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

Program Number: 20337RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/27/2014 - 3/14/2014; 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: $4,695.00 - 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.



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
   Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon
  Yangon, Myanmar 2 nights
   Villa Inle Resort and Spa
  Inle Lake, Myanmar 2 nights
   Rupar Mandalar Resort
  Mandalay, Myanmar 3 nights
   Win Unity Resort
  Monywa, Myanmar 1 night
   Bagan Thande Hotel
  Bagan, Myanmar 4 nights
   Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon
  Yangon, Myanmar 1 night
 Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon
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 allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

 Villa Inle Resort and Spa
Type: Boutique Hotel
  Description: Spread over more than 20 acres on the eastern fringe of Inle Lake near the village of Maing Tauk in Nyaung Shwe township. Our boutique hotel features 16 secluded lakeside villas, with 52 by October 2013, and is the ideal choice for those seeking a unique experience, away from mass-market tourism. All villas at Villa Inle Resort & Spa are designed to harmoniously blend in with the natural environment of the Lake. Featuring hand-selected local paintings and antiques, high wooden ceilings, and spacious living areas and bathrooms, they radiate a sensation of luxury and comfort.
  Contact info: Inle Lake
Nyaung Shwe Township,   Myanmar
phone: +(95)-1-242-259
web: www.hotelininle.com
  Room amenities: - Lake view private bath & shower - Hairdryer - satellite TV with international sport, news and movies channels - LCD 32" flat-screen in every villa - Mini bar and refrigerator - IDD telephone - In-room safe - Bathrobes and slippers - Tea / coffee maker Special: - Individual air conditioning and heater (We promise you a warm sleep in the winter of Inle) There are about 10 steps to climb up to the room, you have to walk from reception to get to your villa.
  Facility amenities: - 10 Lake front single villas - 6 Lake side single garden villas - Restaurant (Western & Shan, Myanmar, Inthar cuisine) - Bar - Chemical free vegetable garden - Business center with internet services - Room service (24 hours) - Wi-Fi internet access (very slow during rush hour “7 to 9 in the morning and 5 to 8 in the afternoon) - Laundry service - Library
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Rupar Mandalar Resort
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: If what you're looking for is a conveniently located hotel in Mandalay, look no further than Rupar Mandalar Resort. From here, guests can enjoy easy access to all that the lively city has to offer. Also within easy reach are Mintha Theatre, Mandalay Palace East Entrance, Mandalay Palace East Gate. Rupar Mandalar Resort also offers many facilities to enrich your stay in Mandalay. This hotel offers numerous on-site facilities to satisfy even the most discerning guest.
  Contact info: No.(A-15),Corner of 53rd & 30th Street,Chan Aye Thar Zan Township
Central Mandalay,   Myanmar
phone: +95 2 61 555
web: www.ruparmandalar.com
  Room amenities: The hotel features 22 beautifully appointed guest rooms, each including shower, in room safe, complimentary bottled water, bathtub, satellite/cable TV and free WiFi access.
  Facility amenities: 24-hour room service facilities for disabled guests Wi-Fi in public areas room service airport transfer meeting facilities business center babysitting family room restaurant tours laundry service coffee shop concierge poolside bar bar safety deposit boxes shops bicycle rental smoking area
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: 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

 Bagan Thande Hotel
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 allowed: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
On Day 3, in the late afternoon at the program orientation in Yangon, Burma. You will be staying at Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast on Day 16 in Yangon, Burma. You will be staying at Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  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: There is one desginated group transfer offered at the end of the program that Program only participants can take. If this does not coincide with your flight, it is best for you to prebook a transfer with RSTS. Cost is approximately $25 per person (subject to change).
    (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
(Thursday, February 27)
   
 Depart From: Depart from home for your flight to Asia.

Day 2: En Route
(Friday, February 28)
   
 In Transit: Overnight flight to Asia.

Day 3: Arrival Yangon, Myanmar / Program Orientation
(Saturday, March 1)

Note: Transfer time is approximately 30-40 minutes.



