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Land Arrangements per person, double occupancy
17 Day, Private, customized tour with private driver and guide
Breakfast And Lunch Meals Most Days, Dinner At Palaung Monastery
Does Not Include International Airfare, Round-Trip to Bangkok, Thailand
Today’s departure on your chosen air carrier wings across the Pacific to Bangkok, Thailand, your gateway to the wonder that is Myanmar (Burma).
Flight arrival into Bangkok, where the gracious and sincere welcome by the Thai people makes the pleasure of your stay so genuinely warm and meaningful. Your stay in Bangkok offers a night of rest and relaxation prior to joining your onward flight to Myanmar for the start of a remarkably rewarding journey. Novotel Airport Hotel
Wing your way above the jungle carpet and the glittering temples of Thailand to the “Land of Pagodas” and one of the world’s least traveled countries. Even today, in this era of global tourism, Myanmar remains cloaked in ancient mysteries. The warm welcome given visiting tourists by the Burmese people adds to the enjoyment of your stay. Begin your exploration of Yangon with a visit to the 2,000-year-old Sule Pagoda, surrounded by many fine architectural remnants of the former British era. Visit Bogyoke Market to find never-ending display of Burmese goods and thereafter proceed onward to what surely will be one of the special highlights of your stay – an evening tour of the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. Savoy Hotel (B)
Today’s flight brings you to Sittwe, the provincial capital and main port of Rakhine (Arakan) State. Met by your private driver and guide, you will first visit the Strand Road, lined with a fascinating variety of stores and kiosks visited by locals and minorities from nearby villages. Your visit to the Cultural Museum will provide a background for your exploration of the minority groups within this remote region, only recently opened for tourism by government authorities. Travel to the Payagyi temple to see the century-old golden-faced Buddha prior to driving to a viewpoint to enjoy a spectacular view over Sittwe Bay and the Gulf of Bengal. The remainder of the evening will be at rest and relaxation. Shwe Thazin Hotel (B)
Join your private guide for a visit to the morning market, where fishermen, townspeople and rural villagers come to purchase their necessaries. Thereafter, proceed to the jetty and board your private launch for a 42-mile trip upriver to the last royal capital of Rakhine at Mrauk-U. You will enjoy a box lunch on board your transport and arrive at early to mid-afternoon. Visits will include the archaeological museum, the original palace site, dating back to the 16th century and the maze-like Shittaung temple, a shrine displaying some 80,000 Buddha images. Mrauk-U Princess Resort (B, L)
One of the many highlights of your exploration will be departure by jeep to the bank of the Laymro River to board your shallow watercraft and cruise upriver to the Kreik Chaung village. It will be the most isolated of all your visits on tour and where you will find a village lifestyle unchanged for centuries. The local Laytoo Chin minority in former times would tattoo the faces of their young girls to prevent having them taken by the royal family. Some of these young girls, now older women, can be found within the village. Continue on with a visit to nearby Panbaung village, which will complete your tour of the region. Thereafter, proceed downriver aboard your private launch and once again find your private driver and jeep awaiting your arrival for the hour-long ride back to Mruak-U. En route, a visit will be made to the magnificent, 17th century-old temple of Koethuang. (B, L)
An early morning departure places you back on river with your private launch to journey back to the town of Sittwe. You will enjoy both breakfast and lunch aboard your river craft and while en route, time and river-tide conditions permitting, stop at one of the Myo villages, famous for their natural Khami Cloth, hand-woven to local perfection within the villages. Upon arrival into Sittwe, you will be transferred to the airport to board your onward flight return to Yangon. The excursion to Mruak-U and the Laytoo Villages now complete, enjoy an evening at leisure in Yangon while trying to encapsulate what surely will have been one of the more fascinating experiences in travel. Savoy Hotel (B, L)
Your morning flight takes you above the plains and along the meandering Irrawaddy as you make way toward the magnificence of Bagan, one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia. Dating back to 108 A.D., the town was destroyed by Kublai Khan in 1287. Most of the 13,000 pagodas, stupas and temples, which once graced the plains of the town are now long gone; however, the remaining 2,000 or more orate the former elegance and stature once displayed throughout this land. Bagan was known as the capital of Buddhism during its “Golden Age” and knowledge of that historical reality provides the local inhabitants with a measure of pride that reads clearly across their faces and in their strides. To this very day, it remains a tranquil and wondrous town that, once visited, will always be remembered as a special place within your diary of treasured memories. Upon arrival, begin touring the town, ending the day at a vantage point that allows a dramatic view of the panorama and a great sunset over the Irrawaddy. Tharabar Gate Hotel (B)
The panorama of temples and chortans against a backdrop of distant hillsides and the mighty Irrawaddy is as much an experience of feeling as it is a beautiful sight. Pictures cannot capture the essence of what is found on these plains; words cannot describe the emotions inspired by such beauty. Your guide will walk you along the paths of the important sites with a step and a story, providing a historical and local perspective as you enjoy your days of touring. In the afternoon, enjoy going off the beaten track by Ox cart, which provides you with a completely different perspective on sights from ground level and a first hand experience of how many locals make their way across the landscape. Should you choose, the opportunity of a sunset balloon flight is offered for those who wish to fly above the plains of Bagan, enjoying a bird’s eye view of the temples and chortans scattered over the plains. It is an exciting adventure, which often allows for a magnificent sunset and spectacular photography. Your touring of Bagan now completed, enjoy the remainder of the day and evening at leisure. (B, L)
