Magical Myanmar
from $4590
Duration: 14 Days
The glories of this ancient land (now known as Myanmar) are revealed to travellers in this journey. We start in Yangon, a city crowned by the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, then fly to Mandalay, before journeying on to the fabled 11th century capital, Bagan. The Inle Lake region exudes tranquility and enables us to sample the hospitality of the local people who call this part of the world home.
  • See how Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock), balanced on the edge of cliff, covered in golden leaf and topped with a small stupa, embodies the beauty and spirituality of Myanmar
  • Support communities directly, from the hill market of Myanmar's "vegetable garden" outside of Bagan.
  • Witness the incredible sight of Bagan's 4,000 temples and monasteries, plus take in the memorable scene from a sunset cruise on the Ayeyarwady River
  • Travel to the village of Kyunkalay, an undeveloped town beyond Bagan that you won’t find mentioned in any guidebooks. Learn how locals are working with ActionAid Myanmar and using responsible tourism to improve local infrastructure and living conditions.
  • The Inle Lake region exudes tranquillity and enables us to sample the hospitality of the local people who call this part of the world home
  • Enjoy plenty of time to explore Yangon, home to one of the world's true religious jewels, Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Bago - Shwemawdaw Paya
  • Bago - Shwethalyaung Buddha
  • Kyaiktiyo - Golden Rock Temple
  • Yangon - Walking tour
  • Mandalay - Boat trip to Mingun
  • Mandalay - U Bein Bridge
  • Mandalay - Amarapura visit
  • Mandalay - Mandalay Hill
  • Mandalay - Kuthodaw Paya
  • Mandalay - Mandalay Palace
  • Mandalay - Shwenandaw Monastery
  • Mandalay - Mahamuni Buddha Temple
  • Mandalay - Gold Leaf Pounding Workshop
  • Bagan - Sunset cruise on Ayeyarwady
  • Bagan - Shwezigon Paya
  • Bagan - Archaeological tour
  • Bagan - Nyaung U Market
  • Kyunkalay- Village visit to Action Aid community project
  • Inle Lake - Village boat tour
  • Inle Lake - Local villlages hike
  • Day 1 Location: Yangon
    Welcome to Myanmar and Yangon. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. Feel free to explore Yangon – maybe by taking a walk to Sule Pagoda or the Victorian Strand Hotel – then join your welcome meeting at 6pm. Please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception or your booking agent in advance.
    Day 2 Location: Golden Rock
    With an overnight bag packed, embark on the journey to the Golden Rock. Along the way, stop at Bago (about 1.5 hours from Yangon), an ancient settlement of the Mon Kingdom in the 13th century. Here you'll visit the Shwemawdaw Pagoda, which is even larger than the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, and the Shwethalyaung Buddha, one of the largest reclining Buddhas in existence. Then, it's an approximately 2.5 hour drive to the base camp at Kinponsakan. Here you'll transfer to an open air truck with basic wooden bench-style seating. The next hour, towards the summit, will be bumpy. But the views are well worth it. The Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo Pagoda) is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists. The small pagoda (7.3 metres high) sits atop a gilded 25-metre boulder, which appears to balance precariously on a tabular rock. Legend has it that the boulder is held in position by a strand of Buddha's hair. Spending a night in Kyaiktiyo is one of Myanmar's most spiritual experiences. Accommodation in Kyaiktiyo is more basic than in other destinations on this trip. Due to this being a very popular place of pilgrimage, hotels can often be overbooked and the site crowded. At times we may not be able to secure our preferred accommodation at the summit, and may stay back in the town at the base. Travel times vary, and the journey can be arduous in the wet. Your patience will go a long way toward your enjoyment here.
    Day 3 Location: Yangon
    Enjoy a morning of strolling around Kyaiktiyo (the name means 'pagoda borne on a hermit's head' in Mon language). After descending from the summit, return to Yangon, retracing your path from yesterday (approximately 5 hours). You'll arrive back in Yangon late in the afternoon.
    Day 4 Location: Mandalay
    Take a walking tour of downtown Yangon this morning. As you stroll through the streets lined with dilapidated colonial edifices and their restored neighbours, your leader will bring the past to life, as well as explain the present activity. Afterwards, leave for the airport and take a flight to Mandalay – departure time will vary depending on flight availability. The flight takes approximately 1 hour, and after landing it’s approximately a 1 hour drive to the city and your hotel for the next three nights. Mandalay is Myanmar’s ‘Jewel City’, and you’ll and savour the sights, sounds and flavours of this bustling metropolis. 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 5 Location: Mandalay
    Make your way down to the city’s lively waterfront, which offers an interesting backdrop for a boat trip upriver. The archaeological site of Mingun is your destination, 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. Later in the afternoon, embark on a tour that visits the remnants of one of the once great cities that surround Mandalay – Amarapura, just 11 kilometres south of the city. Weather permitting, you might also glimpse a breath-taking sunset over the 200-year-old U Bein wooden bridge.
    Day 6 Location: Mandalay
