This will be a small group tour with Norman & Julie Bruce...

Myanmar/Burma: February 16 – March 4 2018


MYANMAR (BURMA) (17 Days)
Feb 16 – March 4 2018
Land ONLY: $5,995 Canadian /person Land tour begins & ends in Yangon, Myanmar
AIRFARE: approx: $1,400
Departing Vancouver BC to and returning from Yangon, Myanmar including arrival & departure transfers if arriving & departing on our group tour dates. We fly with Cathay Pacific Airlines via Hong Kong.
NOTE: You do NOT have to come to Vancouver to join the tour please contact us for a quote to depart from other cities.


Kipling once wrote of Burma “it will be quite unlike any land you know about.” Myanmar remains virtually untouched by the Western world. Now that a decades-old travel ban has been lifted, the people of this enchanting land are once again welcoming travellers. Our Myanmar tour takes you on a journey from Irrawaddy River villages to Buddhist shrines, with diversions away from the main sites and into the heart of the country to discover the peaceful rhythm of Burmese village life and learn the secrets behind local arts and crafts. At Inle Lake we meander among its pagodas, floating gardens and haunting ruins, witnessing the incredible leg-rowing Inthar fishermen – one of many ‘uniquely Burmese’ things you will see and do on our Myanmar tour. We explore the famed pagodas, monasteries, and markets of bustling Mandalay. In Bagan, we explore the magnificent United Nations-listed Plain of Temples, perfectly described by Somerset Maugham as “huge, remote and mysterious.” At Pindaya we explore limestone caves which are home to more than 8,000 Buddha statues.

Escorted by Norman and Julie Bruce

UPDATED ON: Oct 2 2017

ITINERARY:
DAY 1 February 16
This afternoon we fly from North America overnight to Hong Kong and connect to our flight to Yangon.

DAY 2 February 17
ARRIVE IN MYANMAR

We arrive in Yangon just after midnight.

DAY 3 February 18
YANGON

On arrival in Myanmar (Burma) we transfer to our hotel in Yangon. After a relaxed start we join our guide for sightseeing in the city formerly known as Rangoon. We visit the Sule Pagoda which, at 2,500 years old, is considered the oldest pagoda in the country. This Indian-style pagoda is said to contain a strand of the Buddha’s hair. We also visit the diplomatic area, highlighting some of the rich colonial architecture dating from the British occupation, when the country was known as Burma.
First of 2 nights in Yangon. Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 4 February 19
YANGON (RANGOON) CITY TOUR

Yangon is the former capital and the biggest city of Myanmar. This city of long, tree-shaded boulevards, famous for its golden pagodas, became the capital of Myanmar in 1885 after the Third Anglo-Burmese War and remained the capital until 2005. This morning we visit the National Museum, a huge collection of Burmese history, art and ethnology, including the famous Lion Throne. This afternoon we visit the Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda with its 70-metre-long lying Buddha image. We continue to Kandawgyi Park, one of central Yangon’s greenest spots, to see the glittering Karaweik barge, a replica of the royal barge.
Second of 2 nights in Yangon. Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 5 February 20
FLY YANGON – INLE LAKE

This morning we fly to Heho and enjoy a scenic drive to wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery which features beautiful carvings. At Nyaung Shwe we board

a local motor boat to start our exploration of 22-Km-long Inle Lake, which is inhabited by many different tribes. We pass stilted villages, the leg-rowing Intha fishermen and floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud anchored to the lake’s bottom with bamboo poles. We also see Nga Hpe Chaung, also known as ‘Jumping Cat Monastery’ and famous for its collection of antique Buddha statues.
First of 2 nights on Inle Lake. Myanmar Treasure Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 6 February 21
INLE LAKE

