10 Day Myanmar Active Adventure

3 March, 2020

Trip price: $3110 AUD

Deposit $1200 AUD

This is a last minute opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. The idea of hiking around Myanmar villages was too good to miss!

Explore during the day, sleep well at night. If you love hiking and adore getting off the beaten path (but still enjoy creature comforts!) you’re going to love this. This is not Himalaya style trekking – if the idea of a 10-15km day hike appeals to you, you’re going to love this. On the core days of this trip, we’ll be walking from village to village, expertly guided by highly rated, experienced guides.

Highlights

Small groups, maximum 12 spots

Visit the beautiful Lake Inle and experience it in the best way possible

Visit the long-necked tribes near Loikaw - in a way that is sustainable and actually benefits the local community

On Day 6, we'll be hiking to a 'secret' location - not a white face for miles - in traditional Myanmar village country

Myanmar speaks many languages - in addition to your trip guide, you'll have local guides in some locations to assist us

We know the best hidden food spots in Yangon. Bring an empty stomach!

Trip Details
Price

$3,110 (twinshare): first in best dressed

Deposit: $1,200 AUD

Private room supplement: $740 AUD – only 2 available

Note: Don’t have someone to join you? Most of our bookings are from solo travellers. We can easily match you with another group member to help you avoid paying the private supplement. Just ask!


Trip length

10 days, 9 nights


Dates

March 3 to March 12, 2020

Have a group? Contact us and we can arrange a private departure!


Meeting point

The Merchant Boutique Hotel, Yangon, Myanmar


Ending point

Yangon International Airport (RGN)


Group size

Maximum 11 — guaranteed departure


Participation requirements

Please see our “Is this trip right for you?” section to see the participation requirements


Included
  • Meals: Nearly all meals, please refer to main itinerary
  • Mix of 3 star & luxury accommodation
  • Leader/Guides: 1 top-rated English speaking tour leaders throughout, plus local tour guides where appropriate. (MANY languages are spoken in Myanmar!)
  • Transport: 2x internal domestic flights (on Myanmar’s best airline), river ferry, longtail boat and spacious, air-conditioned minivan
  • Entrance/Admission: Fees, where applicable with included activities
  • Note: Flight Details are needed 60 Days in Advance

Not included
  • International airfares
  • Tip kitty ($70 USD). Note: we’re Aussies and we know that tipping is annoying! However, guide and driver tipping is customary in Myanmar.
  • We can thank the ‘you know whos’ from ‘you know where’ for this
  • Any visas required (Australian passport holders have a relatively simple online process to apply for their e-Visa. We will gladly help answer any questions you have as you pass through the process)
  • Services not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Late check-out at hotels
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips for leaders, guide and driver
  • Expenditure of personal nature
  • Personal insurance

Our accommodation

We’re not sparing any expense in Myanmar as we chase a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Lisa, our Ground Coordinator, has tested dozens of local accommodation venues and we’re only staying at her favourites.

All showers offer hot water, but there are a few local quirks such as hand-held shower-heads or waiting a few minutes for the hot water to come through.

Note: Accommodation on day 6 is a simple homestay – Dorm style accommodation: European toilet, bucket shower, cold water are available. Carry small day pack.


Hiking Time:

If you enjoy a spot of day hiking, you’ll love this trip. A couple of days are challenging without being back breaking. In the midst of this, we’ll have many opportunities to engage in shorter walks.

(Click to see the hiking break down)

DAY 1: Arrival
DAY 2: Yangon Walking Experience (2.5 hrs )
DAY 3: ~ 4km (2 hours )
DAY 4: ~ 13km (5 hour s )
DAY 5: ~ 3km (1.5 hours )
DAY 6: ~ 7km ( 3 hours )
DAY 7: ~ 15km (6 hours ), moderate grading
DAY 8: NA
DAY 9: ~5km (2 hours )
DAY 10: NA

Why Choose This Tour?

Myanmar is opening up which means now is the time to visit. Imagine visiting Thailand before it drowned under 100 million cheap package tours - this is your opportunity to take now! You're going to see some of the highlights, sure, but the focus is on getting you the most unique experience possible.

The best team, hands down. This itinerary was put together by our ground coordinator, Lisa O'Donnell. She's an Aussie who worked in the Australian embassy in Myanmar for years and loved it so much that she decided to stay! Lisa literally wrote an entire guidebook to Myanmar and has worked hard to source the best guides and experiences in the whole country. You'll meet Lisa in Yangon and she'll take you to one of her fav out of the way noodle spots... not a tourist in sight!

