ITINERARY CHANGES

Your itinerary is meant as a guideline only and that the actual walks and sites visited may vary due to season, special events or weather. Changes in domestic airline flight schedules may also alter the order of walks and visits. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience.

MYANMAR POLITICS

It is important to note that Myanmar (formerly Burma) is still a country run by an authoritarian military junta. Democracy and change are on the way. Myanmar has just recently opened its doors to international travelers and travel is restricted to certain areas. Some travelers may have concerns about the current political regime; however, the people of Myanmar welcome tourists with open arms. Tourists provide much needed jobs and income to the local people. By visiting and experiencing Myanmar we are supporting the people. We are also assisting the people by utilizing a local operator, local guides, and independent, privately run hotels and restaurants.

INCLUSIONS

All Accommodation, Daily Breakfasts, internal flights, road transfers, station to station guides, sightseeing, boat trips, permits, activities.

MEETING POINT

Yangon, Myanmar airport

DEPARTURE POINT

Yangon, Myanmar

RATING & TERRAIN

Easy walking with some uneven terrain, Average of 2 hours daily except trek

ACCOMMODATIONS

Deluxe, boutique or guest houses depending on your program.

TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS

International airfare is not included in the price of your trip.

GRATUITIES

Gratuities are not included. It is usual to tip your bell boy, drivers and restaurant staff. Usually 1 to 2 dollars suffice. Should you wish to tip your guide the standard in the industry ranges from $8 to $15 per person, per guide, per day, and may be paid in US Dollars. Tipping is always at your discretion.

Please note that ONLY USD cash can be used in Myanmar for incidentals and souvenir shopping. NOTES SHOULD BE CLEAN WITH NO DAMAGE. Credit cards are allowed in some hotels but there is a 7% surcharge. Travellers checks are not accepted. ATMs are now readily available in most big towns but they do charge a fee and will only provide the local currency but are not yet reliable.

TRAVEL TO YANGON, MYANMAR

International airfare is not included in the price of your trip. We encourage you to contact your local travel agent or the airline(s) directly for any air arrangement you may need.

MOST CONVENIENT AIRPORT

Yangon International Airport (RGN), Yangon, Myanmar (Formerly Rangoon, Burma)

TOUR MEETING POINT AND TIME: Yangon International airport.

GETTING TO THE MEETING POINT:

Most flights into Yangon, Myanmar include a lay-over in Bangkok, Thailand and then departing for Yangon the following morning. When purchasing international airfare, you may choose to book a round trip flight directly to Yangon, or, book two round trip flights (one round trip flight from your point of departure to Yangon plus one round trip flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Yangon, Myanmar). We recommend researching both options for the best rates and schedules.

PRE-TOUR ACCOMMODATIONS IN YANGON, MYANMAR

If you wish to extend your stay in Yangon, we recommend staying at your first hotel. Let your agent know and they will assist you in making a reservation.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Entry into Myanmar requires a passport and a Tourist Visa or an acceptance letter. As noted below, visas are valid for 90 days from the date of issue so it is extremely important that you apply for your tourist visa at the appropriate time.

PASSPORT

Obtaining a passport can take up to four weeks and your passport should be valid for at least six
months beyond your travel date.

TOURIST VISA

You must have your valid passport before you can apply for a visa as the actual visa will be stamped into your passport. To apply for a visa you must fill out a Tourist Visa Application which can be obtained from your nearest Myanmar embassy. The visa process normally requires 7 working days if submitted to the embassy. You may also choose to use a visa application service. Visas are valid for 3 months from the date of issue, which cannot be renewed or refunded. The visa is valid for 28 days from arrival.

You can also check for the nearest Myanmar Embassy on the following website http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Myanmar

Electronic visas are now available and can be applied for on line. You should bring your acceptance letter with you. www.evisa.moip.gov.mm This is the simplest and easiest way of obtaining a visa.

FOREIGN CURRENCY

The unit of currency in Myanmar is the kyat (MMK). As of January , 2015 one U.S. dollar is equal to approximately 1000 kyat.. Your local representative will help you change money on arrival.

CASH

As of January 2015 credit cards are not widely accepted in Myanmar. Only cash can be used for incidentals and souvenir shopping. Recently hotels have started accepting credit cards with a 7% surcharge. USD cash is always accepted for exchange. Make sure the bills are as new as possible are not torn or dirty as these will not be accepted and you will find your cash to be useless. ATM machines are now available in most big towns.

ELECTRICITY

Electric current in Myanmar carries 230 volts at 50 cycles. Myanmar uses sockets that resemble the British sockets. Hotels provide plug size adapters on request

COMMUNICATION

Reliable Internet service is becoming available in most towns. Most hotels now provide free wi fi. Internet cafes are widely available..

Overseas calls can be made through International direct dial phones available in most hotels.. SIM cards are cheaply available should you require one. 3G also works in most areas.

WEATHER:

The best time to visit Myanmar is between November and February which is considered the “cool” season and the driest time of the year. Midday temperatures can still be quite warm reaching the high 80s to low 90s in some areas. Temperatures in Heho (Inle Lake) are cooler and average in the 70s dipping to the 40s at night. You may obtain more detailed weather information by visiting www.weatherbase.com.

