The Tour Price displayed here is for the tour only and does not include international flights. Our flight prices are very competitive, please ask for a quote when making your booking
This trip is an overland trip run in an overland truck. In addition to paying for your trip, you're require to make a separate payment to your tour leader at the start of the trip, usually in USD. Kitties are flexible and change as prices are updated. Therefore you should check the latest kitty amount on this website before you depart.
A kitty is a group fund which covers all accommodation, meals while camping (not in hotels) and activities listed as included. It's a system unique to overlanding to provide the maximum flexibility and best value on the road (you get everything at cost price!). The kitty is your money, not ours, so any amount left over is divided among the group as a refund.Close
|Trip Code||Start Date||End Date||Currency||Kitty|
|TTSM||Saturday 08 Jun 2013||Saturday 22 Jun 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 15 Jun 2013||Saturday 29 Jun 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 18 Jun 2013||Tuesday 02 Jul 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 22 Jun 2013||Saturday 06 Jul 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 25 Jun 2013||Tuesday 09 Jul 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 29 Jun 2013||Saturday 13 Jul 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 06 Jul 2013||Saturday 20 Jul 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 09 Jul 2013||Tuesday 23 Jul 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 16 Jul 2013||Tuesday 30 Jul 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 23 Jul 2013||Tuesday 06 Aug 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 27 Jul 2013||Saturday 10 Aug 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 03 Aug 2013||Saturday 17 Aug 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 06 Aug 2013||Tuesday 20 Aug 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 10 Aug 2013||Saturday 24 Aug 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 17 Aug 2013||Saturday 31 Aug 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 31 Aug 2013||Saturday 14 Sep 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 03 Sep 2013||Tuesday 17 Sep 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 10 Sep 2013||Tuesday 24 Sep 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 17 Sep 2013||Tuesday 01 Oct 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 21 Sep 2013||Saturday 05 Oct 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 24 Sep 2013||Tuesday 08 Oct 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 28 Sep 2013||Saturday 12 Oct 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 01 Oct 2013||Tuesday 15 Oct 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 05 Oct 2013||Saturday 19 Oct 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 12 Oct 2013||Saturday 26 Oct 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 15 Oct 2013||Tuesday 29 Oct 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 19 Oct 2013||Saturday 02 Nov 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 22 Oct 2013||Tuesday 05 Nov 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 26 Oct 2013||Saturday 09 Nov 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 29 Oct 2013||Tuesday 12 Nov 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 02 Nov 2013||Saturday 16 Nov 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 09 Nov 2013||Saturday 23 Nov 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 16 Nov 2013||Saturday 30 Nov 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 19 Nov 2013||Tuesday 03 Dec 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 23 Nov 2013||Saturday 07 Dec 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 26 Nov 2013||Tuesday 10 Dec 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 30 Nov 2013||Saturday 14 Dec 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 03 Dec 2013||Tuesday 17 Dec 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 07 Dec 2013||Saturday 21 Dec 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 10 Dec 2013||Tuesday 24 Dec 2013|
|TTSM||Saturday 14 Dec 2013||Saturday 28 Dec 2013|
|TTSM||Tuesday 24 Dec 2013||Tuesday 07 Jan 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 28 Dec 2013||Saturday 11 Jan 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 31 Dec 2013||Tuesday 14 Jan 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 04 Jan 2014||Saturday 18 Jan 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 07 Jan 2014||Tuesday 21 Jan 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 11 Jan 2014||Saturday 25 Jan 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 14 Jan 2014||Tuesday 28 Jan 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 18 Jan 2014||Saturday 01 Feb 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 21 Jan 2014||Tuesday 04 Feb 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 25 Jan 2014||Saturday 08 Feb 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 28 Jan 2014||Tuesday 11 Feb 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 01 Feb 2014||Saturday 15 Feb 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 04 Feb 2014||Tuesday 18 Feb 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 08 Feb 2014||Saturday 22 Feb 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 11 Feb 2014||Tuesday 25 Feb 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 15 Feb 2014||Saturday 01 Mar 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 18 Feb 2014||Tuesday 04 Mar 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 22 Feb 2014||Saturday 08 Mar 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 25 Feb 2014||Tuesday 11 Mar 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 01 Mar 2014||Saturday 15 Mar 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 04 Mar 2014||Tuesday 18 Mar 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 08 Mar 2014||Saturday 22 Mar 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 11 Mar 2014||Tuesday 25 Mar 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 15 Mar 2014||Saturday 29 Mar 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 18 Mar 