Complete Burma (Myanmar) Trip Notes

Complete Burma (Myanmar)

Last Modified: 23 Jul 2015
Complete Burma (Myanmar)
Trip code: TTKAC
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2015
Surviving natural disasters, political upheavals and economic instability, the people of Burma have an irrepressible spirit that is contagious.Travel to Burma and experience the vibrant culture, generous hospitality and ancient wonders of this incredible country. Whether it be witnessing the glittering spires of Shwedagon Pagoda, canoeing down tranquil Inle Lake, exploring the thousands of crumbling temples and sacred structures in Bagan, visiting tribal villages or relaxing on the pristine beaches of Ngwesaung, Burma is one destination that is sure to take your breath away.
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
StyleImportant notesEmergency contact
ThemesGroup sizeEmergency funds
MapYour fellow travellersVisas
ItinerarySingle travellersIssues on your trip
Also available to purchaseAccommodationWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMeals introductionHealth
Culture shock rating MealsSafety
Physical ratingTransportTravel insurance
Included activitiesGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point A couple of rules
Money ExchangeAlternate Joining point The Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxAlternate Finish point
  • ‘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.
Complete Burma (Myanmar)
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.
Rose Garden Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 2-4 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.
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.
For many travellers a hot air balloon experience is one of the highlights of their time in Bagan. This optional activity is a possibility for the mornings of Day 6 or Day 7, depending on availability.
If you have pre-booked this activity (please see 'Important Notes') you will be picked up and driven to the launch site. You will then float over the hundreds of stupas and temples below, to watch at the morning glow illuminates this breathtaking landscape. Flights last between on average for 45 minutes, however they can range from 20 minutes to 1 hour depending on local conditions. After landing be treated to a celebratory glass of champagne and light breakfast. You will then be returned to your hotel. The experience is approximately 2.5-3 hours in total.
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.
Hupin Khaungdaing Resort or similar (3 nts)
Day 11 Yangon - Kyaiktiyo
In the morning we transfer to Heho Airport for the flight back to Yangon (approx. 1 hour).
As this is a combination trip, your tour leader and travel companions may change today.
It is suggested that you pack an overnight bag for the one-night stop in Kyaiktiyo. The remainder of your luggage can be stored on the bus which will be waiting at the base camp while you're visiting the pagoda.
It is approximately a 5 hour drive to the base camp at Kinponsakan, where you will transfer to an open air truck with basic wooden bench style seating, and take a bumpy drive for around 1 hour up towards the summit (1180 metres above sea level).
The Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo Pagoda) is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists. There is a small pagoda (7.3 metres high) built on a gold-gilded boulder, 25 metres in circumference, and balanced in what appears to be a very precarious position on a tabular rock, jutting out from a ridge in the Eastern Yoma Mountains. 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 Burma's most spiritual experiences.
Please be aware that the accommodation in Kyaiktiyo is much more basic than in other destinations on our trip and that due to this being a very popular place of pilgrimage hotels can often be overbooked and the site very 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 will also vary and in the wet season the journey can be quite arduous. A large dose of patience will go a long way towards enjoying your experience here!
Mountain Top Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Day 12 Bago - Yangon
We spend the morning walking around Kyaiktiyo. After descending from the summit, we return to Yangon, retracing our path from yesterday.
Along the way we stop at Bago (approx 2 hours from Kyauktiyo), an ancient centre of the Mon kingdom in the 13th century. Here we 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.
After exploring Bago, we continue back to Yangon for the night (approx 2 hours).
Rose Garden Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 13-15 Ngwesaung
Turning our attention towards the delta region, we head west and drive for approx 5 hours to the port city of Bassein, which is famous for its colourful hand-painted umbrellas (sometimes this stop will be made on Day 16, on the way back to Yangon). You will see how these parasols are made on a visit to a local factory, before continuing on to the tropical paradise of the coast. Travel times to the beach town vary extensively due to varying road conditions and can take 6-7 hours.
Burma’s little-known secret is its beautiful coastline fronting the Indian Ocean. At Ngwesaung (pronounced ‘neway-song’) lies an unspoiled white sand beach, 15 km long and bordered by tall swaying palms.
You will have the chance to relax for a couple of days, staying in a hotel that has the lush settings of a resort.
You will have the chance to swim in the waters of the warm, blue tropical sea, visit small fishing villages and local markets, explore the countryside by bicycle, and enjoy optional boat trips to the beautiful off-shore islands (cost not included).
Please note that during the rainy season (May-September), many facilities may be closed and several activities may not be available due to inclement weather.
Sunny Paradise Hotel or similar (3 nts)
Days 16-17 Yangon
Today you will depart after breakfast for a full travel day back to Yangon by private vehicle (approximately 7 hours). Along the way stop in Bassein to pay homage to those who gave their lives during World War II at the Htawk Kyant Commonwealth War Cemetery.
Depending on what time you arrive back in Yangon, you may have free time to visit Sule Pagoda, which marks the centre of town (this is an optional excursions and at your own expense).
You can spend your last evening together enjoying a meal (optional) and wandering around town.
The tour will come to an end today after breakfast. A transfer to the airport is not included; however, your tour leader will be on hand to advise you as to the options available.
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.
  • TTKAC - Single Supplement (TTKAC)
  • Bagan Ballon Ride ()
    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. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. 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.
    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
    The official currency of Burma is the Kyat (MMK) - pronounced 'chat'.
