Breathtaking Burma Trip Notes
Trip code: FFXBU
Trip length: 11 days
- Discover the myriad of ancient temples in Bagan
- Play games and explore a rural village with local children
- See the famous leg rowing fishermen of Inle Lake
- Traditional puppet show
As your family discover Burma together, you will find mythical landscapes, ancient treasures and some of the world's friendliest people. From golden Buddha's and busy markets, magical temples and the tranquillity of Inle Lake - Burma will excite, impress and intrigue those of all ages. Like travelling back in a time-machine, you will experience South East Asia as it was twenty years ago - brimming with rarely seen sights and generations of exciting stories just waiting to be told. Come and uncover a little bit of Burma magic with us on this amazing family adventure.Read our statement on ethical travel to Burma/Myanmar
Make your way to your to your first night's accommodation to check in.
Formerly named Rangoon, Yangon is the country's biggest city and was the capital from 1885, when the British conquered the north and the kingdom of Mandalay, until just a few years ago when the government moved the capital to Naypyidaw.
Today you'll head out early to catch your flight to the ancient wonder of Bagan. Here spread out across the horizon are the peaks of 4,500 brick and gilded ancient temples. Dotting the skyline in many shapes and forms some say they compare in splendour to the majestic Angkor kingdom. Theravada Buddhism was introduced by the former kings of Pagan (Bagan) in the mid 11th century, which spurred on the swift building of a swathe of temples to worship their gods, be they Buddhist, Hindu or Nat, over the ensuing 200 or so years.
This afternoon you will take a tour by horse and cart (2 people travel per cart) to visit some of the main temples and go shopping in some of the local markets. Hawkers often surround the most popular temples, selling lacquer ware or handicrafts and there are also stalls offering cool drinks and a welcome touch of shade.
This morning you transfer to Bagan Airport (approx 20 mins) and fly to Heho. Then transfer on to Kalaw. Stopping for lunch enroute. As a former British hill station Kalaw make a welcome retreat 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 following day you will spend the whole day at the RDC orphange. You will take a walk to the local market to see local produce on sale and perhaps shop for some bargains for yourself. Later you will join in a classroom activity with the local children, who will no doubt be delighted by your visit! Enjoy a game of badminton with the children and they will also teach you some local games. There is time for some group singing and you will eat lunch with the children. After lunch a traditional show which is interactive will complete a joyous day here. You will no doubt have made many new little friends during the day and take home some great memories of the experience.
Hotel (AAA) – 2 nights (Bx2, L on day 7)
Setting off across the mountains today you cross the plateau which is crammed with farms and 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. You'll venture into the labyrinth of tunnels with your guide to gain a better insight into its history.
The calm waters of Inle Lake are the life-blood for many ethnic minority communities found in stilt houses in lake's shallow fringes and surrounding areas.
The following day you head out in motorised boats and spend the day taking in all the sights from the distinctive leg rowing of local fishermen casting their nets and Nga Hpe Kyaung Monastery with its jumping cats and collection of ancient Buddha images to the floating tomato plantations and plethora of cottage industries such as silversmiths, weavers and cigar makers. You may even come across the floating market which circles the lake each 5 days, where locals sell traditional wares and you can take advantage of shopping opportunities which might come your way.
You bid farewell to the splendour of Shan state as you make your way to Heho airport for your flight back to the hustle and bustle of Yangon. After checking in to your hotel and freshening up you will make a walking tour of downtown Yangon. Here you will visit markets and perhaps have your fortune told at one of the street stalls. In the afternoon you will visit Shwedagon Pagoda and Karaweik. Then travel on to Kandawgi Lake. See the sunset at Shwedagon and visit its temple. You will be shown how to make a traditional prayer offering.
Hotel (AA) – 1 night (B)
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart your accommodation at any time. (B)
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
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.
There is no global mobile phone coverage in Burma so your phone will not work. The internet can only be accessed in Rangoon and is not reliable. Minimum age 12+
Transport - Domestic flights, Horse Cart, Tuk Tuk, Mini bus, Longtail boat
Accommodation - Hotel (7 nts), Guesthouse (3 nts)
Meals - 10 Breakfasts, 1 Lunches, 1 Dinners
Clothing and Footwear
Please dress conservatively throughout (especially in rural areas) so as not to offend local people. Tight fitting or revealing clothing is not acceptable (no bare knees or shoulders), especially for temple visits. Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip. It is not an exhaustive packing list. If you need further advice, please call us or consult your nearest specialist outdoor clothing store.
- Lightweight clothing (cotton), but bring a warm sweater too (it can get cool in the evenings).
- Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof/plastic bags to keep clothes/valuables dry
- Sun-hat and Sarong
- Headscarf for women (useful for temple visits)
- Lightweight trail boots/walking shoes
- Trekking sandals
- It can become fairly cool at night during the winter season, particularly at Kalaw and Inle Lake - bring a warm change of clothes
- Sunglasses, sunscreen, lipsalve and insect repellent
- Personal First Aid kit
- Toilet Paper
- Refillable waterbottle or Camelbak hydration system
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal and you may be expected to carry your own luggage. For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
Myanmar cuisine uses rice or noodles as staple dishes, usually served with a variety of side dishes: curries with meat or fish, vegetables, salads, soup, condiments etc. Burmese curries tend to be less chili-hot than those served in Thailand.
Travelling to Myanmar: Should you go - The Lonely Planet
Burmese Days - George Orwell
Finding George Orwell in Burma - Emma Larkin
The Piano Tuner - Daniel Mason
The Native Tourist: A Holiday Pilgrimage In Myanmar - Ma Thanegi
Burmese Design and Architecture - John Falconer
Hello - Min ga la ba
Please - Kyeizu pyu yue
Yes – Ho de
No – Ma ho bu
Thank you – Kyeizu tin ba de
How much is it? - Zey beh lout le?
Local Costs - Burma
Burma is quite an inexpensive place to travel so a budget of US$40 per day for food and drinks is plenty.
Approximate average costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment.
Soft drink £0.80
Bottle of mineral water £0.80
Medium beer £2.50
Bottle of wine £10
Local snack lunch £3-5
3-course dinner* £5-10
*reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant
Visas & Permits - Burma
Holders of UK & IRL passports do require a visa for Burma. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of the trip. Information can also be found at www.travcour.com. This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
Vaccinations - Burma
The following are recommended:
- Hepatitis A
- Diphtheria NB: Yellow Fever vaccination is compulsory if coming from an infected country.
For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
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.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller 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.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
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. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
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.
Endeavor 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.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at email@example.comThe Imaginative Traveller & The Adventure Company. This trip is operated by our partner company, The Adventure Company. They have more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Adventure Company travellers on your trip.