Temples in Bagan, Myanmar

Discover Myanmar (Burma) Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Destinations:
Myanmar (Burma)
Programmes:
Culture
Trip Code:
AON
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

16 Days Flight Inclusive
14 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

A mystical country only recently accessible, Myanmar is still both enigmatic and exciting. Bagan is a plain with over two thousand temples, enough, surely for even the most avid culture addict. Curious 'leg' fisherman perpetuate an 'angling' style not seen anywhere else in the East and Yangon has the largest number of colonial buildings in South East Asia. Mandalay, the last capital of Myanmar is also included. In order to maximise time at each destination there are three short internal flights.

At a Glance

  • 13 nights mix of standard and comfortable hotels
  • Travel by private bus
  • Three internal flights
  • One moderate daywalk and a short cycle ride (optional)
  • Countries visited: Myanmar (Burma)

Trip Highlights

  • The mystical temples of Bagan
  • Glittering Shwedagon Pagoda
  • U-Bein Bridge at sunrise
  • Inle Lake's one-legged fishermen
  • Kalaw Hill Station trek
  • Internal flights avoiding notoriously bumpy roads and long drives

Is This Trip for You?

You will find a country with a colonial past but that has changed very little and is still new to tourism. Thus the infrastructure is fairly underdeveloped for touristic purposes. Whilst travelling in the more remote or less developed regions patience may be required as the service in hotels and restaurants will be slower than you may be used to in other countries. This holiday is designed so that you can see the best parts of Myanmar in 14 days. There is a lot to see and some of the distances covered are large. Internal flights are used to maximise your time in the key destinations, whilst minimising hours spent on the notoriously bumpy local roads. On most travel days the average travelling time is between 2 to 3 hours. The journey between Madalay and Kalaw will be approx. 6 hours of driving. There will be regular stops and the route provides a great insight into rural Myanmar.

Internet connection is now available at most of the accommodation, but can be intermittent. Mobile coverage is generally adequate and you should be able to use your phone in most areas. Accommodation standards can vary and should not be compared with hotels in neighboring south east Asian countries such as Vietnam and Thailand. Please note you will be required to remove footwear and socks before entering temples in Myanmar. This will mean ascending and descending lots of steps barefoot. A basic level of fitness is needed for the trek in Kalaw and the cycle at Inle Lake, however you are free to opt out of either of these.

If you are travelling in April, please note that the Water Festival may be running at this time. While this can be an exciting time to travel in Myanmar, because it is a public holiday you will also find that many museums, markets and some restaurants will be closed. This may have some impact on how the itinerary will run.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Yangon (Rangoon).

    The day is free to recover from the flight or start to explore the teeming city of Yangon. There will be a welcome briefing this evening with an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.
    Grand United Hotel or similar

  • Day 2

    City tour including the incredible Shwedagon Pagoda and old colonial areas of this former capital.

    Yangon sits under the shadow of the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. It is 2,500 years old and the most religious site in Myanmar that is said to contain eight hairs of the Buddha as well as 5500 diamonds and other precious stones. As the golden stupa glitters overlooking the city, life goes on in the busy streets below. To the south we will explore dilapidated colonial edifices and busy side streets on our city tour. Downtown Yangon with its unpaved streets lined with old wooden shuttered houses, medicine shops, temples and the more colourful markets offers plenty of photographic opportunities. Close by, we visit Shwe Bontha, perhaps the most photogenic of all streets in the city, with its leafy sidewalks, pavement tea-shops and magnificent colonial buildings. We will have a break for lunch and in the late afternoon we will head to Lake Kandawgyi to view the Karaweik replica of the Royal Barge, before ascending to Shwedagon Pagoda for impressive sunset views over Yangon.
    Grand United Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Fly to Bagan (Pagan) with its ancient temples and pagodas; free time to explore until sunset.

