Overview

The U.Va. Alumni & Parent Travel Program has partnered with a non-profit organization to2014_burma_pic1 create a unique service opportunity to Burma and provide much-needed basic educational and other services to a large orphanage and several villages in the poorest regions of the country. You will help teach english in a primary school built with funds donated by U.Va. alumni travelers in a remote village. English is in their curiculum but they need to hear it spoken by native speakers to truly learn.

You may also help train nurses aides at a charity hospital on basic sanitation, clean water, dysentery, calories, vitamins, and other basic topics. Companions or spouses are welcome and may participate in service in various ways. We will do some sightseeing along the way and the option for an extension to Bagan to see the iconic Pagodas is available.

I visited the sites this spring and was very impressed with the people and the doctor who is very enthusiastic to have our help in training the “nurses” so that they can take what they learn back to their home villages. Use your expertise to help make the world a better place for underserved people. In addition to the volunteer and education work, you will be a cultural ambassador to the people we meet.

* Last year’s service trip to Vietnam was incredible and some comments from the participants include:
“It was so great to volunteer with such awesome people and have the opportunity to interact with locals in such a unique way.”

“It was really great having the Vietnamese group and Marcia and Max to work with. There are so many aspects of the trip that were meaningful and then also so many funny things that we shared.”

“One of the best trips I have ever taken. I enjoyed the other travelers and the UVA staff and our guide, Tien, very much. Overall- an incredible experience. Can’t wait to go back!”

Program Highlights

  • Attend the ceremonial opening of a primary school in a remote village built with funds 2014_burma_pic2donated by U.Va. travelers.
  • Trip limited to about 15 people.
  • Some of the service will be as easy as holding structured conversation in english with children who are studying it.
  • In addition to the service you will provide, your presence will enhance international understanding through cultural and humanitarian activities and the exchange of experiences directly with Burmese people.
  • The work we will do offers unique access to people, places, and activities.
  • Cross-cultural sharing with the local translators and peers provide an authentic sense of a culture that you can’t experience in other forms of travel.
  • Opportunities are also available for physicians to help see and diagnose patients with a local doctor who runs a charity hospital.
  • A post-Trip extension to see the iconic pagodas of Bagan is offered.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Tuesday, September 23

Departure from the U.S.

Day 2 - Wednesday, September 24

Arrival in Yangon, Myanmar

Arrive in Yangon late evening, welcome and transfer to the hotel for the night. Overnight in Yangon –Sule Shangri-La or similar.

Day 3 - Thursday, September 25

Yangon

After breakfast, you’ll be guided to venture downtown to explore the city center and its fabulous mix of architecture and sites. The streets are filled with historical buildings many of which have a faded colonial charm not seen elsewhere in Asia. You’ll start at the post office – a lovely historic building- and walk to Sule Paya in the middle of downtown, passing by Strand Hotel, Mahabandoola Garden and Independence Monument along the way. Then visit Little India and Chinatown, a colorful cacophony of restaurants, temples and markets. Reach Bogyoke Market, formerly known as Scott’s Market, where there is time to browse through the dozens of stalls and shops. This is Yangon’s best market for handicrafts and other goods.
Afternoon,we’ll visit Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda, home to a 70-meter long reclining Buddha, and Kandawagyi Park, one of central Yangon’s greenest spots. Here you will see the glittering Karaweik barge, a replica of the royal barge, and the vast lake with views of Shwedagon in the background.
From here, continue to Shwedagon Pagoda, the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar.
(B,L,D)

Day 4 - Friday, September 26

Fly to Heho

Morning flight to Heho, gateway to Inle Lake. Upon 2014_burma_pic3arrival, continue by car to visit Lilypad, a backyard gardening facility innovating water purity, animal raising and gardening. Examine how environmental changes can be effective in developing countries. Transfer to the Pyi Guesthouse for lunch. Afternoon relax and possible help preparing the gift bucket for the children at the Orphanage. Dinner at Green Chili in Nayung Shwe.
Overnight – Nyaung Shwe – Pyi Guesthouse or similar
(B,L,D)

Day 5 - Saturday, September 27

Nyaung Shwe

Full day on a mission at the Orphanage and Golden Girls Prosperity Clinic (TBD). Stop at the Red Mountain Winery before returning back to Nyaung Shwe for dinner at Pyi Guesthouse.
Overnight – Nyaung Shwe – Pyi Guesthouse or similar (B,L,D)

Day 6 - Sunday, September 28

Inle Lake

Today board a private motorboat to head out to Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular sights. Pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Visit to 5 day market and Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf. Participate in a cooking class at Tharaha Inle Heritage, where you can pick your own green ingredients on the garden in the center, followed by lunch. Afternoon continue sightseeing of the Lake by boat.
Overnight – Inle Lake – Golden Island Cottages or similar (B,L,D)

Day 7 - Monday, September 29

Inle Lake

Full day on a mission (TBD)
Overnight – Inle Lake – Golden Island Cottages
(B,L,D)

Day 8 - Tuesday, September 30

Departure home or Extension to Bagan or Ngapali Beach

Fly back to Yangon. Extended sightseeing of Yangon. After dinner, transfer to your departure flight late evening.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner at House of Memories
OR
Depart Heho for an extension tour to Bagan and Ngapali Beach for 5 days at additional expense. (Details below).

Post-trip Extension to Bagan

Day 8Tuesday, September 30
Flying from Heho to Bagan
After early breakfast at your hotel, transfer to Heho Airport for your flight to Nyaung U(Bagan).
From the 11th to 13th centuries, when Bagan was the capital of Myanmar, the rulers constructed thousands of huge stupas and temples many of which are still standing today on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. On arrival, your journey begins with a visit an elevated temple from where you will have a panoramic view of the magnificent plains of Bagan. Continue with a visit to the golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda for an introduction in to Bagan’s rich history. Then, visit to nearby Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with exquisite jataka mural paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations. This afternoon begin with a visit to a traditional lacquer ware workshop where you can observe the production of one of Myanmar’s best-known handicrafts. Continue to Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece and one of Bagan’s most beautiful temples. Built in the early Mon-style, Ananda contains two unique Buddha images whose expressions seem to change depending on the distance from which the statue is viewed. From here, travel by horse cart for a tour passing Thatbyinnyu, the highest temple in Bagan, massive Dhammayangyi Temple, noted for its remarkable brickwork, and Sulamani Temple. Enjoy an unforgettable sunset over the plains from the upper terrace of one of the temples.
Overnight in Bagan – Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort – deluxe river view room
Meal: Breakfast

Day 9Wednesday, October 1
Bagan
After breakfast, visit the colorful Nyaung Oo Market where villagers gather every day to buy and sell their produce and other goods. Continue to Myinkaba village and take a short walking tour to explore the temples of Manuha and Nan Paya.
This afternoon, continue to the rural village of Minnanthu, one of Bagan’s least visited areas. Here you will explore temples such as Payathonzu, Lemyentha and Nandamannya before heading to the riverside pier. Board a local boat for a slow cruise down the Irrawaddy River. As you cruise the waters, observe the lifestyle of the fishermen and riverside villagers as well as enjoying the unique perspective of Bagan’s temples.
Overnight in Bagan
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10Thursday, October 2
Bagan
After breakfast at the hotel, travel to Mt. Popa, a place of great importance to the Burmese who believe it is the house of 37 Nats, Burmese ancient animist spirits. The shrine is located on a volcanic plug, Taung Kalat, and with your guide you will have an option to walk up the almost 900 stairs to the top or enjoy the views from the Mt. Popa Resort.
After returning to the base of the shrine, begin the drive back to Bagan. After around 20-30 minutes we’ll stop in Shwe Hlaing Village. This village makes its living by producing various items from the toddy palm trees. You will be able to observe traditional production of palm toddy—from the collecting of the liquid to the creating of the drinks and sugars.
Overnight in Bagan (B)
Meals: Breakfast

Day 11Friday, October 3
Flying back to Yangon and departure
After early breakfast at your hotel, transfer to airport for your flight to Yangon.
Continue and extend your sightseeing in Yangon. Enjoy your lunch at Monsoon Restaurant.
Afternoon, transfer to Yangon Railways station to take a unique ride on the city’s circular train ride through the outskirts of town (20-30 minutes ride). This slowly traveling train gives you unique opportunity to observe the lively, colorful lifestyle of the local people. Disembark at the Kyi Myin Daing market where you can peruse the various stalls and interact with the friendly vendors before transferring back to Yangon. Have dinner at House of Memories Restaurant before transferring to the airport for your international departure.
Note: Day use room at Clover City Centre Hotel is included.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations

  • Sule Shangri-La
    Formerly the Traders Hotel, the Sule Shangri-La in Yangoon presents idyllic luxury in a modern metropolis with great location and great services.
  • Pyi Guesthouse
    Is a family run Bed & Breakfast guesthouse in the heart of Nyaung Shwe town on the shores of Inle Lake with comfortable and cozy bungalows.  I stayed here in the spring and it is very pleasant and well located. The couple who run it, Tun Tun and Win Win, are a real pleasure!
  • Golden Island Cottages
    Golden Island is a hotel built on stilts in the middle of dreamy Inle lake. All the bungalows have scenic lake views. They are built of local bamboo and comfortably furnished to blend with the traditional atmosphere of the region.
    I visited these as well. They provide a unique and incredible experience as you are surrounded by the incredible views afforded by the tall mountains that surround the lake.

Post-Trip Extension

  • Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort
    Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort is situated on the banks of the Irrawaddy, Myanmar’s river of history and legend. The Resort sprawls over 24 acres of landscaped gardens, which is home to mature tropical trees and flowering plants, as well as native birds and a number of small tame animals.

Meals

6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners; Post-Trip Extension: 4 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Program Fees

$2,195 per person, double occupancy, land and internal program air only.

A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $410 to the per person, double occupancy rates.
Rate is based on a minimum of ten participants.

Single supplement: $410 per person

Price includes:

  • Hotel accommodations with daily breakfast
  • Meals as mentioned
  • English speaking guides and GCSF staff throughout the itinerary
  • Private transfers and vehicles as indicated throughout the itinerary
  • Sightseeing with entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary
  • Domestic flights within Myanmar

Does not include:

  • Insurance (strongly recommended)
  • International flights to/from Yangon
  • Burma single tourist entry visa – $20 per visa
  • Visa process fee: $40 per visa
  • Meals other than mentioned
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities
  • Excess Luggage
  • Items of personal nature
  • Anything not listed as included

Bagan Extension cost: $895 per person based on double occupancy and minimum of 4 travelers. Single supplement: $470 per person.

Price includes:

  • Hotel accommodations with daily breakfast
  • Meals as mentioned
  • English speaking guide throughout the itinerary
  • Private transfers and vehicles as indicated throughout the itinerary
  • Sightseeing with entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary
  • Domestic flights within Myanmar

Does not include:

  • Meals other than mentioned
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities
  • Items of personal nature
  • Anything not listed as included

General Terms & Conditions

RESERVATIONS
A US$700 per person deposit, a completed Reservation Form, and a signed Travel Participation Agreement Form will reserve a place for you on the trip. You may also hold your space by calling (866)765-2646 and charging your deposit. Final payment is due sixty (60) days before trip departure. Payment may be made by check, bank draft or credit card (American Express, Visa, and MasterCard). Early reservations are strongly recommended since the trip is limited to fifteen (15) participants.

TRIP INFORMATION
Upon receiving your deposit, we will send you a confirmation letter and a pre-trip informational packet that includes insurance information, medical and health information, travel tips, suggested reading list, and general information about the destination you will be visiting. One (1) month prior to your departure date, a final packet of final documents will be sent to you.

TRIP COST
This program is all-inclusive that includes accommodations, all in-country flights, entrance fees, permits, meals as indicated on the itinerary and local English-speaking guides. Personal expenses such as visas, medical/trip & cancellation insurance, laundry, and shopping are not included in the tour cost. While every effort will be made not to increase the cost of the trip, pricing is subject to change based on, but not limited to, airfare price adjustment, international currency fluctuations and increases in costs of overseas services. We strongly recommend that medical/trip & cancellation insurance be purchased.

CANCELLATION, TRANSFERS AND REFUNDS
All cancellations must be made in writing or by fax to Global Spectrum.
Fee (per person)
More than 90 days before departure Full refund
Between 90 – 60 Days $700
Between 60 – 30 days $1500
Less than 30 days No refund
Refunds are calculated from the day we receive written notice. There is no refund for any unused portions of the tour program. We strongly recommend medical/trip and cancellation insurance.

AIR TRANSPORTATION
Global Spectrum in-house air-ticketing department with professional travel counselors is capable of handling all your international and US domestic flight arrangements. We recommend that you make your travel plans early to ensure the best competitive price for your preferred airlines, routings, and departure times.

STATEMENT OF RESPONSIBILITY AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
The responsibility of Here Today There Tomorrow, Inc. doing business as Global Spectrum, and our representatives is strictly limited. As a tour operator, Global Spectrum organizes, promotes, and sells tour programs consisting of travel services that we purchase or reserve from various suppliers, including but not limited to, surface transportation, excursions, and accommodations. To the extent that Global Spectrum is involved in the sale of air transportation to you, we act as an agent of the air carrier. The suppliers are independent contractors and are not agents or employees of Global Spectrum. Neither Global Spectrum nor our representatives are responsible for the willful or negligent acts and/or omissions of such suppliers or of any air carrier or their respective employees, agents, servants, or representatives including, without limitation, their failure to deliver or their partial or inadequate delivery of services. All coupons, receipts, reservations, and tickets are issued subject to the terms and conditions specified by the suppliers and/or air carriers.
Participant Responsibility
Travel in developing nations is not similar to travel within the United States. Tours of Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia, Myanmar, and Indonesia, like other forms of travel, can involve inconvenience and risk, including forces of nature, geographic and climatic conditions, hygienic standards, infrastructure problems (including road maintenance, transportation delays, and accommodation conditions), and civil unrest or terrorism. Medical services or facilities may not be readily available during all or part of a tour and, if available, may not be equal to standards in the United States. Participants are solely responsible for being in sufficient health to undertake the tour and for taking all appropriate medical precautions. Global Spectrum strongly recommends that participants obtain medical/trip and cancellation insurance. Preparation for the tour should include studying of the itinerary and pre-departure information provided by Global Spectrum.
Illegal activities are generally punishable by harsher sentences than in the United States. Global Spectrum will bear no responsibility to assist participants who engage in such activities. Global Spectrum reserves the right to remove a participant who engages in such activities from a tour and to return the participant to his or her point of departure at the participant’s own expense.
PARTICIPANTS ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN WELFARE, AND ACCEPT ANY AND ALL RISKS OF DELAY, UNANTICIPATED EVENTS, ILLNESS, INJURY, EMOTIONAL TRAUMA, DEATH, OR ANY COST INCUR DUE TO INCORRECT OR MISSING INFORMATION PROVIDED TO GLOBAL SPECTRUM BY THE PARTICIPANTS OR BY HIS/HER BOOKING AGENT.

Supplier Responsibility
Travel services are provided by various suppliers who are independent contractors, and are not agents or employees of Global Spectrum. By utilizing the services of these suppliers, PARTICIPANT AGREES THAT NEITHER GLOBAL SPECTRUM NOR ITS REPRESENTATIVES WILL BE LIABLE FOR ANY HARM TO PARTICIPANT(S) ARISING FROM OCCURENCES OR CONDITIONS BEYOND GLOBAL SPECTRUM’S CONTROL, INCLUDING ANY PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL HARM.
Reservation of Rights
Global Spectrum reserves the right to reprice, cancel, or withdraw any tour, trip, excursion, or expedition for any reason, to alter or omit any part of the itinerary, and to substitute tour leaders and accommodations. Global Spectrum will not assume responsibility for participant expenses incurred in preparing for the trip (e.g. non-refundable advance purchase air tickets, equipment, communication costs, obtaining medical services, making changes in the tour, or other matters of a personal nature.