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BURMA (MYANMAR), MYANMAR

Burma Unveiled: Ancient Kingdoms, Indelible Beauty

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Road Scholar
Program #20337RJ
16 Days | 15 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.

Itinerary for Nov 4 — Nov 19, 2014

Expand all
Day One: Tuesday, November 04 - Depart on International Flights
Depart From: Depart from home for your flight to Asia.

Day Two: Wednesday, November 05 - En Route
In Transit: Overnight flight to Asia.

Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon is a 5-star city resort located by the historic Royal Lake (Kandawgyi Lake) in the heart of Yangon City. This legacy property, with its distinguished colonial style blended with Asian and Eastern revival architecture, is ideal for both business and leisure travelers. A stay at Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon is an experience with “A remarkable heritage”.

Contact info:
40, Natmauk Road,
Tamwe Township
Yangon, Myanmar
phone: +(95) 1 544 500
web: chatrium.com/chatrium_hotel_yangon/about-us/

Room amenities: All rooms are equipped with a range of deluxe amenities, IDD telephone, satellite TV and in-house movies, mini-bar, in-room safe, hair dryer and a personal safety deposit box. All rooms have spacious bathrooms with separate glass shower cubicles. Private balconies are attached to all rooms and 24-hours room service. Additional amenities include: • Welcome drink upon arrival • Daily buffet breakfast at The Emporia • Daily replenishment of bottled drinking water - 2 bottles a day • Daily In-room servicing • Tea/Coffee making facilities in the room • Wi-Fi internet access in room • Complimentary use of Swimming Pool, Gym, Sauna and Jacuzzi

Facility amenities: • Breath-taking view of serene Royal Lake and Magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda from the hotel • 303 guestrooms ranging from 40 to 300 sq.m. including 37 divine suites • Full-range Business Center services including private meeting rooms • Chatrium Club Lounge with dedicated staff and continuous food and beverage service • Kohaku Authentic Japanese Restaurant • Tiger Hill, a signature Chinese fine dining restaurant • The Emporia for all-day dining • Lobby Lounge and Sunset Terrace • The Ritz Executive Lounge and Bar with lavish setting and design • A 435–square meter ballroom with 5 additional function rooms of various sizes • L-Shaped outdoor swimming pool and children’s pool surrounded with palm garden and lash greenery • Fully-equipped modern Fitness Center with Jacuzzis and Sauna rooms • Lilawadee Spa with a full variety of treatments and massages

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Thursday, November 06 - Arrive in Yangon, Myanmar / Hotel Check-in / Prog...
Arrive in Yangon, Myanmar / Hotel Check-in / Program Orientation / Welcome Dinner

Note: Transfer time from the airport to the hotel may be approximately 45 minutes to an hour depending on traffic.

Arrive To: Arrival to Yangon International Airport.

Afternoon: Transfer to program hotel for check-in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. In addition to the program theme and logistics, we will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that indicated times are approximate and that program activities and schedules could change due to local circumstances such as weather, traffic conditions, etc. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. During free time, the Group Leader will often be available for informal excursions, activities, or meals not included in the program. You are welcome to join if you wish, with any associated costs on your own, or may explore independently.

Dinner: Our welcome dinner at the hotel features Chinese cuisine plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Settle in, relax, and get a good night’s sleep for tomorrow.

Lodging: Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon is a 5-star city resort located by the historic Royal Lake (Kandawgyi Lake) in the heart of Yangon City. This legacy property, with its distinguished colonial style blended with Asian and Eastern revival architecture, is ideal for both business and leisure travelers. A stay at Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon is an experience with “A remarkable heritage”.

Contact info:
40, Natmauk Road,
Tamwe Township
Yangon, Myanmar
phone: +(95) 1 544 500
web: chatrium.com/chatrium_hotel_yangon/about-us/

Room amenities: All rooms are equipped with a range of deluxe amenities, IDD telephone, satellite TV and in-house movies, mini-bar, in-room safe, hair dryer and a personal safety deposit box. All rooms have spacious bathrooms with separate glass shower cubicles. Private balconies are attached to all rooms and 24-hours room service. Additional amenities include: • Welcome drink upon arrival • Daily buffet breakfast at The Emporia • Daily replenishment of bottled drinking water - 2 bottles a day • Daily In-room servicing • Tea/Coffee making facilities in the room • Wi-Fi internet access in room • Complimentary use of Swimming Pool, Gym, Sauna and Jacuzzi