2014||Tuesday 01 Apr 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 22 Mar 2014||Saturday 05 Apr 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 25 Mar 2014||Tuesday 08 Apr 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 29 Mar 2014||Saturday 12 Apr 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 22 Apr 2014||Tuesday 06 May 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 26 Apr 2014||Saturday 10 May 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 29 Apr 2014||Tuesday 13 May 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 03 May 2014||Saturday 17 May 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 06 May 2014||Tuesday 20 May 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 10 May 2014||Saturday 24 May 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 13 May 2014||Tuesday 27 May 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 17 May 2014||Saturday 31 May 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 20 May 2014||Tuesday 03 Jun 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 24 May 2014||Saturday 07 Jun 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 27 May 2014||Tuesday 10 Jun 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 31 May 2014||Saturday 14 Jun 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 03 Jun 2014||Tuesday 17 Jun 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 07 Jun 2014||Saturday 21 Jun 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 10 Jun 2014||Tuesday 24 Jun 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 14 Jun 2014||Saturday 28 Jun 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 17 Jun 2014||Tuesday 01 Jul 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 21 Jun 2014||Saturday 05 Jul 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 24 Jun 2014||Tuesday 08 Jul 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 28 Jun 2014||Saturday 12 Jul 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 05 Jul 2014||Saturday 19 Jul 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 12 Jul 2014||Saturday 26 Jul 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 15 Jul 2014||Tuesday 29 Jul 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 19 Jul 2014||Saturday 02 Aug 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 26 Jul 2014||Saturday 09 Aug 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 02 Aug 2014||Saturday 16 Aug 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 09 Aug 2014||Saturday 23 Aug 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 16 Aug 2014||Saturday 30 Aug 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 23 Aug 2014||Saturday 06 Sep 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 30 Aug 2014||Saturday 13 Sep 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 06 Sep 2014||Saturday 20 Sep 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 13 Sep 2014||Saturday 27 Sep 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 16 Sep 2014||Tuesday 30 Sep 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 20 Sep 2014||Saturday 04 Oct 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 27 Sep 2014||Saturday 11 Oct 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 04 Oct 2014||Saturday 18 Oct 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 07 Oct 2014||Tuesday 21 Oct 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 11 Oct 2014||Saturday 25 Oct 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 14 Oct 2014||Tuesday 28 Oct 2014|
|TTSM||Thursday 16 Oct 2014||Thursday 30 Oct 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 18 Oct 2014||Saturday 01 Nov 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 21 Oct 2014||Tuesday 04 Nov 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 25 Oct 2014||Saturday 08 Nov 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 28 Oct 2014||Tuesday 11 Nov 2014|
|TTSM||Thursday 30 Oct 2014||Thursday 13 Nov 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 01 Nov 2014||Saturday 15 Nov 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 04 Nov 2014||Tuesday 18 Nov 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 08 Nov 2014||Saturday 22 Nov 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 11 Nov 2014||Tuesday 25 Nov 2014|
|TTSM||Thursday 13 Nov 2014||Thursday 27 Nov 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 15 Nov 2014||Saturday 29 Nov 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 18 Nov 2014||Tuesday 02 Dec 2014|
|TTSM||Thursday 20 Nov 2014||Thursday 04 Dec 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 22 Nov 2014||Saturday 06 Dec 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 25 Nov 2014||Tuesday 09 Dec 2014|
|TTSM||Thursday 27 Nov 2014||Thursday 11 Dec 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 29 Nov 2014||Saturday 13 Dec 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 02 Dec 2014||Tuesday 16 Dec 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 06 Dec 2014||Saturday 20 Dec 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 09 Dec 2014||Tuesday 23 Dec 2014|
|TTSM||Thursday 11 Dec 2014||Thursday 25 Dec 2014|
|TTSM||Saturday 13 Dec 2014||Saturday 27 Dec 2014|
|TTSM||Tuesday 16 Dec 2014||Tuesday 30 Dec 2014|
|TTSM||Thursday 18 Dec 2014||Thursday 01 Jan 2015|
|TTSM||Saturday 20 Dec 2014||Saturday 03 Jan 2015|
|TTSM||Tuesday 23 Dec 2014||Tuesday 06 Jan 2015|
|TTSM||Thursday 25 Dec 2014||Thursday 08 Jan 2015|
|TTSM||Saturday 27 Dec 2014||Saturday 10 Jan 2015|
|TTSM||Tuesday 30 Dec 2014||Tuesday 13 Jan 2015|
Sandwiched between India and Thailand, Burma encompasses aspects of the Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia. You'll find yourself sipping hot sweet tea and munching on cauliflower pakora at lunch (much as you would in India), but in the afternoon heading to a peaceful Buddhist temple to chat with monks in the same way that you would in Thailand or Cambodia. This is a country that has only recently opened up to tourism and NOW is the time to go, before it gets swamped with the kinds of tourist numbers that you find in the neighbouring countries. The sites are incredible - Bagan is truly one of the most remarkable sites in Asia, the people are extraordinarily welcoming and friendly and the scenery is stunning.
