Road Scholar : Home
Burma Unveiled: Ancient Kingdoms, Indelible Beauty

Program Number: 20337RJ
Start and End Dates:
11/7/2012 - 11/22/2012; 1/6/2015 - 1/21/2015; 1/20/2015 - 2/4/2015; 2/3/2015 - 2/18/2015; 2/24/2015 - 3/11/2015;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: Burma (Myanmar), Myanmar
Price starting at: $4,595.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 35; 13 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Trace the fascinating history of Burma: from the ancient Bagan Dynasty, which united the lands that make up Burma, laid the foundation for its language and culture and built stunning temples that still survive today, to the colonial rule of the British Raj to the recent political and cultural reform termed “Myanmarification."




Highlights

• Explore the ruined temples of Bagan, their beautiful pagodas rising majestically from lush surroundings.
• Learn Burma’s story in four of its historic capitals: Amarapura, Bagan, Mandalay and Rangoon (today Yangon).
• Discover the stilted villages and floating farms of Inle Lake.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to 3 miles per day on uneven terrains. Must be flexible and be able to climb in and out of small boats for at least 3 to 4 times a day in Inle Lake. Must be able to climb steps without any railings. May require standing up or sitting down for up to one to two hours at a time. Itinerary is full and moves rapidly through out the day. Consider heat and humidity as physical factors.



Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.




Date Specific Information

11-7-2012

This program can be taken back to back with program number 18681 "The People of the Mekong: Vietnam, Cambodia and Angkor Wat"



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Yangon, 2 nights; flight to Heho; coach to Inle Lake, 2 nights; coach to Heho; flight to Mandalay, 3 nights; coach to Monywa, 1 night; coach to Bagan, 4 nights; flight to Yangon, 1 night; departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Cross International Date Line
1 night
Arrival Yangon
2 nights

Discover this historic city’s colonial architecture and diversity — visit Hindu and Chinese temples and a synagogue. Journey to the enormous, golden Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda for the Burmese. Interact with local university students and learn about Burma through their perspective.



Flight to Heho
Coach to Inle Lake
2 nights

Board a private motorboat to explore spectacular Inle Lake with its simple houses on bamboo stilts. Continue to In Dien, a hillside village dotted with thousands of small stupas built in the 15th century. Learn about daily life here as you visit a weaving village and share lunch at a family home.



Coach to Heho
Flight to Mandalay
3 nights

In Amarapura, walk across the lovely U Bein Bridge, the world’s longest teak bridge, and visit the monastery of Maha Gandhayon Kyaung, home to over 1,000 monks. See the “world’s largest book” carved into stone tablets on stupas. Take a restored rice barge up the River Irrawaddy to discover the Mingun Pahtodawgyi, a monumental unfinished pagoda. Continue to the picturesque former British hill station of Pyin U Lwin. Enjoy a traditional Burmese dance performance.



Coach to Monywa
1 night
Coach to Bagan
4 nights
Flight to Yangon
1 night
Departure

Journey through the Burmese countryside, stopping at the Thanboddhay Pagoda, a huge temple with more than 500,000 Buddha images, and the Hop Win Daung Caves. From the old market town of Monywa, coach to Bagan. Enjoy three days exploring the amazing temples of Bagan and relish the opportunity to see the sun set on the stupas. Participate in a Monk initiation ceremony with the local villagers, a integral part of a young boy's life.




Burma (Myanmar)

Burma, or the Union of Myanmar, achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1948 and has been under military rule since 1962. With roughly 87 percent of its population practicing Buddhism, temples and shrines dot the landscape, and traditionally, monasteries are the center of spiritual and social life. It is a land of intense natural beauty, with its central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged mountains.