    The best place to change your money is upon arrival at the airport, as the exchange rate is now locked to the USD. If you need to change more money your tour leader will be able to help you to do this at the many places available, but please note that it is hard to change money outside of Yangon and Mandalay. ATM machines are now available in Yangon and to a lesser extent Mandalay. We however advise that you bring plenty of cash for your trip as the reliability of the ATM’s are still unknown, due to power cuts and the newness of the service. It is still not possible to use traveller’s cheques at this time.
    You need to bring cash in US dollars. The notes should be crisp and perfect with no folds or marks and should be no older than 2006. Bring high denominations because when you exchange into local currency you get a higher exchange rate.
    The best exchange rates are in Yangon so it's best to try and get all your money changed there.
    Carrying cash is relatively safe as long as you take the usual precautions. It's best to try and budget a daily rate and do all your money exchange on the day you arrive in Yangon. Burma is quite an inexpensive place to travel so a budget of US$40 per day for food and drinks is plenty.
    Hotels will generally exchange money during office hours only. You can change money at the airport upon arrival.
    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.
    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 taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
    Important notes
    This trip is operated by our experienced partner company Peregrine Adventures
    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.
    Intrepid can assist with booking an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Bagan. Please see Days 6-7 for full details of this activity. Places are limited and we recommend that you book in advance. Please ask your booking agent for further details.
    Water Festival (Thingyan)
    The Complete Burma departure on the 29th March 2015 will be in Burma during Thingyan and have a chance to experience the festival in Yangon at the end of the tour.
    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.
    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.
    Sky Palace Hotel or similar (3 nts), Hupin Khaungdaing Resort or similar (3 nts), Sunny Paradise Hotel or similar (3 nts), Ayarwaddy River View Hotel or similar (3 nts), Rose Garden Hotel or similar (3 nts), Mountain Top Hotel or similar (1 nt)
    Hotels 10 nights, Resort 6 nights
    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- or post-trip accommodation you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
    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.
    16 Breakfasts, 1 Dinner
    USD 500.00
    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.
    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
    Phone: +95 1 211 888
    Alternate Joining point
    For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
    11 Oct 2015 (TTKAC151011), 25 Oct 2015 (TTKAC151025), 01 Nov 2015 (TTKAC151101), 08 Nov 2015 (TTKAC151108), 06 Dec 2015 (TTKAC151206)
    Rose Garden Hotel
    171, Upper Pansodan Road
    Phone: +95 1 371 992
    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
    Phone: +95 1 211 888
    Alternate Finish point
    For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
    11 Oct 2015 (TTKAC151011), 25 Oct 2015 (TTKAC151025), 01 Nov 2015 (TTKAC151101), 08 Nov 2015 (TTKAC151108), 06 Dec 2015 (TTKAC151206)
    Rose Garden Hotel
    171, Upper Pansodan Road
    Phone: +95 1 371 992
    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.
    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
    Effective as of 01 September 2014, some nationalities including Australians, Canadians, Germans, Dutch, New Zealanders, British and Americas can obtain a tourist visa using a new eVisa system. For information on obtaining an eVisa visit website
    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) which has been 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 5 working days for granting an eVisa however we recommend allowing longer in the event of delays.
    • The validity of an eVisa letter is 3 months from the date of issue. You will be denied entry if you attempt to enter on an expired eVisa.
    • 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. If arriving into another Burma entry point you will need to pre-obtain your visa before departure via a Burmese Embassy.
    • Despite having been issued an eVisa Immigration personnel will check the Interpol black list and Myanmar black list and you may be denied entry.
    This information was correct as of 21 August 2014 – please check the above website for further information as this new system is further developed.
    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.
    Visas on arrival in Burma are currently unavailable - you should obtain your visa prior to departure.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    You can get routine medical advice and treatment in Rangoon and Mandalay, but elsewhere competent advice and treatment may not be available. Up-front cash payment is often required prior to receiving medical treatment in Burma. Avoid intrusive examinations, including emergency dental work, due to irregular hygiene standards and the danger of infection, particularly by hepatitis B and C and HIV/AIDS. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
    Poor sanitation and eating contaminated food can increase the risk of diarrhoeal illnesses. Drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.
    There have been outbreaks of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in domestic poultry in Burma. There have been no confirmed human deaths in Burma.
    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:
    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.
    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!
    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.
    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.
    Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles. If you wish you can bring along your own.
    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.
    Since the appointment of the government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in March 2011, headed by President Thein Sein, there have been encouraging political reforms.The government has signed initial peace agreements with a number of ethnic armed groups, but there is no formal ceasefire as yet in Kachin State.
    Burma has suffered from prolonged internal conflicts, involving a number of non-state armed groups from Burma’s ethnic States. Most of these groups have now signed ceasefires with the Burmese government after years of fighting.
    However, the political situation remains potentially unsettled. Restrictions on freedom of speech, movement, religion, and political activity remain, and foreign nationals have been arrested, imprisoned and deported in the past for criticising the government in public. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, and don’t take photographs or videos of the police, military installations military personnel, or demonstrations.
    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:
    We also recommend you visit the wonderful colourful 'Do's and Don'ts for Tourists - How you can visit Myanmar responsibly':
    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.
    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:
    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 by wearing sleeves and long trousers. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas 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$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). 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 771.00 kgs per pax.
    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.