This is not extreme trekking. Vertical elevation changes are relaxed with a mix of lighter walks and longer hikes. The longest day involves 15km of walking on undulating paths through off the grid villages and farms, with regular stops.

Click the tabs to find out more
Day 1: Yangon

Welcome to Myanmar! Upon arrival to Yangon airport, you will be met and transferred to the hotel. Your adventure begins that evening with a traditional Shan dinner in a gorgeous two-storey, traditional teak residence.

The Shan people belong to one of the 135 different ethnic groups that call Myanmar home. They are well known across the country for their tasty dishes, with a focus on fragrant flavors and varying textures. As you’ll be spending some of your time on this tour exploring Shan State, dinner is a perfect introduction to some of the culinary experiences to look forward to!

Accommodation: The Merchant Boutique Hotel or similar
Included: Dinner

Day 2: Yangon

We’ll start at a wet market where locals flock to buy their daily produce. Somewhat of a sensory explosion of color, sounds and friendly interactions, make sure you bring your camera to capture some of the action!

After an authentic local lunch at one of our favourite places, shop for your very own longyi (pronounced Longee). They’re not expensive and the sarong style wrap comes in handy for the modest dress code expected at pagodas.

Not to mention, the locals will love that you made the effort! Later, a sunset tour of Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s foremost religious stupa.

Accommodation: The Merchant Boutique Hotel or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Loikaw

A quick flight to this morning to Loikaw, more like a frontier out-post than a state capital. Then, a 90 minute village hike where the Kayah women will take the spot-light.

Dressed to resemble flight, they wear flowing capes over their tunics and red turbans on their heads.

Their knees are wrapped in twine, creating bulbous joints similar to that of a bird. You’ll learn about their traditions, and how they’ve been passed down through the ages by fables shared with word-of-mouth.

Lunch is a tasty traditional Kayah BBQ prepared by a family in the village.

Accommodation: Keinnara Loikaw or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Loikaw

Today, you’ll embark on the ‘Artisans’ Trail’, as we walk local trails through a series of village houses practicing traditional crafts, including bracelet making, cotton growing and fabric weaving.

There’s also a special surprise waiting for us as we meet the fascinating ‘long neck’ women. Phan Pet is a community tourism project designed specifically to support these women and make sure that our visit has a positive impact.

Along the way, a simple lunchbox of eggs, chicken, rice and beans is provided by a village women’s group trained by UN hygiene officers. The trail continues after lunch as we take in more of the countryside.

Accommodation: Keinnara Loikaw or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Loikaw to Kalaw

Amazing day today. With hardly another tourist in sight, it’s around a 3 hour boat ride across beautiful, vast lakes linked by reedy, narrow canals. With plenty of bird life and encounters with local fisherman known for their distinct leg-rowing technique, the stretch passes quickly.

We’ll reach the Pa-O village of Samkar in time for lunch. Afterwards, explore the village’s lakeside cluster of rustic pagodas and wonder along quaint country laneways lined with traditional teak homes.

After check-in, unwind while gazing at the mountain views, relax with an inhouse massage or meander around the lodge’s 30 acre working farm. Join together for dinner in the lodge’s main-house restaurant.

Accommodation: Kalaw Hill Lodge or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Secret location

After breakfast, the group will head off on your ‘off-the-map’ adventure! All you’ll need is a day pack. Any overnight belongings will be transferred to tonight’s destination for you.

The first stop is a nearby Buddhist monastery and then onto Nanthe Village, home to a local ethnic group, The Danu. After a couple more surprises, there’s a short drive to the old rural railway station of Myin Daik where you’ll hop on the train bound for Thazi. Very scenic!

From there, further hiking into the countryside until our final stop: a welcoming village who will welcome us with a feast and community stay accommodation. (Note: The facilities are very simple here. We will each have a normal mattress, but it will be on the floor.)

Accommodation: Community Homestay. Simple homestay – Dorm style accommodation: European toilet, bucket shower, cold water are available. Carry small day pack.
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Kalaw

Say your goodbyes to your overnight hosts before trekking to the village of Hinkha Gone. It’s around a 4 km (1 ½ hour) guided trail that rolls uphill (100 m elevation gain). From Hinkha Gone, you’ll track north for 3.5 km (1 hour) along a ridge that’s framed by lush forest on one side and a sweeping vista of the valley below, on the other. Take in the views at today’s lunch spot, 4715 feet above sea level.
This afternoon, the path leaves the embrace of tropical forest and heads out into the openness of fields, with a chance to chat with farmers along the way.

Once at the village, the journey finishes with a short vehicle transfer back to lovely Kalaw Hill Lodge. – All in time for a well-earned shower!