    This morning we leave early for our short flight to the ancient wonder of Bagan (Pagan), where we will do a short orientation walk on arrival. There are over 2000 temples and pagodas in many shapes and sizes to explore amongst the 25 square miles of brick that compare to the Angkor kingdom of Cambodia, Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu as one of the world's most spectacular archaeological sites. This is where Buddhism, Hinduism and Nat worship come together in an array of different shrines. There is free time to explore the area by bike or on foot (optional) before this evening's visit to Shwezigon Paya one of Bagan's most famous temples. This is the only temple which is a Buddhist Temple as well as a Nat Shrine in the same compound, and reflects the local beliefs here which combine both religions. This evening we have the chance to enjoy an optional group dinner at a local restaurant with a traditional string puppet show performance.
    Su Tine San Royal Palace Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Full day tour to explore the largest temples as well as some of the smaller ones.

    A full day spent exploring the temple complex spreading out as far as the horizon with its peaks of brick stupas that dot the skyline in many shapes and forms. After the former Kings of Bagan introduced Theravada Buddhism in the mid-11th-century building commenced, a string of Kings followed building temples to worship their gods. Ananda Pahto with its bejewelled umbrella (hti), Dhammayangyi pahto and Shwesandaw Paya are the largest and most impressive sights we will visit along with the smaller hidden gems well away from the main tourist route which offers unique opportunities to delve deeper into the history. We will finish the day with sunset at a viewpoint overlooking the temples - a truly magical experience as the temples glow in the warm light, and a photographer's paradise. For those that would like to do the optional balloon ride on day 4 or 5, please consult the Optional Extras section.
    Su Tine San Royal Palace Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 5

    Morning sightseeing at Bagan; free afternoon.

    Returning to the huge site of Bagan this morning we will visit more temples including Manuha Paya and the bas relief figures at Nan Paya. Away from the other temples, we'll also see the 13th-century temple of Wetkyi-In-Gubyaukgyi with its impressive frescoes. Later we'll visit a traditional lacquerware artisan, as this area is famous for these beautiful products. This afternoon there will be time to visit The Archaeological Museum, explore the town of Nyang U, take a trip to Mount Popa the home of Nat worship (see Optional Excursions), relax with a drink by the Irrawaddy River for sunset or continue to explore the temples - all optional.
    Su Tine San Royal Palace Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Fly to Mandalay; visit Mandalay Hill for sunset.

    Following another short flight east to the former Kingdom of Myanmar we cross the plains and the great Chinese road before landing in Mandalay. Mandalay has one of the most evocative names in the world, epitomised by Kipling's poem and an adapted song 'On the road to Mandalay'. The former Kingdom of Myanmar was abolished in 1885 by the British in the 3rd and final Anglo-Burmese war, with the remnants being given away by the last King Thibaw Min. The remains now sit directly in the middle of a grid system similar to that of Manhattan. After checking into our hotel we will take a guided walk around the streets of downtown Mandalay where we will be able to see people going about their day to day lives in the local markets. After lunch we will visit a local cottage industry where gold leaf is made which is then used by people to place on Buddha statues.We'll then continue on to Mahamuni Pagoda, revered as the holiest site in the former Kingdom, where we will see local people applying the gold leaf onto the Mahamuni Buddha statue. We will continue onto Shwe In Bin Kyaung, the Teak Monastery, built in traditional Burmese fashion and one of the few buildings that has survived the test of time. Constructed in 1895 by Chinese merchants, the monastery consists of fantastically intricate woodcarvings and also contains a number of admirable works of art.

    After a short break at the hotel we will head to Mandalay Hill with its glittering stupas, mosaics and great lookout points, a must see for every visitor. Access to the top is via lots of steps (you should be prepared to remove shoes and socks for the climb). Once at the top you should be able to make a wish at Sutaungpyei (literally wish-fulfilling) Pagoda. With panoramic views of Mandalay we will watch the sunset over the old city walls and moat, and to the West the Minwun Hills and the Irrawaddy River. When heading back down the steps you will need your torch.
    Mandalay City Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Visit U Bein Bridge at sunrise; day exploring the countryside visiting Mingun and Sagaing villages by boat.