Fly to He Ho, gateway to Upper-Burma. Upon arrival in He Ho, you will be meet by your private driver and guide who will accompany you by car across the colorful rural countryside, passing tree-lined pine forest while approaching the hillside retreat of Kalaw, situated on the rim of the Shan Plateau and a popular destination for the British during the colonial-era. Kalaw is a lively market town, where many of the ethnic minorities of the surrounding villages walk long distance with their crops or weaving to barter and trade for necessities. Time permitting, enjoy a walking tour of the town and thereafter, enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. Hill Top Villa (B)
After a leisurely breakfast, travel along the country roads to the site of the Green Valley Elephant Camp, where you will have the opportunity to join a small group of visitors who, accompanied by a Mahout will have an opportunity to learn about the care and remarkable abilities of these graceful giants. If you choose, you may ride atop within the howdah, as your chosen elephant commences its gentle sway along the footpaths to the nearby river for its daily bath. The camp has a wide assortment of bird life and is actively participating in a reforestation program, all of which will be part of your daylong visit. Thereafter, return to Kalaw where you will have the remainder of the evening at rest and relaxation. (B, L)
Begin your day with a leisurely breakfast, after-which you will drive along the country road to the village of Yagi, where you will meet up with your trekking guide who will have provisions with him to enjoy lunch before reaching your final destination at Yasakyi. The first trek will take you along the footpaths of the hill country past tea and Burmese cheroot leaf plantations to the village of Taung Myint Gyi. Here you will visit the village, its monastery and enjoy your lunch. Continue your trek along beautiful landscapes and multiple smaller villages, all situated at approximately 4,500 feet above sea level. Yasakyi Village is the home for the Palaung tribe, some of the earliest inhabitants of Myanmar. Many within the tribe are Animist, with some families continuing the age-old traditions of communal living within a “Long House” - several families sharing the same abode, while making their livelihood cultivating cash crops and tanapet, a wrapper for the Burmese cheroot. The day ended, enjoy the unique experience of spending the night in the Palaung Monastery within the village. (B, L, D)
After a restful night’s sleep, enjoy the birth of a new dawn as you gather your belongings, enjoy a breakfast meal and prepare to descend the hill country to Pindaya, where your private guide and driver await you for the onward passage to Inle. Your trek to Pindaya will pass many Danu and Taung Yo tribal villages, located on the Mae Nei Taung mountain range. The downward trails will take you aside plantations, monasteries and stupas with lush vegetation along the trails that meander through bamboo forest and dramatic viewpoints. At the end of your trek, enjoy a leisurely lunch prior to driving the roadways to the brilliance of Inle Lake as it forms its lasting impression upon you. Vast and beautiful, the lake stretches some 9 miles in length and 4 miles in breadth. It is here that you find the unique “leg rowers” who, while standing atop their longboat, wrap the lower leg around the oar and paddle their fish baskets out to their favored spot, hoping to make it a bountiful day for their effort. Inle Princess Resort (B, L)
After a leisurely breakfast, board your private launch, gliding across the waters to the western shore of the lake to discover the beauty of the hidden Indein Pagoda. You will follow a stair path leading to one of the most amazing sights on the lakeshore, consisting of hundreds of small stupas laced with overgrown moss and vegetation. Continue on an easy pace along one of the many creeks, passing by rice paddies and cropland to the village of Sae Mae. Here you will have a first hand look at village life in one of the more remote regions of Burma. On your boat ride back across the lake, stop by a local monastery to observe some of their daily rituals. Return to your accommodation for the remainder of the day at rest and relaxation. (B)
An excursion across the lake brings you to the eastern shore and into the heart of the breadbasket for Inle. The inhabitants of this village are Inn Tha and Pa O ethnic minority groups, both well known for their organic farming skills. The major crops of rice, potatoes, garlic and a variety of vegetables are produced during the summer with sugar cane being the winter crop. The cane is harvested and transferred into the cities to be made into molasses and rum. You will follow the agro trail that leads from the lake and winds through the village, curving once again back to the lake. Your visit will afford you the opportunity to mix with the populace and gain a further insight into the various minority groups in Upper-Burma. (B)
After a leisurely breakfast, board your private motor craft for your return to dockside where you will meet with your private driver for a return to the airport at He Ho. Your connecting onward flight will land you back in Yangon where you will join your international flight returning you to Bangkok. Novotel Airport Hotel (B)
All too soon your journey has come to an end and it is time to board your onward flight to Los Angeles, bringing with you those grand memories that shall be rekindled for a lifetime. (B)
Burma, now called Myanmar, is a crossroads between Asian countries: Tibet and China to the north, India and Bangladesh to the west, Laos and Thailand to the east. As a result, it is a blend of several ethnicities and cultures.
Once the wealthiest nation in Southeast Asia under British rule, Myanmar has struggled politically and economically since its independence in 1948.
The present government, run by heads of state with strong military backing and influence, quite openly encourages tourism. They have rebuilt the roads, improved air transportation and safety, and constructed five-star hotels, making Myanmar a haven for those who prefer unique journeys away from crowded, more widely known, destinations.
The traveler who makes the trek to Myanmar is rewarded with many wondrous sites. Chief among them is the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. A most holy shrine, the local Burmese make offerings to their favorite patron gods or Nats, from sunrise to sunset. In Pagan, the panoramic display of temples and chortans, a symbolic form of Buddhist architecture representing the various earthly elements and enlightenment, is one of the most breathtaking in all Asia.
In Myanmar, you can view well-preserved monuments and sights few outsiders have seen. The residents of Myanmar are gracious and welcome travelers with genuine warmth and hospitality.