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Best Of Myanmar

From US$ 2,170 US$ 1,547 per person
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highlights
  • Get acquainted with Myanmar on a tour of downtown Yangon. Truly an incredible city, Yangon is packed with pagodas, giant Buddhas and countless historical sites
  • See the most beautiful religious sites in Myanmar, including the Shwedagon in Yangon, Shwesandaw in Bagan, the Shwe Yan Pyae (Teak Monastery) in Nyaungshwe and many more
  • Touring the ancient city of Bagan by bicycle is a magical way to see the place. You'll have convenient and leisurely access to thousands of temples, stupas and pagodas
  • Get off the tourist track and enjoy a uniquely local experience at the community lodge outside of Myaing. This innovative ActionAid project is the first community-based accommodation in the area, with meals and activities provided by local villagers
The Best of Myanmar tour starts and ends in Yangon. The Best of Myanmar is an Explorer tour that takes 15 days taking you from Yangon, Myanmar and through other destinations in Asia.

Travel to Myanmar and discover a country of mythical landscapes, ancient treasures and some of the friendliest folk you’ll ever meet. From golden-gilded Buddhas in Yangon and the magical temples of Bagan to the tranquillity of Inle Lake, Myanmar will excite, impress and intrigue you. A visit to Myanmar is to experience the South-East Asia of twenty years ago, full of rarely seen sights and generations of stories just waiting to be told. Come and discover a little bit of Myanmar magic with us.

TRIP UPDATES FOR 2019:
From 1st January 2019 this trip will stay for an additional night in our Community Lodge and one less night in Bagan. This change is based on traveller feedback that the community stay is a highlight of their time in Myanmar and that another full day and night will allow us to further immerse ourselves in this experience.
Min Gala Ba! Welcome to Myanmar. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm 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.

If you have free time to explore before the meeting, we recommend stepping out onto the streets of Yangon. Why not take the Yangon Circle Line train for a three-hour local journey, or head over to Bogyoke Market and haggle with the locals? There’s also Sule Paya Pagoda, a 2000-year-old golden temple, and the Gems Museum, which houses some of the world’s largest sapphire, ruby and jade pieces. You may need a taxi to travel between some of these attractions; a one-way trip should cost about MMK 4,000.

Notes: You may wish to arrive a early so you arrive in time to attend the group meeting today, and have free time to explore Yangon. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Yangon - Bogyoke Market (Scotts Market) - Free -
  • Yangon - Sule Pagoda - MMK 3000
  • Yangon - Let Yangon Take You For a Ride Urban Adventure - USD 33
  • Yangon - Myanmar Gems Museum & Gem Market - MMK 5000
Start the day with a city walking tour of Yangon. Your leader will show you the city centre and some major attractions around town. In the afternoon, We also head down to Kandawgyi Lake, where you’ll see Karaweik Hall, a reconstruction of a golden royal barge floating on the eastern side. Then visit the holiest shrine in the country, the Shwedagon Paya. This gold-gilded pagoda is studded with diamonds and gems, and 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Rise for a very early start today, for your morning flight to Nyuang-U (about one and a half hours). From there, transfer to the ancient city of Bagan (about 20 minutes). Bagan is an archaeological site where Theravada Buddhism was first introduced to the Kingdom. It was once the site of 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries and still has over 2,000 brick and gilded ruins.
You’ll start your visit with an orientation tour of the town and visit the archaeological site tomorrow. After the orientation tour, head to the nearby Shwezigon Paya, one of the town's main Buddhist sites, also incorporating a compound dedicated to the pre-Buddhism deities, the 37 Nats.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Bagan - Dandaree Culture Show - USD 50
  • Bagan - Dinner & puppet show - MMK 15000
Spend the entire day sightseeing in Bagan. You’ll be given a bicycle and toured through the site by a local guide. You’ll get to see many of the large and impressive temples such as Ananda Pahto, Htilominlo Temple, That Bin Nyu Paya (the highest pagoda in Bagan), Dhammayangyi Pahto and Shwesandaw Paya, as well as some of the smaller hidden gems. Exploring the temple site by bike is a great way to take in the atmosphere of this amazing place. There are also many opportunities to climb stairs to vantage points and capture some magical views. To fully enjoy the day out, please make sure you wear comfortable clothes and adequate protection from the sun (long sleeves, sunglasses and hat).