Facility amenities: • Breath-taking view of serene Royal Lake and Magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda from the hotel • 303 guestrooms ranging from 40 to 300 sq.m. including 37 divine suites • Full-range Business Center services including private meeting rooms • Chatrium Club Lounge with dedicated staff and continuous food and beverage service • Kohaku Authentic Japanese Restaurant • Tiger Hill, a signature Chinese fine dining restaurant • The Emporia for all-day dining • Lobby Lounge and Sunset Terrace • The Ritz Executive Lounge and Bar with lavish setting and design • A 435–square meter ballroom with 5 additional function rooms of various sizes • L-Shaped outdoor swimming pool and children’s pool surrounded with palm garden and lash greenery • Fully-equipped modern Fitness Center with Jacuzzis and Sauna rooms • Lilawadee Spa with a full variety of treatments and massages

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Friday, November 07 - Burmese History / Meet University Students / Yang...
Burmese History / Meet University Students / Yangon City / Shwedagon Paya

Note: Walking approximately 1.5 miles (2 kilometers); mostly even terrain; watch out for occasional potholes; one bridge with 25-30 steps. Visitors to Shwedagon Paya are required to dress modestly and enter barefoot (no shoes or socks).There are many steps to the top of the Pagoda. There is an elevator, but it may not be reliable.

Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel features Asian and Western selections including noodle soup, bread/toast, eggs, cold meat, fruits, cereal, juices, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We begin to understand Myanmar with a presentation on Burmese history by a local expert. While archaeological research dates Stone Age culture here back to 11,000 B.C.E., our focus is on more recent history. The Burmese steadfastly resisted European colonization, but after many conflicts during the 19th Century, the British East India Company became the dominant force. Burma was eventually annexed to India, later declared a self-governing British colony in 1937, and independence in 1948. Throughout its turbulent history, Burma (renamed Myanmar in 1989) has retained many cultural and religious landmarks and traditions that are little different from centuries ago. As a special highlight, we will have an opportunity to interact with some university students who will join us on the motorcoach and walk with us this morning. The Group Leader will guide us during a field trip to experience the cultural and ethnic diversity of Yangon City, formerly known as Rangoon. Via motorcoach, we will traverse Pansoedan Street, passing by St. Mary’s Cathedral, the old parliament building, and the Strand Hotel. We will then walk to see the magnificent, golden Sule Paya (Pagoda), a Burmese stupa more than 2,000 years old, and continue our walk in Little India. Here you will see real daily life with people of many different ancestries living and working amid a hodge-podge of buildings where wires criss-cross the streets like vines. Be careful not to step in the displays of food!

Lunch: At a local restaurant, Asian cuisine plus coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: In the late afternoon, we will explore Shwedagon Paya (Pagoda), Burma’s most sacred Buddhist shrine and a true wonder of the religious world. The complex contains hundreds of stupas, statues, and temples spanning more than 2,000 years of religious art and architecture. The central tower is covered with hundreds of solid gold plates, while the top is adorned with thousands of diamonds. Relatively few tourists visit here and it is primarily a gathering place for monks, worshippers, and local families. Please note that the Shwedagon Pagoda has started the bamboo scaffolding to cover the Pagoda to do the renovation work. This type of bamboo scaffolding will cover the Pagoda from the bottom to the top in next four months. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, The Union of Myanmar Travel Association are now negotiating with the Pagoda Trustee to do the renovation work ³section by section² - cover part of the Pagoda and replace the gold plate and gold leaf, once finish that section take the scaffolding off, then erect the scaffolding on another layer, and so on. The reason is that to allow the visitors see part of the Golden Pagoda.

Dinner: This evening’s dinner provides another opportunity to savor the local flavor at a local restaurant with Asian cuisine plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Inle Lake is one of the most significant and productive ecological system supporting an immense variety of plants and animals and yielding great wealth for Myanmar through its occurrence of floating islands and the living style of the natives. Pristine Lotus Resort is located at Khaung Daing Village on the west back of Inle Lake, 20 minute fascinating boat-ride from Nyaung Shwe or 45-minute interesting drive from the Heho airport. Inle Lake is a huge lake (22 km long and 10 km across) located in Shan State, over 900 meters above sea-level, and it is outrageously beautiful. Inle Lake is one of the most significant and productive ecological system supporting an immense variety of plants and animals and yielding great wealth for Myanmar.

Contact info:
Khaung Daing Village
Nyaung Shwe
Inle, Myanmar
phone: (++95-81) 209317
web: www.pristinelotus.com

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Five: Saturday, November 08 - Depart Yangon / Fly to Heho / Transfer to NyaungS...
Depart Yangon / Fly to Heho / Transfer to NyaungShweunch / Inle Lake / Hotel Check-in