Nestled in the shadow of the gold-encrusted Shwedagon Paya is Yangon, a melting pot of Burmese culture and colonialism. Visit this impressive holy site and be dazzled by its riches - both physical and spiritual.
Although not the capital of Burma, Yangon is its largest and most important city, a bustling and lively place that throngs with people, temples and markets.
Chief of its many attractions is the Shwedagon Paya, an exquisite temple that is covered in gold leaf and which is always full of pilgrims paying their respects. This is the perfect place for people watching and you can spend a wonderful afternoon hear, chatting to monks and local people as you watch the sun set over the city.
There are also a number of beautiful colonial buildings, a lively Indiatown and Chinatown and a great market that is full of many stalls that sell just about anything you could wish for.
Fly to Bagan and get the first taste of Burma’s crowning glory at sunset. Exploring this phenomenal area - spanning some 42 sq km and compromising of thousands of brick and gold-gilded stupas - is a remarkable experience. While here, perhaps take an optional hot air balloon ride at sunrise.
We explore the temple site by bike, a great way to take in all the atmosphere of this stunning sight. Our local guide, with his wealth of knowledge, will steer us through the large and impressive, such as Ananda Pahto, Dhammayangyi Pahto and Shwesandaw Paya, as well as the smaller hidden gems offering wonderful opportunities to climb stairwells and get those magic photo moments. And don't worry if you're averse to riding bikes - your leader can arrange a pony cart as an alternative.
Bagan is one of Asia's greatest attractions, easily rivalling the Great Wall of China or Angkor Wat, yet it is very little known. The site consists of a huge plain that is covered with literally thousands of temples that stretch as far as the eye can see, set amidst an attractive landscape of fields, small villages and sandy tracks.
The temples were built from the 9th - 13th century and are ornately covered in beautiful carvings whilst the interiors are decorated with extensive frescoes.
Set sail on a riverboat cruise along the Ayeyarwaddy River. Soak up the serenity of life on the water and admire local villages and an ever-changing landscape as it rolls by. And, for a really authentic experience, sleep on deck under a canopy of stars.
Meet some friendly locals on an energising morning walk before moseying on down the river. Spot fisherman hauling in their catch on the water’s edge before arriving in Mandalay by late afternoon. Known as Burma’s ‘Jewel City’, join a local guide for a sunset tour of Mandalay Hill. Perhaps take the river express to the sacred site of Mingun, take in a show at Mandalay Marionettes or visit Mahamuni Paya, resplendent in a layer of gold leaf.
Stretch your legs this morning with a brisk stroll around Yangola village and spend some time interacting with the smiling locals. Back on board our boat, wile away another fascinating day witnessing all the simple daily activities of life along the river.
In 1857 King Mindo founded a new royal capital at the foot of Mandalay Hill, from where the city took its name. On the death of the King the monastery in which he died was dismantled and removed from the Royal Palace as it was thought it would bring bad fortune. It was rebuilt outside the palace walls, so when The Royal Palace was destroyed by fire at the end of the 2nd World War the Monastery with its intricate wooden carvings were saved.
The city itself is relatively modern, a hub of economic trading as well as being considered the cultural and religious centre of Burma.
