Summit Parkview Hotel is located approximately 30-60 minute drive from the airport (depending on traffic).

    Finish point

    Summit Parkview Hotel

    350 Ahlone Road Dagon Township

    Yangon

    Yangon

    MYANMAR

    Phone: +95 1211888

    Finish point description

    Summit Parkview Yangon offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. The property features a fitness centre, 24-hour front desk reception, and an on-site restaurant serving international dishes. Rooms are fitted with a flat-screen cable TV, air conditioning, an electric kettle, hairdryer and minibar. All rooms have private bathroom facilities. Please note in some cases Intrepid are not able to secure the same room type that we stay at on your tour, for accommodation booked before or after your tour. You may need to change rooms before or after your tour, the hotel will assist you if this is necessary. The hotel is a 5-minute walk to People Park and Shwedagon Pagoda.

    Important information

    1. Please provide passport details at time of booking with exact name as per passport. these are essential for booking services on this trip. 2. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel. 3. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip and includes all nights. 4. Intrepid can assist with booking an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Bagan (operating end of October to March). Please see Days 6-7 for full details of this activity. Places are limited and we recommend that you book in advance with your booking agent.

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. MOTORBIKE BAG SNATCHING: Be particularly aware of motorbike bag snatching, especially in the bigger cities.

    MYANMAR SAFETY: Security presence will be heightened around public holidays. Travellers are advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, not to take photographs or videos of the police, any demonstrations, military installations or military personnel. We do not travel to Rakhine State, Kachin State, affected areas of Chin or Shan States where political and ethnic tensions are high. There have been occasional instances of violent crime against foreigners, including muggings, burglaries and petty thefts. Travellers should take extra care of their belongings and take sensible security precautions at all times. Myanmar's Water Festival (Thingyan) and New Year is celebrated in April each year. There is an increased risk of road accidents, caused by drunk drivers, overcrowded vehicles and large unruly crowds celebrating in public places, at this time. In previous years, the incidence of violent and petty crime has increased during the festival. Pay particular attention to your personal security at this time.

    Communications

    MOBILE PHONES AND INTERNET: Communication services in Myanmar are improving. Internet services are available but are unreliable outside cities and large towns. The telephone network is also unreliable and limited to cities and large towns. International GSM roaming is available for a limited number of international mobile phone carriers. Many travellers choose to buy a local SIM card upon arrival and top up with credit as needed.

    Visas

    As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends. PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for most up to date information. MYANMAR: Citizens of selected countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland and others can apply for a tourist visa on arrival at Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw airports. See here for more information: https://tourism.gov.mm/visa-requirements/visa-on-arrival/ eVisas are available for most other nationalities via the official website here: http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/ Please pay careful attention to the conditions of entry when applying for an eVisa.  Nationalities who are unable to obtain an eVisa or visa on arrival should contact the Myanmar consulate in their country of residence.

    Why we love it

    Begin a Myanmar discovery with the symbolic and iconic Shwedagon Pagoda, a magnificent glittering temple crowning Yangon

    Experience the incredible sight of Bagan’s sea of temples and explore the best of 4,000 temples and monasteries

    Enjoy an afternoon cruise to Mingun, and visit the world's largest pagoda, then return to watch the sunset over the Ayeryarwady River

    Soak up the tranquillity of Inle Lake and sample the hospitality of the Shan people, one of many groups that contribute to the ethnic diversity of this colourful country. Stop in for a home cooked lunch at one of the villages near the lake and learn more about local life

    Is this trip right for you

    If you would like to climb or enter the temples in and around Bagan, please be aware you will need to remove your footwear and socks. In addition, some of the temple steps are very steep, and without railings, so caution will need to be exercised. This trip includes half a day walking around Indein village at Inle Lake. You will walk on uneven tracks to a Shan tribal village. Total walking time is around 5 hours, but this will depend on fitness and wishes of the group, and weather. To save time on this trip there are 3 internal flights. Please note these are likely to be on smaller aircraft. Travel drive from Mandalay to Bagan (approximately 5 hours) by private vehicle, to save time transiting at airports, and so you can relax and watch the scenery. The heat and humidity between March and October can be very intense. Your local leader will adjust activities to suit the local conditions and the needs of the group, however be prepared for the heat and the rain during this time of year and pack accordingly.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. Below you can find some further information about health issues relevant to the destinations visited on this trip. COVID-19 As we start planning our return to running trips, the safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers will remain our priority and our return to operations will be done in a safe and responsible way. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/safe-travels We will not require a negative COVID-19 test before joining a trip unless it is a requirement of entry for the country. If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will assist you to seek medical advice and you will not be permitted to join the trip. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. DENGUE FEVER: Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. ZIKA VIRUS: There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip.

