Classic Myanmar Trip Notes

Classic Myanmar

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 May 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017


Last Modified: 29 Aug 2016
Classic Myanmar
Trip code: TTKA
Validity: 01 May 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Travel to Myanmar and discover a country of mythical landscapes, ancient treasures and some of the friendliest folk you’ll ever meet. From the glittering spires of Shwedagon Pagoda, and the ancient temples of Bagan, to the tranquillity of Inle Lake and the lively atmosphere of Mandalay, Myanmar will excite, impress and intrigue you. Full of rarely seen sights and stories just waiting to be told, come and experience the magic of Myanmar.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinish point description
ThemesAccommodation NotesEmergency contact
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionVisas
Why we love itMealsWhat to take
MapTransportCommunications
ItineraryMoney mattersHealth
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderTravel insurance
Physical ratingSafetyA couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining pointResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeJoining point instructionsFeedback
Your fellow travellersFinish point
Style
Comfort
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- If you would like to climb or enter the temples in and around Bagan, please be aware you will need to remove your footwear and socks. In addition, some of the temple steps are very steep, and without railings, so caution will need to be exercised.
- If you would like to climb to the top of Mt Popa, be prepared for a workout – there are 777 steps up to the summit.
- This trip includes half a day walking around Indein village at Inle Lake. You will walk on uneven tracks to a Shan tribal village. Total walking time is around 5 hours, but this will depend on fitness and wishes of the group, and weather.
- The heat and humidity between March and October can be very intense. Your local leader will adjust activities to suit the local conditions and the needs of the group, however be prepared for the heat and the rain during this time of year and pack accordingly.
Why we love it
- Begin a Myanmar discovery with the symbolic and iconic Shwedagon Pagoda, a magnificent glittering temple crowning Yangon
- Take a leisurely journey down the Ayeyarwady River to the fabled 11th century capital of Bagan
- Experience the incredible sight of Bagan’s sea of temples; explore the best of 4,000 temples and monasteries, and climb to the shrine atop Mt Popa
- Soak up the tranquillity of Inle Lake and sample the hospitality of the Shan people, one of many groups that contribute to the ethnic diversity of this colourful country
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Yangon
Min Gala Ba! Welcome to Myanmar. The former capital of Burma, Yangon – meaning ‘End of Strife' – has been through tough times. Surviving protests, natural disasters and economic uncertainty, this city remains the commercial, historical and cultural heart of Myanmar. An airport arrival transfer is included and there will be a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1. Please check with the hotel reception or notice board for details. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive on time, you may wish to arrive a day early. 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 have these on hand. As this is an arrival day there are no activities planned until the meeting, and you can arrive at any time. With any free time before the meeting, get your bearings and a taste of this wonderful city. Perhaps take a walk to Sule Paya then down to the Victorian Strand Hotel to admire both the colonial architecture and the bargaining madness of Bogyoke Market. Maybe take an Urban Adventure with a local guide, such as the Let Yangon Take You For a Ride, or take the circle train through the city and suburbs and see local life in Yangon. This evening why not soak up the unique atmosphere of this irrepressible city with dinner at a local restaurant.