Note: Flight is approximately 1.5 hours; motorcoach transfer approximately 1 hour. Inle Lake field trips involves getting into/out of small motorboats.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Following hotel check-out, we transfer to the Yangon airport. During our drive, we will see the home of Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the democratic opposition as chairperson of the National League for Democracy. Suu Kyi was extensively detained under house arrest from 1989-2010. During her time as one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners, she was honored with many awards including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2008. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited her in 2011, a symbolic diplomatic gesture that paved the way for President Obama’s official trip the next year, when he presented her with the gold medal. Suu Kyi has announced that she wants to run for President of her country in 2015. We then fly to Heho and transfer through picturesque hills of the Shan State to the small town of NyaungShweunch, gateway to Inle Lake.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, Asian cuisine plus coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: The Group Leader will provide background information en route to Inle Lake to enhance your learning experience. At the lake, one of Myanmar's most spectacular sights, we will explore via private motorboats.This highland lake of about 45 square miles, situated at nearly 3,000 feet (900 meters) above seat level, is the center of life for local Intha people and different ethnic minorities. Floating gardens of fruits and vegetables cover about 25% of the surface area. In addition to these floating gardens, you will also see “leg rower” fishermen on their traditional boats andvillages on stilts. A special highlight is visiting NgaPheChaung, a Buddhist monastery -- also on stilts -- where monks have taught cats to jump through hoops. We then proceed to our hotel for check-in, where you will have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a 3-course meal with starter, main course, and dessert plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Pristine Lotus Spa Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Inle Lake is one of the most significant and productive ecological system supporting an immense variety of plants and animals and yielding great wealth for Myanmar through its occurrence of floating islands and the living style of the natives. Pristine Lotus Resort is located at Khaung Daing Village on the west back of Inle Lake, 20 minute fascinating boat-ride from Nyaung Shwe or 45-minute interesting drive from the Heho airport. Inle Lake is a huge lake (22 km long and 10 km across) located in Shan State, over 900 meters above sea-level, and it is outrageously beautiful. Inle Lake is one of the most significant and productive ecological system supporting an immense variety of plants and animals and yielding great wealth for Myanmar.

Contact info:
Khaung Daing Village
Nyaung Shwe
Inle, Myanmar
phone: (++95-81) 209317
web: www.pristinelotus.com

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Six: Sunday, November 09 - Inle Lake Floating Market By Long Tail Boats / In...
Inle Lake Floating Market By Long Tail Boats / Inn Dein Village / Inn Paw Khone Village

Note: Early departure for field trip that involves walking across planks and getting into/out of small wooden boats.

Breakfast: Our breakfast includes eggs, toast, butter, jams, and juices plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: The community market on Inle Lake is held in five locations that rotate on a daily basis. We will depart the hotel early and board private longtail boats to watch as villagers buy and sell their produce. Goods for sale typically include textiles, tools, carved wooden objects, and cheroots -- cigars with the ends cut off and stuffed with a blend of sweet ingredients -- from the local factory. We continue through narrow canals, observing villages and houses on stilts, to Inn Dein, a hillside village dotted with small stupas dating back to the 15th century. We will take a guided walk through the village, visit the local school, meet villagers, and see some of the more than 1,000 Shan style stupas on the lush hills. With many of them showing centuries of wear, you will feel as if you have stepped back in time.

Lunch: Asian cuisine plus coffee, tea, water at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We continue our exploration of life on Inle Lake at another stilted community, Inn Paw Khone, a “silk village” notable for its weavers who work on looms made of bamboo poles to produce beautiful fabrics to make longyi -- the traditional waist to feet cloths worn by both men and women -- and other items. In addition to silk and cotton, the weavers produce special fabrics made with strands from the stems of lotus flowers. At the conclusion of the field trip, we return to the hotel where you will have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: Asian cuisine plus coffee, tea, and water at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Pristine Lotus Spa Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: The Rupar Mandalar Hotel, Mandalay is idyllically set just off the town centre. The city centre and major tourist attractions, especially the Mandalay National Palace are about 10 minutes car ride away. The luxury, greenery surrounded, wooden structure Rupar Mandalar Resort offers a wide choice of leisure and business services, and has tastefully furnished, high standard facility rooms and suites. The Rupar Mandalar is a romantic hotel with an exotic atmosphere. Built to be in harmony with nature, it has modern facilities including a swimming pool, large tennis court and a health and beauty spa. Ideal for those seeking a quiet holiday or just time to be alone. The hotel serves varieties of food such as Thai, Chinese and European.

