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Burma

The Hidden Gem

The monks are more revered than the rich and in the countryside where rice paddies are still farmed using water buffalo, it might be the 18th century.
These images and impressions are a travellers dream.
Our tour escort Ian Marsh, fell in love with the Burmese people 33 years ago and has developed a trusted network of guides, contacts and arrangements throughout the country, ensuring you a fascinating venture into the lives and culture of these people.
A highlight is the ‘Festival of Light’ at Lake Inle where hundreds of leg-rowers in their decorated boats with their own musicians, arrive in procession for the most important day of the year - a Pukekohe Travel special.
Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Lake Inle and Bagan, plus cruising the Irrawaddy River. See thousands of stupas in Bagan by horse cart and enjoy the cool of a colonial hill station in Maymyo and the market town of Kalaw.
We invite you to join Ian on a tour from which the memories will remain with you for a long time.

Your travel itinerary

Sunday 01 October

Auckland – Singapore

Depart Auckland on Singapore Airlines with an evening arrival in Singapore. Overnight at the Airport Hotel.

Monday 02 October

Singapore - Yangon

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A morning flight to Yangon in Burma. After settling into your centrally-located hotel, enjoy the rest of
the day at your leisure. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel.

Tuesday 03 October

Yangon

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In the morning visit the Swedagon Pagoda - the spiritual heart of Burma and experience its sheer grandeur. The afternoon is free to explore the sights of the city and perhaps visit the huge Bogyoke market.

Wednesday 04 October

Yangon - Inle

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A short flight to Heho, followed by a lovely two hour drive on the Shan Plateau to the peaceful lake town of Nyaungshwe to the vast expanse of Inle Lake. On arrival, we head out onto the lake for a pleasant afternoon. Transfer to our accommodation on the water. Dinner on the water’s edge – a wonderful treat.

Thursday 05 October

Inle Lake - Festival Day

We are fortunate to be here for the best part of the month-long Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Lake Festival. on the prime day of the not-to-be-missed 'Festival of Light’. We follow the procession of highly-decorated festival Buddha images, each with its own musicians and rowed by colourfully-dressed villagers from the remote village of Kyine Kham to the Mine Pyoe Monastery from a boat on the lake. Later return to our hotel on the lake  with the remainder of the day free to be part of the local festivities.
 

The festival focusses on five Buddhist images from the imposing Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. Each year they are transported around the lake for a month and reside nightly in different locations. There are no engines, only the power of legs in rhythm.

Friday 06 October

Inle Lake

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Our destination is the rotating rural lake market where trading has existed for 100s of years. Tribal people arrive from regional areas to trade and barter. Lunch near the festival Pagoda and see the thriving silk industry on the lake.  Stop to view canoe making and other cottage industries, pass floating gardens and hopefully see the famous leg-rowing fishermen.  This evening we may be able to enjoy a Shan banquet in Nyaungshwe.

Saturday 07 October

Inle - Kawlaw

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We head to the hill station of Kalaw  with part of the journey by steam train - the clunky old ‘Taunggyi Express’ which meanders through the hills and forests of the Shan plateau. If the train isn’t running, we will take a private bus. Tonight we savour dinner at the ‘Seven Sisters’ restaurant.
 

Kalaw is a lovely hill town with tea shops and markets and possibly the rotating market where tribal communities bring their produce.

Sunday 08 October

Kalaw

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This morning, a local sightseeing tour includes interesting Buddhists Caves, the ‘Bamboo Buddha’ and the grandiose Church.  The afternoon is free to explore the quiet backstreets of this old British Hill station.  An optional village walk in the hills is available.

Monday 09 October

Kalaw - Maymyo

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Today enjoy a special day of travel, descending through rugged mountain scenery and farmland followed by a short drive up to the ‘Hill Station’ town of Maymyo. Back roads are a great way to be in touch with the real Burma. Here we will see few other travellers, only rural locals as we drop into small villages, enjoy cups of tea and view various farming enterprises. Dinner at the hotel.

Tuesday 10 October

Maymyo

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This morning visit the beautiful and well-kept botanical gardens and later sample the local morning tea. After lunch perhaps ride in stage coaches for a short tour of the town.  The rest of the afternoon is free to wander through this sleepy town and local market.  You may be interested in a round of golf at the old ‘Maymyo Club.’

Wednesday 11 October

Maymyo – Mandalay

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We make a short drive to Mandalay, the cultural capital of Burma and a city tour, includes the world's longest teak span U Bein's bridge, the magnificent Shwe Ein Bin teak monastery and the revered Mahamuni Buddha image.  We finish with an optional climb the many steps (or drive) to the top of Mandalay Hill for great sunset views.  This evening join your leader in an included authentic local Mandalay BBQ meal.

Thursday 12 October

Mandalay

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A morning trip from the river ferry port for a short boat ride over the Irrawaddy River to the ancient capital of Mingun.  Here we see the attempt at the biggest pagoda ever built.  We can ring the world's largest un-cracked bell and climb the ruins of the giant pagoda. Return to Mandalay where you have a free afternoon to explore this charming city. Dinner at a nearby Burmese restaurant can be followed by an optional performance of the Mandalay Marionettes.