After touring the temples, head back to the hotel for a short rest before heading out again to see the enormous Shwe Sandaw Temple at sunset.

A highlight of a visit to Bagan for many travellers is the optional sunrise hot air balloon flight over the site, possible on the mornings of day 4 or 5 (depending on availability). Experience breathtaking views above the stupa-studded landscape, followed by a light breakfast and champagne. The experience runs for approximately 2.5 hours, with flights times an average 45 minutes (can range from 1 hour to 20 minutes subject to local conditions). Weather dependent, flights operate between October through to March.
Advance bookings are highly recommended as places are limited. Please ask your booking agent for further details of the Premium and Classic service options.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Enjoy a free day in the area of Bagan. You may like to spend more time exploring the stalls at the archaeological site, the cafes in town, or the nearby Nyaung U Market – one of the more interesting markets in the country. Other places of interest include the Archaeological Museum and the Royal Palace. Taxis to these local sites cost around MMK5,000.

Another option is to take a day trip to Mt Popa, a mountain topped with monasteries and stupas. Climb the 777 steps to enjoy incredible views from the top and make a visit to the strange shrine devoted to the 37 Nat spirits. Your leader can help you arrange transport to Mt Popa for the best price, starting from MMK60 000, and the cost can be split between participating group members.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Bagan - Archaeological Museum - MMK 5000
  • Bagan - Mt Popa Day Trip - MMK 42000
  • Bagan - Royal Palace - MMK 5000
Venture off the tourist path today, further into central Myanmar. Travel by private minibus for around two hours, stopping along the way at a local market. Arrive at your unique community lodge outside the town of Myaing, north of Bagan to experience a pioneering community-based tourism initiative in Myanmar. Then head out on a bicycle for the afternoon and ride around the nearby villages. Stop at the first village for lunch and enjoy a presentation about the project from a local member of the community (your leader will translate). The activities and meals are shared amongst the four villages nearby, so that they all benefit from the project. This is also a great opportunity to practice your Burmese. Visit a thanaka farm and try out the genuine product that you will see on the faces of many Burmese. Ride to a second village and learn about the local farming and seasonal crops. Back at the lodge, you’ll help out with a tree-planting project. Dinner this evening will be cooked by some of the nearby villagers, and entertainment will follow. Perhaps take this opportunity to interact and share your own culture with the locals.

Notes: Accommodation at the community lodge is basic. You’ll be staying in simple twin share rooms, with mattresses on the floor in the traditional style. Linen and mosquito nets are provided. Bathroom facilities are shared. There is no air conditioning and only cold running water and showers. Electricity is intermittent, so we recommend that you bring a torch and charge all your electrical items before arriving. You can refill your water bottle from the large water containers provided.

You can expect your stay here to be wonderful and rewarding, but keep in mind that the project is still developing with the direction of the community, and there can be some hiccups along the way.

If you’d prefer not to cycle, alternative transport (tuk-tuk) can be arranged when requested before the cycling activity at an additional cost of around MMK 8,000 per vehicle. Please note that it'll be difficult to arrange alternative transport during the cycling if you decide to drop out in the middle of it.

During the warmer summer months the cycling activities may be amended to avoid cycling during the intense heat of the day.
Accommodation
  • Lodge
Wake up early this morning and cycle to the small, 170-year-old wooden monastery nearby. A couple more minutes on the bike and you’ll stop at a village for a simple local breakfast prepared by the residents. This is another great chance to strike up a conversation and practice your language skills. After breakfast you’ll cycle to another village and visit a women’s cooperative to learn about their weaving, sewing and craft (this is where Intrepid bags are made). Pedal back to the lodge mid-morning and bid farewell to the community. Travel on a private bus towards Mandalay with a lunch stop en route. Along the way, you’ll visit the beautiful Sagaing Temples, a collection of gilded stupas on the nearby hills. Total driving time from the community lodge to Mandalay is about six hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
This morning your leader will take you on a walking tour of Mandalay. After seeing the town close up, you’ll take a boat down the famous Ayeyarwady River to Mingun. Here you’ll see the Mingun Pahtodawgyi, an enormous stupa which would have been the largest in the world if it had been completed. You’ll also see the world’s largest ringing bell and the beautiful white Hsinphymae Pagoda which sits nearby.

After the excursion to Mingun, return to Mandalay where you’ll have some free time to do some optional activities. Perhaps find some quiet moments at the ancient Sweinbin Teak Monastery, or try your hand at gold leaf making in the Gold Pounders District. There’s also the Mahamuni Buddha Temple, an important pilgrimage site complete with giant golden Buddha.

Tonight visit Mandalay Hill, which is where Lord Buddha is said to have left a footprint. Stay here for sunset and to enjoy views over the glittering stupas and vibrant mosaics of the city at this magical time of day.

For some extra entertainment in the evening, why not catch a traditional show by the Mandalay Marionettes, or a non-conformist comedy show by the Moustache Brothers?
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Mandalay - Mandalay Marionettes - MMK 10000
  • Mandalay - Shwenandaw Teak Monastery - Free - MMK 10000
  • Mandalay - Moustache Brothers - MMK 8000
  • Mandalay - Gold Leaf Pounding Workshop - Free - MMK 8000
  • Mandalay - Mahamuni Buddha Temple - Free - MMK 8000
Today will be a long day of driving towards Kalaw. Along the way, you’ll visit the U Bein Bridge, the longest teakwood bridge in the world. You then head onto the Great Road of China, a new superhighway built by the Chinese. Finally, make your way into the mountains of Shan state and experience the stunning scenery of the area.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Kalaw - Village market - Free -
  • Kalaw - Thein Thaung Paya - Free -
  • Kalaw - Hnee Pagoda - Free -
Today is a full day of hiking around the hills around Kalaw (approximately 6 hours). A local guide will take you to a tea plantation and some small villages. Stop and chat with locals along the way and have lunch at one of the small settlements. This experience will take you off the beaten track and away from the tourist throng. If there’s time in the evening, you might like to visit some of the lovely pagodas around town as well as a local market.

Notes: While today's walk is not difficult, you’ll cover about 20 kilometres in total and will be on your feet for most of the day. You’ll need a reasonable level of fitness for this part of the trip, and remember to bring appropriate hiking shoes. A support vehicle can be arranged to access the trails upon request from the halfway mark, so this means that you’ll need to be able to walk at least 10 kilometres unsupported.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Leave Kalaw for Nyuangshwe today, where you’ll be spending time around Inle Lake. You’ll set off across the mountains and farms and stop off at the Pindaya Caves, one of the Golden Caves in Shan state. Pilgrims flock here to worship the 8,000 golden Buddha images within the caverns, tunnels and chambers of the huge limestone cave.
The drive will take you to the resort town of Nyuanshwe which will be our base for the next few days as we explore Inle Lake.

Notes: Due to the extremely high volume of tourists currently visiting Inle Lake we are not always able to secure our preferred accommodation. At times like these we may need to stay in a property with a lower room standard than in other destinations on this trip.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Start the day by heading out in a motorised boat. You’ll see local life on the lake, including fisherman who use a distinctive leg-rowing technique on their boats, floating tomato plantations and 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 for a home cooked lunch at a village near the lake and sample the regional specialities.

Visit Phaung Daw Oo Paya, the most religious site in the region and take a quick look inside at the various images of Buddha. You can also see a golden barge which is used during Phaung Daw Oo festival. Make a few more stops at local villages to meet the locals, then head back to your accommodation in Nyaungshwe.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Enjoy a free day around Inle Lake. Perhaps visit the Mingala morning market or Nyuangshwe's oldest Buddhist monastery, Yadana Man Aung Paya. For those wishing to venture further afield, you could hire a bike and cycle to the nearby hot springs, villages or temples. Perhaps visit a nearby winery to sample a local drop, or take boat trip to the Indein temple complex and nearby villages. The price of these activities will depend on the number of people joining. Ask your leader about doing these optional activities.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Inle Lake - Bicycle hire - MMK 3000
  • Inle Lake - Yadana Man Aung Paya - Free - MMK 3000
  • Inle Lake - Indein Temples Visit - MMK 34000
  • Inle Lake - Red Mountain Estate Winery Tasting - MMK 3000
  • Inle Lake - Mingala Market - Free - MMK 3000
  • Inle Lake - Aung Puppet Show - MMK 5000
Bid farewell to the splendour of Shan state and make your way to the airport in Heho. From here, take a one-hour flight back to the hustle and bustle of Yangon. The journey ends with an optional final dinner and night out on the town in Yangon.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
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. Visit www.yangonurbanadventures.com for more information.
Optional Activities
  • Yangon - Hands-on Yangon Urban Adventure - USD 81
  • Yangon - Yangon's Streets By Night Urban Adventure - USD 40
what’s included
Accommodation
  • Hotel (13 nights), Community lodge (1 night)
Meals
  • 14 Breakfast, 3 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Transport
  • Boat , Private vehicle , Plane , Bicycle
Included Activities
  • Yangon - Walking Tour
  • Yangon - Kandawgyi Lake
  • Yangon - Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Bagan - Orientation Walk
  • Bagan - Shwezigon Paya
  • Bagan - Temple bike tour
  • Community Lodge - Village Bike Tour
  • Mandalay - Sagaing Hills Temples
  • Community Lodge - Village Bike Tour and Monastery Visit
  • Mandalay - Mandalay Hill
  • Mandalay - Walking tour
  • Mandalay - Boat trip to Mingun
  • Mandalay - U Bein Bridge
  • Kalaw - Full day trek
  • Inle Lake - Pindaya Caves
  • Inle Lake - Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery
  • Inle Lake - Boat sightseeing tour & local lunch
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to/from Yangon are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Best of Myanmar tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Tour details
Booking Type Instant Booking  
Duration 15 days
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 16 participants
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends Yangon/ Yangon
image description
Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for Best of Myanmar
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Good to know
Payment

A deposit of 400 USD is required to confirm this tour. The remaining balance will be charged 57 days before departure. For any departures within 20 August 2018 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Best of Myanmar tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Best of Myanmar tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this Best of Myanmar tour. You can cancel the tour up to 58 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 57 days of departure.
Trip Details
  • Last modified (date)

    22 Jun 2018

  • Trip title

    Best of Myanmar

  • Trip code

    TTSM

  • Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2018 to 31 Dec 2018

  • Introduction

    Travel to Myanmar and discover a country of mythical landscapes, ancient treasures and some of the friendliest folk you’ll ever meet. From golden-gilded Buddhas in Yangon and the magical temples of Bagan to the tranquillity of Inle Lake, Myanmar will excite, impress and intrigue you. A visit to Myanmar is to experience the South-East Asia of twenty years ago, full of rarely seen sights and generations of stories just waiting to be told. Come and discover a little bit of Myanmar magic with us.

    TRIP UPDATES FOR 2019:
    From 1st January 2019 this trip will stay for an additional night in our Community Lodge and one less night in Bagan. This change is based on traveller feedback that the community stay is a highlight of their time in Myanmar and that another full day and night will allow us to further immerse ourselves in this experience.

  • Style

    Original

  • Themes

    Explorer

  • Transport

    Boat,Private vehicle,Plane,Bicycle

  • Physical Rating

    3

  • Joining point description

    Grand Laurel Hotel is well located in downtown Yangon, just 1km from Sule Pagoda, and 3.2 km from the landmark Shwedagon Pagoda. The Yangon International Airport is 14 km away.

    The Grand Laurel Hotel offers guest a 24-hour front desk, luggage storage, on-site laundry and ironing service and restaurant. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. Each room is complete with air-conditioning, a minibar, a fridge, a flat-screen satellite TV and a private bathroom with a shower and hairdryer.

  • Joining point instructions

    A pre-booked airport arrival transfer is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 15 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.

    Alternatively, taxis are readily available from the airport, and drivers will often approach you before you have left the airport. From the airport to the Grand Laurel Hotel you can expect the drive to take approximately 20 minutes (depending on traffic) and cost around USD$18.

  • Finish point description

    Grand Laurel Hotel is well located in downtown Yangon, just 1km from Sule Pagoda, and 3.2 km from the landmark Shwedagon Pagoda. The Yangon International Airport is 14 km away.

    The Grand Laurel Hotel offers guest a 24-hour front desk, luggage storage, on-site laundry and ironing service and restaurant. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. Each room is complete with air-conditioning, a minibar, a fridge, a flat-screen satellite TV and a private bathroom with a shower and hairdryer.

  • Finish point instructions

    A departure transfer from our hotel to the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival 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 Intrepid.

    A taxi from the hotel to the airport should cost around $18USD, and can take anywhere from 20 minutes - 1 hour depending on traffic. Please ask your tour leader for their advice on departure time to ensure you allow sufficient time to reach your flight. You can ask your leader the hotel reception if you would like help arranging a taxi.

  • Group leader

    All Intrepid 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.

  • Communications

    MOBILE PHONES AND INTERNET:
    International roaming with an increasing number of western mobile networks is now possible in Myanmar; the situation is rapidly changing, so it is best to check with your provider in advance.
    The availability of Internet is also increasing, with wifi and access points in many hotels and internet cafes. However Internet speeds are often very slow and unreliable, particularly in rural areas.

  • Is this trip right for you

    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.

    You’ll stay at a Community Lodge in central Myanmar, in simple accommodation with limited power and facilities.This is a new community-based initiative, so there may be some kinks, but the experience promises to be fantastic.

    Touring by bicycle is probably the best way to see Bagan and the villages surrounding the Community Lodge. Although it’s an easy ride well within the abilities of most people, it does take you off paved roads and onto sandy terrain.

    This trip takes you on a full-day walking tour of the villages around Kalaw. While the walk itself is quite easy, you’ll need a decent level of fitness to get through the long day.

    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).

    Myanmar is a big country and there are many long days of travelling. Expect to spend a lot of time in a vehicle when travelling between destinations. This is a great opportunity to sit back, enjoy the passing scenery and get to know your fellow travellers.

  • Health

    All Intrepid 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, Intrepid Travel 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 USD350 for meals not included.

    MYANMAR:
    Myanmar’s national currency, the kyat (pronounced chat, and abbreviated K). Foreign currency is no longer accepted for purchases in Myanmar.

    ATMs are readily 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.

    It's advisable to still bring cash to exchange. USD is the primary currency to exchange, although Euros are also generally accepted. It is recommended to change through authorised money exchange counters to receive official exchange rates. These are available at Airports, major cities and many hotels. Black market money changers in tourist areas will generally give a lower rate. Your tour leader will be able to advise you on money changing 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.

    Carrying cash is relatively safe as long as you take the usual precautions.
    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. 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.

  • Climate and seasonal

    WATER FESTIVAL (THINGYAN): 13th to 16th April 2018
    The 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.

    Departures on the 7th, 12th and 14th April 2018 will be travelling in Myanmar during Thingyan.

    MYANMAR 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

    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders, local operators or locals.

    Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.

  • 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.

    If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.


    ACCOMMODATION IN MYANMAR:
    As tourism infrastructure is starting to develop, you may find the accommodation standards to be lower than in other Asian countries. Since Myanmar has recently become a popular tourist destination, pricing has also inflated due to high demand, although standards can still be quite basic. At times our hotels can change at the last minute, as advance bookings are cancelled by hotels charging a higher price to other travellers. We ask for your patience with any last minute hotel changes.

  • Transport notes

    MYANMAR 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.

    LONG TRAVEL DAYS
    There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.

  • 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 Trip Notes. 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

    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Essential Trip Information a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and 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 it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

  • Accommodation

    Hotel (13 nights),Community lodge (1 night)

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