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Tips for Travel to Burma

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TIPS ON TRAVEL to MYANMAR (BURMA)

Latest update- 17 February 2012 – ST @ Property of Value World Tours@ All rights reserved

To Our “Valued” Passengers!

Welcome to one of our newest and most unusual programs – Myanmar (formerly Burma) via the fascinating Irrawaddy River! Only recently opened to foreign visitors, this unique cruise/tour offers the traveler the opportunity to see the heart of the country with relative ease.

The brand new RV Katha Pandaw , a replica of British Colonial vessels of the early 1900’s, was especially built with a shallow draft to enable navigating the challenging Irrawaddy River. As an “expedition cruise” one explores regions only accessible by the river between Mandalay and Prome. 

Introduction to Myanmar

The Union of Myanmar, as it is officially called, is the largest country in Southeast Asia.  About the size of Texas, its surrounding neighbors are: Bangladesh to the west, India to the northwest, China to the north, Laos to the east, Thailand to the southeast, and the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal along the south/southwest coast.  Much of Burma (Myanmar) is between the equator and the Tropic of Cancer.

Burma achieved independence from the United Kingdom January 4, 1948.  In 1989 the State Law and Order Restoration Council changed the English version of the country’s name to “Myanmar.”  Many places were renamed at that time.  However this has been politically controversial ever since, and thus you will see both sets of names being used interchangeably. The acceptance of the name changes have been slow in coming in the English speaking world. We also are using both sets of names.  To try to minimize confusion, here are some of those duplicate place names that you will undoubtedly encounter: Burma (Myanmar), Rangoon (Yangon), Pagan (Bagan), Prome (Pyay), and Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady). “Paya” is also “pagoda.” The Burmese language for “Union of Myanmar” is “Pyidaungzu Myanma Naingngandaw.”

Myanmar has a population of over 60 million people with the biggest city being Rangoon followed by Mandalay.  The official language is Burmese which is linguistically related to Chinese and Tibetan.  The country is ethically diverse and Buddhism, mixed with local elements, is by far the most prevalent religion.   It has a primarily agricultural economy, but the country also contains valuable resources such as timber, jade, and other gems.  Jungles filled with indigenous teakwood covers 49% of the land.  This plentiful, native teak was used to create the beautiful Katha Pandaw.

Tourism potential is great in this intriguing country, but up until now it has been largely undeveloped.  You will be among the first North Americans to visit it in modern times----delving into its interesting, long, rich, history and culture. 

The Irrawaddy River

The Irrawaddy River is Burma’s longest river (about 1350 miles long), and most of the country’s population lives along its banks.  The name is thought to be from the Sanskrit “airavati” meaning “elephant river.” Typical jungle animals such as elephants, tigers and leopards, and wild buffaloes may be seen in the countryside and the unique freshwater “Irrawaddy River Dolphins” can be found in the river. This river, which cuts the country in half from north to south, is an important commercial waterway. In the early days, before land and air transportation was developed, it was called “The Road to Mandalay.” Our journey will take us on the road to (and from) Mandalay as well!

____________________________________________________________________________________

Note: Your participation in traveling to Myanmar not only helps the local economy but also spreads friendship and understanding. You virtually act as an Ambassador of the United States when visiting this country, which was closed to visitors from the West for so long. The impression you leave will have an everlasting effect on future relations between Myanmar and your own country.

It is therefore important that we advise and prepare you for some of the cultural and social differences you will encounter. These Travel Tips have been designed to provide useful information and helpful suggestions to ease your adjustment and help you get around any obstacles you may encounter. Your journey will be greatly enhanced if you take the time to prepare for it. Thoroughly acquaint yourself with the information provided herewith - but also talk to others who have been there or study one of the comprehensive guide books available or check the Internet!  The effort you put into planning your trip before you go will make all the difference... THANK YOU!

The cruise portion of this tour is best described as an expedition cruise.  While you will sail in comfort on a ship with all the modern amenities, there may be aspects of the cruise that are beyond anyone’s control such as delays and changes due to water conditions.  It is still a novelty that tourist category ships travel along the Irrawaddy River, so your flexibility and understanding is requested.

GENERAL CRUISE & TRAVEL TIPS

VISA REGULATIONS: Travelers from the US need a tourist visa for entry into Myanmar. You will need 3 recent passport photos, at least one blank page in your passport, 6 months validity after your trip’s ending date, and a visa application form. This can most easily be obtained through a visa service. (Please see the separate visa application kit.) Non-US citizens, please contact your country’s consulate, as requirements may be different.   It is each passenger’s responsibility to make sure they have the proper documents to enter Myanmar!

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS AND DUTY FREE: Cash over $2000, jewelry, cameras, video equipment, computers and other electronic goods should be declared at the customs’ counter upon arrival.

Special note:  Currently cell phones do not work in Burma. (But please do not declare your phone to customs at the airport as they will then have to hold it for the duration of your visit).

Duty free shopping is available at both arrival and departure halls at Rangoon International Airport. 