Contact info:
No.(A-15), Corner of 53rd & 30th Street
Chan Aye Thar Zan Township
Mandalay, Myanmar
phone: +(95) 2 61555
web: www.ruparmandalar.com/

Room amenities: Air conditioner Bathroom amenities Cable / satellite TV Coffee maker and Coffee/tea Color TV Hairdryer Hot and cold shower IDD (pay) Iron & ironing board Mini bar Private bathroom• Safe deposit box Shower Slippers Voltage 220/240• Wireless Internet access (free)

Facility amenities: Business Center Fitness Center Sauna and Jacuzzi Swimming Pool Tennis Court Bike for rent Spa Laundry Service Room Service Free Wifi

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Seven: Monday, November 10 - Depart Inle Lake / Fly to Mandalay / Maha Ganda H...
Note: Flight time is approximately an hour; departure time around Noon may vary. The afternoon field trip involves climbing uneven stairs and walking 1.5 to 2 miles including a wooden bridge.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We begin the morning with a discussion on the impact of tourism on the people of Burma and their economy. After checking out of the hotel, we transfer back to Heho airport for our flight to Mandalay’s Tadaoo Airport, and upon arrival hop aboard a motorcoach and head for town.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Amarapura today is a township of Mandalay due to urban sprawl, but it was twice a royal capital. The town is a center of traditional arts and crafts, especially silk weaving and bronze casting. It is also significant as the home of two iconic sites we will see. Guided by our Group Leader, we will explore Maha Gandayone Monastery to see where the monks love and work. For those we may meet, the Group Leader will translate your greetings and questions. Maha Ganda Kyaung monastery, the largest in the country, is home to 1,500 monks who study and practice Dhamma -- the way taught by the Buddha in which Awakening is the culmination of gradual progression. We will then walk along U Bein, the world’s longest and oldest teak bridge. Built with wood reclaimed from a former royal palace, it has more than 1,000 pillars and stretches nearly a mile (1.2 kilometers) over Taungthaman Lake. Proceeding to our hotel for check-in, you will have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, Asian cuisine plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Rupar Mandalar Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: The Rupar Mandalar Hotel, Mandalay is idyllically set just off the town centre. The city centre and major tourist attractions, especially the Mandalay National Palace are about 10 minutes car ride away. The luxury, greenery surrounded, wooden structure Rupar Mandalar Resort offers a wide choice of leisure and business services, and has tastefully furnished, high standard facility rooms and suites. The Rupar Mandalar is a romantic hotel with an exotic atmosphere. Built to be in harmony with nature, it has modern facilities including a swimming pool, large tennis court and a health and beauty spa. Ideal for those seeking a quiet holiday or just time to be alone. The hotel serves varieties of food such as Thai, Chinese and European.

Contact info:
No.(A-15), Corner of 53rd & 30th Street
Chan Aye Thar Zan Township
Mandalay, Myanmar
phone: +(95) 2 61555
web: www.ruparmandalar.com/

Room amenities: Air conditioner Bathroom amenities Cable / satellite TV Coffee maker and Coffee/tea Color TV Hairdryer Hot and cold shower IDD (pay) Iron & ironing board Mini bar Private bathroom• Safe deposit box Shower Slippers Voltage 220/240• Wireless Internet access (free)

Facility amenities: Business Center Fitness Center Sauna and Jacuzzi Swimming Pool Tennis Court Bike for rent Spa Laundry Service Room Service Free Wifi

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Eight: Tuesday, November 11 - History of Mandalay / Long Tail Boat to Mingun/ P...
Note: Long tail boat ride is approximately 1 hour upstream. The field trip in Mingun involves a leisurely walk of about 2 hours to explore the village.

Breakfast: Our breakfast includes eggs, toast, butter, jams, juices, coffee, tea, water, and more.

Morning: We will have an early start as a local expert presents an overview of the royal capitals of Mandalay. Next, we transfer by motorcoach to the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River, observing morning life of the local community. This is the country’s principal river and most important commercial waterway. We then board a long tail boat and embark on a ride up the river to Mingun. Enjoy the river and passing scenery in the morning light. Upon arrival, we will explore Mingun, an ancient site that is home to what King Bodawpaya (c. 1740-1819) intended to be the largest pagoda in the world. Had it been completed, the stupa would have been taller than the Great Pyramid of Egypt, but the king’s massive -- and massively unpopular -- building project, undertaken with slave labor, put a serious strain on resources and was eventually left unfinished. Its 12-foot high bronze bell weighs more than 200,000 pounds. After it was cast, Bodawpaya had the master craftsman killed so he could produce nothing greater! It lacks a ringing mechanism because the entire project was abandoned as soon as the king died.

Lunch: Asian cuisine plus coffee, tea, water at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We return to Mandalay via boat and later in the afternoon visit Shwe Nandaw Monastery (Shwe Kyaung), Kuthodaw Pagoda, and Mahamuni Pagoda -- three of the most extraordinary examples of sacred architecture anywhere. We will also observe a fascinating aspect of local religious craftsmanship, a gold leaf workshop.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Rupar Mandalar Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: The Rupar Mandalar Hotel, Mandalay is idyllically set just off the town centre. The city centre and major tourist attractions, especially the Mandalay National Palace are about 10 minutes car ride away. The luxury, greenery surrounded, wooden structure Rupar Mandalar Resort offers a wide choice of leisure and business services, and has tastefully furnished, high standard facility rooms and suites. The Rupar Mandalar is a romantic hotel with an exotic atmosphere. Built to be in harmony with nature, it has modern facilities including a swimming pool, large tennis court and a health and beauty spa. Ideal for those seeking a quiet holiday or just time to be alone. The hotel serves varieties of food such as Thai, Chinese and European.