Mandalay is famous for its hill with its abundance of monasteries and pagodas and is a major site for Buddhist pilgrimages. For those that wish to climb be prepared for the 1,729 steps to the top. The climb up takes you past many historic stupas and Buddhas of great significance to the pilgrims. There are many stalls that line the route to the top of the hill and the views from the top are incredible, with far reaching views across the plains of Mandalay and the Irawaddy River.
At the foot of Mandalay Hill is found the world's largest book; 729 white stupas house the text of the Tripitaka, Theravada Buddhism's most sacred text. The world's largest iron Buddha is also found here.
Continue on via the world’s longest teak bridge to Kalaw. Relish the temperate climate and stunning scenery of this mountain hideaway. Rise early and embark on a trek through rarely visited alpine villages, meeting locals who live simply as they have done for centuries.
On route today we pass the impressive U Bein's Bridge - at 1.2 kilometres long it is the world’s longest teak bridge - where we will perhaps stop off for cup of tea.
As a former British hill station, Kalaw provides much needed relief from the heat of the lower lying areas while the surrounding hills are the home to various ethnic minority groups, including the Palaung, Danu and Pa-O. The town is situated up in the hills, surrounded by pine forest, and has many attractive colonial buildings. There is also a lively market which is well worth a visit.
Make tracks through the mountains to Pindaya. Explore the labyrinth of caves here with a local guide, admiring over 8,000 images of Buddha contained inside. Continue onwards to Inle Lake and spend time visiting the floating markets, cycling around the lake and admiring the skills of local ‘leg rowers’.
Setting off across the mountains and plateau crammed with farms we make a stop at the caves of Pindaya. As one of the 'Golden Caves' in Shan state, pilgrims flock to worship the 8000 or so Buddha images which adorn the caverns, tunnels and meditation chambers of this huge limestone cave. We venture into the labyrinth of tunnels with our guide to gain a better insight into its history.
Inle Lake is stunning, surrounded by distant hills which make for a beautiful back drop to the hustle and bustle of lake life. The area is home to the Intha people, who live both in towns around the lake and on the lake itself. Many local houses and temples are built on stilts in the shallow waters of the lake and floating islands are built from water hyacinth and water weeds. These gardens allow the farmers to grow fruit and vegetables – the sight of floating apple orchards are certainly something different!
The produce from the gardens, with rice from the paddy fields around the lake and lake fish means that the people are pretty self sufficient. The local food reflects this self sufficiency and a popular local dish is htamin gyin - rice kneaded with fish and/or potato into round balls, served with hnapyan gyaw - twice fried - Shan tofu, fermented bean cakes, fried onions, tomato, chilli and tamarind.
The local fishermen are renowned for their distinctive rowing style, where they stand at the stern of the boat on one leg whilst the other leg is wrapped around the oar. This style of rowing developed so the fishermen could get a better view and allow them to navigate through the shallow and plant-dense water – something that is far harder to do whilst more traditionally seated. This leg rowing style is however only practiced by the men; women are seated cross legged to row.
Small boats provide the easiest way to get around the lake and lakeside settlements and it can get quite busy at times as people get on with their daily lives.
Tourism has become an important part of the local economy and traditional crafts such as the weaving of Shan–bags, silk longyi (sarongs) as well as cheroot rolling, carvings and work from black and silver smiths are now produced for the tourist trade as well as local use.
Leave scenic Shan State behind and travel back to Yangon. Explore more of this surprising city before this Best of Burma trip wraps up over a final group dinner.
We travel to Yangon by plane; the flight to Yangon takes just over an hour.
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. Our brochure is usually released in November each year. 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. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.dragoman.co.uk or www.imaginative-traveller.com
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.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
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 for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Imaginative Traveller nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with us. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
The official currency of Burma is the Kyat (MMK) - pronounced 'chat'.
The official rate for the local currency, Kyat (pronounced 'chat'), varies considerably depending where you change it. Therefore your tour leader will advise you where and when to change money on arrival. You will need Kyat for smaller items, including bottles of water and souvenirs.
Getting money in Burma can be a real pain. There are no ATMs and officially credit cards cannot be used. It's not possible to use travellers cheques either.