VOUCHERS: If traveling within a group or on any set program, vouchers will be not be required or issued. If traveling as an individual and/or deviating from the regular itinerary, we may issue vouchers for services paid for. When included, vouchers will be listed on the check-off list sent with your final documents.

AIR TICKETS: Whenever tickets are issued by VALUE WORLD TOURS, they will be included with your final documents. In some cases, when tickets are issued directly by the airlines, they may be sent to you under separate cover. Please consult your check-off list.

Transfers: If you have purchased your airfare or have prepaid your arrival transfers through us, please look for our Tour Guides holding yellow triangle Global Tours & Cruises (GTC) Signs
after exiting the Customs Area of the airports!

If you have purchased land/cruise only and are arranging for your own arrival and departure transportation, the names and addresses of your hotel and the port locations will be listed on the

Contact Sheet sent with your final documents.

DEPARTURE TAXES: Please note that Burma charges a departure tax.  At the time of printing, the fees were USD 10.00 per person (payable in cash)

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: Before leaving home, please ensure that you have your valid US PASSPORT and MYANMAR VISA. Please make sure your passport has a validity of at least 6 months beyond your scheduled return date and check for visa updates with the appropriate foreign consulate at least 90 days prior to your departure.

If you are a holder of a foreign passport, please check with the consulate office!

BAGGAGE: Make a detailed list of everything you pack for the trip, and then leave this list at home. We cannot be responsible for lost baggage, but most airlines will make every effort to recover baggage or make proper compensation if you are able to itemize the suitcase contents. It is also a good idea to tape a piece of paper INSIDE your luggage, which shows your full name, home address and telephone number. The purchase of Travel Insurance is always strongly recommended!

BAGGAGE WEIGHT: Please remember that weight allowances vary and are lower when flying domestic and intra-continental routes, utilizing smaller aircraft. Check your airline ticket for instructions and pack accordingly or you may face over-weight baggage charges!

FREE ELECTRONIC DELIVERY: Once final payment is received all paper documents including: day by day itinerary, travel tips, airline tickets, contacts and other related  information will be sent to your electronically via email. This service is free, provided we have your email address.

 

OUR FINAL DOCUMENTS – TRAVEL PORTFOLIOS

 

PHYSICAL DELIVERY OF OUR PORTFOLIO OF GIFTS & PAPER DOCUMENTS:

If you do not have email OR would prefer to receive paper documents along with our set of useful, travel related items as outlined below, these items will be sent to you approximately 2 weeks prior to your departure via registered or overnight mail. The cost of this service will be listed on your invoice. 

1. LUGGAGE TAGS: Will be provided. If you would like your luggage to take the same vacation you do – please use them! Please note: The tags have been designed to allow you to list up to 6 points of travel (hotel to ship, ship to hotel, etc.). DO NOT DISCARD THEM! Simply cross out your previous location and write in your next destination (and room or cabin number if you know it).

This will help our staff and porters deliver your luggage to you in the shortest possible time!

2. SQUARE LUGGAGE STICKERS: If provided, Please stick them visibly on your suitcases when possible - the stickers will allow you, our guides and porters to recognize them quicker and get them to their destination faster!  

3. BADGES: If provided, please wear the badges at all airports, transfer points, hotels, and at any time you are embarking/disembarking the ship. Not only does your badge assist us in providing adequate security on the vessel by identifying you as a group member to our guides, staff and security personnel, it also allows you to get to know your fellow passengers sooner!

NOTE: Since people go by nicknames, our badges come blank. Please print your name the way you would like to be addressed and wear them at least for the first few days.

4. PENS & TRAVEL BAGS: Our unique pens and practical travel bags are not only “good looking” but superbly designed to hold everything from your documents to cameras to water bottles! People love them- and you will too!

5. SURPRISE GIFT: Depending on your travel destination and time of year, we may include a surprise gift, which may be a hat, an umbrella or “cool shades”….who knows, maybe even a winning lotto ticket! (but you must promise to give us a fair share if you win J)

PASSENGER MIX: There is usually an international mix of people from all over the world - France, Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia. Germans especially are avid world travelers. This voyage is a great opportunity to meet the well-traveled people of the world and make new and long lasting friends! Whatever the mix, however, English is always the main language used.

WEATHER: There is no good or bad time to visit. The weather year round in Myanmar is hot and humid. It is basically divided in two seasons: the Wet Season (May to October, wettest June to September) when monsoon rains are a daily 2 hour occurrence and the Dry Season (November to April) where rains are gone – but the heat is always there – no avoiding it! (Good news is – you are just visiting!) Sources say November to April is the best time to visit.

 

CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS: The dress code on all of our cruises is INFORMAL!  So please - PACK LIGHTLY! The emphasis should be on smart casual wear.  Due to heat and humidity, we suggest lightweight cottons, avoiding synthetic materials as much as possible.  In the dry season, long sleeves may be needed, when it can be cooler in the early mornings and evenings. During the wetter months a lightweight raincoat or waterproof jacket and an umbrella will be useful. 

