The experience I had traveling and studying in India was eye opening and life changing. The opportunity to experience what I experienced was a true gift, and I will appreciate it for my entire life. I learned so much about the history and the culture of India, and how its transferred to everything they do, including their art. Alysha K., student participant in Fresno State Study Tour 2010
MYANMAR CULTURE PRIVATE TOUR:
Following three Anglo-Burmese wars (1824-26, 1852 and 1885), Britain annexed Burma and made it a province of British India in 1886. Burma became a separate colony in 1937 but the Japanese invasion ended this status in 1942. At the end of 2nd. World War subsequent to the victory of the allied forces over Japan, the Union of Burma became independent on January 4, 1948.
Until recently this country was isolated from the outer world by the firmly entrenched Military dictatorship. The first multiparty legislative elections of 1990 resulted in a landslide victory of the very popular opposition party called National League for Democracy (NLD) under the charismatic leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi. Instead of handing over power to the victorious party, the military dictatorship placed Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest. She remained in some form of house arrest until November 2010.
Although the country is still governed by former military officers, some political reforms have been introduced in the period since November 2010. Aung San Suu Kyi is now an elected member of the parliament and has even been issued a passport to enable her to travel abroad. In May 2012 the US government lifted all economic and other sanctions against the military led government. The people of Myanmar follow their traditional lifestyles that are based on Buddhist and animist religious culture. This fascinating journey starts in the nation's capital, Yangon and includes Mandalay, Amarapura, Mingun, Heho, Pindaya, Inle Lake, Indein and Bagan.
Despite marginal improvements in political life of the country, the plight of the Muslim Rohingya minority has been getting worse. The official policy seems to be to get rid of them from the country. The Rohingya Muslims are confined to their villages as if they were in a quasi concentration camp according to an Op-Ed article in New York Times from June 2014. There are already large numbers of Rohingya refugees in neighboring Bangladesh. On the other hand there is considerable economic development and investment from foreign countries. Presidential elections are set to be held in 2015. It is not certain whether Aung San Suu Kyi was allowed to participate in the last presidential elections. Although Aung San Suu Kyi is now the head of the state, the real power still remains with the military junta who have been forcing the Rohingya Muslim minority to flee from Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh.
Myanmar has some architecturally unique and beautiful colonial buildings, some of which have been restored and there are efforts to renovate more. Facilities for tourists have improved considerably in the recent past.
Day 1, Los Angeles:
Day 2, Transit & Arrival in Yangon:
Arrival in Yangon in the evening, transfer to Kandawgyi Palace Hotel for overnight.
Day 3, Yangon:
In the morning visit the Chauk Htat Kyee site where the reclining Buddha statue is the largest in the country. It was originally built in 1906 and renovated in 1966 because it was eroded by weather. Later visit the Botahtaung Pagoda named after ‘a thousand military leaders’ who escorted the relics of Buddha to this site from India in ancient times. The pagoda is hollow and as you walk in its interior you pass through a mirrored maze with numerous glass cases holding the ancient relics. The golden spire rises more than 130 feet above this pagoda. In the afternoon start the exploration of Yangon, beginning with the historic downtown district including the visit to Bogyoke (Scotts) Market (closed on every Monday). Later visit the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the world’s most spectacular religious monuments. The golden dome of this awesome Pagoda, covered with 60 tons of pure gold foil, rises up to 98 meters or 321 feet above its base level. Wait to watch the unforgettable sunset from this Pagoda. Overnight at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel.
Day 4, Yangon:
After breakfast the day is free to revisit sites of Yangon or relax in the hotel. Overnight in Kandawgyi Palace Hotel.
Day 5, Yangon - Bagan:
After breakfast transfer to domestic airport for a flight of 1.25 hours duration to Bagan. On arrival transfer to Hotel at Tharabar Gate. After breakfast, transfer to airport for a domestic flight to Bagan. Your guide in Bagan will welcome you at the Bagan airport. The present day Bagan city covers an area of more than 25 square miles and is studded with 2,000 temples in varying states of repair. When the area converted from Hindu and Mahayana Buddhism to Theravada Buddhism, there was an unprecedented building of stupas and temples. The monuments are decorated with gold, silver and fine mosaic painting. Visit the Nyaung Oo local market followed by sightseeing of a selection of the most famous Pagodas and Temples. The Shwezigon Pagoda, built by King Anawratha in the early 11th century; Kubyauk Gyi, a temple with exquisite murals of Jataka Tales of the former incarnations of Buddha, and Ananda Temple with four huge standing Buddha statues and numerous seated idols in niches around the galleried interior. Then visit Htilominlo Pagoda. In the afternoon visit a Lacquer workshop for a demonstration of this local craftsmanship. Visit the famous Thatbyinnyu Pagoda constructed by King Alaung Sithu and Shwegugyi Temple also known as “Nandaw Oo Paya” built by King Alaungsithu in 1140 A.D. Watch sunset from Buphaya. Overnight in Hotel at Tharabar Gate.
Day 6, Bagan:
Early morning hot air baloon ride. Later visit to Mount Popa with private chauffeur driven car. Return to Bagan for overnight in Hotel at Tharabar Gate.
Day 7, Bagan - Mandalay / Amarapura:s
After breakfast transfer to domestic airport to board the flight to Mandalay of about 30 minutes duration. After breakfast this morning, transfer to airport to fly to Mandalay. This important river port and gateway to the burgeoning border trade with China. Located in central Burma along the Irrawaddy River, Mandalay was founded by King Mindon in 1857 when he moved the capital and its population of 150,000 to fulfill a prophecy. Today, Mandalay is Burma’s second-largest city with 500,000 inhabitants. The city is an important religious center with one-quarter of the land covered by monasteries, providing housing to more than 20,000 monks. Your local guide will welcome you.