    Today you’ll enjoy a full day tour of the city. You’ll visit the Mandalay Palace, built as the residence for King Mindon and the Burmese aristocracy in the 19th century, it sits inside a walled fort at the bottom of Mandalay Hill. Continue to Shwe In Bin Kyaung, the intricately carved Swenandaw Monastery, then visit the nearby cottage industries where gold leaf is made. This gold leaf is used extensively in the important pilgrimage site of the Mahamuni Buddha Temple. Here local Buddhists climb to an impressively decorated 2,000-year-old central Buddha statue and press gold leaf to its exterior. Get another insight into Mandalay’s role as the centre of Myanmar’s arts and crafts industry with a visit to a stone-carving workshop. The surrounding mountains are made from quality marble (Sa’kyin) and there are numerous artisans plying their trade along Kyauk Sitt Than, which literally means ‘Stone Carving Road’. You’ll finish your tour around 2pm, and then have some free time to relax. Later, visit various temples, notably Kuthodaw Pagoda, which claims to house the world's largest 'book' – 729 slabs contain the complete text of the Tripitaka, Theravada Buddhism's most sacred text. You’ll then be transported to the top of Mandalay Hill, where Lord Buddha is said to have left a footprint. A clear day reveals beautiful sunset views from the summit, and a host of religious shrines scattered along the hill.
    Day 7 Location: Bagan
    Today you will drive to Bagan (approximately 5 hours), which is one of the most impressive archaeological wonders of Asia. You’ll be in a comfortable vehicle and you’ll stop along the way in a local village. When you arrive in Bagan you’ll transfer to the hotel and have some free time rest up or stretch you legs. Later today you’ll take a cruise out on the Ayeyarwady River as the sun begins to set. Stop on the river bank for a sunset drink and admire the changing colours as the sun descends across the stupas that fill the area and great Ayeryarwady River.
    Day 8 Location: Bagan
    You can explore the incredible sights of Bagan today, travelling by private vehicle between temples sites. 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 9 Location: Bagan
    Travel by boat to the small village of Kyunkalay (approx 1 hour). 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 back to your hotel.
    Day 10 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 local 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, Khaungdaing, situated on Inle Lake not far from the main township, Nyaungshwe. (approximately 1 hour). This afternoon, visit the monastery at Khaung Daing Village. On the way, with your leader’s assistance, you can buy some food and staple items at the nearby market to offer to the monk’s at a monastery – the cost is included in your trip. At the monastery, you can make the offering to the monks. Have a discussion about their way of life, and perhaps help them practice their English.
    Day 11 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 floating market which circles the lake every five days. Here you can buy traditional wares produced by the locals.
    Day 12 Location: Inle Lake
    After breakfast, take a longtail boat along a 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. Hike to some of the smaller local villages, through farming land and forested areas. The hike is approximately 9km (5.5mi) and takes about 2.5 hours, through some uneven and sloping terrain, but within the capabilities of most fitness levels. Return to Indein, where you’ll meet your boat and return back to the hotel this afternoon. 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.
    Day 13 Location: Yangon
    Take 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. Acquire some local handicrafts at the nearby Bogyoke Market, a major bazaar known for its colonial architecture and winding cobblestone alleys. In the afternoon, you will discover one of Yangon's grandest sites, Shwedagon Pagoda. Shwedagon, the legendary gold-gilded pagoda is studded with diamonds and gems, and is said to contain eight hairs of the Buddha. Some time will be spent exploring the complex and learning of its history and spiritual devotions. The mix of people it attracts – monks, pilgrims, worshippers, tourists – is almost as striking as the tower itself.
    Day 14 Location: Yangon
    This trip comes to an end today after breakfast. A transfer to the airport is not included but can be pre-booked with our reservations team. Your leader will be on hand to advise you on onward travel arrangements should you require.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    02MAR2020
    Return Date:
    15MAR2020
    4710NZD
    not available
    Departure Date:
    21SEP2020
    Return Date:
    04OCT2020
    4710NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    19OCT2020
    Return Date:
    01NOV2020
    4590NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    02NOV2020
    Return Date:
    15NOV2020
    4590NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    23NOV2020
    Return Date:
    06DEC2020
    4710NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    07DEC2020
    Return Date:
    20DEC2020
    4710NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    21DEC2020
    Return Date:
    03JAN2021
    4710NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    01FEB2021
    Return Date:
    14FEB2021
    4820NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    01MAR2021
    Return Date:
    14MAR2021
    4820NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    20SEP2021
    Return Date:
    03OCT2021
    4820NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    26 Feb 2020