    An early start as we head out to one of Burma's most iconic sights - U-Bein Bridge, built in 1849 by Mayor U-Bein. This teak bridge spans over a kilometre and is best seen at sunrise when villagers cross it to begin their journey to work and the fishermen prepare for a day on the water. This is one of the most photogenic sights of the country and not to be missed. We then drive back to the hotel for breakfast before heading down to the port area where we board our boat for a cruise on the Irrawaddy River. We'll explore the pretty riverside village of Mingun, home to one of the world's largest bells (weighing in at 90 tonnes) and the Hsinbyume Paya with its whitewashed terraces and staircases. From here we board our boat and cruise downriver to the township of Sagaing - known as a meditation centre for monks and nuns who wish to escape city life. Here we will find many stupas on its famous Sagaing Hill with leafy pathways leading to caves and shrines. Sagaing also boasts a monastic hospital and an international Buddhist University. We board our boat and take the scenic ride back to Mandalay.
    Mandalay City Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 8

    Scenic drive to Kalaw, a former colonial British hill station.

    Today we leave early driving through some of the region's beautiful countryside (approx 6 hours) until we arrive at the hill station of Kalaw. Situated in the Shan State, Kalaw is a popular, peaceful and quiet former British hill station. At an altitude of 1320m and nestled amongst impressive alpine scenery it is pleasantly cool (it can even be chilly in the evening or early mornings) and a great place to escape from the tropical heat. The town has retained its colonial atmosphere but has an eclectic mix of Shan, Bamar, some Indians and ethnic tribes such as Pa-O, Palaung and other tribal minorities from the surrounding plateau.

    After checking into our hotel the rest of the day is free. Options available include a walk up the many steps to Thein Taung Paya viewpoint for views over the surrounding plateau, a visit to the strange Nee Paya, a 500 year old gold covered bamboo statue or exploring some of the colonial architecture.
    Pine Hill Resort or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Day walk through Kalaw past minority villages.

    Amid gnarled pines, tea plantations and bamboo groves, and accompanied by local guides we explore the surrounding hills of Kalaw on foot. Our walk will take in the daily life of the local villages where we may have the opportunity to drink tea with a village chief and in season we should see the inhabitants planting or harvesting the local crop. The tracks we walk on are centuries-old trading routes used by the Pa-O, Palaung and Danu ethnic minorities for moving their cattle and harvesting their crops. The views of the surrounding countryside are spectacular which few westerners get the opportunity to see. The trek is moderate on well trodden undulating paths. However it can be hot. We will be walking for approximateky 5 to 6 hours in total but if needed there is the option to leave the trek halfway through at the lunch time view point and take a vehicle back to Kalaw. Approx 3 hours walking half day and 5 to 6 hours full day.
    Pine Hill Resort or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 10

    Drive to Inle Lake visiting Pindaya Caves en route.

    We leave after breakfast and travel east to Inle Lake. Our drive traverses undulating hills and dense farmlands, stopping at Pindaya caves where we will explore the caverns and tunnels en route to the magnificent Inle Lake. There are more than 8000 Buddha images within the Pindaya limestone caverns and meditation chambers. Pilgrims flock to the caves and install new Buddha images within this labyrinth of tunnels and chambers and there are many from around the world. We should arrive at the village of Nayaung-shwe at the north end of Inle Lake late afternoon.
    The Nyaung Shwe City Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Cruise on Inle Lake; visit local craft industries and markets, Indein pagodas and see the famous leg-rowing fishermen.

    An optional dawn start will usually provide the opportunity to witness the daily parade of saffron-robed monks receiving alms before breakfast. Afterwards we have a day on the lake visiting cottage industries, markets (if possible), monasteries, temples and small villages. We will see the famous leg-rowing fishermen casting their nets in the lake - this technique of standing up holding a long paddle in one hand with their leg wrapped around the paddle lower down leaves the fishermen free to cast their conical fishing nets. This unique style evolved because the lake is covered by reeds and floating plants making it difficult to see above them while sitting.

    There is a five-day market, named so because it moves between five different villages around the lake on a rota system. Here, the locals come to sell their traditional wares early in the morning and return to their village in the afternoon. The market serves most common shopping needs and depending on its location we may be able to visit it (this cannot be guaranteed). We will also visit Indein on the western banks of the lake, this intricate pagoda complex has hundreds of Shan style stupas clustered together on the hillside. Although this area is now being reclaimed and renovated following years of decline, walking amongst these hauntingly beautiful ruins intertwined with forest remains a highlight for many and has a very Indiana Jones feel- a fantastic photographic opportunity.
    The Nyaung Shwe City Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Cycle to minority villages around Inle Lake by support vehicle (if needed).

