Burma Revealed

A cruise to Mandalay on the Irawaddy River

Trip Scholar: Dr Matthew Walton

Aung San Suu Kyi Senior Research Fellow in Modern Burmese Studies
University of Oxford

13day tour
Price from £3,350

Explore fascinating Burma and understand its history, politics and religion during this period of transition, accompanied by Dr Matthew Walton, a leading expert in Burmese studies.

In Yangon, Dr Walton has arranged special talks from local journalists, artists, religious leaders and a former activist, offering unique insights into subjects which are normally taboo.

Travel to Bagan, one of the world’s greatest yet least visited archaeological sites, rivalling Angkor. Here, the silhouettes of some 2,230 temples rise from plains nestled in a bend of the glistening Irawaddy River.

Cruise upstream for 7 nights aboard a comfortable shallow-draft river cruiser, exclusively chartered for our use, with just 18 cabins. See the ‘real’ Burma, observing rural river life and stopping at fascinating villages such as Mingun, famous for its huge bell. Also explore Yandabo, site of the signing of the treaty which ended the Anglo-Burmese war, and Ava, the former imperial capital.

At captivating Sagaing, visit one of the country’s most important Buddhist monasteries for an insight into the lives of Burma’s thousands of maroon-robed monks. End in Mandalay, whose very name evokes the romance of the Orient.

Itinerary at a glance

Day 0:    Only for those flying from the UK
Day 1:    Meet the group in Yangon/Rangoon
Day 2:    Yangon/Rangoon
Day 3:    Yangon/Rangoon
Day 4:    Yangon/Rangoon to Bagan/Pagan
Day 5:    Bagan/Pagan
Day 6:    Bagan/Pagan to Pakokku
Day 7:    Pakokku to Yandabo
Day 8:    Inwa/Ava & Amarapura
Day 9:    Mingun
Day 10:  Mandalay
Day 11:  Sagaing
Day 12:  Tour ends/extensions/journey home
Day 13:  For those taking Temple World flights only

Itinerary

Expand all

Dates and Prices
Prices are in UK£, per person, based on double occupancy

Main tour: 24 October - 06 November 2017
Cabin ClassPriceSingle SupplementOptional Flight from LondonAvailability
Main Deck£3,350£1,900From £550-£950Waitlist
Upper Deck£3450£1,900From £500-£950Waitlist
Extension: 4 night Southern Shan State 05-09/10 November
Cabin ClassPriceSingle SupplementOptional Flight from London Availability
Standard Room£1,015£555N/AAvailable


Inclusions
Domestic flight from Yangon to Bagan, share of twin or double bedded room/main deck cabin with private bathroom, full board (except on the arrival day when only dinner is included, and on the departure day when the tour ends after breakfast), bottled water daily on land, bottled water/local soft drinks,/local beer and spirits (charges apply for imported beverages)/simple tea & coffee whilst on board Kalaw Pandaw, all excursions mentioned with local guides including entrance fees, expert leader.

Not included
Flights to and from Burma (see optional flights below), all drinks on land and imported beverages/luxury coffee such as cappuccinos and espressos whilst on board Kalaw Pandaw, visa charges, travel insurance, tips to crew, drivers and guides, laundry, items of a personal nature.

Single supplement £1900. Waived if you are prepared to share with another single traveller of the same gender and we are able to match you up with someone.

Optional flights
Temple World can arrange flights from London for those who need them, using a number of airlines including Thai, Etihad and Singapore Airlines. The price for these will depend on availability at the time of booking however the range is from around £550 – £950 per person including taxes, return. Some airlines have poor connections through their ‘hub’ city (eg Singapore or Bangkok) either on the outbound or return making it worthwhile turning the transit into a city stopover of two to three nights if you have the time to spare. We can book hotel accommodation and touring if needed in most Asian cities. We are happy to arrange transfers on arrival and departure to co-ordinate with the flights that we book for a small surcharge. We will arrange a group transfer to co-ordinate with the optimal flights for this tour.

Making your own way there
Clients wishing to use airmiles to buy or upgrade flights, or who wish to fly from a city other than London are advised to book their own flights. The start point for the tour is YANGON and the end point is MANDALAY. You can arrive at any time of day on 25 October but check-in at the hotel is not normally until 2pm unless you have paid for early check in (we can arrange this but the hotel may charge a full extra night). There are no activities on the first day until late afternoon, when we shall embark on an excursion to see the Shwedagon Pagoda, followed by dinner. We will confirm the exact meeting time closer to departure. On the last day (05 November) there are no activities after breakfast and you are free to leave whenever you want. Check out time at the hotel is 12pm but we can arrange late checkout (fee applies) for those who wish to stay longer. Bags can be stored after checkout during the day if needed. We can arrange private airport transfers to co-ordinate with any flight time – please ask for a quote.