   
 Arrive To: Arrival to Yangon International Airport. Check into your program hotel.
 Afternoon: In the late afternoon, join your group leader for a program orientation we will gather where the Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. 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. There will also be a brief presentation on the do's and don'ts of Myanmar. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 4: Yangon / City Orientation / Shwedagon Paya
(Sunday, March 2)

Note: There will be some walking in the morning. The evening visit to Shwedagon Paya will require you to take off your shoes and sock to visit the inside of the temples.There are many steps to the top of the Pagoda. There is an elevator as well, but please do not rely solely on this.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Begin your understanding of Burma with a presentation on Burmese History by a retired professor. Afterwards, interact with some university students to learn about higher education in Myanmar. Continue on a field trip to discover the cultural and ethnic diversity of Yangon City. Coach to Pansoedan Street, passing by St. Mary’s Cathedral, old parliament building and the Strand Hotel. Take a stroll to the Sule Pagoda with a view of British colonial buildings. Continue on a walk through Little India. Then end the morning exploring Bogyoke Aung San market (aka Scott's market).
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in town.
 Afternoon: In the late 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 in town.
   
Accommodations: Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Yangon / Fly to Heho / Coach to Inle Lake
(Monday, March 3)

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 transfer to the Yangon airport. Along the way, drive on Univeristy Avenue to see Myanmar Demoocracy Icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's Residence. Then take a 1.5 hour flight to Heho. Upon arrival, transfer to the picturesque hills of the Shan State to the small lakeside town of Nyaung Shweunch. Driving time is approximately 1 hour.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in town.
 Afternoon: After lunch, board private motorboats to head out to Inle Lake to check into your hotel. Then head out on your motorboat to explore Inle Lake, one of Myanmar's most spectacular sights. Pass villages on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people, explore the floating garden, see the Inntha Leg Rower fisherman at work and the Ngaphechaung Monastery (or Jumping Cat Monastary. Return to hotel just after sunset.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Villa Inle Resort and Spa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Inle Lake Exploration
(Tuesday, March 4)

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



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Market is best visited in the morning. Today will begin around between 7-8am (timing will change depending on where the market is located). Set out on private long tail boats to explore the morning village market, held at different locations each day of the week. See the villagers’ produce and their daily activities of buying and selling of produce. Continue through narrow canals to Innthein Village, a hillside village dotted with thousands of small stupas built in the 15th century. Observe the villages and the houses on stilts along the way. Walk in Innthein Village, visit the local school, meet the villagers, and see the thousands of Shan Style stupas on the hill side.
 Lunch: Lunch at a centennial family house. By tradition, the historic house is preserved by the oldest daugher for future generations. Enjoy an informal short talk on their family's history.
 Afternoon: After lunch, continue to Inle Lake’s famous silk weaving in Inn Paw Khone Village where very difficult but beautiful woven work is done using lotus flower stems. Return to hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Villa Inle Resort and Spa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Inle Lake / Fly to Mandalay
(Wednesday, March 5)

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: This morning, participate in a presentation on the positive impact of tourism for the Burmese people and their economy presented by your Group Leader. Then transfer back to Heho airport for your flight to Mandalay. Flight time is around noon, but this is all subject to change.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant at or near the aiport in Mandalay also known as Tadaoo Airport.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, explore the royal capital of Amarpura. Coach to famous Maha Ganda Kyaung Monastery in Amarapura, home to 1500 monks who live and study Dhamma (Buddha teaching) there. Then walk on U Bein Bridge, the world’s longest teak bridge, constructed with over 1000 teak posts and is over one kilometer long. From there transfer to Golden Palace Monastery, Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as the world's largest book and featuring more than 700 engraved stone slabs and walk up to Mandalay Hill to view the sunset over the city.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Rupar Mandalar Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Mandalay / Mingun by local private boat
(Thursday, March 6)

Note: In Myanmar if you want to learn what is happening in their daily life, it is better to start the exploration as early as possible. In Mingun, you will be required to walk about 2 hours to explore the village. It will be a leisurely walk, exploring the sites of the village.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Participate in a presentation on the “Chronology of the royal capitals of the Mandalay Division” presented by a local expert. Transfer by coach toe the Irrawaddy River Bank, observing local community’s morning life on the river before embarking on that a local long tail boat up the Irrawaddy River to Mingun. Enjoy the river and scenery in the morning light. (Note: Boat ride is approximately 1 hour upstream). Upon arrival, explore Mingun, an ancient site home to what would have been the world's largest pagoda had King Bodawpaya not met an early demise.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore on your own. For those interested, join your group leader to learn about needle work and embroidery work and design. Optional visit to Mahamuni Pagoda, Gold Leaf making workshop and Sein Myint's embrodiery and painting workshop, a nationally renowned artist.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore the local fare.
   