Notes: The 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 (we may not be able confirm requests made within 15 days of travel). Please note in some cases Intrepid are not able to secure the same room type for pre-tour accommodation that we stay at on the trip. You may need to change rooms on Day 1, and the hotel will assist you if this is necessary.
Optional Activities
  • Yangon - Bogyoke Market (Scotts Market) - Free
  • Yangon - Sule Pagoda - MMK3000
  • Yangon - Let Yangon Take You For a Ride Urban Adventure - USD41
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Yangon - Mandalay
    Explore one of the great sites of Myanmar – the legendary Shwedagon Pagoda. Dominated by glittering temples, Yangon is also home to a wealth of ancient relics, and it attracts an extraordinary mix of monks, pilgrims, worshippers and tourists. The legendary gold-gilded pagoda is studded with diamonds and gems, and is said to contain eight hairs of the Buddha. It’s a particularly impressive sight at sunset when the lights come on and the stupa shines beautifully. Spend the morning walking around the complex, taking in the history, spiritual significance, beauty and ambiance of this ancient site. Afterwards, leave for the airport, seeing a bit more of Yangon along the way, like Kandawgyi Lake, where the reconstruction of a golden royal barge – Karaweik Hall – floats on the eastern side. Catch a flight to Mandalay – departure time will vary depending on flight availability. The flight takes approximately 1 hour, and after landing it’s approximately a 1 hour drive to the city and your hotel for the next three nights. Mandalay is Myanmar’s ‘Jewel City’, and you’ll and savour the sights, sounds and flavours of this bustling metropolis. Tonight you might enjoy a walk to one of the markets, where a great time can be had enjoying the hustle and bustle or bargaining for local wares.
    Included Activities
    • Yangon - Kandawgyi Lake
    • Yangon - Shwedagon Pagoda
      Accommodation
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast
      Day 3 Mandalay
      Make your way down to the city’s lively waterfront, which offers an interesting backdrop for a boat trip upriver. The archaeological site of Mingun is your destination, the location of a number of interesting sights, including the world's largest (albeit unfinished!) pagoda – Pahtodawgyi. It’s also home to the world’s second largest ringable bell, the beautiful white Hsinphymae Pagoda, and temples dating back hundreds of years. The river is effectively a major trading, communication and commuting route and a wide range of different boats, barges and steamers can be viewed along the way. The journey usually takes 1 hour on the way there, and 40 minutes on the way back. Later in the afternoon, embark on a tour that visits the remnants of one of the once great cities that surround Mandalay – Amarapura, just 11 kilometres south of the city. You’ll also see Mahamuni Buddha Temple, an important pilgrimage site famous for its 2000-year-old golden Buddha statue, and, in a country renowned for so much gold, you’ll also stop by nearby cottage industry where gold leaf is made. Weather permitting, you might also glimpse a breath-taking sunset over the 200-year-old U Bein wooden bridge. If you have time tonight, why not catch a traditional show by the Mandalay Marionettes, or a non-conformist comedy show by the Moustache Brothers.
      Included Activities
      • Mandalay - Boat trip to Mingun
      • Mandalay - U Bein Bridge
      • Mandalay - Gold leaf pounding workshop demonstration
      • Mandalay - Mahamuni Buddha Temple
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast
        Day 4 Mandalay
        Today a drive up into the highlands to Myanmar's most famous and unique hill station, Pyin Oo Lwin, which provides an escape from the heat of the plains (approximately 2 hours/70 kilometres). Established during the colonial era in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a British summer capital, Pyin Oo Lwin today is a crossroad for traders visiting from China. With its colourful market, and hills lined with English-style country mansions, manicured gardens, and Chinese temples, you can see why this area is called the “vegetable garden” of Myanmar. Later, return to Mandalay where the rest of the day is spent visiting various temples, including Kuthodaw Paya, which claims to house the world's largest 'book' - 729 slabs contain the complete text of the Tripitaka, Theravada Buddhism's most sacred text. Stop by Mandalay Hill, where Lord Buddha is said to have left a footprint. It was once a challenging walk up the 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. A clear day reveals beautiful sunset views from the summit, and a host of religious shrines are found en route.
        Included Activities
        • Mandalay - Kuthodaw Paya
        • Mandalay - Mandalay Hill
        • Mandalay - Pyin Oo Lwin day trip
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast
          Day 5 Bagan
          Climb aboard a ferryboat (weather permitting) this morning for a relaxing cruise down the majestic Ayeyarwaddy River to Bagan. The ferry usually departs around 7am and takes approximately 9 hours to travel the 36 kilometres to reach your destination. This is a wonderfully leisurely way to experience local life – sit back at the onboard restaurant and get a taste of rural Myanmar, observing the idyllic fishing villages dotting the riverbanks. Pass dozens of boats of different size and utility, testament to the role that this mighty river plays in the life of so many. Most time will likely be spent watching riverside life go by, though 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. Arrive in Bagan and ready yourself to experience one of the most impressive archaeological wonders of Asia tomorrow.