Very Important! Clients should not make any binding or non-refundable arrangements until their place has been confirmed on the tour and Temple World has confirmed that it is a guaranteed departure.

Fitness Guideline
We have graded the fitness level required for participation in this tour as Easy/Moderate. Sightseeing at temple sites can involve uneven ground and a lot of steps – handrails are not always available. In the major cities the streets are very busy with all kinds of people and traffic so it is vital to stay together as a group.

The pace on board the cruise is very leisurely but we will be making frequent excursions ashore and these could involve a fair of walking and standing in hot and possibly humid weather. Participants must be able to keep up with the group in order to see everything in the time allocated – it is not fair to hold the rest of the group back as they will miss the sights they have come so far to see. In some places there may be nowhere shady to stand and nowhere to sit down for some time. On board the ship the cabins are reached via stairways and no lift facilities are available. For the reasons we have given above, this tour is unsuitable for the frail or for anyone who routinely needs to use a walking frame or stick to get around at home. 

We know that age is not always a reliable indicator of fitness, but prospective participants over the age of 80 will be given a letter to be signed by their GP to say they are fit enough to undertake this tour.

 

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Immunisations
NHS Fit for Travel advises travellers to Myanmar are usually recommended to immunise against: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis, Tetanus and Typhoid. There is a risk of Malaria throughout Burma except in the cities of Yangon and Mandalay so please ask your GP to recommend appropriate prophylaxis. A Yellow Fever certificate is required if entering from an area with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Please seek professional medical advice at least 8 week before departure. NHS Fit For Travel Website

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Visas
UK passport holders require a visa for entry to Myanmar. Visas can be applied for online via the official evisa website which can be found here, and the cost is currently US$50. Entry on an eVisa is only permitted via Yangon Airport, Mandalay Airport or Nay Pyi Taw Airport. Passports must have at least 6 months’ validity remaining the time of return to the UK. eVisas are valid for travel within 90 days of approval for a length of stay up to 28 days.

Will my phone work
At the time of writing, UK phone companies do not have roaming agreements with any Burmese network providers so you will not be able to use your mobile phone in Myanmar unless you purchase a local sim to use on arrival (your phone must be ‘unlocked’ to accept alternate sim cards AND must be 3G enabled), or restrict yourself to using hotel wifi where available.

Trip Scholar

Professor Matthew Walton
Professor Matthew Walton is Aung San Suu Kyi Senior Research Fellow in Modern Burmese Studies at St Antonys College, University of Oxford. His research focuses on religion and politics in Southeast Asia, with a special emphasis on Myanmar. Dr Walton’s PhD dissertation (for which he conducted field work in Myanmar and Thailand) explored Burmese Buddhist political thought and its influence on Myanmar’s current democratic transition. He also specialises in ethnic and communal conflict in Myanmar, having published articles on this topic in Asian Survey and the Journal of Contemporary Asia.

Lectures during our tours
All our tours are accompanied by an academic ‘trip scholar’ as well as local guides. The local guide or guides provide the day-to-day guiding on our tours, whilst the trip lecturer will give regular lectures on his/her specialist subject throughout to provide an academic overview. Lectures/talks usually last 30-40 minutes including questions and answers (if applicable). These are generally held in the evenings before dinner and attendance is optional. We don’t usually specify before travel which days the lectures will be given (for operational reasons) but guests can expect them roughly every other day as a minimum, with some lecturers giving some kind of talk or presentation more frequently.

Optional Post-tour extension to Southern Shan State and Lake Inle (4 nights)

We have arranged a short post tour extension to Southern Shan State and Lake Inle for those who would like to see more of Myanmar after the main tour. This four night guided tour visits one of Burma’s most iconic regions, best known for mesmerising Inle Lake, but also home to Kalaw, a former British hill station, and traditional villages such as Pindaya, a place of Buddhist pilgrimage due to its limestone caves filled with thousands of statues of Buddha covered in gold leaf. The tour is led by a local guide throughout.