    This morning we head out on bikes visiting the villages and farmland that surround the lake. The ride is on undulating fairly quiet roads and we will cycle at a leisurely pace. Please be aware it can be hot and the bikes will be fairly basic models. Helmets are supplied locally. This is a great way to get about but only suitable for those who have cycled before. The roads are mostly surfaced but there are some potholes. Anyone not wanting to cycle can use the support vehicle for the day which will follow the same route and stop at the same villages. We cycle around the edge of the lake towards an Intha minority group village passing rice paddies, sugar cane and traditional wooden houses. We will stop en route at various villages and see what local products are being made or harvested depending upon the time of year. In Kaung Daing we will see the local specialty, Tofu, being made with split yellow peas instead of the normal Soya beans.

    After visiting the village we may have the opportunity to spend a little time with the local monks at the monastery. We will return to our hotel by bike in time for a late lunch approx.1.30pm. For those who have opted to use the vehicle we will drive back. Cycling distances approximately 20km (round trip). Late afternoon we will take a sanglor (local styled vehicle) and visit a nearby vineyard and admire the beautiful views back over Inle Lake as the sun sets behind the mountains in the distance. The vineyard produces a range of red and white wines and has a tasting menu (optional). 
    The Nyaung Shwe City Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Fly to Yangon; free afternoon.

    We fly back to Yangon, where the rest of the day is free for last minute sightseeing or shopping. The huge Bogyoke Market is worth a visit with food, clothing and handicrafts all on sale (closed on Mondays and public holidays), or visit the Strand Hotel with its historic past which was often visited by the likes of Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham.
    Grand United Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Yangon.

    End Yangon (Rangoon).

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Post-trip Extensions

Ngapali Beach

If you are keen to end your holiday on a very relaxed note, the following three‐night beach extension can be added to the end of the main itinerary. You can also choose to add on as many extra nights at the beach as you decide (your time here will be at leisure for you to do as you wish). Please note that you will be met and transferred between the airport and hotels but you are not escorted or guided. The extension does not operate during the wet season between May to September.

Please ask your sales consultant for prices.

 

Extension Day 1 - Fly to Thandwe; drive to Ngapali Beach.

Upon arrival at the beach, the rest of the day is free to explore the colourful reef offshore or simply relax and soak up the sun!

Pleasant View Hotel or similar

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Extension Day 2 - Free day.

Free day at the beach

Pleasant View Hotel or similar

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Extension Day 3 - Fly to Yangon.

Today we leave the beach and fly back to Yangon where the remainder of the day is free for some final sightseeing. Bogyoke Market and the Strand Hotel are both worth a visit.

Grand United Hotel or similar

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Extension Day 4 - End Yangon.

End Yangon.

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Non‐refundable payment

Please note that this extension request will be 'pending' until the point that Exodus confirm that the trip is operational ‐ never later than 6 weeks before departure and usually considerably earlier. Once confirmed to run, full payment for the beach extension will be required. Securing accommodation can be a genuine challenge in Myanmar and this additional extension payment will become non‐refundable. Should Exodus cancel your trip, the standard booking conditions apply.

Accommodation

Hotels

13 nights standard hotels, all en suite.

The accommodation is mostly in standard locally-rated 3-star hotels. Overall you should be prepared for the service and quality of hotels to be less than in neighbouring south east Asian countries such as Vietnam and Thailand however most hotels are still of a good tourist standard. There is mesh on the hotel windows where needed to protect against mosquitos. Internet connection is now available at most of the accommodation, but can be intermittent.

Single accommodation (available on request)

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £415.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

13 breakfasts and 3 lunch included.

Myanmar’s food is a diverse blend of Chinese, Indian and South East Asian influences, with many regional variations of their 'standard' dishes. Rice is at the core of most Burmese food, and although vegetarian food is available the choice of dishes is often limited. Curries are very common as are noodles and soup. In the bigger hotels and cities and at Inle Lake some Western food is available. Please note that in Myanmar the availability of certain specialised products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialised dietary items from home. You should inform us of any special dietary requests before departure.