Today we spend a day on the lake exploring the sites and villages by private boat surrounded by magnificent scenery. After breakfast, we visit the lake’s morning market. The market rotates its location around the lake’s villages in a 5 day rhythm and is visited by lake inhabitants and surrounding hill tribes who come to sell and trade their wares. We continue to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary, which houses 5 images of Buddha covered in gold leaf, Nampan village where locals make cigars and boats. We also visit the silk weaving village of Inn Paw Khone to observe the traditional silk weaving techniques of the Innthar people. Inpawkhone is also known for its weaving from the stems of lotus flowers, a time consuming process that results in high quality materials famous throughout the country. In the afternoon, depending on the water level, we travel by boat to the Pa-oh village of In Dein and explore the area on foot, strolling around the village.
Second of 2 nights on Inle Lake. Myanmar Treasure Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 7 February 22
INLE LAKE – KALAW (ELEPHANT SANCTUARY)

From the lake we travel up into the hills to the beautiful, pine-clad hill station of Kalaw. This is where the former British colonial administrators used to retreat from the summer heat of the plains below. We visit the market, where various ethnic minority groups come dow

n from the surrounding hills to trade. This afternoon we visit the Green Valley Elephant Camp to learn more about these intelligent, gentle beasts.
Overnight in Kalaw. Top Hill Villa Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 8 February 23
KALAW – PINDAYA CAVES – MANDALAY

This morning we take a scenic drive over the hills of the Shan plateau, passing colourful vegetable farms, mustard and wheat fields to the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Pindaya, This extensive system of limestone caves contains stalactites and stalagmites and over 8,000 images of the Buddha. Later we learn about the making of traditional hand-made Shan paper and parasols from mulberry bark. This afternoon we drive to Mandalay, the second-largest city in Myanmar and the last royal capital. It is located on the banks of the Irrawaddy River (now known as the ‘Ayeyarwaddy’), considered the centre of Burmese culture.
First of 3 nights in Mandalay. Sedona Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 9 February 24
MANDALAY + MINGUN

After breakfast we transfer to the Mandalay jetty and board a private local boat for a 1-hour cruise on the Irrawaddy River to Mingun about 11 km upriver from Mandalay. The Mingun Pagoda was left unfinished after an astrologer predicted that the King would die should the temple be completed. Today this unfinished pagoda, complete with marble footprint of the Buddha, is the largest single brick building in the world. The Mingun Bell is the larges

t working bell in the world, weighing 90 tons. The distinctive style of the beautiful, white Hsinbyume Pagoda is meant to resemble mythical Mount Meru. Later this morning we return to Mandalay. The Mahamuni Pagoda is home to one of the country’s most revered Buddha images which, over the years, has been covered with so much gold leaf that it now has an almost ‘lumpy texture. The 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures of the Kuthodaw Pagoda have earned it the title ‘the World’s Biggest Book’. Mandalay is well known for its skilled craftsmen and, as we tour some of the traditional workshops, we observe the production of wood carvings, kalaga tapestries and gold-leaf, where the techniques remain unchanged from those used centuries ago to craft items for the Royal Court.
Second of 3 nights in Mandalay. Sedona Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 10 February 25
PYIN OO LWIN BOTANICAL GARDEN

This morning we take a scenic drive to Pyin Oo Lwin, set high in the mountains. The former British hill station of Maymyo is sometimes called “Little London. The town is famous for wool knitting and its gardens and brick and timber British houses. Beyond the town we visit the National Botanical Garden which features wide expanses of manicured lawns, large flower beds, a rose garden, an orchid house, a small stupa on an islet in a pond and 20 hectares of natural forest with walking trails .From Pyin Oo Lwin we return to Mandalay and visit the Shwenandaw Monastery  also known as The Golden Palace Monastery, which is the only remaining building from the 19th century Royal Palace, the last royal palace of the last Burmese monarchy.
Third of 3 nights in Mandalay. Sedona Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 11 February 26
MANDALAY – AMARAPURA – MONYWA