Yangon Dec Feb
High 88 94
Low 67 67

Heho (Inle Lake) Dec Feb
High 71 76
Low 47 47

Mandalay Dec Feb
High 81 88
Low 59 60

IMMUNIZATIONS & HEALTH CONCERNS:

Inoculations: We recommend that you consult a travel clinic or local GP.for the most up-to-date inoculation recommendations. Gamma globulin (for hepatitis), tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella vaccinations are generally recommended for all travelers. You should consult your Doctor for the most current information regarding the threat of malaria. Please plan ahead for immunizations since they may need to be administered one to two months prior to departure.

CUISINE

The cuisine of Myanmar is known as Burmese and represents an eclectic blend of Indian, Chinese and European flavors and influences. Rice is the staple of any Burmese meal and is usually served with a choice of curry dishes. Traditional curry dishes usually consist of vegetables, chicken, fish and seafood. Curries in Myanmar are the mildest in Asia as chilies are often replaced with a simple mixture of ginger, turmeric, garlic, salt and onions. Light, spicy salads made with vegetables or fresh fruit tossed with lime juice, onions, peanuts and other spices are also a highlight. The Myanmar style of food is served as a large assortment of dishes from which you can pick and choose. Lighter noodle dishes, salads and soups are popular mid-day meals. Breakfasts on tour will consist of full Western buffets with plenty of fresh fruit. Myanmar has a wide variety of tropical fruits including strawberries, bananas, tangerines, watermelon, papayas and pineapples. European and Western cuisine is also available at most hotels.

Water

Never drink water from a tap. Bottled water will be provided throughout your tour.

GENERAL CULTURAL INFORMATION

Myanmar is a developing country. Infrastructure, including modern roads, is fairly good, but poverty is apparent in much of the country. The quest for modernization has been an important theme in recent history, but traditional values continue to play a significant role in understanding contemporary Myanmar. The country’s greatest resource is often considered its people, and for many travelers, encounters with the locals form the most enduring memories of their visit. This tour exploration has been designed to maximize exposure to the country’s diversity, its land, people and culture, both on foot and during the travel days. The most important tools that a traveler can bring to Myanmar are a sense of humor, flexibility and an open mind to cultural differences. While this itinerary has been established with the assistance of local, expert guides and operators, each experience is unique and requires patience on the part of the traveler.

ETIQUETTE & SOCIAL CONDUCT

The Burmese people in general have a very easy going and open nature. The social conduct of the people, no matter what tribe they come from, is termed “Burmese-ness.” This includes the Buddhist values of respect for elders, dressing modestly, showing discretion in behavior towards the opposite gender, and most importantly, exhibiting modes of expression that value quiet, subtle and indirect communication rather than loud, obvious and direct.

SPECIAL NOTE FOR WOMEN

Please note that tampons are not widely available in Myanmar.

PHOTOGRAPHY

It is recommended that you always ask before taking a person’s photograph (a hand signal is fine).

Donations

We recommend that you do not give in to the temptation of rewarding children who beg for sweets, pencils, or spare change. As difficult as this may be, you will make a more positive impact by giving donations of school supplies or books to our guide, who will assure that they reach one of the villages visited on our tour.

Basic Burmese Phrases

The national language of Myanmar is Burmese, the language of the Bamar majority. Approximately 80% of the Myanmar population speaks this language or related dialects. Making up another 10% of the population are speakers of Thai languages which include the Shan, Khun and Tai Lu. Some estimate that there are 107 languages spoken in Myanmar. Our guides speak English fluently. Basic English is widely spoken in urban areas. Although knowledge of Burmese is by no means essential for this tour, you may want to learn a few common words and phrases before you depart. Local residents will appreciate your efforts to learn even simple greetings. We hope the following Burmese phrases will help make your trip more enjoyable.

Burmese (Romanize)

  • Hello mingalabar
  • Thank you jesubey
  • Yes houq-keh
  • Good Bye ta-ta
  • Water yeh
  • Purified Water yeh Tain
  • Bottled Water than-ye
  • No thank you Ma weh tey boo (to street sellers)
  • Good cown tey (as in the food tastes good)
  • How much does it cost? Bey lau ley
  • How are you? Ne-kaun yeh la?
  • I am well Ne-kaun-ba-deh

Vowel Pronunciation: Consonant Pronunciation:
a as in ‘father’ th as in ‘thin’
aw as in ‘law’ dh as in ‘the’
e as the ‘bay’ ny as in the beginning of the British ‘new’
i as in ‘be’ hm, hn, hng, hl
(made with a puff of air just before the nasal or l sound)
o as in ‘go’ ng as the ‘ng’ in hang
u as in ‘too’

What to Pack

BOOTS AND FOOT CARE

Sturdy sneakers are sufficient. Hiking Boots are not required. Walking sandals: As you will need to take your shoes on and off every time we enter a Buddhist site, we recommend good walking sandals (such as Merrill or Teva) for some days. Synthetic, moisture-wicking socks (cotton socks are not recommended while walking as they will quickly cause blisters) Johnson & Johnson Cushions for Feet Blister Block” or similar blister remedy. Small scrub brush and foot cream as your feet can get quite dirty and dry when walking barefoot in and around temples and on bare stones. A rich foot cream will help prevent cracked heals.