Contact info:
No.(A-15), Corner of 53rd & 30th Street
Chan Aye Thar Zan Township
Mandalay, Myanmar
phone: +(95) 2 61555
web: www.ruparmandalar.com/

Room amenities: Air conditioner Bathroom amenities Cable / satellite TV Coffee maker and Coffee/tea Color TV Hairdryer Hot and cold shower IDD (pay) Iron & ironing board Mini bar Private bathroom• Safe deposit box Shower Slippers Voltage 220/240• Wireless Internet access (free)

Facility amenities: Business Center Fitness Center Sauna and Jacuzzi Swimming Pool Tennis Court Bike for rent Spa Laundry Service Room Service Free Wifi

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Nine: Wednesday, November 12 - Pyin Oo Lwin Hill Station/ National Kandawgyi Gar...
Pyin Oo Lwin Hill Station/ National Kandawgyi Gardens / Fine Arts Performance

Note: Drive time to Pyin Oo Lwin is approximately 2 hours.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will spend the day exploring Pyin Oo Lwin, known to locals as May Myo -- May Town -- for the first British administrator, a Col. May. Once a small military outpost, it developed as a “hill station” during the British colonial era thanks to the cool air at an altitude of 3,510 feet (1070 meters). May Myo became an educational center under British rule and is also notable for colonial style architecture from that period as well as colorful horse-drawn carriages/pony carts. Many Indian and Nepalese soldiers who served in the British armed forces remained after Burma gained its independence, resulting in a substantial population of their descendants today. The modern parts of town appear much like any crowded urban area in Myanmar today. We will also go just south of Pyin Oo Lwin with our local expert to the National Kandawgyi Gardens, formerly National Botanical Gardens, founded in 1915. Modeled after Kew Gardens in London, the botanical collection includes many species of ornamental and exotic trees plus flower gardens lush with dahlias, roses, and orchids in extensive, beautifully landscaped grounds.

Lunch: As a special highlight, we will have lunch in the garden of a local home (weather permitting) to enjoy local cuisine with soft drinks, coffee, tea, water (alcoholic beverages not available).

Afternoon: Free Afternoon: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You might like to take a ride in a typical Pyin Oo Lwin pony cart. We then return to Mandalay.

Dinner: Our dinner at the hotel is enhanced by a performance of traditional music and dance with a puppet show by students from the Mandalay Fine Art School.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Rupar Mandalar Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: The hotel is situated on a small lake on the outskirts of Monywa, near the Chindwin River.

Contact info:
Bogyoke Road, Yone Gyi Quarter, Kantharyar
Yone Gyi Quarter
Monywa Township, Sagaing Division, Myanmar
phone: + 951-227-389
Room amenities: Irons, hair dryer, air-conditioning, refrigerator and safety-deposit box, phone.

Facility amenities: Lounge, outdoor swimming pool, laundry service, restaurant, business center

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Ten: Thursday, November 13 - Depart Mandalay / Transfer to Monywa
Note: Driving time to Monywa is approximately 3 hours. The hotel (the best in town) is basic with few amenities.The field trip to caves carved in the hillside involves many steps up and down. The Group Leader will provide more specific advice on site.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we board the motorcoach and depart for Monywa, a center of culture and agricultural trade in the Chindwin Valley. En route, we will stop to view Sagaing Hill, dotted with pagodas and monasteries, for photos.We then continue to Monywa and check in to our hotel.

Lunch: Local cuisine plus coffee, tea, water at the hotel.

Afternoon: Monywa is a trade center for agricultural produce from the surrounding Chindwin Valley, but the key reason for our field trip this afternoon is the rare opportunity to explore the caves of Hpo Win Daung (“Mountain of Isolated Solitary Meditation”), approximately an hour away. The 947 caves here were carved out of sandstone cliffs from the 14th-18th centuries. The complex is considered a religious and artistic treasure with a multitude of elaborate, Buddha-inspired rock carvings, statues, and wall paintings -- the most extensive in Southeast Asia.

Dinner: At the hotel, local cuisine plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Win Unity Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: The hotel is set in a picturesque location on the banks of the Irrawaddy river, inside the walls of Ancient Bagan City. It is within walking distance to temples and the Bagan Archaeological Museum.