Accommodations
Yangon: Four-star hotel. Inle Lake: Beautiful spa resort. Mandalay: Four-star hotel near temples and royal palace. Monywa: Lakefront hotel. Bagan: Hotel on the banks of the Irrawaddy river.
Meals and Lodgings
   Park Royal
  Yangon, Myanmar 2 nights
   May Haw Nann Hotel
  Inle Lake, Myanmar 2 nights
   Zegyo Hotel
  Mandalay, Myanmar 3 nights
   Win Unity Resort
  Monywa, Myanmar 1 night
   Areindmar Hotel
  Bagan, Myanmar 4 nights
   Myanmar Life Hotel or similar
  Yangon, Myanmar 1 night
 Park Royal
Type: Hotel
  Description: Enjoy old-world charm at the resplendent PARKROYAL Yangon where you can truly relax and unwind after a hectic day. Discover modern amenities enhanced by a subtle mix of authentic teakwood furniture, fine fabrics and traditional handicrafts. Myanmar’s rich heritage and artistic culture can be seen and felt in all 267 premium rooms and suites at our Yangon accommodation.
  Contact info: 33 Alan Pya Phaya Road
Dagon Township 11191
Yangon,   Myanmar
phone: +95 1 250 388
web: www.parkroyalhotels.com/en/hotels/myanmar/yangon/parkroyal/spa/index.html
  Room amenities: •Internet Access •35 sq.m •Satellite TV channels •IDD telephone •Complimentary coffee and tea making facilities •Mini bar •Hair dryer •Umbrella •Torch light •Shopping bag •Bathroom amenities •In-room safe
  Facility amenities: Yangon hotel offers you pure relaxation, bliss and every opportunity to pamper yourself during your stay in Myanmar. Indulge yourself with a relaxing massage, a traditional spa therapy, or turn up the heat with a soothing sauna and steam bath. For an invigorating workout, enjoy our pool or visit our state-of-the-art gym, fully equipped with the latest high-tech machines.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 May Haw Nann Hotel
Type: Lodge
  Description: x
  Ship Information: x
  Contact info: x
x,   Myanmar
phone: +x
  Room amenities: x
  Facility amenities: x
  Smoking allowed: No

 Zegyo Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: x
  Ship Information: x
  Contact info: x
Mandalay,   Myanmar
phone: +x
  Room amenities: x
  Facility amenities: x
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Win Unity Resort
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 allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Areindmar Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: x
  Ship Information: x
  Contact info: x
x,   Myanmar
phone: +x
web: x
  Room amenities: x
  Facility amenities: x
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Myanmar Life Hotel or similar
Type: Hotel
  Description: Spread out generously on ten acres of naturally cultured land, Myanmar Life Hotel is a convenient 5 minute drive away from the Yangon International Airport.
  Contact info: 41, Radio Station Road
Mingaladon,  Yangon Myanmar
phone: +951664135664483
web: myanmarlifehotel.com/
  Facility amenities: The hotel features a pool, a sunbathing deck, vast gardens and a quaint outdoor parlor on property.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights after:  Since the last night in Yangon is a forced overnight, Road Scholar will not be offering post night services for this program. We recommed that you search the internet in order to get the best value on hotels that you can stay at after the program ends.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
On Day 3, in the late afternoon at the program orientation in Yangon, Burma. You will be staying at Park Royal that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast on Day 16 in Yangon, Burma. You will be staying at Myanmar Life Hotel or similar the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. DEPARTURE TAX: There is a $10 per person departure tax for passengers flying out of Burma that must be paid upon departure in USD cash only. This departure tax is not included in the program price.
  Parking availability:
Driving is not recommended in Burma.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: This is not available.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Yangon
  Transportation to site: The program hotel is a 30 to 40 minutes drive from Yangon International Airport. Given this distance and the nature of Yangon traffic, we recommend that guests arrange for a car transfer to the hotel. You can find some local taxis at the airport which can take you to the hotel. Please note that the taxi rates will vary, depending on the season and the tourist market. Private arrival and departure transfers -at an additional cost- may be arranged in advance by calling Road Scholar Travel Services.
  From End of Program
  Location: Yangon
  Transportation from site: Myanmar Life Hotel is a convenient 5 minute drive away from the Yangon International Airport.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departure from Home
(Wednesday, November 7)
   
 Depart From: Depart from home for your flight to Asia.

Day 2: En Route
(Thursday, November 8)
   
 In Transit: Overnight flight to Asia.

