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  • Email: jesse@geeo.org

Myanmar (Burma)

After decades of controversy, Myanmar (also known as Burma) is opening up to travelers, which means the adventurous can experience the wonders of a curious nation unbiased by hordes of tourists. And what wonders they are: Inle Lake’s unique ‘floating gardens’, the staggering imperial ruins of ancient Bagan, the incomparable palaces of Mandalay and enveloping forests throughout. Just trust us when we say you need to experience the wonder and beauty of Myanmar for yourself at least once in your life. Make that time now – right now.


Itinerary

June 27 : Yangon

Arrive at any time.

June 28 : Yangon/Kyaiktiyo (1B)

Visit the incredible Shwedagon Pagoda before hiking (or driving depending on the weather) to Golden Rock for an overnight stay.

June 29 : Kyaiktiyo/Yangon (1B)

Descend Golden Rock. Then visit reclining Shwethalyaung Buddha in Bago en route to Yangon

June 30 : Yangon/Mandalay (1B)

Take an early flight to Mandalay and explore its ancient temples and sights, like the Golden Monastery.

July 1 : Mandalay (1B)

Visit the nearby former royal capital of Amarapura. Opt to traverse the world's longest teak bridge. Visit the village of Mingun before returning to Mandalay.

July 2 : Mandalay/Bagan (1B)

Cruise down the Ayeyarwady River to ancient Bagan. If water levels are too low we will take a bus instead.

July 3 : Bagan (1B)

Enjoy a packed day learning about the culture and history of this once great civilization. Visit ancient sites that host hundreds of temples and stupas. Visit the Nyaung Oo market.

July 4 : Bagan (1B)

Enjoy a free day and continue your exploration of this gorgeous area or take some time to relax.

July 5 : Bagan/Kalaw (1B)

Drive to the cooler air of Kalaw, a former British hill station, visiting Mt Popa en route.

July 6 : Kalaw (1B, 1L)

Stretch your legs with a hike through the scenic hills of Kalaw. Free time in the afternoon.

July 7 : Kalaw/Inle Lake (1B)

Travel by bus to serene Inle, home to the Intha people and floating villages and gardens, stopping en route to visit the Pindaya Caves.

July 8 : Inle Lake (1B)

Explore the lake by boat and visit some of its floating villages. Try to spot the famous Intha leg-rowers during the tour.

July 9 : Inle Lake/Yangon (1B)

Fly back to Yangon for a final chance to explore and shop in the old capital.

July 10 : Yangon (1B)

Depart any time.

Detailed Itinerary

June 27 : Yangon

Arrive in Yangon at any time. Check into our hotel and enjoy Myanmar's former capital.

Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact time and location of the group meeting (Typically 6 or 7PM). After the meeting, you might like to take the option of heading out for a meal in a nearby local restaurant to further get to know your tour leader and traveling companions.

Please make every effort to arrive on time for this welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please inform us. Your tour leader will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up.

June 28 : Yangon/Kyaiktiyo (1B)

We start off the day by visiting the gorgeous Shwedagon Pagoda, which is believed to be 2,500 years old. The central stupa, glittering in the soft morning light, is surrounded by dozens of intricately decorated buildings and statues and is considered to be the symbol of Yangon.

Later, travel through the delta and over the Sittang River to Kyaikhtiyo. From Kinpun, the pilgrimage road runs 10km to the 1200m high pagoda on the famous Golden Rock. From there you will hop in a typically Burmese truck from the base camp village to the starting point of the hike.

Hike about one hour up a steep and winding tar road. Pass local traditional medicine stalls and tea houses along the route. The final destination? The stunning Golden Rock and pagoda.

Please Note: During the rainy season it is often to slippery to complete the hike. If the conditions aren't right for the hike we will take a truck up and back down the next day)

At the summit, a simple but well-located hotel awaits.

Estimated travel time: 4 hrs by private vehicle. An additional 45 minutes by Passenger Truck.

June 29 : Kyaiktiyo/Yangon (1B)

We start the day by descending Golden Rock by foot, taking pictures and enjoying the views on the way down. The hike should be about 1 hour long.