          Notes: Due to the unpredictable nature of water levels on the river between February and May, the boat trip is subject to late cancellations during this time. If this is the case, we will travel by road between Mandalay and Bagan.
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast
          Day 6 Bagan
          You can explore the incredible sights of Bagan from dawn to dusk today. This archaeological site is where Theravada Buddhism was introduced to the Kingdom of Bagan, and was once the site of 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries. Today, the ancient city still has over 4,000 brick and gilded ruins, and is a remarkable sight. Nyaung U’s lively market contrasts with the eerie silence of the plains littered with temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins, including Gawdawpalin, Thatbyinnyu, Ananda and Shwezigon – all names of temples and pagodas that bear testament to a glorious past. The graceful ageing of the temples, the stucco peeled off by the dusty winds, has revealed beautifully rusty red bricks that glow golden brown in the sun. Marvel at the spire-lined skyline, the lion-guarded doors, the wood carvings inside, and the foliage-covered ruins. Stop for lunch at the newly establish restaurant operated by Friends-International. The restaurant is a working hospitality training centre, with profits reinvested back into the training and education of youth in Myanmar, and further social enterprise projects. After visiting a local lacquerware workshop to gain insight into a craft this place is famous for, you might catch a glorious sunset from one of the ruins. To fully enjoy the day out, please make sure you wear comfortable clothes and adequate protection from the sun (long sleeves, sunglasses and hat).

          Notes: A highlight of Bagan for many travellers is an optional sunrise hot air balloon flight over the site, possible on the mornings of Days 6 or 7 (depending on availability). Experience breath-taking views above the stupa-studded landscape, followed by a light breakfast and champagne. The experience runs for approximately 2.5 hours, with flights times an average 45 minutes (though it can range from 1 hour to 20 minutes subject to local conditions). Weather dependent, flights operate between October through to March. Advance bookings are highly recommended as places are limited. Please ask your booking agent for further details of the Premium and Classic service options.
          Included Activities
          • Bagan - Friends International Restaurant lunch
          • Bagan - Archaeological tour
            Accommodation
            Hotel (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 breakfast, 1 lunch
            Day 7 Bagan
            A short drive (approximately 1 hour) takes you to mystical Mount Popa, an incredibly photogenic extinct volcano that's home to local spirits or deities known as 'nats'. It’s a spiritually significant place for the locals’ belief in nats – spirits or gods who take human form and guard objects. When people die they can become nats, and they can be vengeful or troublesome – therefore they require claiming, food, and offerings.1,000 years ago, after unsuccessfully trying to eliminate nat worship, King Anawrahta formalised a list of 37. For the energetic, there is a chance to remove your shoes and socks and climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the hill. There are great views from the crater rim, and all around lovely dense vegetation filled with birds. Returning to Bagan, the afternoon is free to further explore this amazing area. You might hire a bicycle or even take a horse carriage and enjoy your own exploration of the seemingly endless archaeological sites. If you’d rather stay in town then there are the cafes or the nearby Nyaung U Market – one of the more interesting markets in the country. Other places of interest include the Archaeological Museum and the Royal Palace. Your leader can help you organise getting to these.
            Included Activities
            • Bagan - Mt Popa Day Trip
              Optional Activities
              • Bagan - Dandaree Culture Show - USD50
              • Bagan - Temple bike tour - MMK2000
              • Bagan - Horse Cart tour - MMK15000
                Accommodation
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast
                Day 8 Inle Lake
                Today drive approximately 25 minutes to the nearest airport in Nyuang U, and then hop on a plane to Heho (approximately 40 minutes), the gateway for Inle Lake. The calm waters of Inle Lake are the life-blood for many ethnic minority communities. They live in stilt houses along the lake's shallow fringes and surrounding areas. You’ll drive through picturesque countryside and rolling hills to your final destination, Nyaungshwe (approximately 45 minutes). This afternoon you might like to rent a bicycle and ride out to a local winery, where you can sample some of the local varieties and enjoy great sunset views. Otherwise, the town of Nyaungshwe is easy to walk around and explore.