Itinerary

5 November (DAY 1) MANDALAY – KALAW
After breakfast, leave the main group and transfer to Mandalay airport for a short flight to Heho.  Drive to Kalaw, an old British colonial hill station to see the market, old railway station and more. Continue through rolling farmland among the Shan hills to Pindaya for lunch served in a traditional village house. Stroll around the village to get a glimpse of rural life and visit the famous Pindaya caves which have thousands of gold-leaf-coated Buddha statues. Return to Kalaw for overnight at Amara Mountain Resort or similar.

6 November (DAY 2) GREEN HILL VALLEY ELEPHANT CAMP
After breakfast, drive to the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp, one of a very few responsible and sustainable tourism projects in Burma. Sen amongst 150 acres of preserved landscape in the scenic Shan countryside, Green Hill Valley is home to an array of birds, butterflies and orchids, and has become a refuge for retired working elephants as well as elephant orphans. Visitors to the camp are able to hike in the beautiful reserve and to help feed and bathe the elephants in a natural pool. Afterwards, help with the re-forestation of the area which has been destroyed by teakwood logging by planting a sapling. After lunch at the reserve, return to Kalaw where the rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Overnight at Amara Mountain Resort or similar.

7 November (Day 3) KALAW – INLE LAKE
Depart Kalaw this morning after breakfast and travel to Nyaung Shwe, at the north end of Inle Lake and the main access point for exploration of the area. Board a local motorboat for a cruise around the wide, shallow lake, enjoying the sights and sounds of local life such as the famous leg-rowing fisherman and the stilted houses. Fruit and vegetables are grown in floating gardens in the middle of the lake, and villages around the edges of the banks where traditional trades and crafts can be observed such as gold or silver working, weaving Shan bags or making Burmese cheroot cigars flavoured with honey and tamarind. Arrive at the Inle Sanctum Resort to check in for overnight.

8 November (Day 4) INLE LAKE
Enjoy a half day excursion to Indein,  a hidden village in the middle of the Burmese jungle west of the lake and accessible by boat navigated through narrow, foliage cloaked channels. Here, an atmospheric collection of ruined stupas in various stages of decay lie just behind the village, their stucco carvings choked with plants. A stairway up a nearby hill reveals a further 1,000 stupas and wonderful views across the lake and valley. After the visit, return to the hotel where the rest of the day is at leisure to explore or enjoy the wonderful facilities. Overnight Inle Sanctum Resort.

9 November (DAY 5) INLE – HEHO – HOME
After breakfast, transfer to Heho Airport for onward flights via Yangon and Singapore/Bangkok to London overnight. It’s also possible to extend further on a tailor-made basis with extra nights at Lake Inle, a guided exploration of Northern Shan State or a flight to Thandwe for a relaxing beach stay. Please ask for more information if interested.

10 November (DAY 6) ARRIVAL HOME
If flying back overnight, arrive back into London this morning.

PRICE: £1015 per person, based on a minimum of 2 participants. Higher group numbers will mean we can bring this cost down. Single supplement £555.
INCLUDES: Domestic flights to and from Heho,  guided excursions with English-speaking guide including entrance fees as per the itinerary, transfers, share of twin/double room including breakfast, daily complementary drinking water.
EXCLUDES: Meals (lunch & dinner), drinks other than water provided, tips and baggage porters fees, optional excursions, items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry and camera fees.

Private Extensions

We thoroughly recommend stopping over for a few nights in Singapore or Bangkok on the way out, as this is a busy tour from the start and stopping off beforehand means jetlag can be conquered before joining the group. Do ask us for a quote.

Private extensions after the tour can also be arranged in the region, either within Burma or to other nearby countries, including Thailand. For those who would like to end their tour with a relaxing beach stay we can arrange a few nights in Ngapali Beach on the country’s west coast, lapped by the warm waters of the Bay of Bengal. Sandoway has long been a favourite but Ngapali Bay Villas and Spa and secluded Amara Ocean Resort offer stiff competition too. Please enquire for prices and further details.

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OUR ALUMNI TOURS

Congenial Companions

Our small group tours are exclusively available to alumni of Oxford and Cambridge universities and their friends and family, making for a wonderful atmosphere amongst like-minded individuals.

Expert Lecturer

All our small group alumni tours are accompanied by a university lecturer as well as local guides, with illuminating lectures given throughout the tour to enrich understanding of the destination.

To reserve a place on one of our small group alumni tours, contact us for availability then send us a signed booking form and deposit.

Call us on 020 8940 4114

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Registered number: 1960794 (England and Wales) Registered office: East House, 109 Warple Way, London SW14 8TN

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