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. FOOD IN MYANMAR: The food in Myanmar is described as more mild, and oily than it's neighbouring countries. We will try and give you a taste of traditional cuisine in each region, and the blend of influences including Chinese, Mon and Indian. Breakfasts are often simple (eggs, bread, jam and coffee/tea would be most common), or there may only be local breakfast available. Many dishes in Myanmar contain peanuts, or are made with peanut oil. Please let your leader know if you have any allergies. In addition, as tourism is developing, many restaurants are still learning to cater for foreign tourists. Your leader will assist with suggesting restaurants that follow expected food hygiene practices.

    Money matters

    SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. MEALS NOT INCLUDED We recommend USD350 for meals not included. MYANMAR: The currency is the Myanmar Kyat (MMK), pronounced chat and abbreviated K. Foreign currency is not accepted for purchases in Myanmar. ATMs are available in all cities and most major towns. At times these can prove unreliable due to frequent power cuts or running out of funds, so you may need to try several ATMs when withdrawing funds. Check with your bank before you travel to confirm whether your card will work in Myanmar. It's advisable to still bring cash to exchange. USD is the primary currency to exchange, although Euros are also generally accepted. It is illegal to change money other than through authorised money exchange counters at airports,  or banks and some hotels in major cities. Your tour leader will be able to advise you on money changing or withdrawal opportunities during the trip. USD: Because of concerns over counterfeit money, US Dollars with the letters AB and CB at the start of the serial number (top left-hand corner of the note) are not always accepted. Notes must be in pristine condition as notes with pen marks, folds or tears are not accepted. Notes should not be older than 2006. EUR: Euros do not have to be in pristine condition. You can exchange any left over Kyat at Yangon Airport when departing. TIPPING While tipping is not a traditional part of culture in Myanmar it is becoming more common as tourism increases, and is appropriate when you have experienced excellent service. Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. Carrying small notes of local currency will make tipping easier. It is best to avoid tipping with with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes, as this can be regarded as an insult. Optional Tipping Kitty: On Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips for drivers, local guides, and hotel staff (excludes restaurant tips). The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent which can be checked at any time, and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty at your own discretion, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader. Optional tipping kitty for this trip: USD 35 per person (can be paid in local currency). Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs.

    What to take

    MAIN LUGGAGE What you need to bring will vary according to when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances including up and down stairs and in busy train stations. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Small, wheeled suitcases that can also easily be picked up and carried are suitable, or if you prefer, a back pack is also a good option. Remember to bring suitable locks for your luggage. INTERNAL FLIGHT LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE Checked luggage allowance is a maximum 15kg, with up to 5kg carry on luggage. Any excess luggage charges can be paid directly to the airline at check-in. If your trip is beginning and ending at the same location, excess luggage can usually be stored at your arrival/departure hotel and can be collected after your trip. ESSENTIALS: - Day pack: for carrying essentials when exploring destinations. - Lightweight clothing: A mixture of covering lightweight clothing and some warm layers (depending on the season) are recommended. It is best to check the weather and seasonal information before travelling. Dress standards are conservative in Myanmar, and for visits to religious sites you will also need to wear clothing that covers shoulders and pants/skirts that go past the knee. Laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes. - Wind and waterproof jacket - Comfortable shoes for walking and hiking: Closed-in shoes that are comfortable to walk for an entire day are recommended for city and countryside walks, and are required for cycling activities - Sandals/flip flops/easy to remove footwear: for visits to religious sites - Sun protection: hat, sunscreen, sunglasses - Toiletries RECOMMENDED: - Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and adhesive bandages. - Insect repellent - Water bottle: We recommend a 1.5litre capacity. While drinking tap water is not recommended in Myanmar, some hotels will have filtered drinking water available. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. - Camera with spare batteries/power bank: You will have access to power to recharge your electrical items most days, however these are a good backup. - Electrical adapter plug - reusable shopping bag for buying supplies - torch/flashlight - travel wipes - small towel - ear plugs & eye mask - A good book, a journal and music player for longer journeys. VALUABLES Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe if available. It’s a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. It’s also recommended to bring a copy of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.

    WATER BOTTLE: Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

    Climate and seasonal

    WATER FESTIVAL (THINGYAN) - 13-16 April 2019 & 2020 This Buddhist Water Festival typically falls in mid-April each year, and usually involves water throwing to wash away the previous year before the New Year commences. During this important national holiday many businesses close or only offer limited services, or will impose additional public holiday service charges. This includes the closure of some attractions, restaurants, banks and currency exchange providers. Additionally, it is common ATMs to run out of cash, so it is recommended to have sufficient cash in advance to last you through the holiday period.  Although we do our best to run trips during this time as outlined in the scheduled itinerary, it is likely that there will be some changes to transport, accommodation or the time spent in each destination due to the limited services operating at this time. We will aim to communicate any known changes prior to your departure. Regardless of the challenges, most travellers have really enjoyed visiting Myanmar during Water Festival and being involved in water throwing celebrations with locals that occur across the country. MYANMAR WEATHER & CLIMATE: Myanmar has a tropical monsoon climate which can vary significantly across the country. The dry season runs from November to February, and during this time it can be cool, particularly in the central areas including Bagan, Kalaw and Inle Lake. If travelling during this season is advised to bring trousers, a warm jacket and layers, especially for the evenings. The hottest and driest months are March and April, which experience high temperatures and high humidity. The Southwest Monsoon typically commences mid-May and continues until October, however September and October generally experience less rainfall and more sunshine.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