Friday 13 October

Mandalay – overnight cruise on the Irrawaddy

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Experience early morning life of the Mandalay port before departing for our overnight cruise on the Irrawaddy River. (The Ayeyarwady as it is locally known, served as the local highway between Rangoon and Mandalay for centuries). Even today water traffic is heavy. Our chartered, recently-restored traditional river boat provides a leisurely journey as we pass villages and fields with several stops along the way.  Enjoy a drink on the deck before dinner served either on board or on the riverbank.
‘Irrawaddy Princess II’ was built in 1998, has three decks and is 41m long. All cabins are fully air conditioned, have ensuite bathrooms with hot and cold showers. Enjoy delicious local, Chinese or western cuisine and relax at the sun deck bar and watch life go by.

Saturday 14 October

Bagan

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Enjoy breakfast on board before arriving in Bagan mid-morning. After checking into our hotel, we continue in horse carts - a peaceful way to explore the 40 sq km of countryside dotted with pagoda and ancient structures and unlock the secrets of this ancient and mysterious region.  Also visit the gallery of a master in the art of lacquer ware - see the process and perhaps buy some high quality lacquer ware.  Tonight our dinner is at a riverside garden restaurant under the evening stars.

Sunday 15 October

Bagan

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The day is free to explore. There is so much to see and explore in this amazing archeological zone with many options. Maybe visit Mount Popa or toddy farms which produce sweets and liquor from palm trees.

Monday 16 October

Bagan - Ngapali Beach

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Transfer to the airport to fly to Burma’s remote beach gem at Ngapali to experience yet another contrasting area.
 

Ngapali, located on the Bay of Bengal coast, is Myanmar’s premier beach destination while still preserving its fishing villager roots with the catch from the small fishing boats finding its way to the dining tables of local restaurants and hotels.
Ox-drawn carts amble along the local roads and the white sand beaches are uncrowded.

Tuesday 17 October

Ngapali Beach

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This morning we visit the very authentic Thandwe Market and stop in at an interesting fishing village.  In the afternoon you can hire bikes and be as active or inactive as you like.

Wednesday 18 October

Ngapali Beach

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A day to enjoy pristine beaches, a walk down to the river where boat repairs are continually underway, pop into a tea shop or sample the fresh seafood. A day to relax on pristine beaches if you wish.

Thursday 19 October

Ngapali – Yangon

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A short morning flight to Yangon leaves ample time to visit the Bogyoke (Scott) market.
Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner where we can reminisce about our special time in Burma.

Friday 20 October

Yangon - Singapore - Auckland

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After breakfast depart on a mid-morning flight to Singapore with a flight connection to Auckland

Saturday 21 October

Auckland

Arrive Auckland

Inclusions

  • Return economy class flights Auckland – Yangon - Auckland
  • Domestic flights as per itinerary
  • Local guide
  • All hotel accommodation on a twin share basis in rooms with private facilities. 
  • 18 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 11 Dinners
  • All transfers and transport as outlined
  • Entrance fees and permits during guided time
  • Ian Marsh as escort (subject to 15 persons travelling)

Cost

Cost Per Person *
Auckland - Auckland
Twin ShareSingle Supplement
   $8,143  +$2,323
Business Class Upgrade $POA
Premium Economy Class Upgrade $POA
Previous International Pukekohe Travel Tour Discount $100

*This is a cash or cheque price. Credit cards will incur a 2% fee
*Itinerary and costs subject to change, airline and fuel charges and currency fluctuations prior to final payment

Exclusions

  • Travel Insurance - please ask us for a quote
  • Burma Visa (approx. NZD50)
  • Airline and Security Taxes (approx NZD122)
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips for local guides and drivers

Booking Conditions

  • A deposit of $500 per person secures a place on the tour
  • Full payment is due no later than 04 August 2017 

Cancellations and Refunds

  •    From date of booking until 04 August 2017 – loss of deposit
  •    After 04 August 2017  – no refund 

      Documentation

  •     Travel insurance is compulsory
  •     A current passport is required – valid six months beyond return date of travel
  •     A Burma visa is required for all passports and Pukekohe Travel will assist in obtaining these 

Health

  •  A good standard of health is required, with the ability to walk on uneven surfaces and get in and out of low boats.

General Information

Climate / Temperatures - October
• Yangon / Mandalay - max 30°c min 27°c • Kalaw / Maymyo - max 25°c min 20°c 
We have planned rest time from the heat.  The hotels and coaches are air-conditioned.
 
Clothes – Lightweight, comfortable clothes are the order of the day – the laundry service in the hotels is inexpensive and efficient.  Hats, sunglasses and comfortable sandals are a must.
It is best to wear tops with sleeves as Burma is still a conservative country.
 
Water – Bottled water is available for purchase at all times.
 
Food – Fruit and vegetables are plentiful.  Due to the French colonial influence, bread is of very good quality.  Meals are reasonably priced, the cost of Western style food is more expensive, but still reasonable.  Beer is the best alcohol option, local and international brands are available – wine is relatively expensive.
 
Currency / Money – The Burma Kyat, often denoted by MMK is the official currency.
ATM’s are NOT available. 
A budget of NZD70 per person per day, will adequately cover extra meals, incidentals and tipping.
 
Cultural – Photographic opportunities are plentiful – respect the local people and ask before taking photos.
 
Communication 
Mobile Phones – International Roaming does NOT operate in Burma.
 A local SIM card is available but NOT reliable.
Internet / WIFI – available in most hotels and some cafes. Limited access around Inle.  


Note: Pukekohe Travel reserves the right to correct errors and omissions on our website without recourse.
* Itinerary subject to change

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