So you need to bring cash in US dollars. The notes should be crisp and perfect with no folds or marks. Bring high denominations because when you exchange into local currency you get a higher exchange rate. The best exchange rates are in Yangon so it's best to try and get all your money changed there.
Carrying cash is relatively safe as long as you take the usual precautions. It's best to try and budget a daily rate and do all your money exchange on the day you arrive in Yangon. Burma is quite an inexpensive place to travel so a budget of US$40 per day for food and drinks is plenty.
Hotels will generally exchange money during office hours only. You can change money at the airport upon arrival.
You can spend US$ along the way in Burma - some places will accept it but don't rely on this. It's best to get local currency. If you have any kyat left over at the end of your trip you can change it back into US$ at a hotel, or at the airport when departing.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
While tipping is not a traditional part of Burmese culture it is becoming more common as tourism increases, particularly when you have experienced excellent service. If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - may be appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, and inspires excellent service. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Hotels / Restaurants: US$ 0.50-1 for porters and restaurant staff
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of US$1 per person, per day is generally appropriate.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per day for local guides.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$ 2-3 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.
All departure tax should be included in your flight ticket.
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
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.
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.
Hotel (10 nts), Guesthouse (3 nts)
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 hotels 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.
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.
14 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Please note that breakfasts are often simple (eggs, bread, jam and coffee/tea would be most common).
Bus, Horse Cart, Songthaew, Bicycle, Longtail boat, Plane, Private vehicle
LONG TRAVEL DAYS
There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
All 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. We 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. 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.
Asia Plaza Hotel
277 Bogyoke Aung San Road
Corner of 38th Street
Phone: 95 1391070
Located near the Central Railway station and Bogyote Aung San Market, the Asia Plaza hotel has rooms with private en-suites and air conditioning.
A pre-booked airport arrival transfer is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 16 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked with us.
Alternatively, taxis are readily available from the airport, and drivers will often approach you before you have left the airport. From the airport to the Asia Plaza hotel (and anywhere in the city centre) should cost around $8USD and take approximately 40 minutes depending on traffic.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Asia Plaza Hotel
277 Bogyoke Aung San Road
Corner of 38th Street
Phone: 95 1391070
A departure transfer from our hotel to the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 16 days prior to your trip start date. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through us.
A taxi from the hotel to the airport should cost around $6USD, and will take approximately 40 minutes depending on traffic. You can ask your leader or at the hotel reception if you would like help arranging a taxi.
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, our Thailand Office can be reached on Tel: +66 898 103 722 (Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, Burma & Phillipines).
If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked.
If you experience difficulty contacting our local operator or if you have an emergency whilst still in the UK prior to departure please contact us on +44 1728 861133 during normal office hours or, for out of hours on our emergency mobile phone number +44 7985 106564.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
If your country of residence has a Burma embassy the process should be straight forward. But for some nationalities you may be requested to provide a letter of invitation from a local Burmese ground operator. In such cases please contact us to attain this letter and we will forward to you.
Visas on arrival to Burma are available, but official laws regarding visas on arrival often change suddenly - we DO NOT recommend visas on arrival. Wherever possible you should obtain your visa prior to departure. In special circumstances, we can help to provide a visa on arrival, and only if there is no Burmese Embassy in your home country. We also cannot help with a visa on arrival if you are within a month of departure. If you would like us to help with visa on arrival, please contact us.
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.
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 and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
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.
FOOTWEAR FOR TREKKING
A full day trek 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.
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
All 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, Imaginative Traveller 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.
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.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery 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 group 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 itinerary, and Imaginative Traveller/ Dragoman 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 group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
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.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides 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 and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles.
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 group 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 highly recommend the Imaginative Traveller travel insurance which is tailored specifically for adventure travel and covers ALL activities featured in any of our tours. For more details please go to http://www.imaginative-traveller.com/travel-insurance
We love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavour to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at firstname.lastname@example.org
ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
During your visit to Burma there may be opportunities to ride elephants and see them perform. While we believe it's important to give our travellers a choice and respect each individual's decision, we recommend that Imaginative Travellers bypass this activity. Professional wildlife conservation organisations, including the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), 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 wellbeing. 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.
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 us. Our 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.
Carbon Offset C02-e 843.00 kgs per pax.
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