Accommodations: Rupar Mandalar Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9: Mandalay / Pyin Oo Lwin
(Friday, March 7)

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



   
 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. Along the way, stop at the National Kandawgyi Park and explore this place with a Park Warden. Continue to explore Pyin U Lwin.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free time in Pyin U Lwin to explore this town on your own. Then return to Mandalay.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel with a traditional performance from students at the Mandalay Fine Art School.
   
Accommodations: Rupar Mandalar Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Mandalay / Coach to Monywa
(Saturday, March 8)

Note: Driving time is approximately 3 hours. Please note that Win Unity Hotel is the best hotel in this town. It is a basic hotel with basic amenities. NOTE: Visits to the caves in the afternoon will be difficult as the caves are carved in hillside. Also the trip to the caves, including the exploration and return will be approximately 3 hours. You will be crossing on a ferry and taking local jeeps to to the caves.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning depart for Monywa. Along the way, make a stop at Sagaing Hill for a photo sto. Continue your drive to Monywa with a visit to Thanboddhay Pagoda, a huge Buddhist temple covered with more than 500,000 Buddha images. Then continue to Boditahtaung Pagoda which houses the largest reclining Buddha image in Myanmar, at 100m long and 27m high. Then check into your hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 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
(Sunday, March 9)

Note: The total drive to Bagan is about 7 hours with rest and lunch stops.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning, depart for Bagan. Begin with a 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 in Pakokku.
 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 the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Bagan Thande Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Bagan: Early Period
(Monday, March 10)

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: Begin the morning with a presentation about Architectural Evolution of Bagan: Early, Transition, Middle and Late periods- led by an expert. Then begin exploring the 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 Manuha Paya, 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: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Take a short rest from the heat. Then later in the afternoon, continue your discovery of the temples of the Early Period and 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. While there, learn about the Burmese Belief in Nats (Spirit world), which was officially replaced by Buddhism in the 12th century, but continues even to this day. Then transfer to a temple terrace to view the sunset over Bagan. End your day with a horse cart ride back to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Bagan Thande Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Bagan: Transition and the Middle Period
(Tuesday, March 11)

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 your Group Leader. Then head to the Shwe San Saw Pagoda. 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, and explore the architectural area of the Anada temple.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in town.
 Afternoon: This afternoon learn about Lacquerware and the work involved in creating masterpieces. Meet the owner of this 4th generation lacquerware factory, who shows you the difference between the various quality levels and the complete process involved. In the late afternoon continue to see Htilominlo Temple, the late period temple. Then visit a local village to learn about village life there, where you can also walk through the ruins of the late period temple, Phayathonzu, where your discovery of Bagan ends for the day.
 Dinner: Dinner on own.
   
Accommodations: Bagan Thande Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Bagan: Monk Initiation Ceremony / Sunset Cruise on the Ayeyarwady River
(Wednesday, March 12)

Note: The Monk initiation Ceremony is a Road Scholar Sponsored event and you are welcome to participate in anyway that you feel comfortable. Your group leader will advise you of what is appropriate to do there. This is a very traditional ceremony and not a tourist spectacle. This is sponsored by RS because a ceremony can be quite expensive for a family and this is very much a part of the Burmese culture and a right of passage for the young boys.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Attend a presentation on Buddhism with a Buddhist Monk. Then participate in a Buddhist novice initiation ceremony in a village monastery. There everyone will have the opportunity to participate in the ceremony that is one of the most important days of a young child’s life – the initiation to become a novice monk, and the start of his learning about the Dhamma (Buddhist teachings). This is a great ceremony that includes the involvement of the local community. The ceremony begins 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 lovely Monastery, where the village will be out in force, singing and clapping, and dressed in their finest traditional costumes. The young lads, honored by their initiation into becoming novices, are hoisted on shoulders and triumphantly carried into the monastery. There, they are stripped of their finery, and subjected to the first part of their initiation when their heads are shaved.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: In the late afternoon, head to the Ayeyar Jetty where you will board a private local boat 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: Bagan Thande Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Fly to Yangon / Free Afternoon / Presentation on Political Change in Burma
(Thursday, March 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Early morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Yangon. Upon arrival, transfer to the National Museum and explore the museum.
 Lunch: Lunch on own.
 Afternoon: After lunch, transfer to your hotel and check in. Free time this afternoon to explore Yangon. In the late afternoon, participate in a presentation on the "the Changing Political Climate in Burma" given my a local expert.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 16: Departure from Yangon
(Friday, March 14)

Note: 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.



   
 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)
  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.
  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.
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.