    Trip title

    Magical Myanmar

    Trip code

    PABR

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    The glories of this ancient land (now known as Myanmar) are revealed to travellers in this journey. We start in Yangon, a city crowned by the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, then fly to Mandalay, before journeying on to the fabled 11th century capital, Bagan. The Inle Lake region exudes tranquility and enables us to sample the hospitality of the local people who call this part of the world home.

    Style

    Peregrine

    Transport

    Boat,Plane,Private vehicle,Local truck

    Physical Rating

    3

    Joining point

    Rose Garden Hotel

    171, Upper Pansodan Road

    Yangon

    Yangon

    MYANMAR

    Phone: +95 1371992

    Joining point description

    Close to the heart of downtown Yangon, the hotel is a short 5 minute drive from the Yangon main railway station. It is 1.6 km from Shwedagon Pagoda, 1.9 km from Sule Pagoda and 1.8 km from Yangon City Hall. Each room here will provide you with a cable/satellite TV, air conditioning and a seating area. Featuring a shower, private bathroom also comes with slippers and a hairdryer. For convenience, it offers a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi access. Other facilities and services available at the property include laundry and an on site restaurant.

    Joining point instructions

    Please note a complimentary arrival transfer to is included if arriving on Day 1 or you have pre booked accommodation through Peregrine. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 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. Rose Garden Hotel is located 13km form the Yangon International Airport, approximately 45-60 minute drive (depending on traffic).

    Finish point

    Rose Garden Hotel

    171, Upper Pansodan Road

    Yangon

    Yangon

    MYANMAR

    Phone: +95 1371992

    Finish point description

    Close to the heart of downtown Yangon, the hotel is a short 5 minute drive from the Yangon main railway station. It is 1.6 km from Shwedagon Pagoda, 1.9 km from Sule Pagoda and 1.8 km from Yangon City Hall. Each room here will provide you with a cable/satellite TV, air conditioning and a seating area. Featuring a shower, private bathroom also comes with slippers and a hairdryer. For convenience, it offers a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi access. Other facilities and services available at the property include laundry and an on site restaurant.

    Finish point instructions

    A departure transfer from our hotel to the airport can be arranged with your booking agent. Please advise your flight departure flight details at least 15 days prior to your trip start date. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Peregrine. If you have booked a post trip airport transfer, please ask your leader to confirm with our local operator the time of departure and meeting place. A taxi from the hotel to the airport should cost around $6USD, and will take approximately 40 minutes depending on traffic. You can ask your leader or at the hotel reception if you would like help arranging a taxi.

    Important information

    1. A complimentary arrival transfer is available for booking. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking. 2. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip and includes all nights. 3. Peregrine can book an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Bagan (operating end of October to March). Please see Days 8-9 for full details of this activity. Places are limited and we recommend advance booking with your agent. 4. Please provide accurate passport details at time of booking as per passport information page in order for us to book internal flights. Wrong passport info provided may result in extra fees in changing details on the ticket. 5. Check-in luggage limit on the domestic flight included on this trip is 20kg.

    Group leader

    All Peregrine Adventures 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. Peregrine Adventures 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 Peregrine Adventures 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

    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service 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 areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable 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, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. 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 Peregrine itinerary, and Peregrine Adventures 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. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Peregrine Adventures' operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

    http://www.peregrineadventures.com/safety-updates

    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.