Transportation

We use a private coach usually with air-conditioning. Road conditions are often not good, and progress can be slow because of the roads or heavy traffic. While we are confident in the general quality of the vehicles used, due to the lack of local legislation in relation to seatbelt provision, we are generally unable to provide transport with seatbelts fitted. On most travel days the average travelling time is between 3-5 hours. Boats are used at various points in the itinerary; these are private boats. All bookings on domestic flights are made in economy class.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Myanmar has a monsoon climate with three main seasons. The hottest period is between February and May, with little or no rain. The rainy season exists from May to October and dry, cooler weather from October to February. Kalaw and Inle Lake can get cold at night from October to February with temperatures dropping down to around 7-10 degrees.

Weather Charts

Yangon

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 16 Days

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Vietnam or Malaysian Airlines (depending on availability). As flight
timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Internal flights during the trip are with a local airline.

Travelling land only: 14 days starting and ending in Yangon

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Yangon in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Accommodation check‐in times are normally from around 12 noon.

In the unlikely event of any of your luggage being misplaced or damaged, a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) must be filed with the appropriate airline if you subsequently wish to make a claim against the airline or on your travel insurance. This must be done at the airport where your baggage arrived, or should have arrived.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Free Transfers

Exodus offers FREE airport arrival and departure transfers on any flight for this trip, for both Land Only and Flight Inclusive clients. Unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the Exodus start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel, and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers may be shared with other Exodus customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance. 

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start:
Yangon
Location end:
Yangon

What to Take

Essential Equipment

As it is generally hot and humid, light cotton clothing is recommended for most of the trip. It can be cold in Kalaw and Inle Lake between October and February with temperatures dropping to around 10 degrees C at night, and you should bring a warm jacket and trousers if you are travelling at that time.

We recommend dressing conservatively throughout (especially in rural areas) so as not to offend local sensibilities. Vests and tight-fitting clothes are unacceptable when visiting holy sites and temples (i.e. legs, shoulders and upper arms should be covered). Please ensure you bring comfortable walking shoes or sandals for the day walks around the sites we visit. If bringing a camera and/or video camera you should note that military sites, governmental buildings and structures are off limits for photography. Your leader will advise you where photography is not permitted.

The below items will be useful:

Sun hat

Sunglasses

Sun cream

Money belt

Daysack Torch

Water bottles

Light sandals that can easily be removed before entering temples or monasteries

Comfortable walking shoes/ boots for the day walk in Kalaw

A first aid kit is carried on each trip, but you should bring you own first aid kit with diarrhoea treatment, painkillers, rehydration sachets, plasters and a blister treatment kit.

Insect repellent is also highly recommended. Repellent containing DEET is thought to be highly effective however a natural alternative called Incognito is also very effective and is endorsed by the FCO. There will be plenty of opportunities to get laundry done locally at a very affordable price so fine to pack light.

At time of writing the standard weight limit for hold baggage on the recommended international carrier for this trip is 20kg. We recommend packing only one piece of checked baggage.

Internal flights in the destination country are subject to a weight limit of 20kg.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure.

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Optional Equipment

Swimming costume

Light waterproof or umbrella

Bike helmet (these will be available locally but do pack your own if you'd rather guarantee fit and comfort)

Ear plugs

Reading List

Perfect Hostage
Justin Wintle

The River of Lost Footsteps
Thant Myint U

Burmese Days
George Orwell

From the Land of Green Ghosts
Pascal Khoo Thwe

Practical Information

Visa

Myanmar (Burma)

Nearly all nationalities require a visa to enter Myanmar (Burma), and this must be obtained prior to departure. Passengers without a visa will not be allowed to enter the country.
For further information see http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/Burma.pdf
For nationalities where there is no Burmese embassy please contact the Exodus office for assistance.

For assistance with obtaining visas please call Travcour on 020 8543 1846 or visit their website: http://www.travcour.com/page/tour-packs/exodus.php

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for this trip.

Recommended vaccinations for this trip are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria on this trip is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Myanmar (Burma)'s Timezone:
Asia/Yangon +0630 (GMT +06:30)

Electricity

Myanmar (Burma)'s Electricity:

Electrical supply is 220V/50 Hz and plugs have three large pins, like the UK or sometimes two round pins, similar to many European countries.

Money

Myanmar (Burma)'s Currency

The national currency of Burma is the Myanmar Kyat (MMK), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 2000 to the UK£ and 1526 to the US$.