Contact info:
No.75 (D) Banyadala Road
Bahan Township
Yangon, Myanmar
phone: +95-61-60025
web: www.hotelbaganthande.com/index.htm

Room amenities: Deluxe, river-view rooms with satellite T.V, mini-bar, air-conditioning, telephone, hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Coffee shop, souvenir shop, outdoor swimming pool, pool bar, massage service, bird sanctuary and gardens, laundry service, internet service.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Eleven: Friday, November 14 - Depart Monywa / Thanboddhay Pagoda / Boditahtaung...
Depart Monywa / Thanboddhay Pagoda / Boditahtaung Pagoda / Pakkoku to Bagan

Note: The drive to Bagan is approximately 7 hours including rest and lunch stops.

Breakfast: At the hotel, enjoy a breakfast with eggs and toast, butter, jam, juice, and coffee, tea, water

Morning: We check out of the hotel then drive to the Monywa market, where the Group Leader guides our exploration. This comprehensive market trades everything needed for daily living, with many items imported from India. Next, we visit the extraordinary Thanboddhay Pagoda outside of town, the only one of its kind in Myanmar. Sometimes called the “Disneyland” of Buddhism by foreigners for its vibrant colors, opulent gilding, extravagant designs and figures, the reconstructed complex dates from 1939, built on foundations of a 14th century temple. The ornate main pagoda and complex of smaller buildings are covered and filled with images of the Buddha. One count put the total number at 582, 257! Another astonishing example of Buddhist art, architecture, and reverence is Boditahtaung Pagoda with the largest reclining Buddha image in Myanmar, 328 feet (100 meters) long and 88 feet (27 meters) high. The reclining figure signifies the Buddha's final nirvana and release from physical existence.

Lunch: We will stop for a light lunch in Pakokku.

Afternoon: Our drive to Bagan continues through scenic countryside dotted with villages, plantations, rivers and quaint bridges, and cottage industries. Upon arrival at Bagan, we will check in to our hotel with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, Asian cuisine plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Bagan Thande Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: The hotel is set in a picturesque location on the banks of the Irrawaddy river, inside the walls of Ancient Bagan City. It is within walking distance to temples and the Bagan Archaeological Museum.

Contact info:
No.75 (D) Banyadala Road
Bahan Township
Yangon, Myanmar
phone: +95-61-60025
web: www.hotelbaganthande.com/index.htm

Room amenities: Deluxe, river-view rooms with satellite T.V, mini-bar, air-conditioning, telephone, hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Coffee shop, souvenir shop, outdoor swimming pool, pool bar, massage service, bird sanctuary and gardens, laundry service, internet service.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Twelve: Saturday, November 15 - Architectural Evolution of Bagan / Early Period T...
Note: The field trip to the temples involves walking up to 2 miles. Visitors must be barefoot to enter.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: In the 9th Century C.E., Bagan was the royal capital established by King Anawratha, who unified the country under Theravada Buddhism. During its first few hundred years, Bagan saw the construction of more than 10,000 Buddhist monasteries, pagodas, and temples. Today, a little more than 2,000 remain, making it an archaeological rival of Angkor Wat. We start the day with a presentation by our Group Leader about the architectural evolution of Bagan, followed by a field trip to explore temples that represent the early Bagan period. First temple is Temple of Gubyaukgyi of Myingaba Village, with its well preserved colored paintings inside that date back to its construction in 1113. The temple is typical of the Mon style in that the interior is dimly lit by perforated rather than open windows. Next continue to ManuhaPaya, known as the Mon King Temple, which is said to represent his view of being imprisoned. Then lastly, visit Nan Paya, a rare early period Sandstone temple with the best examples of the early Bagan carvings.

Lunch: Local cuisine plus coffee, tea, water at a neighborhood restaurant.

Afternoon: We return for to the hotel for some rest and relaxation during the hottest part of the day. Then, later in the afternoon, we continue our exploration of the temples of the Early Period at the Shwezigon Pagoda. Shwezigon was completed in 1058 C.E. as the most important reliquary shrine in Bagan, a center of prayer and reflection for King Anawarahta of the new Theravada faith. We will learn about the Burmese belief in “nats” (spirits), officially replaced by Buddhism, though the belief continues among many people today. We then hop aboard the motorcoach for a quick trip to a temple terrace and view the sunset over this ancient city.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy the flavors of Asian cuisine plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Bagan Thande Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: The hotel is set in a picturesque location on the banks of the Irrawaddy river, inside the walls of Ancient Bagan City. It is within walking distance to temples and the Bagan Archaeological Museum.