Accommodation: Kalaw Hill Lodge or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Pindaya

This morning, you’ll travel by road across the rolling hills of Shan State to the rustic town of Pindaya.

There you’ll visit a family-run workshop and learn about the local art of paper and umbrella making. Then, we finish the morning with a walk around the town’s lake.

Today’s lunch is scrumptious and served at a nearby ‘farm house’. Enjoy the local Danu dishes and the fabulous views over the rural fields. Afterwards, drop by a village known for its weaving, meeting with one of the elder artisans. Spend a little time with her in her family home, before the 90 minute transfer to Nyaung Shwe near Inle Lake.

Accommodation: View Point Lodge or similar
Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Inle Lake

It’s a lively 30 minute long-boat ride along a feeder channel from Nyaung Shwe and onto the open waters of magnificent Inle Lake… the perfect way to finish this jaunt.

Weave through the watery beds of the floating gardens and see the iconic customary Intha fishermen. Witness traditional crafts being practiced inside stilted village houses and shop for exquisite fabrics, hand woven from lotus flower and silk thread.

Once more, we’ll step from the tourist-trail for a couple of hours, trekking in the countryside to a village known for its local food production and picturesque setting. Return to the hotel in the mid afternoon.

Tonight’s meal is a special occasion as the final team dinner.

Accommodation: View Point Lodge or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Yangon

Following a short flight this morning, you’ll arrive back to Yangon around lunch time.

If you’re flying out today, please ensure your flight does not depart before 5pm!

We can organise an extra night in Yangon for those who like.

Included: Breakfast

BAGAN OPTIONAL EXTRA: 4D 3N

Included: Domestic flight Inle Lake to Bagan (He Ho to Nyaung U), 3 nights Deluxe Room Accommodation – Ananta Boutique Hotel or similar, transfers, vehicles and guides as listed, whole day mountain bike hire with helmet, 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch, Sunset Cruise with snacks, entrance fees, and drinking water.
Price: $1,050 (twinshare)

Day 10: Sat 25th Jan: Nyaung Shwe – Bagan

Instead of returning to Yangon, you’ll fly to Bagan. . The buildings and monuments are spread far and wide – along the roadside, among paddocks ploughed ready for planting and down country lane-ways inside tiny villages. Today you will explore must-see well-known sites, as well as hidden gems far from the tourist trail!

Day 11: Sun 26th Jan – Bagan

It’s a gentle 6 km bike ride along the back roads to Pwar Saw village where you’ll relax as the guests of a welcoming local family for lunch.. Afterwards, it’s back to the hotel and time for a little R&R. – You’ve earned the break! We’ll finish the evening with a sunset cruise on the Ayeyarwady.

Day 12: Mon 27th Jan – Bagan

Today there’s around a 90 minute drive to the riverside hamlet of Salay where you’ll all take in the scenes of daily life in the sleepy village and visit its beautiful 19th century teak monastery.

Day 13: Tues 28th Jan: Bagan – Yangon

Following a short flight this morning, you’ll arrive back to Yangon around lunch time.

The Essential Info

Make no mistake, what has transpired in the Rakhine area is an absolute tragedy. We spoke with a Myanmar expert who has lived there both before the opening up of the country, and after. The response: ’50 years of being closed off didn’t help. The only people who did NOT suffer were the military. The more Myanmar integrates into the world economy, the more they’ll feel the need to follow international norms.

The people who benefit from these trips are the locals, who are supported by this trip and paid fairly. Our ground coordinator, Lisa, knows the situation well and we’re avoiding spending money, always where possible, with regime-linked businesses.

Visas

Australian passports require a tourist visa in advance to visit Myanmar. eVisas are available for a fee of US$50, and it takes approximately 3 working days to process, but please allow more than in the event of delays. To apply visit the government website: http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/

Money Matters

Given that nearly everything is included, most of your expenditure will relate to buying tea or other keepsakes. Bring several hundred USD to be on the safe side. They must be in CRISP, FLAT, PRISTINE condition. You’ll most likely end up with a bunch of that left over. Meals typically from $3 USD to $15 USD depending on the venue.

The currency is the Myanmar Kyat. ATMs are available in major cities. 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 bring USD to exchange. You can exchange money through authorised money exchange counters at the airport, banks, or some city hotels.

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 CRISP, FLAT, PRISTINE condition as notes with pen marks, folds or tears are not accepted. Notes should not be older than 2006.

Frequently Asked Questions
When should I arrive?

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Try to arrive before midday on that day, although earlier would be recommendable. Those who are ready to go by lunch-time will receive a bonus: Lisa, our Ground Coordinator, will meet up with you and take you to one of her favourite lunch-spots.

How fit do I need to be?

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To get the most out of this trip, you don’t need to be a mountain goat, but you do need to be able to go on a 15km walk without keeling over. There will be regular breaks as we stop at villages or stop to talk to a farmer. You may feel tired at the end, but it will be worthwhile.

What should I wear? What's the weather like?

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The weather varies significantly, but is generally comfortably warm. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing but make sure to have a light sweater or jacket for the evenings at higher elevations.

Women need to have their knees and shoulders covered at religious sites. On the first day, we will shop together for a longyi – a light fabric sarong – which does the trick. Also, while women are NOT harrassed for skimpy dress, it’s generally considered respectful to try to fit in with the culture, so we recommend avoiding short shorts or singlet tops.

Pack a pair of easy-slip-off summer shoes. It’s culturally respectful and expected that everyone removes their shoes at religious sites (socks included). Similarly with entering a person’s home, as well as some shops. Buckles and laces quickly become a tedious obstacle as a result.

What about showers?

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All showers offer hot water, but there are a few local quirks such as hand-held shower-heads or waiting a few minutes for the hot water to come through. On our ‘mystery night’ , the facilities are quite limited, but there is a scoop shower.

Will I be overwhelmed by heat?

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You’re coming in the perfect season, so while you will get hot, it’s nothing outside the range of what is normal in an Australian summer The reason we’ve got a couple of morning starts is to take advantage of the cooler air at this time. Another bonus: many of the sites in Bagan are relatively empty earlier on and we’ll be gone to more out of the way places by the time the buses roll in. We’ll be back in time to enjoy the pool in the afternoon.

What is the food like?

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The quality is highly variable but we know the good places. The variety is sensational, with all types of curries and Asian salads, with a lot of Chinese and Indian food available. If you’re hankering for a change in some moment and just want a pizza, these can also be found.

I'm a vegetarian/vegan/coeliac - will I be ok?

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Vegetarians will be totally fine, however this trip is not recommended for Vegans or Coeliacs.

How much does it cost on the ground? How much money would I need?

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Given that nearly everything is included, most of your expenditure will relate to buying tea or other keepsakes. Bring several hundred USD to be on the safe side. They must be in CRISP, FLAT, PRISTINE condition. You’ll most likely end up with a bunch of that left over. Meals typically from $3 USD to $15 USD depending on the venue.

How do I reserve?

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Reserve your place at Patch Adventures.com.au or email rebeca@patchadventures.com.au! There is a maximum group size of 11.

What are the payment terms?

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You need to make a non-refundable deposit of $1200. We’ll be paying for things in advance such as your domestic internal flights.

From there, you need to pay the final balance by November 10. (This is not for our benefit: our suppliers are in very high demand, and require upfront payment well in advance to guarantee availability.) You can pay with Card (fees apply) or with Bank Deposit.

Note: Prior to the payment of your full balance, the final price may change if there is significant variation in the AUD:USD exchange rate. Please refer to the full terms and conditions.

I have an injury. Should I come?

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This trip is sadly not appropriate for those who need to use walking aids: in signing up, you confirm that you have the basic fitness level required to walk for several hours, if necessary. The trip is not appropriate for those with knee problems.

Are airfares included? Can you help organise them for me?

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Airfares are not included. We have a travel agent that we are in partnership with, that can help arrange your flights.

Isn't Myanmar dangerous?

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Pockets are, yes, but we’ll be going nowhere near them. Smart Traveller recommends that you take only normal precautions when it comes to travelling to the zones we’re visiting.

What about the Rohingya?

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Make no mistake, what has transpired in the Rakhine area is an absolute tragedy. We spoke with a Myanmar expert who has lived there both before the opening up of the country, and after. The response: ’50 years of being closed off didn’t help. The only people who did NOT suffer were the military. The more Myanmar integrates into the world economy, the more they’ll feel the need to follow international norms. ‘

The people who benefit from these trips are the locals, who are supported by this trip and paid fairly. Our ground coordinator, Lisa, knows the situation well and we’re avoiding spending money, always where possible, with regime-linked businesses.

What about vaccines?

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Please check with your GP.

What about SIM cards?

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All clients will be provided with a SIM Card.

Why aren't we going to Golden Rock or U-Bein Bridge?

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Golden Rock & U-Bein Bridge are already well over-touristed and require a lot of driving to and fro, so we’ve decided not to include them.

Golden Rock is not just over-touristed – access is not allowed for women, which means we’d have to stand nearby and take photos.

Don’t See Your Question Here? Check Out Our FAQ Page!