Day 3: Arrival Yangon, Burma / Program Orientation
(Friday, November 9)
   
 Arrive To: Arrival to Yangon International Airport. Check into your program hotel.
 Afternoon: Join your group leader for a program orientation followed by a welcome dinner.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Park Royal
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 4: Yangon / City Orientation / Shwedagon Paya
(Saturday, November 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Begin your understanding of Burma with a presentation on Burmese history. Then continue on a field trip to discover this city. Stroll in the Chinese and Indian neighborhoods. Make your way from Sule Paya to the Scott Market, along the way exploring a Hindu temple, a Chinese temple and a Jewish synagogue. End the morning exploring Bogyoke Aung San market (aka Scott's market).
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in town.
 Afternoon: Explore Shwedagon Paya. Shwedagon is a Burmese icon and a must see while in Yangon. Unlike many great sites around the world, Shwedagon is visited mostly by local Burmese. The giant gold gilded Paya serve as a meeting point for families, friends and teenagers looking to enjoy the cool night air. The bell shaped structure is said to be covered with over 8 tons of pure gold, making it an impressive presence in the night sky.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel or in town.
   
Accommodations: Park Royal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Yangon / Fly to Heho / Coach to Inle Lake
(Sunday, November 11)

Note: Long transit. Please note that you must be able to get in and out of small boats and travel much of the time on boats while at Inle Lake.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Check out of hotel and fly to Heho. Upon arrival, transfer to lunch.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in town.
 Afternoon: After lunch, board private motorboats to head out to Inle Lake, one of Myanmar's most spectacular sights. Pass villages on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Visit an Orchid Nursery and learn about the beautiful flowers. From there explore the floating gardens of Inle Lake, learn a little about how these are created. End the afternoon exploring a Monastery nick named "Jumping Cat Monastery."
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: May Haw Nann Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Inle Lake Exploration
(Monday, November 12)

Note: Must be flexible and sturdy enough to get in and out of small wooden boats. Must be able to walk across planks with minium help.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Participate in a presentation on the positive impact of tourism for the Burmese people and their economy. Then continue to explore the morning market, held at different locations each day. Continue to In Dien, a hillside village dotted with thousands of small stupas built in the 15th century. Finish the morning with a boat ride along the canals of Nam Hu to view the local architecture of the houses and bridges.
 Lunch: Lunch at a centennial family house. By tradition, the historic house is preserved by the oldest daugher for future generations.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, visit the village of Paw Khone where very difficult but beautiful woven work is done using lotus flower stems. Stroll through the village and learn about daily life in Inle lake.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: May Haw Nann Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Inle Lake / Fly to Mandalay
(Tuesday, November 13)

Note: Must be able to be ok with uneven stairs and walks of at least 1.5 to 2 miles.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Leisurely morning to relax before departing for Heho for flight to Mandalay.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Transfer to Heho for flight to Mandalay. Upon arrival explore the area around the old royal capital of Amarapura. Walk over U Bien's Bridge, the world’s longest teak bridge, constructed with over 1000 teak posts and is over one kilometer long. Visit Maha Ganayon Kyaung, home to over 1000 monks to learn about their unique way of life. Meet local weavers famed for their Longi's (the traditional skirt type garment worn by Burmese men). Explore Shwenandaw Kyaung, a superb example of a traditional monastery. End the afternoon at Kuthodaw Paya, known as the world's largest book and featuring more than 700 engraved stone slabs.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant in town.
   
Accommodations: Zegyo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Mandalay / Mingun & Sagaing by local private boat
(Wednesday, November 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Participate in a presentation on the chronology of the royal capitals of Amarapure, Inwa and Mandalay. Then travel on a restored rice barge up the Irrawaddy River to Mingun. Located across the river from Mandalay this ancient site is home to what would have been the world's largest pagoda had King Bodawpaya not met an early demise. Discover the Mingun bell and the Hsinbyume paya.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore the local fare.
   
