Classic Burma (Myanmar) Trip Notes

Classic Burma (Myanmar)

Last Modified: 23 Jul 2015
Classic Burma (Myanmar)
Trip code: TTKA
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 30 Apr 2016
Travel to Burma and discover a country of mythical landscapes, ancient treasures and some of the friendliest folk you’ll ever meet. From glittering spires of Shwedagon Pagoda and the magical temples of Bagan to the tranquillity of Inle Lake and the lively atmosphere of Mandalay, Burma will excite, impress and intrigue you. 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 Burma magic with us.
This trip is run by our experienced sister company Peregrine Adventures. Your group is therefore likely to be a mixture of Intrepid passengers and other like-minded international travellers.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeEmergency contact
ThemesYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
MapSingle travellersVisas
ItineraryAccommodationIssues on your trip
Also available to purchaseMeals introductionWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMealsHealth
Culture shock rating TransportSafety
Physical ratingGroup leaderTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Money ExchangeAlternate Joining point The Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxFinish point description
Important notesAlternate Finish point
Style
Comfort
  • ‘Comfort travel’ means encountering all that the real world has to offer, but with an added degree of, well… comfort. We use more private transport, the travel pace more relaxed, the accommodation a touch nicer. And by paying a little more up front, you’ll be treated to more included meals, more leader-led activities and get a greater immersion in all things local.
Themes
Explorer
Map
Classic Burma (Myanmar)
Itinerary
Day 1 Yangon
Min Gala Ba! Welcome to Burma.
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. 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.
Formerly named Rangoon, Yangon is the country's biggest city and was the capital from 1885, when the British conquered the north and the kingdom of Mandalay, until just a few years ago when the government moved the capital to Naypyidaw.
To get your bearings and a taste of this wonderful city, perhaps take a walk to Sule Paya, then perhaps down to the Victorian Strand Hotel to admire both the colonial architecture and the bargaining madness of Bogyoke Market.
Accommodation
Rose Garden Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 2-4 Yangon/Mandalay
This morning we set off for one of the great sites of Yangon. The extraordinary Shwedagon Pagoda and its surrounding temples and edifices dominate all and provide an extraordinary mix of monks and pilgrims and worshipers and tourists. We will spend some time walking around the complex, learning of its history and spiritual devotions, and experiencing the ambiance of this extraordinary place.
We then leave for the airport (seeing a bit more of Yangon along the way). Departure time will vary depending on flight availability. The flight takes approx. 1 hour and after landing it is a drive of about 1 hour to the city and your hotel for the next three nights.
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.
The following day we make our way down to the city’s lively waterfront which offers an interesting backdrop for our boat trip upriver to Mingun - the site of the world's largest (albeit unfinished!) pagoda, the world’s largest unbroken bell, 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 mins on the way back.
Later in the afternoon we embark on a tour visiting the remnants of one of the once great cities that surround Mandalay - Amarapura, just 11 km south of the city. Weather permitting, we may also view a spectacular sunset over the 200-year-old, 2 km long U Bein wooden bridge, either from land or by boat.
On Day 4 a drive up into the hills to Burma's most famous hill station, Maymyo (Pyin U Lwin), provides an escape from the heat of the plains (approx. 2 hours/70 km). Established during the colonial era back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it is today a crossroad for traders coming over from China and this is reflected in its colourful market.
Time permitting, you may explore surroundings in a local horse-drawn carriage called a 'myin-lay'. English-style country mansions and Chinese temples dot the hillsides in a place rightly called the 'vegetable garden' of Burma.
Later, we return to Mandalay where the rest of the day is spent visiting various temples, including Kuthodaw Pagoda that claims to house the world's largest 'book'. It was once a challenging walk up Mandalay Hill (236 metres), but these days, if in operation, a series of large escalators will do most of the work for you on the way up! If conditions oblige, the sunset views from the summit can be impressive and along the way there are many shrines of religious significance.