    Feedback

    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below. Intrepid’s Local Operator: +95 9 420254468

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller SHOULD WE STILL TRAVEL TO MYANMAR? Intrepid has never travelled into, or near, Rakhine State. We don’t take sides nor support discrimination of any kind. We are concerned about violence wherever it takes place, and the effect that this has on all people, including those in Rakhine State. We are committed to supporting impartial, independent, and inclusive responses to situations of crisis that complies with International Humanitarian Law. However, we genuinely believe that travel can be a force for good, it builds understanding, and it makes us less prejudiced and more empathetic. This is something that the world desperately needs right now. We strive to include as much genuine real-life local interaction as we can on our trips, as this exposes both our travellers and local communities to different cultures and views, and the reality that we are all human. There are opportunities on our trips to visit various local community projects which we believe is one of the best ways to genuinely learn about local culture and help local people. You can also visit https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/actionaid-myanmar to donate to ActionAid Myanmar which equips leaders in local communities with the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to be change-makers in their community. ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING: While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including World Animal Protection, advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately, many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive-bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/elephants-welfare LOCAL DRESS: Wearing tank-top style garments and shorts in Myanmar is not common and may cause offence as it is a conservative society. Avoid wearing short-sleeved garments and shorts (for both men and women), especially when visiting Buddhist pagodas. Always remove shoes and socks before entering religious buildings and compounds. RELIGION: Myanmar is a majority Buddhist nation and laws apply to entering or exiting Myanmar with religious materials, 'insulting religion' and mistreatment of images of Buddha. If you have a Buddhist related tattoo, or tattoo of Buddha, you should keep it covered at all times. Respect religious customs when visiting Buddhist religious sites and follow the advice of your leader regarding religious customs. RESPONSIBLE TOURISM: These and other customs are explained on this website: www.dosanddontsfortourists.com

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ ACTION AID WOMENS SELF HELP GROUPS The Intrepid Foundation has partnered with Action Aid in support of women’s Self Help Groups (SHG) in Myanmar. Action Aid has been working with four villages in a drought affected area north of Bagan, in the Magway Region of central Myanmar, to create a new microfinance program. Each SHG will be made up of 20-30 women, who will manage small business loans given to members of their community. By borrowing from a SHG at a low interest rate of 2%, women are able to invest in their existing or new businesses – mainly agro-based activities or traditional handicrafts production. To ensure the sustainability of the project, Action Aid Myanmar will continue to provide skills-training, business expansion support and help communities access resources and services offered by their local governments. For more information, or to make a donation please visit: www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/actionaid-myanmar/

    Accommodation notes

    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation. Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

    Transport notes

    FLIGHTS: Please provide your name as per passport 45 days prior to the departure date for flight tickets to be issued. For internal flights we fly the following safety audited airlines: Golden Myanmar Airlines, Yangon Airways, Air Kan Baw Za (KBZ) and Mann Yadanarpon Airlines. It is common for airlines to make last-minute changes to our confirmed group bookings on internal flights, and to re-book the group on earlier or later flight times than originally scheduled. In rare instances the group may be split over different flights throughout the day, and you may be unaccompanied on the internal flight. In this case you will be assisted by additional tour escorts on departure and arrival. Some flight routes are indirect, and may involve a stopover enroute to pick up additional passengers. Depending on demand, some flight routes are operated with smaller aircraft. Checked luggage allowance on domestic flights is a maximum 20kg, with up to 5kg carry on luggage. Any excess luggage charges can be paid directly to the airline at check-in. TAXIS: Registered taxis have red licence plates and are readily available Make sure that the fare is agreed with the driver before you depart. Take particular care if using taxis late at night. Registered ride-sharing services operate in Yangon. LIGHT TRUCK: A common form of transport in Myanmar, these small trucks generally have two bench seats fixed along either side of the back of the truck facing inwards with a covered roof. TUK TUK: These are small three wheeled vehicles and a very common form of transport across South East Asia.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. As a solo traveller, you will be paired up with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport information. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. If you’re not comfortable sharing a room with someone of the same gender, you also have the choice to pay for a single supplement (available on the majority of our trips). If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

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