ATM Availability

ATMs are now to be found in most of the main tourist destinations such as Yangon, Bagan, Inle and Mandalay. In Kalaw an exchange office is now available. We would however suggest that you still take some spending money in cash for the smaller locations visited. Credit cards are officially not accepted due to international sanctions, and travellers cheques are not accepted either.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will need about £225‐£275/$360‐440 for all other meals, which will allow you to eat well. Outside of hotels and tourist restaurants costs can be considerably cheaper with a simple meal costing just a few pounds. Apart from the food, you should allow money to cover soft drinks and souvenirs. Local drinks are also cheap, but expect to pay a lot more for imported alcohol.

Optional Excursions 

There are a number of optional activities, which if you wish, your leader can arrange for you. They are subject to schedules and availability; your leader will let you know what is available and the exact local costs. It is not compulsory to join any of these optional activities and your leader can recommend many more options. It is also possible to arrange many of these activities independently if you prefer.

Bagan
Hot air balloon (seasonal due to weather conditions). This operates from October until the end of March only and costs £265, except for Christmas and New Year departures when it costs £285 (subject to change). This must be booked via the Exodus office and paid for in full in advance. There is a per person weight limit of up to 125kg/280lbs per passenger - if your weight exceeds this then an additional seat will need to be paid for at the time of booking. Failure to provide accurate personal information in advance could lead to refusal at the launch site, and in these circumstances no refund would be offered.  

Ideally this should be booked as soon as possibe. Unfortunately because places are limited we are unable to confirm your place prior to departure. On arrival in Bagan your leader will notify you if your request has been successful. All monies will be refunded to you by Exodus if your balloon ride does not go ahead - please contact us on your return to arrange this. In addition, all balloon rides rely upon suitable weather conditions. Please contact our operations team should you require more information.

Mount Popa excursion ‐ ask the leader for prices and details

Cooking class US$20 (paid in Dollars)

Mandalay
Teak Monastery - approx. MMK10,000 
Moustache Brothers (comedy) - approx. MMK10,000 
Myanmar Marionette- approx. MMK15,000
Mintha Theatre Classical Myanmar dance - approx. MMK14,000

Inle Lake
Aungs Puppet show - approx. MMK5,000
Push bike hire - approx. MMK2,500
Mountain bike hire - approx. MMK15,000

Tipping

This is entirely at your own discretion but we suggest that you allow a few pounds for tips for the local guides and staff. In Burma with the increase in tourism, tipping has become customary. The local staff will probably expect some gratuity and we suggest you allow for this. The leader will suggest a tipping kitty of £30/$50 per person on arrival. This money is then used for tipping of local guides, hotel porters, drivers, etc. and ensures that the hassle is taken out of various activities for you. If you do not wish to contribute to this central pool for tips you can choose not to.

If your leader has performed well over the course of your trip, you may wish to show your appreciation of their services with a tip. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal, but as a guide, £2-3/$3-5 per person per day would be reasonable. The 'tipping kitty' explained above is entirely separate from any contribution to the tour leader/s. Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus.

Responsible Tourism

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

As much as possible, we try to use accommodations that are locally owned or at least employs local staff and uses local produce. Our small group size also allows us to support smaller hotels and restaurants that do not usually benefit from mass tourism, bringing a positive impact on the overall employment levels and economy in the region.

In Bagan, there is a chance to have a meal at Sanon restaurant and training school, a not for profit social enterprise organization operated by the MYDI (Myanmar Youth Development Institute) where they train disadvantaged youths in hospitality skills.

We work closely with our local operator and ensure that all of our guides are local and that in exchange for their expertise, they are paid and treated fairly. There are plenty of opportunities to interact with local communities, especially in Kalaw where clients will explore the minority villages of Pa-O, Palaung and Danu. There might also be an opportunity to meet the village chief to foster interaction over a tea drinking session and witness locals harvesting local crops.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

Please note, although this trip doesn’t visit any FCO no-go areas, it does visit a region close to an area where the advice is not to travel. If joining this trip, or if planning any additional travel pre or post tour in the area, you should ensure you visit their website to familiarise yourself with the advice. Any independent travel to these areas is entirely at your own risk and is likely not to be covered by your insurance.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.