Drive to Amarapura to visit the U Bein’s Teak Wood Bridge that is about 200 years old. Later explore the Mahagandayon Monastery complex, home to 1,500 monks. Return to Mandalay for overnight in Mandalay Hill Resort.
Day 8, Mingun Excursion:
After sightseeing by boat and car (alternatively if you wish the sightseeing by horse cart can also be arranged). Enjoy a pleasant one hour boat trip to cross the 11 kilometers or 7 miles wide Ayayyarwaddy River to Mingun, where King Bodaw Paya pledged to build the largest pagoda in the world. Upon the death of King Bodaw Paya in 1819, the pagoda project was abandoned, but the vast building site and the huge Mingun Bell that weighs about 90 tons, originally cast for the pagoda, continue to draw visitors from all over the world. To the north of the Mingun Bell is the Myatheindan Zedi Pagoda (or Hshinbyume Pagoda), built by King Bagyidaw (Bodaw Paya’s grandson) in 1816 in memory of his wife, Hsinbyume. It is the only pagoda in Myanmar that symbolizes the ancient cosmology of the universe, with Mount Meru in the center surrounded by seven mountain ranges and seven seas. Around the terrace on the bottom are niches housing nats, ogres and nagas. In the main shrine at the top of the pagoda, there are two images unusually placed on before the other. Later return to Mandalay Hill Resort for overnight.
Day 9, Mandalay - Heho - Inle:
Breakfast at hotel. Around noon domestic flight of about 0.25 hours duration to Heho. Your guide will receive you at the airport. Drive 60 kilometers or 37 miles to Pindaya in about 1.5 hours via Aung Ban, a scenic route. Visit the unique limestone caves where pilgrims have placed thousands of Buddha statues over a span of many centuries. At the foot of the Shwe Oo Min Hill is a small workshop where paper parasols are handcrafted. Proceed another 90 kilometers or 56 miles to the Inle Lake View Resort and check-in the deluxe room for overnight. Overnight in Inle Lake View Resort.
Day 10, Inle Lake:
In the present day, Inle Lake is an area inhabited primarily by the Intha people (a Mon ethnic group). Visit Indein, a five-days-a-week market, where tribes from nearby villages come to buy and sell local produce. Also of interest here is the cluster of hundreds of old stupas (Buddhist mound-like structures) at the ruined monastery. This afternoon visit a few typical floating gardens and view local methods of fishing, village life and magnificent scenery. Then explore Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, which is famous for its “jumping cats.” Overnight in the Inle Lake View Resort.
Day 11, Heho - Yangon:
After breakfast transfer to domestic airport to board a flight of 1.30 hour's duration. Transfer to a hotel near airport to relax, use washrooms (no room reserved). Later in the evening transfer to International Airport to board the flight back to USA.
Day 12, Yangon - Los Angeles:
- Accommodation in the hotels mentioned in the itinerary in twin sharing bedrooms with daily breakfast.
- All sightseeing with private chauffeur driven air-conditioned car.
- All domestic flights: Yangon - Bagan - Mandalay - Heho including taxes and fees.
- English speaking guide for sightseeing as mentioned in the itinerary.
- Boat fee for Inle Lake.
- Government taxes and service charges.
- Visa arrangement and visa stamp fee
- International air fare (from/to Yangon)
- All zone fees and admission fees as per itinerary
- Meals ( Lunch & Dinner )
- Drinks, laundry , tips and other expenses
By personal check in favor of "INDIA TRAVELLER"
Information required for Myanmar Visa on arrival:
Name as it is mentioned in the passport:
Date of Issue of Passport:
Date of Expiry of Passport:
Passport Issuing authority:
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Occupation in native country:
Full address in native country:
Purpose of visit to Myanmar: Tourism
Arrival date in Myanmar: Monday, January 20, 2014
Departure date from Myanmar: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Arrival Flight: Korean Airlines (flight number to be filled after booking the flight)
Visa on Arrival requirements:
Our tour operator has to submit above mentioned information 3 week prior to arrival date. Our tour operator charges handling fee of US$ 30 and there is an on arrival visa fee of US$ 30 to be paid at airport. One passport size photograph not older than 6 months is required to be presented at the airport for visa.
The US State Department recommends getting visa in advance from Embassy of Myanmar in Washington DC.
Please read the US State Department recommendation on following page:
For Myanmar Embassy information please visit their website on following page:
I would recommend sending your passport with prepaid return envelope with overnight FEDEX or UPS courier service.
Belmond Governor's Residence Hotel in diplomatic area in north - 5-star with 41 rooms
Sule Shangri-la Hotel - 5-star hotel with 479 rooms
The Strand Hotel - 5-star hotel in downtown with 31 rooms
The Grand United Hotel in Chinatown - 3-star with 26 rooms
avoy Hotel in northern Yangon - 4-star with 30 rooms
Chatrium Royal Lake Hotel with views of Shwedagon Pagoda - 5-star with 301 rooms
Kandawgyi Palace Hotel with views of Shwedagon Pagoda - 5-star
Best Western Green Hill Hotel - 4-star hotel
Hotel @ Tharabar Gate 4-star with 84 rooms
Blue Bird Hotel - 3-star with 24 rooms
Thiri Marlar Hotel - 3-star in quiet location but still not far from temples
Amazing Bagan Hotel - 4-star with 55 rooms
Bagan Lodge - 4-star with 85 rooms
Aye Yar River View Hotel - 4-star with 127 rooms
Aureum Palace Hotel - 4-star with 41 room in historical area & near airport