                Notes: You will notice that the weather is rather cooler here due to the high altitude. At certain times of year there can be lots of insects around the lake. Please read ‘what to take’ section for further information.
                Optional Activities
                • Inle Lake - Red Mountain Estate Winery Tasting - MMK3000
                • Inle Lake - Bicycle hire - MMK3000
                  Accommodation
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  Meals
                  1 breakfast
                  Day 9 Inle Lake
                  A full day is spent on the lake seeing local life, exploring the floating gardens, and catching a glimpse of the local Intha fishermen who are famous for their unique 'leg-rowing' technique. The Intha leg-rowers navigate their long, narrow craft by standing on the stern with one leg and wrapping the other around the oar. This unique style evolved because the reeds that cover the lake and the floating plants make it difficult to see above them while sitting. The lake is also home to a wide array of bird-life including egrets, cranes, ducks, storks and various birds of prey. Visits may be made to some of the local villages, home to cottage industries such as silversmiths, weavers and cigar makers. If you’re lucky, you might even see the floating market which circles the lake every five days. Here you can buy traditional wares produced by the locals.

                  Notes: Make sure to pack some sunscreen and a hat – it gets hot on the late with no shade.
                  Included Activities
                  • Inle Lake - Boat trip & village tour
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 10 Inle Lake
                    After breakfast, take a longtail boat a long a narrow canal to the Indein ruins complex (approximately 45 minutes). Disembark and discover a pagoda and stupas built in the 8th century. Explore the atmospheric ruins; crumbling stupas being reclaimed by greenery, and up a hill over 1000 zedi from the 17th and 18th centuries. Enjoy views across the valley and lake from the pagoda, browsing through the rows of shops along the corridor uphill, or just marvel at the surroundings. After some time exploring, start a walk towards to the Yankin, Pa O and Taung Yoe villages (1.5 kilometres, approximately 45 minutes). Along the way, explore the mystery of more than 300 ancient stupas around the village and then continue 1 kilometre, approximately 30 minutes, to a Buddhist monastery. Next, head north to Naydaw (1.5 kilometres, approximately 45 minutes) to Taung Yoe ethnic tribe village through farmland and bamboo forest. From here, turn south-west (5 kilometres, approximately 3 hours) through the valley ups and downs to west Taung Mauk, Pa O village. A 20 minute walk will get you to east Taung Mauk village. Finally, turn east through valley to Indein (3 kilometres, approximately 45 minutes) where you’ll meet your boat and return back to the hotel. This evening, reward all your efforts today with a traditional Shan dinner, where you’ll get to sample some of the local-style culinary specialties.

                    Notes: The amount of walking advisable today will depend on individual and group fitness and wishes, and also the time of year. In the hotter months from March to October, reduced distances are often advisable, and arrangements can be discussed with your tour leader the day before.
                    Included Activities
                    • Inle Lake - Indein Temples Visit
                    • Inle Lake - Traditional Shan Dinner
                      Accommodation
                      Hotel (1 nt)
                      Meals
                      1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                      Day 11 Yangon
                      Catch a morning flight back to Yangon (approximately 1 hour – departure time will depend on flight availability) and discover more of this beguiling city in some free time. Visit Sule Pagoda in the heart of downtown Yangon or acquire some local handicrafts at the nearby Bogyoke Market, a major bazaar known for its colonial architecture and winding cobblestone alleys, or join an urban adventure to explore Yangon's streets by night. For a leisurely change of pace, perhaps indulge in high tea at the historic colonial hotel, The Strand. Maybe relax after a day of exploring with dinner at one of the many restaurants – sit back on a balcony, watch the sun set over the glittering spires of Shwedagon Pagoda and enjoy the last night of this unforgettable Myanmar adventure.
                      Optional Activities
                      • Yangon - Yangon's Streets By Night Urban Adventure - USD40
                        Accommodation
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        Meals
                        1 breakfast
                        Day 12 Yangon
                        There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. As there is plenty to see and do in Yangon we recommend extending your stay a few extra days to make the most of all it has to offer. Perhaps do some of the activities suggested at the beginning of the trip, or ask your leader about our range of Urban Adventures day tours.
                        Optional Activities
                        • Yangon - Hands-on Yangon Urban Adventure - USD81
                          Meals
                          1 breakfast
                          Itinerary disclaimer
                          ITINERARY CHANGES 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. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