This morning we visit Mahaganayon Monastery at Amarapura (whose name means ‘City of Immortality’) in time for the morning alms offering. This serene ceremony is a great chance to learn about local Buddhism practices. More than a thousand monks live and study here. We continue to U Bein Bridge (the longest teak bridge in the world ­constructed of 984 teak posts and 1.2 km long), built in 1782 at the time when Amarapura was one of the capitals of the third Myanmar Empire. We then cross a bridge over the Irrawaddy River to Sagaing, considered to be the living centre of the Buddhist faith in Burma and famous for its silversmiths who still work in much the same way as their ancestors did. This afternoon we explore Sagaing Hill, covered with some 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries. It is home to 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centres. We’ll also visit Sagaing’s local market, a typical Burmese market that few tourists visit. Here you will find a range of items for sale including locally made pottery, silver and other handicrafts. We will also stop at a small pottery village to see the process of making the ubiquitous water pots found throughout Myanmar. We then continue south to Ava, Burma’s capital from the 14th to 18th Centuries, where a short ferry ride takes us across the river to where our horse and carriage are waiting. We visit the remains of the Royal Palace and Fort including the Nanmyint Watch Tower, nicknamed “the leaning tower of Ava”. There are many small villages located amid Ava’s ruins and as we travel by horse and cart you’ll get a glimpse of local life in the Burmese countryside. We continue to Monywa, a typical Burmese town on the banks of the Chindwin River.
First of 2 nights in Monywa. Hotel Chindwin or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 12 February 27
MONYWA + VILLAGE LIFE

This morning we visit the Thanboddhay Pagoda, a huge Buddhist temple covered with more than half a million Buddha images! We also stop at the Boditahtaung Pagoda which houses the largest reclining Buddha image in Myanmar, at 100m long and 27m high. Nearby is the largest standing Buddha in the world, Laykyun Setkyar, at 127 m in height. We also see how copper is made in the traditional way. In the afternoon our visit to a traditional Burmese village gives you the opportunity to discover the rural Burmese way of life first hand.
Second of 2 nights in Monywa. Hotel Chindwin or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 13 February 28
MONYWA – BAGAN

After breakfast we proceed to Po Win Taung, an extraordinary complex of 947 sandstone caves dug out of the hills and containing what is considered by archaeologists to be the richest collection of mural paintings and Buddhist statues in Southeast Asia. Nearby is Shwe Ba Taung, where monasteries and temples are carved into rocky cliffs. We then continue down the ‘road less traveled’, passing traditional villages where we may see farmers climbing palm trees to extract juice to produce palm tree sugar. In the village of Pakkoku we board a private local boat for a leisurely cruise down the Irrawaddy River to see the exquisite carvings at Kyauk Gu U Min. We arrive at Bagan with a panoramic view of the magnificent ruins.
First of 3 nights in Bagan. Baga Hotel River View or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 14 March 1
MOUNT POPA

This morning we start with a drive to Chauk to visit the fabulous morning market, filled with locals buying and selling their goods. We continue our drive to Mount Popa,a national park and once-volcanic mountain believed to be the sacred home of powerful ‘Nats’ (spirits.) On top of a rocky crag is a picturesque complex of monasteries, pagodas and shrines which can be reached via a winding, covered walkway and which provides us with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Returning to Bagan, we visit workshops producing Bagan’s most famous products: wood carvings, fabrics, rattan goods and lacquer ware. Here skilled craftsmen use techniques passed down through generations.
Second of 3 nights in Bagan. Baga Hotel River View or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 15 March 2
BAGAN TEMPLES

From the 9th to the 13th Centuries Bagan was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan. During the kingdom’s height, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed. Today over 2,200 remain the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins in the world.