CLOTHING

Wash and wear, light weight, long pants (zip off pants and/or 3/4 length pants are ideal). Shorts are NOT appropriate for visiting temples. Long-sleeved and short-sleeved, wash and wear shirts, T-shirts. Dinner attire: Dress in Myanmar is casual. A different outfit for each evening is unnecessary, and will only weigh down your luggage. Light sweater or polar fleece jacket for evenings. Optional: a skirt or wrap around sarong (both men and women wear sarongs in Myanmar); these can be purchased on tour. Optional: bathing suit for hotel swimming pools.

DRESS

Please note that wearing shorts is not recommended for our walks and when visiting temples, they are not allowed. We recommend wearing hiking pants with zip-off legs or ¾ length pants. If possible dress modestly at all times. When visiting Buddhist sites, one should not wear shorts, short skirts or have exposed shoulders. Shoes and socks are also not allowed in any Buddhist sites. When we visit pagodas, temples and monasteries all shoes and socks must be removed and left outside the building. For this reason we may recommend walking sandals on some days.

OUTERWEAR

Waterproof rain gear: jacket or poncho
Hat with a broad brim or visor for sun protection

LAUNDRY

Same day laundry service is offered at most hotels.

EQUIPMENT

Day Pack: large enough to carry water, camera, extra clothing, Sun block and lip balm with SPF

Sunglasses

“Toilet Kit” for when facilities are not available on the walks. Include zip-lock baggies, tissues and moist towelettes which can be disposed of upon your return to the hotel

ESSENTIAL PERSONAL FIRST AID KIT:

  • Band-Aids
  • Small scissors, tweezers, needle
  • Aspirin (acetaminophen if you cannot tolerate aspirin)
  • Cold remedies
  • Motion sickness medication, if you are susceptible to car, plane or boat sickness
  • A mild laxative
  • Pepto Bismol (or similar)
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine
  • Insect repellent
  • Tampons (please note that tampons cannot be purchased in Myanmar)

PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS

Consult your physician regarding the need for Antibiotic for gastrointestinal infections. You should also bring an ample supply of any other prescription medications you ordinarily take.
Any prescription medications you require should be in their original containers

OPTIONAL

  • Binoculars
  • Camera with extra batteries
  • Ziplock bags (to keep camera & valuables dry)
  • Small notebook and pen
  • Field guides (see enclosed reading list)
  • Bandana
  • Wash cloth
  • Travel alarm clock and watch
  • Personal toiletries
  • Second pair of prescription glasses (if worn)
  • Small flashlight to better see frescoes in some of
  • The darker temples
  • Hand sanitizer (gel or handy wipes)

PACKING TIPS AND LUGGAGE REQUIREMENTS

Pack light! The trip is meant to be relaxing. The more you bring, the more you’ll have to worry about. Keep in mind there will be times, especially before and after the tour that you may have to carry your own luggage short distances. Due to space constraints we require you to limit your luggage to one medium piece and one small carry-on per person. We recommend packing valuables, prescription medications and your walking shows in your carry-on luggage.

Both the Myanmar domestic airlines and the Thai International Airlines only allow a total of 44 pounds per person (not per bag) with a limit of 2 check-in bags per person. Extra weight on domestic flights is charged at $1 or more per kg overweight.

THE WALKS

Average 2 hours daily. This tour includes a variety of walks ranging from easy city walking to hillside hiking. This tour is considered easy with some uneven terrain, short steep ascents and descents on stairs and temples.

WALKING

Most importantly being a hot country, you must, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Your guide will provide a thorough overview of the terrain to be encountered on each day’s walk and the advisability of using a walking stick.

CUSTOMS DECLARATION

You will have to fill in a customs declaration on arrival. You are allowed to bring in up to US$10000. You do have to declare any expensive jewellery so we recommend not bringing such items. You can buy some fabulous jewellery in Myanmar for which you should ask for a voucher when you purchase the item. You can only bring set stones out of the country.

SAFETY AND EMERGENCIES

Travel in Myanmar is relatively safe. However, as in any country, avoid carrying your money and passport in a waist pack. It’s best to carry valuables in a pouch worn inside your shirt or in a money belt around your waist. In addition, you should carry copies of important documents in a separate area of your luggage. Always be alert when carrying packages, cameras, or backpacks through the streets of a city. You may be asked to give your airplane ticket to the local operator in Myanmar. This is for security reasons and to allow them to confirm your return flight. We recommend leaving valuable jewelry at home and using lockable luggage. You should bring an ample supply of any medicine you regularly use. We will exercise reasonable care in assuring a safe and enjoyable trip, but you should be aware that there are certain risks associated with all adventure travel. Be sure to note any physical limitations or conditions, medications being taken, allergies or health problems before traveling to Myanmar. ALWAYS HAVE GOOD TRAVEL INSURANCE IN CASE OF ANY EMERGENCIES.