Accommodations: Zegyo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9: Mandalay / Pyin Oo Lwin
(Thursday, November 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Spend the day exploring Pyin U Lwin, the former British Hill Station that colonial officers called Maytown, where they came to enjoy the cool climate. Explore the city center, its beautiful architecture and the National Gardens.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free time in Pyin U Lwin to explore this town on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Zegyo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Mandalay / Coach to Monywa
(Friday, November 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Depart for Monywa. Along the way, visit Thanboddhay Pagoda, a huge Buddhist temple covered with more than 500,000 Buddha images. Stop at Boditahtaung Pagoda which houses the largest reclining Buddha image in Myanmar, at 100m long and 27m high.
 Lunch: Lunch en route.
 Afternoon: This afternoon continue your exploration of the Burmese countryside with a visit to the Hop Win Daung Caves. With a unique landscape more like the Serengeti than Southeast Asia, the caves date back to the 15th century and are dotted with hundreds of sandstone carved temples.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Win Unity Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Monywa / Pakkoku / Bagan
(Saturday, November 17)

Note: Please note that the total drive to Bagan is about 7 hours with rest and lunch stops.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Visit the old market of Monywa. Monywa is known as a place for trade, so this market is one of the livelier ones in this area. Then resume your journey to Pakokku and have lunch at arrival.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch, drive towards Bagan while enjoying the scenery. On arrival at Bagan, check-in to the hotel and take some refreshment.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Areindmar Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Bagan: Early Period
(Sunday, November 18)

Note: Please note if you really want to experience the temples, then you will need to be able to walk bare feet for at least 2 miles in and around the temples.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Attend a presentation about Architectural Evolution of Bagan: Early, Transition, Middle and Late periods- led by the Study Leader. Then begin exploring the the temples that represent the early Bagan period. We will begin the exploration by visiting the Temple of Gubyaukgyi, which was built in 1113 by Kyanzittha's son Rajakumar, on his father's death. This temple isof particular interest because of the well-preserved paintings inside, which are thought to date from the original construction of the temple and to be the oldest remaining in Bagan. The temple is typical of the Mon style in that the interior is dimly lit by perforated rather than open windows. Also, visit Manuha Paya, known as the Mon King Temple, which is said to represent his view of being imprisoned. Then lastly, visit Nan Paya. Nan Paya is an early period Sandstone temple which reflects unique carvings from the early Bagan period.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon continue with your discovery of the temples of the Early Period. In particular, explore the Shwezigon Pagoda. Shwezigon was built as the most important reliquary shrine in Bagan, a centre of prayer and reflection for the new Theravada faith King Anawarahta had established in Bagan. End your Bagan discovery on a horse cart ride back to the hotel as the sun sets over the vista of temples.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Areindmar Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Bagan: Transition and the Middle Period
(Monday, November 19)

Note: Please note if you really want to experience the temples, then you will need to be able to walk bare feet for at least 1 1/2 miles in and around the temples.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Begin the morning by attending a presentation on temples of the Transition and the Middle Period led by a local expert. Then head to the Shwe San Saw Pagoda. Here climb to the top to get a view of the Bagan complex and see how the architecture evolved in height and style during this period. Continue with a visit to Ananda Temple and Ananda Ok Kyaung, another examples of middle period architecture.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in town.
 Afternoon: This afternoon learn about Lacquerware and the work involved in creating masterpieces. Meet the owner of a 4th generation lacquerware factory, who shows us the difference between the various quality levels and the complete process involved in making lacquerware. End your discovery of Bagan appropriately at the end of the day. Start by visiting one of the local villages for a late afternoon stoll to learn about village life. Then continue to explore the ruins of the late period temple and learn about the fall and collapse of the Bagan Dynasty.
 Dinner: Dinner on own.
   
Accommodations: Areindmar Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Bagan: Life in Monasteries and Schools
(Tuesday, November 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Begin the morning by visiting the Ngat Pyit Taung Monastery. Explore the temple's caves to learn about local traditions and beliefs. Afterwards, visit the Monastic Primary School where you can meet and interact with the school's children.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Head to the riverside near Nyaung U Village where you will board a private local boats for a slow cruise down the Irrawaddy River. As you cruise the on the river, observe the lifestyle of the fishermen and riverside villages.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
   
Accommodations: Areindmar Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Fly to Yangon / Free Afternoon
(Wednesday, November 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Early morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Yangon. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel and check in.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time this afternoon to explore Yangon.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Myanmar Life Hotel or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 16: Departure from Yangon
(Thursday, November 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Bagan Archaeological Museum
Built 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 Museum
It 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 Fort
The 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 program
For 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 Museum
Located 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 Museum
The 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 Train
The 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: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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