Contact info:
No.75 (D) Banyadala Road
Bahan Township
Yangon, Myanmar
phone: +95-61-60025
web: www.hotelbaganthande.com/index.htm

Room amenities: Deluxe, river-view rooms with satellite T.V, mini-bar, air-conditioning, telephone, hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Coffee shop, souvenir shop, outdoor swimming pool, pool bar, massage service, bird sanctuary and gardens, laundry service, internet service.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Thirteen: Sunday, November 16 - Bagan Transition and the Middle Period
Note: The field trip to the temples involves walking up to 1.5 miles. Visitors must be barefoot to enter.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: The Group Leader will provide background on temples of the Transition and Middle Period before we head out via motorcoach to the Shwe San Daw Pagoda. Built about the same time as Shwezigon by the same king, this is the highest temple visitors are allowed to climb, with steep flights of stairs up five terraces. But you don’t have to go all the way to the top for memorable views to see how architecture at Baganevolved in height and style. We continue to Ananda Temple -- considered the most beautiful in Bagan -- a repository of traditional Burmese arts from architecture to blacksmithing, glazing, sculpture, wood carving, and more. As we walk, you will be able to see evidence of the innovative building techniques that allowed it to survive through ages and earthquakes.

Lunch: Local cuisine plus coffee, tea, water at a neighborhood restaurant.

Afternoon: At a 4th-generation lacquerware factory, learn about this nearly extinct art and craft, and what it takes to create masterpieces. Meet the owner, who will show you the various quality levels and the complete process involved. In the late afternoon, we will take horse carts to Htilo Minlo Temple, a prime example of late period architecture, built in 1218 C.E. The story of its inspiration, which you will hear, is fascinating. We then board our motorcoach to visit a local village and learn about village life there. We will also walk through the unusual Payathonzu Temple (13th Century) that was left unfinished and abandoned, perhaps due to the Mongol invasion.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Bagan Thande Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: The hotel is set in a picturesque location on the banks of the Irrawaddy river, inside the walls of Ancient Bagan City. It is within walking distance to temples and the Bagan Archaeological Museum.

Contact info:
No.75 (D) Banyadala Road
Bahan Township
Yangon, Myanmar
phone: +95-61-60025
web: www.hotelbaganthande.com/index.htm

Room amenities: Deluxe, river-view rooms with satellite T.V, mini-bar, air-conditioning, telephone, hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Coffee shop, souvenir shop, outdoor swimming pool, pool bar, massage service, bird sanctuary and gardens, laundry service, internet service.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Fourteen: Monday, November 17 - Bagan Novice Initiation Ceremony / Sunset Cruise ...
Bagan Novice Initiation Ceremony / Sunset Cruise on the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River

Note: This initiation ceremony is sponsored by Road Scholar. The Group Leader will advise you of how to participate. This traditional ceremony is not a tourist spectacle, but an integral part of Burmese culture and a right of passage for boys. Because the ceremony can be quite expensive for a family, Road Scholar makes a financial contribution and our participants become guests.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board our motorcoach and travel to a village monastery for a very special and unusual experience, observing and participating in a Buddhist novice initiation ceremony Called Shin Pyu. this is one of the most important days in the life of a boy or young man: becoming a novice monk for at least a week and beginning to study the Dhamma (Buddhist teachings). This highly significant ceremony involves the local community, beginning with a colorful procession of folk musicians, dancing girls, and of course, the prospective novices dressed like fairytale princes. The procession ends on the crowded steps of the monastery, where villagers will be out, singing and clapping, dressed in traditional costumes. The initiates are hoisted on shoulders and carried triumphantly into the monastery where they are stripped of their finery and subjected to the first part of their initiation, having their heads are shaved. After the ceremony, we will meet with a monk to learn more about Buddhism.

Lunch: Local cuisine plus coffee, tea, water at a neighborhood restaurant.

Afternoon: In the late afternoon, we ride the motorcoach to Ayeyar Jetty where we will board a private local boat for a slow cruise down the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River. As we cruise, you will be able to observe the lifestyle of the fishermen and riverside villages.

Dinner: At the hotel, Asian cuisine plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Bagan Thande Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon is a 5-star city resort located by the historic Royal Lake (Kandawgyi Lake) in the heart of Yangon City. This legacy property, with its distinguished colonial style blended with Asian and Eastern revival architecture, is ideal for both business and leisure travelers. A stay at Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon is an experience with “A remarkable heritage”.

Contact info:
40, Natmauk Road,
Tamwe Township
Yangon, Myanmar
phone: +(95) 1 544 500
web: chatrium.com/chatrium_hotel_yangon/about-us/

Room amenities: All rooms are equipped with a range of deluxe amenities, IDD telephone, satellite TV and in-house movies, mini-bar, in-room safe, hair dryer and a personal safety deposit box. All rooms have spacious bathrooms with separate glass shower cubicles. Private balconies are attached to all rooms and 24-hours room service. Additional amenities include: • Welcome drink upon arrival • Daily buffet breakfast at The Emporia • Daily replenishment of bottled drinking water - 2 bottles a day • Daily In-room servicing • Tea/Coffee making facilities in the room • Wi-Fi internet access in room • Complimentary use of Swimming Pool, Gym, Sauna and Jacuzzi

