Asia Plaza Hotel
277 Bogyoke Aung San Road Corner of 38th Street
Phone: +95 139 1070
Joining point description
Located near the Central Railway station and Bogyote Aung San Market, the Asia Plaza hotel has rooms with private en-suites, air conditioning and WiFi. www.asiaplazahotel.com
Joining point instructions
Your arrival transfer is included and will be pre-booked at the time of booking. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
Problems and emergency contact information
While we always endeavor 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 recognize 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.
Asia Plaza Hotel
277 Bogyoke Aung San Road Corner of 38th Street
Phone: +95 139 1070
Finishing point description
Located near the Central Railway station and Bogyote Aung San Market, the Asia Plaza hotel has rooms with private en-suites, air conditioning and WiFi. www.asiaplazahotel.com
Finishing point instructions
A departure transfer from our hotel tis included and will be pre-booked for you at the time of booking. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
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 travelers.
Essential Trip Information
1. Please provide passport details at time of booking with name as per passport, as these are essential for booking services on this trip.
2. Intrepid can book an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Bagan (operating October to March). Please refer to the itinerary for more information. Places are limited and we recommend advance booking with your agent.
3. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip.
Passport and 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 traveler. 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 familiarize yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.
Most nationalities require a tourist visa in advance to visit Myanmar. eVisas are available for most nationalities via the Government 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.
Medical and health information
All Intrepid travelers 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 traveler 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.
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.
Food and dietary requirements
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
FOOD IN MYANMAR:
The food in Myanmar is described as more mild, and oily than it's neighboring 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.
Hotel (8 nights), Community Lodge (1 night)
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 travelers. We ask for your patience with any last minute hotel changes.
Bicycle, Boat, Canoe, Plane, Private vehicle
Please provide your name as per passport 45 days prior to the departure date for flight tickets to be issued.
For internal flights we fly the following safety audited airlines: Golden Myanmar Airlines, Yangon Airways, Air Kan Baw Za (KBZ) and Mann Yadanarpon Airlines.
It is common for airlines to make last-minute changes to our confirmed group bookings on internal flights, and to re-book the group on earlier or later flight times than originally scheduled. In rare instances the group may be split over different flights throughout the day, and you may be unaccompanied on the internal flight. In this case you will be assisted by additional tour escorts on departure and arrival.
Some flight routes are indirect, and may involve a stopover en-route 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.
When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveler is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).
MEALS NOT INCLUDED
We recommend USD250 for meals not included.
Myanmar’s national currency, the kyat (pronounced chat, and abbreviated K). Foreign currency is no longer accepted for purchases in Myanmar.
ATMs are readily available in all cities and most major towns. At times these can prove unreliable due to frequent power cuts or running out of funds, so you may need to try several ATMs when withdrawing funds.
It's advisable to still bring cash to exchange. USD is the primary currency to exchange, although Euros are also generally accepted. It is recommended to change through authorized money exchange counters to receive official exchange rates. These are available at Airports, major cities and many hotels. Black market money changers in tourist areas will generally give a lower rate. Your tour leader will be able to advise you on money changing opportunities during the trip.
USD: Because of concerns over counterfeit money, US Dollars with the letters AB and CB at the start of the serial number (top left-hand corner of the note) are not always accepted. Notes must be in pristine condition as notes with pen marks, folds or tears are not accepted. Notes should not be older than 2006.
EUR: Euros do not have to be in pristine condition.
Carrying cash is relatively safe as long as you take the usual precautions.
You can exchange any left over Kyat at Yangon Airport when departing.
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.
While tipping is not a traditional part of culture in Myanmar it is becoming more common as tourism increases, and is appropriate when you have experienced excellent service. Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. Carrying small notes of local currency will make tipping easier. It is best to avoid tipping with with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes, as this can be regarded as an insult.
Optional Tipping Kitty:
On Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips for drivers, local guides, and hotel staff (excludes restaurant tips). The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent which can be checked at any time, and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty at your own discretion, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader.