    It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure. Peregrine strongly recommends 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. Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your tour 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 tour 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 itinerary, and Peregrine 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. SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport we use provides seat belts. 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 we use will have a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. 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 daypack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    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

    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking 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. 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

    See how Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock), balanced on the edge of cliff, covered in golden leaf and topped with a small stupa, embodies the beauty and spirituality of Myanmar

    Support communities directly, from the hill market of Myanmar's "vegetable garden" outside of Bagan.

    Witness the incredible sight of Bagan's 4,000 temples and monasteries, plus take in the memorable scene from a sunset cruise on the Ayeyarwady River

    Travel to the village of Kyunkalay, an undeveloped town beyond Bagan that you won’t find mentioned in any guidebooks. Learn how locals are working with ActionAid Myanmar and using responsible tourism to improve local infrastructure and living conditions.

    The Inle Lake region exudes tranquillity and enables us to sample the hospitality of the local people who call this part of the world home

    Enjoy plenty of time to explore Yangon, home to one of the world's true religious jewels, Shwedagon Pagoda

    Is this trip right for you

    Our accommodation in Kyaiktiyo is more basic than the rest of our trip as there is limited accommodation at the summit. Every effort will be made to secure the best available option. Transport to the summit at Kyaiktiyo is in open local trucks with bench seating. While this can be bumpy, the experience of seeing the Golden Rock is more than worthwhile. This trip involves a lot of walking – often barefoot. You’ll be visiting many religious sites where you must remove all footwear before entering. In places like Bagan, you may need to climb steep steps (sometimes without railing) barefoot, but the views are well worth it. Suitable footwear will be required for uneven terrain, especially when walking around Indein and on our hike. Myanmar is a vast country, so to save time travelling we do include 3 internal flights on this trip. Bear in mind that these may be in smaller aircraft from reputable local airlines. Myanmar is a hot and humid country in general, although it can be much cooler in winter. If you don’t tolerate the heat well, perhaps consider taking a trip in the cooler winter months (November - February).

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All Peregrine 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 cope with 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, Peregrine Adventures reserves 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 and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared. 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. There's no obligation to do this though. 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 a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document). MEALS NOT INCLUDED We recommend USD 200 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 On this trip, we have included gratuities for the essential services that you will receive as part of your tour package. Where applicable, this will cover tips to drivers, specialist local guides, restaurant staff for included meals, porters, bellboys and other hotel staff, including room-cleaning staff. This amount DOES NOT include a tip for your tour leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip 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. You may also wish to put aside some money for your own tipping, such as when you are doing your own optional sightseeing or activity that involves local guides and/or drivers or when joining in optional groups meals or dining out on your own. In these instances, we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The amounts can vary greatly according to destination. Please ask your tour leader for guidance on what are appropriate amounts to tip. Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please 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 the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting.

    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. 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 in Myanmar, 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 optional 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 (s) - 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.

    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.

    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. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. 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

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: https://www.peregrineadventures.com/feedback https://bookings.peregrineadventures.com/bookings/en_AU/feedback/

    Pre-departure checklist

    Before you travel please download our pre-departure checklist to make sure you are fully prepared for your trip: http://www.peregrineadventures.com/pre-departure-travel-checklist

    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. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at: www.peregrineadventures.com/contact-us CRISIS AND EMERGENCIES In case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local ground representative on the number below: Peregrine’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 Responsible travel is important to Peregrine. Maintaining our integrity and upholding principles of sustainable development are core to our travel ethos. Our values are ingrained in the culture of our business and in the design of our trips. We respect the people, cultures and local environments that we encounter while travelling and encourage the spread of good will and cross-cultural sharing. We are committed to making a positive contribution wherever possible. Read more about responsible travel with Peregrine here: https://www.peregrineadventures.com/responsible-travel 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, Peregrine 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 (formerly the World Society for Protection of Animals) 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 that 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. 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 Peregrine Adventures, a brand of the Intrepid Group, and works 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. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because 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. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings 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.

    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 for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen 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 credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

    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. SINGLE TRAVELLERS: Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

    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 print and review a final copy 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 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 may be 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 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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