Suggested Reading List


A History of Myanmar Since Ancient Times, Traditions and Transformations


Author: Michael A. Aung-Thwin


Description: Michael Aung-Thwin takes us from the sacred stupas of the plains of Bagan to the grand colonial-era British mansions in this tale of Burma’s storied 3,000-year history and rich culture.



Burma, Rivers of Flavor


Author: Naomi Duguid


Description: A culinary adventurer, Naomi Duguid presents the food, local markets, people and culture of Burma in this exceedingly informative (not to mention beautiful) cookbook and cultural guide. The 125 personable recipes (most get at least a page) are interspersed with tales and photographs from her many travels in the region. Her first solo venture (she parted ways with husband and co-author Jeffrey Alford a few years ago), Burma, Rivers of Flavor, like Beyond the Great Wall and Mangoes & Curry Leaves introduces a new world through its food.



Burma/Myanmar, What Everyone Needs to Know


Author: David I. Steinberg


Description: One in a series of brief, balanced, and authoritative guides by Oxford University Press.



Burmese Days


Author: George Orwell


Description: Orwell, a veteran of the Colonial police force in Rangoon, writes with irony and insight in this sharp novel of politics, folly and the British.



Collected Short Stories, Volume 4


Author: W. Somerset Maugham


Description: Maugham can evoke turn-of-the-century colonial Asia like no other. This collection of stories features many set in Malaysia, Borneo and other southeast Asian locales, including the well-known tale "The Letter."



Freedom from Fear and Other Writings


Author: Aung San Suu Kyi, Michael Aris (Editor)


Description: This collection of speeches, letters and interviews by and about Burma's Nobel Prize-winning human rights leader, edited by her late husband and with forwards by Vaclav Havel and Desmond Tutu, provides essential background to her role in Burmese politics and the situation of the country today.



In Buddha's Land


Author: Moe Min


Description: This beautiful, illustrated portrait of monuments, monasteries and rituals is both a striking visual overview of Buddhism as practiced in Burma, and a splendid introduction to the country.



Insight Guide Burma


Author: Insight Guides


Description: An illustrated overview of Burma with essays on history, archaeology and culture.



Letters from Burma


Author: Aung San Suu Kyi, Heinn Htet


Description: A collection of candid and affectionate letters on Burmese culture, daily life and politics written by the country's iconic Nobel Prize-winning human rights leader who was held under house arrest by the military junta for many years.



Myanmar (Burma) Map


Author: Nelles


Description: A double-sided map of Burma at a scale of 1:1,500,000, with an inset of Rangoon.



The Burma Chronicles


Author: Guy Delisle


Description: Posted to Burma with his Doctors Without Borders wife and young son, Delisle captures the absurdities, challenges and routines of everyday life in Burma in bold black-and-white panels in this droll graphic travelogue, his third.



The Glass Palace


Author: Amitav Ghosh


Description: In this panoramic novel full of tales and anecdote, Ghosh follows the lives and fortunes of Rajkumar and his family over three eventful generations in Burma, India and Malaysia.



The Lady and the Peacock, The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi


Author: Peter Popham


Description: Currently on her first visit to the United States in decades, the Burmese activist has been busy indeed, meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office, with Hillary Clinton and many others, making speeches at Harvard and Yale, and receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor, awarded to her in 2008. Peter Popham's timely biography follows the arc of Suu Kyi's life from her childhood in Rangoon, formative years in India and Oxford, marriage to Michael Aris and her return to Burma, where she has become a potent symbol for the Burmese people. The British journalist doesn’t dodge from Suu Kyi's moral decision to remain in Burma, even as her husband was dying in 1999, and her children Alexander and Kim remained behind in Britain.



The Piano Tuner


Author: Daniel Mason


Description: In this transporting first novel, a mild-mannered tradesman is seduced by late Victorian Burma. Mason's complex, absorbing tale dives into the world of 19th-century colonial Burma, its traditions, trappings, personalities and politics.



Twilight over Burma, My Life as a Shan Princess


Author: Inge Sargent, Bertil Lintner (Introduction)


Description: A memoir (though told in the third person) of Inge Sargent, an Austrian who in 1953 married Sao Kya Seng, the princely leader of Shan, an ethnic enclave in the hill country of northeastern Burma. A fascinating story.



Where China Meets India, Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia


Author: Thant Myint-U


Description: Home to 60 million people and bigger than France, Burma -- as Thant Myint-U so effectively argues --- is hardly small or politically isolated; it is at the center of Asia. Mr. Thant mixes anecdote, travel, memoir and history in this compelling personal portrait -- and Cri de Coeur for western engagement in the region.





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