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

                          Included activities
                          Yangon - Kandawgyi Lake
                          Yangon - Shwedagon Pagoda
                          Mandalay - Boat trip to Mingun
                          Mandalay - U Bein Bridge
                          Mandalay - Gold leaf pounding workshop demonstration
                          Mandalay - Mahamuni Buddha Temple
                          Mandalay - Kuthodaw Paya
                          Mandalay - Mandalay Hill
                          Mandalay - Pyin Oo Lwin day trip
                          Bagan - Friends International Restaurant lunch
                          Bagan - Archaeological tour
                          Bagan - Mt Popa Day Trip
                          Inle Lake - Boat trip & village tour
                          Inle Lake - Indein Temples Visit
                          Inle Lake - Traditional Shan Dinner
                          Important notes
                          1. Please provide passport details at time of booking with exact name as per passport.
                          2. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
                          3. A single supplement is available on this trip.
                          4. Intrepid can assist with booking an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Bagan (operating October to March). Please see Days 6-7 for full details of this activity. Places are limited and we recommend that you book in advance. Please ask your booking agent for further details.
                          5. Departures from 1st January 2017: Based upon traveller feedback this trip will spend an additional night in Yangon, on Day 2. In the morning of Day 3 you will fly from Yangon to Mandalay.

                          Group size
                          Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                          Your fellow travellers
                          GROUP TRAVEL
                          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.

                          SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
                          A single supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information. The single supplement is available for all nights on this trip.
                          Accommodation
                          Hotel (11nt)
                          The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                          Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

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


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

                          FOOD IN MYANMAR:
                          The food in Myanmar is described as more mild, and oily than it's neighbouring countries. We will try and give you a taste of traditional cuisine in each region, and the blend of influences including Chinese, Mon and Indian. Breakfasts are often simple (eggs, bread, jam and coffee/tea would be most common), or there may only be local breakfast available.

                          Many dishes in Myanmar contain peanuts, or are made with peanut oil. Please let your leader know if you have any allergies.

                          In addition, as tourism is developing, many restaurants are still learning to cater for foreign tourists. Your leader will assist with suggesting restaurants that follow expected food hygiene practices.
                          Meals
                          11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                          Transport
                          Boat, Minibus, Plane

                          MYANMAR FLIGHTS:
                          Please provide your name as per passport 45 days prior to the departure date for flight tickets to be issued.
                          For internal flights we fly the following safety audited airlines: Air KBZ, Air Bagan, Golden Myanmar Airlines, 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.

                          LONG TRAVEL DAYS
                          There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
                          Money matters
                          SPENDING MONEY:
                          When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                          Budget for meals not included:
                          USD 200.00

                          EMERGENCY FUNDS:
                          We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

                          MYANMAR:
                          Myanmar’s national currency, the kyat (pronounced chat, and abbreviated K).

                          ATMs are available in all cities and most major towns. At times these can prove unreliable due to frequent power cuts or running out of funds, so you may need to try several ATMs when withdrawing funds.

                          It's advisable to still bring cash to exchange. Foreign currency is no longer accepted for purchases in Myanmar. USD is the primary currency to exchange, although Euros are also generally accepted. There is an official exchange rate available through authorised money exchange counters to exchange US Dollars into Kyats. Higher denominations will generally attract a higher rate of exchange. Because of concerns over counterfeit money, US Dollars with the letters AB and CB at the start of the serial number (top left-hand corner of the note) are not always accepted. Notes must be in pristine condition as notes with pen marks, folds or tears are not accepted. Notes should not be older than 2006. Euros do not have to be in pristine condition.
                           
                          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.

                          TIPPING
                          While tipping is not a traditional part of culture in Myanmar it is becoming more common as tourism increases, and is appropriate when you have experienced excellent service. Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. We suggest carrying small notes of local currency around as you go. It’ll make tipping easier.

                          Usually around USD5 – USD10 a day to cover tips is fine, but your leader might raise the idea of a group tip kitty. Each traveller contributes an equal amount to the pool, and your leader can pay the tips as you go.

                          Tipping guide
                          To give you a bit of guidance, we’ve put together the following tipping notes. These are just suggestions, based on feedback from past travellers and our staff on the ground.
                          - Markets and basic restaurants – In local markets and average restaurants, just round your bill up to the nearest USD1. In more up-market restaurants, we suggest tipping about 10% - 15% of your bill.
                          - Local guides – There might be times during the trip where you’ll have a specialist local guide alongside your trip leader. We suggest tipping these guides about USD2 – USD3 per day.
                          - Drivers – You’ll probably have a range of drivers on your trip, although some will stick with you for several days. We suggest a tip of about USD1 – USD2 per day.
                          - Tour leader – Feel free to tip your tour leader on the last day if you think they’ve given you a great trip. It’s not compulsory, and the amount is entirely up to you, but we’d recommend about USD2 – USD4 per person per day.