Facility amenities: • Breath-taking view of serene Royal Lake and Magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda from the hotel • 303 guestrooms ranging from 40 to 300 sq.m. including 37 divine suites • Full-range Business Center services including private meeting rooms • Chatrium Club Lounge with dedicated staff and continuous food and beverage service • Kohaku Authentic Japanese Restaurant • Tiger Hill, a signature Chinese fine dining restaurant • The Emporia for all-day dining • Lobby Lounge and Sunset Terrace • The Ritz Executive Lounge and Bar with lavish setting and design • A 435–square meter ballroom with 5 additional function rooms of various sizes • L-Shaped outdoor swimming pool and children’s pool surrounded with palm garden and lash greenery • Fully-equipped modern Fitness Center with Jacuzzis and Sauna rooms • Lilawadee Spa with a full variety of treatments and massages

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Fifteen: Tuesday, November 18 - Fly to Yangon / Free Afternoon / Political Change...
Breakfast: Early at the hotel.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we have an early morning transfer to the airport for our flight to Yangon. Upon arrival, we will board a motorcoach for a field trip to the National Museum of Myanmar, a repository of important ancient artifacts, art, and historical and cultural memorabilia including the “Lion Throne” of the last king, royal regalia, and a display of ethnic costumes. We then transfer to Bogyoke Aung San Market (formerly Scott Market under the British), Yangon's main bazaar with more than 2,000 shops. Here you will have free time for personal independent exploration.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: We re-group and transfer to our hotel for check in, followed by free time to explore on your own. In the late afternoon, we gather for a presentation on the changing political climate in Burma by a local expert.

Dinner: For our farewell dinner at the hotel, enjoy an “international” buffet plus ice cream and cake, a complimentary glass of wine, soft drinks, coffee, tea, water.

Evening: At leisure. Say farewell to new Road Scholar friends and prepare for departure in the morning.

Lodging: Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day Sixteen: Wednesday, November 19 - Departure from Yangon
Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: Airport transfers. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Meals Included: Breakfast


Free Time Opportunities


Bagan
Archaeological MuseumBuilt in 1996, the museum features many fine pieces from Bagan (reclining Buddhas, original images, inscripted stones and murals and an unexpected modern art rendering of the temples). This collection provides an alternative perspective of Bagan. The museum is located within walking distance from the hotel. Open daily 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Admission $3 U.S. (museum times and price subject to change)
Mandalay
Mandalay Cultural MuseumIt features a collection of Mandalay regalia, royally commissioned art and palm leaf manuscripts, coins, and Bagan period Buddhas. Open daily 9:30 a.m. –4 p.m. Admission included with your Mandalay pass.
Mandalay Palace and FortThe overwhelming center piece of Mandalay, the palace fort compound is surrounded by an immense wall that is nearly two miles long and 26 feet high, guarded by a moat 76 yards wide. Visitors enter from the east gate only. This is a nice place for a stroll, the palace is not original (rebuilt in the 1990s) and houses many military offices. Open daily 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission included with your Mandalay pass.
Optional Road Scholar Mandalay Insider programFor those interested in a structured afternoon, join us to learn about needlework, embroidery work and design. Visit the studio of Sein Myint, a nationally renowned artist, to see the artistic creations he designs and how his skilled staff turns the designs into masterpieces. Explore his private collection of antique embroidery. Continue on to visit Mahamyni (Buddha with a great face). This statue has been doubled in size with gilding added by pilgrims. End the afternoon by going to the top of Mandalay hill to enjoy the sunset. Transportation is included at no additional cost.
Yangon
Bogyoke Aung San MuseumLocated in Bahan Township, the quiet and secluded museum is the former home of General Aung San and his wife, Daw Kin Kyi. It contains remnants of another era. The house itself dates back to the 1920s and the rooms, stairways, railing and furniture are fairly intact. There are some old family photos that also include daughter Suu Kyi as a child. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Admission $3 U.S.
National MuseumThe National Museum of Burma is located on Pyay Road in a splendid five-story, purpose-built construction set in landscaped grounds. The museum offers an interesting sample of Burmese archaeological items, as well as a nice exhibit of Burmese musical instruments. Open daily 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Admission: $5 U.S.
Yangon Circular TrainThe train’s circular route takes approximately 2 1/2 hours to complete, nonstop. View from the windows or choose to get off at one of the stops to explore. The train connects the residential neighborhoods to the more rural paddy fields and provides insights to daily life that few foreign visitors see. A train ticket costs approximately $1 U.S. round trip. A map is available for 50 kyat. Board at the nearest railway station stop.

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
13 nights of accommodations
35 meals: 13 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners
7 Expert-led lectures
25 Field trips
4 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances
3 Flights during the program

Ratings

4.9
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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