We will then visit the enormous reclining Shwethalyaung Buddha in the city of Bago. The Buddha is believed to have been built in 994, during the reign of Mon King Migadepa. It was lost in 1757 when the area was pillaged. During British colonial rule, in 1880, the Shwethalyaung Buddha was rediscovered under a cover of jungle growth.

We will then continue onto Yangon by private bus.

Estimated travel time: 45 minutes by Passenger Truck. Then, 4 hrs by private vehicle. Travel time does not include stops.

June 30 : Yangon/Mandalay (1B)

We will catch an early morning flight to Mandalay. After we land we will head to the hotel by private vehicle.

After dropping off our luggage, we will explore Mandalay's ancient temples and sights.

Visit the famous Golden Monastery (Shwenandaw), the only building still standing from the one hundred plus that once stood on the palace grounds of Amarapura. Admire its delicate wood carvings of Buddhist myths -- the monastery is a fantastic example of traditional Burmese architecture.

From here, visit the stunning gold and white Kuthodaw Pagoda and look at its 729 marble slabs displaying the entire Buddhist canon. Kuthodaw Pagoda claims the honour of housing the world's largest book. A spiritually significant place for followers of Theravada Buddhism, this site will be fascinating to all visitors regardless of religion.

After lunch, explore the Mahamuni Temple which houses the country´s holiest Buddha image, the 3.5m tall Arakan Buddha, made of bronze and gold leaf. The 100-year-old legendary Arakan Buddha is a major pilgrimage site. Gaze up at the stunning statue and learn more about the significance of this temple.

Afterwards, visit the workshops of gold leaf and marble carvers.

Next, you will have the option climb up Mandalay Hill ($1 entrance fee at the top). The hill is known for the plethora of pagodas and monasteries sitting atop it. Enjoy the view you've earned on the steep hike. Of course, if you prefer to save your energy, you can take a truck to the top (about $6 with round trip truck and entrance fee).

We will then have a sunset visit to Shwe Kyin Monastery, one of the oldest and most important monasteries in the country. Every evening, visitors can watch the novice monks in procession, chanting as they go. Later, opt to clear your mind by joining the monks in meditation.

Estimated travel time: 1.5 hr flight. Then 1 hr by private vehicle.

July 1 : Mandalay (1B)

Today we will visit the nearby former royal capital of Amarapura. Opt to traverse the world's longest teak bridge. Visit the village of Mingun before returning to Mandalay.

Today we will head out in the morning to visit the former capital of Amarapura (Sanskrit for "Beautiful Town").

Enjoy a walk on the U Bein Bridge, which is a 1km bridge which is believed to be the oldest and longest teak bridge in the world. This bridge is still an important connection for the local people and is busiest during July and August when the lake is most full.
Built from reclaimed wood from a royal palace, there are 1,086 pillars rising from the water, though, not all are original.

We will then visit Sagaing Hill. Covered with 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar. It is home to 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centers. Visit pagodas such as Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin and U Min Thone Sae while in the area.

In the afternoon travel by boat along the mighty Ayeyarwady River, enjoying sights of washerwomen, buffalo carts, and daily life along the riverbank. Visit the village of Mingun before returning to Mandalay for the evening.

Estimated travel time: 2 hrs round trip

July 2 : Mandalay/Bagan (1B)

Enjoy a relaxing day floating down the Ayeyarwady River, Myanmar's 'Super Highway'. Watch daily life unfold along the river as you cruise by, taking a well-deserved rest from the hustle and bustle of exploration.

PLEASE NOTE: When water levels are insufficient for the boat, we will use a bus for this part of the journey. Boat cancellations typically happen between April and September.

Estimated travel time: Most of the day on the riverboat followed by 30 min to 1 hr private vehicle ride to hotel.

July 3 : Bagan (1B)

Enjoy a packed day learning about the culture and history of this once great civilization.

In the morning, visit the colorful Nyaung Oo Market where, each day, the locals come to buy and sell fresh produce and other goods. It provides a window into everyday life in Bagan.

Next, visit gorgeous Shwezigon Pagoda, thought to contain a bone and tooth of Gautama Buddha. The magnificent, circular, gold leaf stupa is surrounded by smaller temples and shrines, and the compound boasts a stone pillar with Mon language inscriptions.

Continue to the caves of Kyanzittha Umin.

In Gubyaukgyi, a perfect Indian-style temple, view hundreds of frescoes illustrating stories of the Buddha. Finally, visit the huge red-brick Htilominlo Temple, which is 46m (150ft) tall and known for its elaborate plaster moldings. Make sure to view the four Buddhas on the temple that face each direction.

In the afternoon, explore Manuha Temple, which is well known for its three images of seated Buddhas and an image of Buddha entering Nirvana. It's one of the oldest temples in Bagan. Later check out the elaborate stone engravings at Nanpaya Temple.

Next, visit the Nanpaya Temple which is one of four sandstone temples in the Bagan area. What makes it unique are the four pillars with stone reliefs of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, carved onto them. You can still spot some original color on the art today.

We then head south to witness the beautiful Abeyadama Temple and finally the Lawkananda Pagoda, a landmark of Ayeyarwady fishermen. Explore its lovely setting and look for the many small turtles living nearby. Lawkananda means "joy of the world" and contains a replica of a Buddha tooth relic.

Finally, we visit a Lacquerware shop to learn more about this intricate process and opt to pick up some gorgeous souvenirs for friends back home (or yourself). Lacquerware is an art typical of Southeast Asia, originating in China. In Myanmar, the art form began around the 12th century in Bagan.

July 4 : Bagan (1B)

Enjoy a free day and continue your exploration of this gorgeous area or take some time to relax.

July 5 : Bagan/Kalaw (1B)

Today we will leave early to reach Kalaw, a former British hill station. Journey through sun-parched plains sprinkled with Palmyra palms to the 'Mountain of Deities', Popa. Climb 20 mins to the top of this volcanic rock and learn more about the shrines for Nats (celestial spirits of Burmese mythology). On the climb up, pass many food stalls and shops selling herbal remedies. During the visit, you may witness many Burmese paying their respects to this sacred spot.

We will also visit a Toddy Palm farm to learn more about this important plant.

Continue to Kalaw for the evening.

Estimated travel time: 8 hrs by private vehicle

July 6 : Kalaw (1B, 1L)

In the morning, stretch your legs with a hike through the scenic hills of Kalaw. We will have a transport up to the trailhead to commence the hike. Explore the countryside whilst enjoying the cooler air at 1320m above sea level. Pass through tea plantations, citrus groves and tribal villages. Opt to savor a scenic lunch before returning to Kalaw by early afternoon.

In the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore Kalaw's vibrant market or visit Aung Chan Tha Zedi, with its sparkling gold and silver glass mosaics, or the Hnee Pagoda with its 500-year-old bamboo Buddha.

July 7 : Kalaw/Inle Lake (1B)

Today we will travel to serene Inle, home to the Intha people and floating villages and gardens, stopping en route to visit the Pindaya Caves.

The Pindaya Caves are set in a limestone ridge overlooking a picturesque lake. Look at the over 8000 different types of Buddha images are on display. Take in the view of nearby Boutaloke Lake and the ruins of Shwe U Min Paya, a cluster of low stupas just below the ridge. Enjoy a visit to some local houses where families produce Shan paper and parasols.

Your drive today will follow an interesting route through the hills and across the Shan Plateau through fields of garlic, sesame, and vegetables, with many small Pa-O and Danu villages.

Continue on to Nyaungshwe—the biggest village and former capital of the local Shan Kings at Inle Lake.

Estimated travel time: 3 to 4.5 hrs by private vehicle

July 8 : Inle Lake (1B)

Explore the lake by boat and visit some of its floating villages. Try to spot the famous Intha leg-rowers during the tour.

Visit some of the intriguing floating villages and investigate the great Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda with its five holy Buddha images and the Inthien Pagoda complex.

July 9 : Inle Lake/Yangon (1B)

After breakfast, board a flight back Yangon. The afternoon is free to explore the markets and sights of Yangon with plenty of time for some last minute shopping before an optional final dinner together.

Estimated travel time: 1.5 hrs by private vehicle, then 1 hr flight, then 1 hr by private vehicle

July 10 : Yangon (1B)

Depart Yangon at any time.

Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs). Find out which programs pair well with this trip by clicking here.

If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip, but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator we can offer still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!

Stuff You Need to Know

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

We want to emphasize the cancellation policy:

All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to jesse@geeo.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.

* Cancellation 60 days or more prior to departure = Deposit is kept on file for future use and all other program fee payments are refunded

* Cancellation between 30 and 59 days prior to departure = 50% refund and your deposit is kept on file for future use

* Cancellation within 30 days of departure = No refund, but your deposit is kept on file for future use

Service Level

Standard:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

2:

2: Light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program is guaranteed to run and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

Group Leader Description

All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Packing List

We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as you are expected to handle your own luggage. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking) and up and down stairs. Luggage space is limited so again, smaller is better.

Most travelers carry a large multi-day backpack or rolling suitcase of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!). In general you want a bag that has a capacity of around 40 to 65 liters. If you are asking us for our suggestion, we would recommend a backpack over a rolling suitcase. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like smartphones.

There may be a weight restriction for the internal flight on this program. Additional bags or excess weight charges may apply. These charges are the responsibility of the passengers.

Suggested Checklist

•Light windproof/waterproof jacket or umbrella
•Small towel and swimwear
•Sun hat
•Personal clothing for hot weather, Keep in mind you will need to cover your shoulders and knees often for pagoda visits. No tank tops please! (We recommend packing 8 or 9 days of outfits so you only have to do laundry once.)
•Sarong or long pants for temples
•Comfortable walking shoes (You will also be barefoot in Pagodas often and for hours at a time.)
•Sandals
•Personal Electronics such as iPhone, iPad, MP3 player, etc.
•Camera
•Sunblock
•Sunglasses
•Toiletries (Your hotels will have soap and shampoo)
•Watch or alarm clock
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
•Clothes for temples – long pants or sarongs
•Insect repellent
•Small Flashlight
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•USD cash (small denominations preferred, see personal spending money and FAQ)

Optional Checklist

•Travel pillow (This one is great)
•Money belt
•Water bottle
•Phone/Tablet for internet (Most hotels have WiFi)
•Chargers for electronics as well converters/adaptors if needed (See FAQ)
•Packing cubes (These are awesome)
•Ear Plugs (Hearos Xtreme Protection 33 decibel ear plugs are a life-saver if you have a snoring roommate)
•Snacks (Packing a few granola bars is a good idea. You can buy snacks when you get there too, so don't go crazy here.)
•Ziplock bags for wet clothing
•Reading/writing material
•Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry
•Hand Sanitizer/Baby wipes
•Travel size hair dryer

Document Checklist

•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit and/or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas, additional passport photos or vaccination certificates required (Check our FAQ to see if you need them)
•GEEO Classroom action plans for your group (This is sent 10-30 days before departure)

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your group leader where the nearest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring your own non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Single Travellers

Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. Most of our trips have a "My Own Room" option, also known as a "Single Supplement" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email jesse@geeo.org. To see the price for the "My Own Room" option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, and tipping. Please look at our “Costs” tab when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

During this tour the local currencies you will use are the Burmese Kyat and the US Dollar. As currency exchange rates in South East Asia do fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up to date daily exchange rates: www.xe.com for each of the above-mentioned currencies.

ATMs are available in every major town in Myanmar but they are not always accessible, may not be functioning or may be closed. We recommend bringing MINT CONDITION US dollars to Myanmar and exchanging it on arrival. See "Spending Money" for more information on budgeting.

AGAIN, please bring ONLY new, MINT CONDITION US dollars to Myanmar with you. Be specific with your bank when buying cash. If you are in the US, please be sure to go to your bank and request NEW bills- older bills with wrinkles, tears, rips, creases or marks will not be accepted.

Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

Please call your banks and credit card companies before you depart for this trip so that they don't think your transaction are fraudulent and cancel your cards. Make sure that they double check that your transactions will be cleared as we have had incidents in the past where a bank said the card would work, but they didn't realize they had to check an extra box to clear Myanmar.

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.

Optional Activities

Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.

Bagan

Bicycle hire- 5 USD
Sunrise at a pagoda (about $7)
Sunset boat cruise (about $10)

Inle Lake

Red Mountain Winery- 10 USD
Optional activity to visit some older pagodas- ?

Costs

Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Very few meals are included on this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Please bring ONLY new, MINT CONDITION US dollars to Myanmar with you. Be specific with your bank when buying cash. If you are in the US, please be sure to go to your bank and request NEW bills- older bills with wrinkles, tears, rips, creases or marks will not be accepted.

Tour Company Fee

$2,469 USD

Non-Educator Fee

$100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

$40 USD, See optional activities tab to get a better idea of your budget.

International Airfare from USA

Roughly $1300-$2000 USD, See our FAQ for flight advice.

Insurance

$25-$200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

About $100 total. We recommend $50 USD for your G Adventures tour leader. Budget a similar amount for your driver and local guides, hotel maids, etc.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

Allow $250-350 USD for the meals that are not included

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

(Make sure you budget for these types of expenses)

Airport and Departure Taxes

$10, although may be included in the cost of your flight

Visa

$50 USD

Souvenirs

$0-????

FAQ

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on traveling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.

• The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe, well-located place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury as we are trying to keep these trips as inexpensive as possible. Sometimes the accommodation is not air conditioned.

• The same goes for transportation. We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days and nights of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals. In fact, in Europe, all guiding is based around local guides all of whom are licensed to work only in a particular city. As such, our leaders are able to provide orientation walks which will show you the layout of each town and city as well as the location of local services such as post offices and laundromats, but are unable to legally share historical facts and figures in public places.

• We try to set up either a school visit or a meeting with local teachers. Sometimes this is not possible due to time constraints, summer vacations, etc. Please understand this is not a guaranteed part of the program.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Many countries require that your passport not expire within six months of your arrival in that country. Please take the time to look up the passport validity requirements for the country/countries you are visiting on this trip by clicking here.

If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.

Americans need a visa for travel in Myanmar. Fortunately, the process is very easy because Myanmar has an eVisa system. To find out more about the application process, please visit this site: http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/. PLEASE WAIT UNTIL 90 DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE BEFORE APPLYING FOR YOU EVISA! The cost of the visa is approximately $50 USD.

When filling in the form please enter the following:
Purpose of Entry: Tourism
Address in Myanmar: please use the start hotel for your tour (TBA)
Agency Name: SunBird Tours
Agency Contact Number: 0095 1 293464/ 294050

The approval process may take up to 5 business days and the letter is valid for 90 days from the date of issue. Once the eVisa approval letter is received by email, print out the approval letter and bring it with you to present upon arrival.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. Most of our trips have a "My Own Room" option, also known as a "Single Supplement" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email jesse@geeo.org. To see the price for the "My Own Room" option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.

Should I call this country Myanmar or Burma?

For more insight on this question, check out this article.

What is group travel like?

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of traveling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group. Patience with your fellow travelers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.

What does this program have to do with the South Asia Institute at the University of Texas at Austin?

GEEO and the South Asia Institute at the University of Texas at Austin are collaborating on this program. Since 2008 the South Asia Institute has been promoting GEEO and have grown familiar with our programs. In 2013 GEEO ran trips in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin to Peru and Uzbekistan. In the spring of 2014 we collaborated with the South Asia Institute on a program to India and then in the summer of 2015 we ran a Sri Lanka program together. We are happy to work together again on this Myanmar program. In addition to the local guides arranged by GEEO, you will be accompanied by an academic representative from the University of Texas, who will provide you with additional knowledge.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 1600 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Each educator who participates in our programs is permitted to bring along up to three friends or family members who are not teachers. Each participant must be of adequate fitness level for their chosen trip. If you wish to bring a guest under the age of 18 GEEO will consider your request, but typically we only allow participants over the age of 18.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip?

We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

Some of our programs have an optional airport transfer that can be paid for in advance. If you book the airport transfer someone will meet you at the airport with your name on a sign and will take you to the hotel. To see the price for an airport transfer, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.

If you have not purchased an arrival transfer, upon arrival at Yangon International Airport the easiest way to get to the hotel is by taxi. There is a registered taxi stand at the exit gate of the arrivals hall where fixed rates can be paid. The airport is located approximately 30 minutes from the city centre and the rates are approximately 10-15 USD

If you have a pre-booked transfer, please look for the G Adventures representative, who will be holding a G Adventures sign at the arrival halls. If you are unable to locate our G Adventures representative, please wait up to 30 minutes, call our local staff on our emergency number, or take a taxi to the joining point hotel.

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead, we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at any time your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

What are the hotels like?

On this trip you can expect to stay in small family-run hotels or pensions (with the exception of the start and finish hotels, which are often larger city hotels), which will vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff, but most importantly all are locally-run, with some traditional character, and are often in excellent central locations to give you maximum time for exploring the sights. You can expect to find clean, safe, simple accommodation in convenient locations.

Is it OK if I arrive a few days early or stay a few days late?

You may want to arrive a few days early at the start of the trip or stay a few days extra at the end of trip. Please feel free to do so.

We will send out an email to all participants roughly 90 days before departure with information on which hotels we will be using for the start and end of the trip as well how to go about booking them.

What type of transportation do we use on this trip?

We use a private vehicle for transportation between almost all of the locations. Typically this is a modern van or mini-bus. There also two internal flights.

When should I purchase my flights?

This program is confirmed to run so you may purchase your flights whenever you wish.

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

Your trip begins and ends in Yangon. Please double check our itinerary for the date on which you must arrive in Yangon by. You can arrive at any time of the day you choose, however we strongly urge you to arrive by 6 PM on Day 1 for our group meeting. You can depart from Yangon anytime on the final day of the trip.

Where can I purchase flights?

We recommend using www.kayak.com to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations and are sometimes higher than tickets found on Kayak, Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. Regular health insurance plans almost never include emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance, so you will need to purchase a separate TRAVEL health insurance plan.

You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you like. You must bring some proof of this insurance to your introduction meeting on the first day of the trip. If you do not have travel health insurance at that time, you will be forced to purchase insurance on the spot, which will be pricier than purchasing it in advance.

The least expensive travel health insurance plan that we have found is the International Teacher Identity Card, better known as the ITIC Card. They have a $25 card that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. The card will also get you discounts and benefits in over 125,000 locations, including many museums and hotels. Another great thing about the ITIC Card is that it covers you for an entire year and can be used for all your travel during that period, including domestic travel.

GEEO has reached an agreement with the makers of this card to pre-approve all GEEO travelers, so you do not need to submit paperwork proving that you are a teacher. Also, non-teachers who are traveling with GEEO can get this same card, which normally is only for teachers.

To sign up for the card please follow this link:

www.myisic.com/orders/GEEO

While not required, we also highly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance! The $199 Explorer ITIC Card comes with $3000 of cancellation insurance, which is also valid for multiple trips (domestic and international) within a one year period. Even if you don't use the cancellation insurance on your GEEO trip, you might end up needing it for travel expenses relating to a conference!

Please note: The ITIC card is for American residents. If you are not American or are an American living abroad, please email us and we can go over your options.

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Is the water safe to drink?

Unless your tour leader tells you differently, only bottled water should be drunk, and this is readily available for purchase. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled, washed in boiled water and in the case of the latter, well cooked. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible infection.

What is the weather like?

Although Myanmar has two distinct seasons – dry and wet – you can visit the country throughout the year. In parts of Myanmar the wet season runs from around May to October. The wet season is characterized by a downpour for a few hours each day rather than all-day torrential downpours. As you would expect, temperatures throughout the country are greatly affected by altitude and therefore the hill stations, lakes and Himalayan foothills are far cooler than southern lowland and coastal regions.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

Many of the hotels we use have WiFi (often free, sometimes not). There are internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/tablet/smart phone if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of your valued items.

Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?

In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites. If you want to be sensitive to the cultural norms, even outside of temples we recommend covering your shoulders and not wearing short shorts.

One participant told us "You go to a pagoda almost every day and have to cover your knees and shoulders and take off your shoes and socks."

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.

For the most part, electrical sockets (outlets) in Myanmar are one of the two European standard electrical socket types: The "Type C" Europlug and the "Type E" and Type F" Schuko. Also reported to be in use is the "Type D" Indian socket. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an "Input" line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, "Input: 100 - 240V" means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can't handle the different voltage, you'll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

How much money in US cash should I bring?

Every traveler is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip:

We recommend roughly 300-350 USD for spending money on this trip. This can be exchanged on Day 1 in Yangon with some advice from your tour leader. This allowance would cover food, drinks, camera fees and most optional activities. If you are a keen shopper and/or drinker, we recommend budgeting a bit more for those activities.

Please bring ONLY new, MINT CONDITION US dollars to Myanmar with you. Be specific with your bank when buying cash. If you are in the US, please be sure to go to your bank and request NEW bills- older bills with wrinkles, tears, rips, creases or marks will not be accepted.

Do you have advice on tipping?

It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your tour leader will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $1.5-$3.5 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures tour leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, travelers' checks, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home - you won't need it while travelling.

Always keep an eye on your belongings especially in major cities, bus and train terminals.

Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so that they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible. If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office,

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time)
From outside Thailand: +66 2 381 5574
From within Thailand: 02 381 5574

After hours emergency number:
From outside Thailand: +66 87 049 6074
From within Thailand: 087 049 6074

G Adventures Local Representative (Myanmar)
Emergency Number: +95 1 293 464

If you are unable for any reason to contact the local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with the 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, from calls within North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from within UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from within Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from within Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from within New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

For absolute emergencies after office hours please contact +44 7817 262559
If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO has chosen to work with the tour operator G Adventures. We discount their prices for our participants so they are even more affordable for teachers. GEEO also is able to get our participants humanitarian rate airfare and discounted travel health insurance. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teachers' experience into the classroom. GEEO provides each participant with a Professional Development Certificate. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 25 years, G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics, and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

Is there advice that past participants would like to pass onto you?

Past participants have told us:

"There were not any days that did not include pagoda visits, so the people who brought shorts and sleeveless shirts found them to be useless."

"Dress Code: We went to a pagoda almost every day where your shoulders and knees have to be covered. I knew it was warmer weather so I brought more clothes for warmer weather. Several of my shorts were long but did not cover the knee. You also will be walking in bare feet every time you go to a Pagoda - I walked in bare feet more than I ever have before (not a big deal for me but it was something I did not expect)

Money - Large bills give you a better exchange rate. Some places inspected them with a fine tooth comb, others were okay if there was a fold. Exchanging money is more reliable than finding an ATM (although with time this could change)"

"Myanmar was so picky about US money - absolutely no creases or you got a worse exchange rate. No US money needed as there were plenty of ATM's. There were a couple of days when the rain lasted on and off all day. A plastic rain coat was helpful."

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. 2016 was the first time we offered this program. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip, have been running trips all over the world for many years so you can have faith that your trip will be safe and well run.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips. If you want advice on applying for an FFT grant, please email us and we will send you a document that you will find helpful.

2469.00 USD
2345.55 USD
Save 5% if you book this trip between March 9th-31st.

International Airfare not included

Availability: +7

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This program is guaranteed to run and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

What's Included

  • Shwedagon Pagoda visit (Yangon)
    Mandalay combo entry ticket (includes most sights in Mandalay)
    Golden Rock visit
    Amarapura visit
    Sagaing visit
    Bagan Archaeological Zone guided tour
    Irrawaddy River boat trip
    Inle Lake boat tour including floating villages (half-day)
    Shwemawdaw Stupa visit
    Mingun boat trip
    U Bein Bridge visit
    Mahagandayong Monastery visit
    Sagaing Hills Meditation Centre visit
    Mt Popa visit
    Hilltribe hike (half-day)
    Internal flights

  • G Adventures Tour Leader throughout, local guides

  • All transport between destinations and to/from including internal flight

  • 13 breakfasts, 1 lunch (Allow USD $250-350 for meals not included.)

  • Hotels (12 nts), simple guesthouse (1 nt)

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Travel Health Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions

  • Airport Transfers, unless otherwise mentioned in inclusions.

  • Cancellation Insurance