                          All departure tax should be included in your flight ticket.
                          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.
                          Safety
                          FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
                          Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

                          SEAT BELTS:
                          Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

                          PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                          While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                          MOTORBIKE BAG SNATCHING:
                          Be particularly aware of motorbike bag snatching, especially in the bigger cities.
                          Joining point
                          Summit Parkview Hotel
                          350 Ahlone Road Dagon Township
                          Yangon
                          Yangon
                          MYANMAR
                          Phone: +95 1211888
                          Joining point description
                          Summit Parkview Yangon offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. The property features a fitness centre, 24-hour front desk reception, and an on-site restaurant serving international dishes. Rooms are fitted with a flat-screen cable TV, air conditioning, an electric kettle, hairdryer and minibar. All rooms have private bathroom facilities.

                          Please note in some cases Intrepid are not able to secure the same room type that we stay at on your tour, for accommodation booked before or after your tour. You may need to change rooms before or after your tour, the hotel will assist you if this is necessary.

                          The hotel is a 5-minute walk to People Park and Shwedagon Pagoda.
                          Joining point instructions
                          Please note a complimentary arrival transfer to is included if arriving on Day 1 or you have pre booked accommodation with Intrepid. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 15 days prior to your departure.
                          For pre-booked arrival transfers, a representative will meet in the Customs Hall in the arrivals area and will be holding an Intrepid sign bearing your name. Please note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment.

                          Summit Parkview Hotel is located approximately 30-60 minute drive from the airport (depending on traffic).
                          Finish point
                          Summit Parkview Hotel
                          350 Ahlone Road Dagon Township
                          Yangon
                          Yangon
                          MYANMAR
                          Phone: +95 1211888
                          Finish point description
                          Summit Parkview Yangon offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. The property features a fitness centre, 24-hour front desk reception, and an on-site restaurant serving international dishes. Rooms are fitted with a flat-screen cable TV, air conditioning, an electric kettle, hairdryer and minibar. All rooms have private bathroom facilities.

                          Please note in some cases Intrepid are not able to secure the same room type that we stay at on your tour, for accommodation booked before or after your tour. You may need to change rooms before or after your tour, the hotel will assist you if this is necessary.

                          The hotel is a 5-minute walk to People Park and Shwedagon Pagoda.
                          Emergency contact
                          While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                          We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                          You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                          In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, please call the Intrepid Myanmar emergency contact number: +95 9 420254468.

                          For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

                          For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

                          Intrepid's Myanmar Office: +95 9 420254468
                          Visas
                          As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.
                          Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

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

                          MYANMAR (Burma):
                          Most nationalities require a visa to visit Mynamar, and 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 Myanmar 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, as well as land border crossings at Tachileik, Myawaddy and Kawthaung. If arriving into another Myanmar entry point you will need to apply for your visa in advance through a Myanmar Embassy.

                          Nationalities who are unable to obtain an eVisa should contact the Myanmar embassy in their country of residency. Note - you may be requested to provide a letter of invitation from a local Myanmar ground operator. In such cases please contact Intrepid to attain this letter and we will forward to you.
                          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.

                          Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

                          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

                          LOCAL DRESS:
                          When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Myanmar, 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. Comfortable sandals or shoes that can be easily removed for temple visits are practical.

                          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.
                          Communications
                          MOBILE PHONES AND INTERNET:
                          International roaming with an increasing number of western mobile networks is now possible in Myanmar; the situation is rapidly changing, so it is best to check with your provider in advance.
                          The availability of Internet is also increasing, with wifi and access points in many hotels and internet cafes. However Internet speeds are often very slow and unreliable, particularly in rural areas.
                          Health
                          All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                          You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

                          DENGUE FEVER:
                          Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
                          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.

                          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
                          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.
                          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.

                          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                          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:

                          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/rt/51033_Elephant_Welfare.pdf

                          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.

                          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:

                          http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

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

                          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback