13 Day Myanmar Adventure

February 10, 2020

Trip price: $4957 AUD

Deposit: $1487 AUD

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’ll get taken to our fav FOODIE spots, interact with BEAUTIFUL cultures, stay in INTERESTING, COMFORTABLE accommodation and enjoy experiences that are simply NOT available on typical itineraries.. not to mention nowhere to be seen on TripAdvisor.

Highlights

Women only! Get ready for some laughs together

Small groups, maximum 12 spots

Visit the Eng and Akha tribes and witness their fascinating head-dress and customs

Visit Bagan, the most famous attraction in Myanmar, with pagodas dotting a beautiful landscape

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

Enjoy several days of interesting activity along the Ayeyarwady and watch the daily life of Myanmar as we float slowly by

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

We've recruited a team of the best guides in each area

Trip Details
Price

$4957 AUD per person

 

Deposit: 30% – $1487 AUD

 

Private room supplement: $1240 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

13 days, 12 nights


Dates

February 10 to February 22, 2020

 

Don’t see your dates? Join our waitlist!

 

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


Meeting point

The Savoy Hotel, Yangon


Ending point

Lotte Hotel, Yangon


Group size

Maximum 12 — guaranteed departure


Participation requirements

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


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

Not included
  • International airfare
  • $150 USD recommended Tip Kitty for Guides & Drivers
  • 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 & drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Expenditure of personal nature
  • Personal travel 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.

Why Choose This Tour?

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!

The most fun possible in 13 days in Myanmar. Hike up to an out-of-the-way local tribe where you'll share tea and witness their fascinating culture, float up the mighty Ayeyarwady and witness local life along the banks, converse with local monks (and learn the mysteries of the universe?)... but also take in the major sights - such as UNESCO protected Bagan - from an insider's perspective

Comfy accommodation to top it off. Let's be honest - maintaining a cheery spirit is never easy coming off a bad night's sleep. This is why we've chosen beautiful, comfortable accommodation for those moments when you just need to hit the pause button

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 straight away, 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 varied textures. What a great way to start a trip that will be packed with flavour and variety.

Accommodation: The Savoy Hotel or similar
Included: Dinner

Day 2: Yangon

This morning we’ll explore the eclectic richness of Yangon on foot, You’ll be fascinated by long laneways lined with colonial buildings, mostly decaying with ragged facades, bustling roadside markets, and gleaming religious sites representing all manner of religions. This is where we’ll have our first ‘insider experience’ as our ground coordinator Lisa takes you to her favourite noodle stall, in a mystery location in Yangon (sorry TripAdvisor, maybe next time!) Afterwards. we’ll browse the stalls in Yangon’s iconic Bogyoke Market.

In the evening, we’ll take in a sunset tour of Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s foremost religious stupa.

Accommodation: The Savoy Hotel or similar
Included: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner

Day 3: Yangon to Kengtung

Following a mid-morning flight (included), we will arrive in the remote outpost of Kengtung around lunchtime.

Lunch will be simple and delicious, the perfect start to a simple guided tour around town.

Located close to the Golden Triangle, Kengtung has an incredible mix of cultural influences. You’ll find villages separated by just a few kilometres with totally distinct languages, dress styles, and religious practices.

This area is full of ancient Myanmar magic, which is why we’ll be staying a couple of days to immerse ourselves.

Accommodation: Amazing Resort or similar
Included: Breakfast, & dinner

Day 4: Kengtung

Today we will engage in a cultural hiking experience as we visit several local villages.

Pan Lea is the home of the Eng People, with their blackened teeth stained from ashen tree bark, who wear clothing hand dyed in a rich indigo color.

Here, we will experience a one-on-one interaction with a family from this remote community. Enjoy a cup of tea together while we all share stories about our lives, as our guide translates.

Afterward, we’ll trek back down a different yet easily negotiated track. You’ll see fields worked by subsistence farmers carving out a modest living. Today’s lunch is a simple lunch box brought with us from town.

Accommodation: Amazing Resort or similar
Included: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner

Day 5: Kengtung

Today we’re going to be driving for several hours as we meander through the local countryside – visiting several villages, including the Ho Lap Village of the Akha tribe, where some ladies still wear the startling traditional head-dress (pictured at right).

The afternoon will wind up in Loi Mwe, which, at an altitude of over 1600 meters, has a refreshing temperate climate. We’ll explore the small town and have a simple lunch at a local restaurant. For the adventurous at heart, you may even like to try the locally brewed wine!

After a little R&R at the hotel in the late afternoon, let’s join together for a team dinner.

Accommodation: Amazing Resort or similar
Included: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner

Day 6: Kengtung to Mandalay

This morning, it’s your call: have a lazy morning and sleep in, or join the early risers for a tour of the fascinating and bustling Kengtung market before saying goodbye to this town.

The group will then meet for lunch and we’re off to the local airport (flight included). This time, we’re headed to Mandalay – the last Royal Capital. If the gods are on our side, we’ll be able to catch a fantastic sunset view from the pagoda-topped Mandalay Hill. It’s a little bit touristy, but in this case, worth it.

Enjoy the rest of the evening from the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, batteries recharging for a full day of fun tomorrow.

Accommodation: Bagan King Hotel or similar
Included: Breakfast, & dinner

Day 7: Mandalay & Inwa

The mighty Ayeyarwaddy River is at the heart of the next few days as we travel by public ferry to Mingum and the site of some monumental ancient structures. The most impressive is King Bodawpaya’s Pagoda. Its construction started in 1790 but it was never finished. There are huge cracks in it, evidence of the 1839 earthquake. Next, we’ll take a brief long-boat ride to the far shore, landing us at the old royal capital of Inwa. We’ll travel by horse and cart around the site, long abandoned following a devastating series of earthquakes.

On our way back to the hotel we’ll stop by The Golden Palace, an ornately carved teak structure and the only building of the Royal Palace left standing following bombing campaigns in WWII.

Accommodation: Bagan King Hotel or similar
Included: Breakfast, & lunch

Day 8: Yandabo Village

It’s an early start today – but totally worth it – as we catch the sun rising over the Ayeyarwaddy. For millennia, this river has been the gentle beating heart of Myanmar and this morning you’ll sit back for a relaxing 5 hours on another ferry. The river traces its path through story-book river scenes and vistas filled with golden pagodas.

Then, switch to a long-tail boat for the final transportation to our secluded boutique riverside hotel (read that sentence once more!) Yandobo village is straight out of a movie with local farmers, water buffalo, and the chance to witness the villagers engage in the centuries-old local tradition of ceramic craftwork; still part of the daily fabric. A very special day.

Accommodation: Yandabo Home Lodge or similar
Included: Breakfast, & dinner

Day 9: Yandabo to Bagan

Yandabo Home is in such a beautiful setting on the banks of the Ayeyarwady, it would be positively criminal to rush away… so we’re going to enjoy a lazy start to the day and swing to the local rhythm.

Then, back on the ferry which will collect us for the final leg of our river journey.

A simple lunch is served on the boat and there’s around 5 hours of cruising to reach the ancient royal capital of Bagan. We’ll check in to our hotel, before gathering for a team dinner at Sanon Training Centre, an awesome not-forprofit initiative changing the lives of disadvantaged youth.

Accommodation: Amazing Resort Bagan or similar
Included: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner

Day 10: Bagan

The vast open landscape that makes up the UNESCO heritage Site of Bagan is dominated by more than 2000 still standing, religious structures built up to 1,000 years ago.

The buildings and monuments are spread far and wide – along the roadside, among paddocks ploughed ready for planting, and down country lane-ways in villages.

This morning we’ll start off by bicycle, visiting the most impressive examples, as well as some hidden gems located well off the tourist trail. And while the cycling is easy as the terrain is flat, we’ll be shadowed by our transport, so put your hand up at any time for a free ride!

Accommodation: Amazing Resort Bagan or similar
Included: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner

Day 11: Bagan

Take the chance this morning to enjoy a spectacular hot air balloon flight over the ancient royal capital (not included in the price – $350 USD). Unforgettable. For those who prefer to keep both feet firmly on the ground, take the lie-in and we’ll meet you soon.

After lunch, you’ve got free time to follow your mood. Explore if you like – our hotel is located right in the middle of pagoda-filled paddocks! Check out the area, take a walk into town, or just chill out by the hotel pool – the choice is yours.

There’s a sunset riverside walk planned towards the end of the day and then dinner.

Accommodation: Amazing Resort Bagan or similar
Included: Breakfast, & lunch

Day 12 & 13: Bagan to Yangon

Those who have taken the Inle Lake extension will say goodbye this morning! (Further details below.)

For the rest, we’ll fly back to Yangon, arriving around lunch time.

There’s a transfer to the hotel and the afternoon is at your leisure. This is the perfect chance to pick up any special items – buying tea is a popular choice to keep the memories going once you get back home. We’ll help point you to the right places.

This evening we will regroup for our farewell dinner.

On day 13 we have no events scheduled as our group disperses.

Accommodation: Lotte Hotel or similar
Included: Breakfast, & lunch

LAKE INLE OPTIONAL EXTRA: 5D 4N

Included: Return internal airfare, airport transfers, private room, transfers, breakfasts.

Price: 1,158

Day 1: Say goodbye to those in the group heading back to Yangon before heading off to the airport to catch the AM flight to HeHo, Inle Lake’s closest airport. On arrival at He Ho, you will be met by your local speaking guide, driver and comfortable private transportation. It’s around a one hour drive to Pindaya, a picturesque country town cradled at the base of towering limestone-mountains. We’ll visit deep inside these mountains via an immense religious cave, with its towering chamber walls lined with thousands of golden Buddha images. We will also stop by an artisan’s workshop to learn from an exuberant crew keen to show off their paper making skills, before transferring by road to Inle Lake’s closest town, Nyaung Shwe.

Day 2: Following breakfast this morning, you’ll spend the day exploring the lake with your local guide on a long-tail boat. Weave through the watery beds of the floating gardens, visit the ancient pagodas of Indein and see the iconic traditional Intha fishermen. Witness traditional crafts being practiced inside stilted village houses and shop for exquisite fabrics, hand woven from lotus flower and silk thread. This is a full day excursion that sees you return to the resort in the late afternoon.

Day 3: Today, we’ll explore Inle Lake ‘off-the-map’ with a walk connecting a series of villages nestled amongst farmland and plantations. The views are gorgeous and there’s plenty of relaxed interactions with local going about their daily chores in the fields. There may even be some glimpses of migratory birds along the way. The walk is a meandering and easy ‘soft trek’ that all in all will take around 3 hours.

Day 4: Following a short flight this morning, we’ll arrive back to Yangon around lunch time. There’s a transfer to the hotel and the afternoon is at your leisure – this is the perfect opportunity to go buy some tea or textiles from the market to keep the memories going at home. The rest of the day is at your leisure.

Day 5: Today, we have no events scheduled as our group disperses

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.

Dress Code

The weather varies significantly, but is generally quite warm. Wear loosefitting, 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.

Internal Flights Luggage Allowance 

Checked luggage allowance is a maximum 15kg, with up to 5kg carry on luggage. 

Frequently Asked Questions
When should I arrive?

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Try to arrive before midday of 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.

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.

How fit do I need to be?

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To get the most out of this trip, you’ll need a general level of fitness. There is a hike through some village hills but this is backed by vehicle transport if you need. Same goes for the bike excursion. It’s on flat ground and is quite easy, but we will be supported by our vehicle for those ‘just in case’ moments.

Some days will involve a fair amount of walking (several kilometres). If a 7km day hike is no biggie for you, you’ll be fine.

I'm 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.

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