Our exploration begins at Thagyar Pone Temple, with spectacular views over the surrounding plains. This is the perfect introduction to the grandeur and scope of Bagan’s architecture. The Ananda Temple, Bagan’s holiest temple, was built by the third king in 1091. The temple houses four Buddhas facing the cardinal directions, which represent the four Buddhas who have attained Nirvana. Ananda is one of the finest, largest and best preserved of the Bagan temples. Afterwards we drive to Myinkaba village and Gubyaukgyi, a 13th Century temple noted for its wall paintings depicting scenes from the previ

ous lives of Buddha on its inner walls and well-preserved plaster carvings on its exterior. Nearby are Manuha Temple, built in the Mon style in 1059, and Nan Paya Temple, a unique sandstone monument said to have been the palace of King Manuha. The golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda, built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious shrine, was the prototype for Burmese stupas, with many smaller surrounding shrines.
Third of 3 nights in Bagan. Baga Hotel River View or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 16 March 3
FLY BAGAN – YANGON

After our morning flight back to Yangon we visit the General Aung San House Museum dedicated to the architect of Burmese Independence. This colonial-era villa, built in 1921, is where his daughter and Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi grew up. This afternoon we have time to shop among the inner cobblestone streets and colonial architecture of the 70-year­-old Scott Market where you can buy antique Burmese handicrafts, jewellery, art and other traditional goods.
Overnight in Yangon. Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

DAY 17 March 4
This afternoon we fly from Yangon, arriving home the same evening having crossed the International Date Line.


TOUR INCLUDES:
Accommodation mainly in 4 Star hotels
. All our hotels have en-suite bathrooms. As appropriate, they have air-conditioning and/or central heating. In Kalaw and Monywa we use the best available hotels.
Breakfast & dinner daily.
We usually enjoy our dinners out at excellent local restaurants.
Arrival and Departure Transfers,
if arriving and departing on our group flights on the tour dates.
Flights
: Yangon – Heho and Bagan – Yangon.
Land and water transport
by coach and motorboat. Wildlife viewing, sightseeing and entrance fees as mentioned in the itinerary.
Sightseeing and entrance fees
as mentioned in the itinerary.|
ALL TIPS
for group activities.
Porterage
throughout for one piece of luggage per person if available
Guiding
by Norman and Julie Bruce with assistance of local guides.

NOT INCLUDED:
Visa fee. Canadian passport holders DO currently require a visa for Myanmar. Your passport should be valid for 6 months beyond the date of your return home.
Lunches
Trip Cancellation / Interruption and Medical Insurance
. We offer insurance coverage with MANULIFE Insurance
Single Supplement
charge, if requested: $1,850 Canadian
Personal Expenses such as souvenirs, laundry, drinks not included at meals.


FLIGHTS:
Our preferred routing from Vancouver is with Cathay Pacific Airlines via Hong Kong both ways. However, we have the ability to book your flights with any airline. Please call us for quotes on other airlines.
Please note that there is an additional cost for the arrival & departure transfers should you wish to travel with an airline other than our group flights or purchase the LAND ONLY Package. There is also an additional cost if you wish to travel with Cathay Pacific on dates different from our group arrival and departure dates.

SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
If you wish to be guaranteed a single room there is a Single Supplement charge of $1,850 Canadian.
Published price is based on 2 people sharing a twin room. For those people travelling alone but wishing to share we shall do our best to match you with a roommate. The earlier you pay your deposit the easier this will be. You will be informed 3 months prior to departure if a roommate is not currently available. At that point you may choose to be invoiced for the Single Supplement ($1,850 Canadian) or refunded your deposit (and Cancellation Insurance if purchased at the time of deposit) without penalty. If you choose to pay the single supplement and a roommate subsequently joins the tour, your single supplement will be refunded with the final documentation.

PAYMENT
You can secure your place on the tour with a $400 per person non-refundable deposit. We take payment by cheque, VISA or MasterCard for the $400/ person DEPOSIT. The invoice for the balance of the tour will be sent out in mid-November 2017. Payment for the balance of the tour is due on December 16th 2017. Prices quoted are for FINAL PAYMENT made BY CHEQUE

SPECIAL NOTE:
Please pay your $400 deposit early.
Land portion of the tour must be booked directly with Royal Heights Tours. You can book the Land portion of the tour with us and make your own flight arrangements through your travel agent or using your Frequent Flyer points.
Our office staff are not medically qualified to advise you on which immunizations you require. Please consult your local travel health clinic.

Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.