Optional tipping kitty for this trip: USD 35 per person (can be paid in local currency).
Your Tour Leader:
You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
What you need to bring will vary according to when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances including up and down stairs and in busy train stations. Our travelers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.
Small, wheeled suitcases that can also easily be picked up and carried are suitable, or if you prefer, a back pack is also a good option. Remember to bring suitable locks for your luggage.
INTERNAL FLIGHT LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE
Checked luggage allowance is a maximum 15kg, with up to 5kg carry on luggage. Any excess luggage charges can be paid directly to the airline at check-in. If your trip is beginning and ending at the same location, excess luggage can usually be stored at your arrival/departure hotel and can be collected after your trip.
- Day pack: for carrying essentials when exploring destinations.
- Lightweight clothing: A mixture of covering lightweight clothing and some warm layers (depending on the season) are recommended. It is best to check the weather and seasonal information before travelling. Dress standards are conservative in Myanmar, and for visits to religious sites you will also need to wear clothing that covers shoulders and pants/skirts that go past the knee. Laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes.
- Wind and waterproof jacket
- Comfortable shoes for walking and hiking: Closed-in shoes that are comfortable to walk for an entire day are recommended for city and countryside walks, and are required for cycling activities
- Sandals/flip flops/easy to remove footwear: for visits to religious sites
- Sun protection: hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
- Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and adhesive bandages.
- Insect repellent
- Water bottle: We recommend a 1.5 liter capacity. While drinking tap water is not recommended in Myanmar, some hotels will have filtered drinking water available. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 liter plastic bottle takes 2 liters of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
- Camera with spare batteries/power bank: You will have access to power to recharge your electrical items most days, however these are a good backup.
- Electrical adapter plug
- reusable shopping bag for buying supplies
- travel wipes
- small towel
- ear plugs & eye mask
- A good book, a journal and music player for longer journeys.
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe if available. It’s a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. It’s also recommended to bring a copy of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.
Myanmar has a tropical monsoon climate which can vary significantly across the country. The dry season runs from November to February, and during this time it can be cool, particularly in the central areas including Bagan, Kalaw and Inle Lake. If travelling during this season is advised to bring trousers, a warm jacket and layers, especially for the evenings.
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 traveling 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 specialized 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.
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 traveling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery 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 traveling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
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.
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 traveling 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.
Helmets are provided for all included bicycle activities, however if you prefer you can bring your own to ensure the right fit and quality.
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 travelers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders, local operators or locals.
Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
Traveling on a group trip
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of traveling in a group. Your fellow travelers 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 travelers 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 travelers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travelers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multi-share. 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.
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.
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimize 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 traveler.
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 organizations, including the World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link:
We also recommend you visit the wonderful colourful 'Do's and Don'ts for Tourists - How you can visit Myanmar responsibly': www.dosanddontsfortourists.com
This fabulous booklet', illustrated by a wide range of Myanmar cartoonists, will help you respect the traditions and customs of Myanmar, helping make Myanmar a better place for people to live and a better place to visit.
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 travelers 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 travelers 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 organizations 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:
Women's Self Help Groups in Myanmar:
The Intrepid Foundation has partnered with Action Aid in support of women’s Self Help Groups (SHG) in Myanmar. Action Aid has been working with four villages in a drought affected area north of Bagan, in the Magway Region of central Myanmar, to create a new micro-finance program. Each SHG will be made up of 20-30 women, who will manage small business loans given to members of their community. By borrowing from a SHG at a low interest rate of 2%, women are able to invest in their existing or new businesses – mainly agro-based activities or traditional handicrafts production. To ensure the sustainability of the project, Action Aid Myanmar will continue to provide skills-training, business expansion support and help communities access resources and services offered by their local governments.
For more information, or to make a donation please visit: www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/actionaid-myanmar/
For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us
In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.
Intrepid's Myanmar Office: +95 9 420254468