Accommodation
Ayarwaddy River View Hotel or similar (3 nts)
Days 5-7 Bagan
We depart early from our hotel for the waterfront to board the ferry boat that will take us down the as we cruise Ayeyarwady River to Bagan. This is a wonderful way to experience Burmese local life as we travel along the river. The ferry usually departs around 7am and takes approximately 9 hours to travel the 36 km to reach our destination.
Due to the unpredictable nature of water levels on the river between February and May, it is possible on the very rare occasion that some ferries may be cancelled during that period. Some of these cancellations may take place at the last minute and often without warning. If this is the case we may travel by road between Mandalay and Bagan.
We'll likely spend most of our time on deck watching riverside life go by, although there are also allocated seats on the lower deck. Some ferries also have a cafe/bar on the upper deck for drinks and simple meals. Your leader will let you know in advance if you need to plan to bring any supplies.
Along the way, we witness the idyllic way of life that epitomises parts of rural Burma in the form of the small fishing villages that lie along the riverbanks. And we pass dozens of boats of different size and utility, testament to the role which this mighty river plays in the life of so many.
On Day 6 we can explore the sights of Bagan from dawn to dusk. Nyaung U's lively market contrasts with the eerie silence of the plains littered with over 4000 structures, including Gawdawpalin, Thatbyinnyu, Ananda and Shwezigon - all names of temples and pagodas that bear testament to a glorious past. The area is also famous for producing lacquer ware and sand paintings that are available in the stalls amid the ruins. There is also a chance to do some of our exploration by horse and cart. Weather permitting, we may enjoy a breathtaking sunset view from one of the ruins.
On Day 7 our drive takes us for approx. 1 hour/60 km to Mount Popa, an extinct volcano that is home to local spirits or deities known as 'nats'. For the energetic, there is a chance to climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the hill. Returning to Bagan the afternoon is free to further explore this amazing area. You may hire a bicycle or take a horse carriage and enjoy your own exploration of the archaeological sites.
If you are keen to book hot air ballooning that can be done on the morning of day 6 or 7. Please note that this needs to be pre booked well in advance - please see our "Important Notes" section for additional information.
Accommodation
Sky Palace Hotel or similar (3 nts)
Days 8-10 Inle Lake
Today we drive the approx. 25 mins to the nearest airport in Nyuang U, from where we fly to Heho (approx 40 mins), the gateway for Inle Lake.
We drive through picturesque countryside and rolling hills to our final destination, Khaungdaing, situated on Inle Lake not far from the main township, Nyaungshwe (approx. 45 min).
This afternoon you may like to rent a canoe (for about one hour) and row in to Lin Kin village, famous for its floating garden in the lake. On our way back we may stop over at some of the village houses to see the process of making traditional snacks (optional and at extra cost). You will notice that the weather is rather cooler here due to the high altitude. At certain times of the year, some of our tours will stay in an alternate hotel, located up in the hills in Taunggyi.
On Day 9 a full day is spent on the lake exploring the floating gardens and catching a glimpse of the local Intha fishermen who are famous for their unique 'leg-rowing' technique. These people are different from the Shan and they originate from the south of the country. 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 and our stay may coincide with one of the market days: always exciting with much of the commuting being done by local people using the ubiquitous long-tail boats.
On Day 10 after breakfast at our hotel we transfer to the Indein ruins complex (about 45 minutes by long-tail boat). On disembarking we find a pagoda and stupas built in the 8th century. We can also enjoy browsing through the rows of shops along the corridor uphill or just marvel at the surroundings. After spending some time we will start our walk towards to Yankin, Pa O and Taung Yoe villages (1.5 km, approx 45 minutes). Along the way we explore the mystery of more than 300 ancient stupas around the village and then continue towards (1 km, approx 30 minutes) to a Buddhist monastery and head north to Naydaw (1.5 km, approx 45 minutes) to Taung Yoe ethnic tribe village through farm land and bamboo forest. From here turn to South-West (5 km, approx 3 hours) through the valley ups and downs to west Taung Mauk, Pa O village from here another 20 minute walk would get you to east Taung Mauk village. Finally we turn east through valley to Indein (3 km, approx 45 minutes) where we will meet our boat and return back to hotel.
This evening we enjoy a traditional Shan dinner and get to sample some of the local style culinary specialties.
Note: the amount of walking advisable today will depend on individual and group fitness and wishes, and also the time of year. In the hotter months from March to October reduced distances are often advisable, and arrangements can be discussed with your tour leader the day before.
Accommodation
Hupin Khaungdaing Resort or similar (3 nts)
Days 11-12 Yangon
We transfer to Heho Airport for the flight back to Yangon today (approx.1 hour). Departure time will depend on flight availability.
Once in Yangon we will have free time to perhaps visit Sule Pagoda, which marks the centre of town and the nearby Bogyoke (Scott) Market that sells a wide array of local goods and handicrafts. Other options for your time here include exploring the fascinating city full of dilapidated colonial edifices, to perhaps take High Tea at the historic colonial hotel, The Strand, and take a stroll through vibrant Chinatown market area as the afternoon cools (these are optional excursions and at your own expense).
The tour ends on Day 12 after breakfast. A transfer to the airport is not included but can be pre booked with our reservations team. Your tour leader will be on hand to advise you on onward travel arrangements should you require.
Accommodation
Rose Garden Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • Classic Burma - Single Supplement (TTKA)
    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 Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
    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.
    Culture shock rating

    Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
    Physical rating

    This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    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.
    Money Exchange
    Myanmar’s national currency, the kyat (pronounced chat, and abbreviated K) is divided into: K1, K5, K10, K20, K50, K100, K200, K500 and K1000. ATMs are available in Yangon, Mandalay and starting to appear elsewhere, although these may still prove unreliable due to frequent power cuts or running out of funds. It's advisable to still bring plenty of USD with you to exchange. It is now rare that anywhere will accept foreign currency for purchases in Burma.
    Notes must be in pristine condition. There is an official exchange rate available through authorised money exchange counters to exchange US Dollars into Kyats. 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 with pen marks, folds or tears are also not accepted. Notes should not be older than 2006. Higher denominations will sometimes attract a higher rate.
    US dollars can be changed reliably at Yangon Airport and some 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. Carrying cash is relatively safe as long as you take the usual precautions. You can exchange any left over Kyat into USD at Yangon Airport when departing.
    Spending money
    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.
    Tipping
    If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier.
    The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
    Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
    Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides.
    Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-US$2 per day for drivers.
    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.
    In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
    At your group meeting 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 while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record 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.
    Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult
    Departure tax
    All departure tax should be included in your flight ticket.
    Important notes
    PASSPORT DETAILS:
    Please provide passport details at time of booking with exact name as per passport (including middle name), as these are essential for booking services on this trip.
    BALLOON FLIGHTS:
    Hot air balloon flights can be booked in advance for the morning of day 6 or 7 on this trip in Bagan. Such flights only take place around sunrise for about an hour and are entirely subject to suitable weather conditions, especially low wind conditions and good visibility. In the hotter times of the year, the number of passengers who can be carried within required safety parameters reduces considerably.
    Intrepid Travel do not organise or book these balloon flights. The company running flights is called 'Balloons over Bagan' http://www.easternsafaris.com/balloonsoverbagan_home.html. We recommend that you book at least 45 days prior to your trip departure, due to the popularity of this activity. For website bookings please advise your pick up hotel as the Sky Palace Hotel. Should there be a change to our Bagan hotel, amendments can be made to the pick up location.
    Bookings need to be paid at least 1 day in advance of the balloon flight. Bookings made through the website can be paid directly to the Eastern Safari’s office in Yangon on Day 1 or prior to secure a bookings later in the trip: FMI Centre, Room No. 806 & 807, Level 8, No. 380, Bogyoke Aung San Road, Pabedan Township, Yangon. Alternatively, your leader can assist with booking flights for Day 7 locally, subject to availability. As at December 2014 the cost of such flights was about US$320. Such flights are not part of any service offered by Intrepid Travel and any participants will be required to sign indemnity releases provided by the ballooning company.
    BURMA FLIGHTS:
    For Burma internal flights we fly the following safety audited airlines: Air KBZ, Air Bagan, Myanmar Airways, Yangon Airways and Mann Yadanarpon Airlines 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.
    MOBILE PHONES AND INTERNET:
    International roaming with an increasing number of western mobile networks is now possible in Burma; 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.
    OUR LOCAL PARTNER:
    This trip is operated by our experienced partner company Peregrine Adventures
    Group size
    Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
    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.
    A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
    Accommodation
    Sky Palace Hotel or similar (3 nts), Hupin Khaungdaing Resort or similar (3 nts), Ayarwaddy River View Hotel or similar (3 nts), Rose Garden Hotel or similar (2 nts)
    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 hotels 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 BURMA:
    As tourism infrastructure is starting to develop, you may find the accommodation standards to be lower than in other Asian countries. Since Burma 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 bookings are bumped by hotels charging a higher price to other travellers. We ask for your patience with any last minute hotel changes.
    Meals introduction
    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. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. 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.
    Meals
    11 Breakfasts, 1 Dinner
    Budget for meals not included:
    USD 200.00
    FOOD IN BURMA:
    The food in Burma is often described as quite mild, oily and not as diverse as it's neighbouring countries. But despite this we will try and give you a taste of traditional Burmese cuisine including the blend of Chinese, Mon and Indian influences.
    Please note that breakfasts are often simple (eggs, bread, jam and coffee/tea would be most common), or there may only be local breakfast available.
    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.
    Transport
    Plane, Boat, Minibus
    LONG TRAVEL DAYS
    There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
    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.
    Joining point
    Summit Park View Hotel
    350 Ahlone Road Dagon Township
    Yangon
    Yangon
    MYANMAR
    Phone: +95 (1) 211966
    Joining point description
    Please note in some cases Intrepid are not able to secure the same room type that we stay at on your tour, for accommodation booked before or after your tour. You may need to change rooms before or after your tour, the hotel will assist you if this is necessary.
    Alternate Joining point
    For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
    20 Sep 2015 (TTKA150920), 27 Sep 2015 (TTKA150927), 11 Oct 2015 (TTKA151011), 18 Oct 2015 (TTKA151018), 21 Oct 2015 (TTKA151021), 25 Oct 2015 (TTKA151025), 28 Oct 2015 (TTKA151028), 01 Nov 2015 (TTKA151101), 04 Nov 2015 (TTKA151104), 08 Nov 2015 (TTKA151108), 11 Nov 2015 (TTKA151111), 18 Nov 2015 (TTKA151118), 22 Nov 2015 (TTKA151122), 06 Dec 2015 (TTKA151206), 20 Dec 2015 (TTKA151220), 23 Dec 2015 (TTKA151223), 27 Dec 2015 (TTKA151227), 30 Dec 2015 (TTKA151230)
    Rose Garden Hotel
    171, Upper Pansodan Road
    Yangon
    Yangon
    MYANMAR
    Phone: +95 1 371992
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact section below for who to contact depending upon your starting location.
    No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
    Finish point
    Summit Park View Hotel
    350 Ahlone Road Dagon Township
    Yangon
    Yangon
    MYANMAR
    Phone: +95 (1) 211966
    Finish point description
    Please note in some cases Intrepid are not able to secure the same room type that we stay at on your tour, for accommodation booked before or after your tour. You may need to change rooms before or after your tour, the hotel will assist you if this is necessary.
    Alternate Finish point
    For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
    20 Sep 2015 (TTKA150920), 27 Sep 2015 (TTKA150927), 11 Oct 2015 (TTKA151011), 18 Oct 2015 (TTKA151018), 21 Oct 2015 (TTKA151021), 25 Oct 2015 (TTKA151025), 28 Oct 2015 (TTKA151028), 01 Nov 2015 (TTKA151101), 04 Nov 2015 (TTKA151104), 08 Nov 2015 (TTKA151108), 11 Nov 2015 (TTKA151111), 18 Nov 2015 (TTKA151118), 22 Nov 2015 (TTKA151122), 06 Dec 2015 (TTKA151206), 20 Dec 2015 (TTKA151220), 23 Dec 2015 (TTKA151223), 27 Dec 2015 (TTKA151227), 30 Dec 2015 (TTKA151230)
    Rose Garden Hotel
    171, Upper Pansodan Road
    Yangon
    Yangon
    MYANMAR
    Phone: +95 1 371992
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, please call the Intrepid Burma (Myanmar) emergency contact number: +95 9 420254468. For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week (excluding Sunday).
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    BURMA (MYANMAR):
    Australia: Yes - in advance
    Belgium: Yes - in advance
    Canada: Yes - in advance
    Germany Yes - in advance
    Ireland: Yes - in advance
    Netherlands: Yes - in advance
    New Zealand: Yes - in advance
    South Africa: Yes - in advance
    Switzerland: Yes - in advance
    United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
    USA: Yes - in advance
    Most nationalities can obtain a tourist visa using a eVisa system. For information on obtaining an eVisa visit website: http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/
    Important to note when applying for an eVisa:
    - Passport validity must have at least (6) months validity from date of return.
    - You will need to present one colour photo (4cm X 6cm) taken within the last 3 months and a copy of your return ticket.
    - Length of stay is 28 days from the date of arrival in Myanmar.
    - The eVisa fee is US$50 per person, payable by credit card (note: visa fee is non-refundable should the eVisa be denied)
    - The processing time is approximately 3 working days for granting an eVisa however we recommend allowing longer in the event of delays.
    - The validity of eVisa approval letter is 90 days from the date of issue. If it has expired, entry will be denied.
    - eVisas are applicable for single entry into Burma only and you will not be permitted to re-enter on an eVisa that you have previously entered on (multiple entries not possible).
    - eVisas are only obtainable if you are arriving into Yangon International Airport, Nay Pyi Taw International Aiport and Mandalay International Airport. If arriving into another Burma entry point you will need to apply for your visa in advance through a Burmese Embassy.
    Nationalities who are unable to obtain an eVisa should contact the Burma embassy in their country of residency. Note - you may be requested to provide a letter of invitation from a local Burmese ground operator. In such cases please contact Intrepid to attain this letter and we will forward to you.
    Issues on your trip
    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.
    What to take
    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    FOOTWEAR FOR HIKING/TREKKING
    A full day walking is included on this tour. Please ensure you pack comfortable shoes (preferably not brand new, as this can lead to blisters) that are fully enclosed and are comfortable for you to walk in for an entire day. Please note sneakers or runners should be fine, as long as they are comfortable.
    WATER BOTTLE:
    Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. 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 ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
    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 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.
    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 Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
    For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's 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:
    FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
    SEAT BELTS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
    LIFE JACKETS:
    While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
    BIKE HELMETS:
    Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles.
    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.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
    While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the 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. Further information is available on the below link:
    We also recommend you visit the wonderful colourful 'Do's and Don'ts for Tourists - How you can visit Myanmar responsibly': www.dosanddontsfortourists.com
    This fabulous booklet', illustrated by a wide range of Myanmar cartoonists, will help you respect the traditions and customs of Myanmar, helping make Myanmar a better place for people to live and a better place to visit.
    LOCAL DRESS:
    When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
    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 sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. 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.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 671.00 kgs per pax.
    Feedback
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.