SHOES: do pay particular attention to footwear - you should have a good pair of comfortable walking shoes with thick rubber soles and firm arch supports. If you buy new shoes, "break them in" before the trip. These cruises involve extensive walking during visits ashore, so you need to be comfortable! When ashore, guests should wear easily removable footwear for visiting Buddhist sites.  At certain times, when the riverbanks and paths are very dusty or muddy, we will kindly ask you to remove your footwear upon returning to the ship so that we can clean them for you. Suitable footwear aboard the ship would be sneakers, deck shoes, tennis shoes and similar rubber-soled shoes. Pay attention when moving around the decks –they can be slippery! Slippers will be provided in your cabin.

PHYSICAL DISABILITIES: Please note that the majority of the passenger vessels sailing the various rivers of the world (including the one featured in this program) have limited services for the physically impaired. There are no elevators, staircases are the norm. In addition, due to the small size and shallow draft, the ship often anchors at remote undeveloped ports and stops. While this ability enhances the itinerary, it also means that most of the shore excursions are done on foot. Therefore, severe walking disabilities may limit the passenger’s overall enjoyment on this program.

Regretfully, we do not recommend this cruise to severely disabled passengers, and wheelchairs cannot be brought on board at all! 

 

CRUISING ON THE IRRAWADDY RIVER

Your enjoyment of the trip will depend in large part on your positive attitude. Here are a few pointers that will help you prepare for your journey regardless of the country you are visiting. Cruising the Irrawaddy River is a new and unique experience compared to any other form of travel!

General River Rules

1.     Maritime Law - As with a pilot on a plane, the Captain of a ship is the ultimate law. He is responsible for the ultimate safety and comfort of the vessel and its passengers. It is within the Captain's jurisdiction to change the sequence of stops, ports, etc. if he deems it necessary due to inclement weather conditions, high or low water levels, dock and lock schedules, technical reasons etc. The Captain has the right to remove unruly passengers, quarantine the ship in case of disease and similar. Therefore, although unlikely, certain changes in schedules may happen. Though we expect to provide sightseeing of all of the major stops and attractions listed in our cruise program, there is a possibility that the sequence of touring may be altered to take into account the operating hours at museums and monuments. Shore excursions may be changed in response to sailing conditions and other factors. Your understanding and cooperation in such instances will be 

     expected as well as appreciated!

2.     Cultural Differences - Remember that you are traveling through a country whose political, social and cultural background may be different from your own. Do not let political differences govern your perspective. Instead, travel with an open mind, and you will satisfy your curiosity

      about the people, their lands, their history and their culture.

3.     Service - If you receive poor service at any point, try to take it in good humor and solve it directly.

      If you have any serious complaints, take them to your Guide and/or Cruise Director.

4.     Bureaucracy - Expect a little bit of red tape and try not to be bothered by bureaucratic rituals, which may be different from country to country.

5.     Do not compare things you see by American standards. The RV Katha Pandaw  was specifically built for cruising on the unique Irrawaddy River. Although quite comfortable, it is small and practical and should not be compared with huge ocean faring vessels. Above all, keep your sense of humor and enjoy the cultural legacies, physical geography and rich variety of the people as you sail through this unique and different land.

A courtesy reminder: Make it your responsibility to be on time so as not to hold up the group. 

Be attentive and refrain from talking to your neighbor while the guide/s are speaking or providing information regarding the tour.  Wait for all information to be given before asking questions.  Any special requests regarding group activities should be directed to the Tour Director who is responsible for representing the interests of the whole group.  Your local guides will refer all requests back to the tour director. Your cooperation in these matters will not only be greatly appreciated but will increase both the group’s and your personal enjoyment of the tour.                                                     Thank you

 

The RV Katha Pandaw

THE SHIP: The RV Katha Pandaw is  the newest addition to the splendid Pandaw fleet of ships started by the historic Irrawaddy Flotilla Company in Burma.  These ships are replicas of colonial period river steamers and are finished in teak and brass in a traditional 1920’s marine style. The new RV Katha Pandaw (completed in the spring of 2012) is the newest and most modern river ship sailing the Irrawaddy. She carries a total of only 32 passengers in 16 twin cabins, all fitted with teakwood and private facilities including a private WC/shower.  The ship has 2 passenger decks and each cabin has its own air conditioning unit. All cabins have big picture windows equipped with insect netting covers so that you can open them at your preference.

PUBLIC AREAS:  The RV Katha Pandaw offers a spacious dining room that during the day is open to the river breezes and at night can be closed for air-conditioning.  There is roomy bar and lounge. On the bow is a viewing area and a sun deck with lounge chairs, covered by an awning, which affords the best views of the river life around. 

THE CREW: The 18 member crew is a mixture of Burmese and Vietnamese nationals under the direction of a professional European hotel manager. The cuisine, prepared by a European trained Chef will be a combination of Asian and European. There are permanent English speaking guides on board who will provide commentary and escort shore excursions. There is a ‘front office’ in the Bar/Lounge, where a staff member is on duty at set times to offer information and assistance. If you would like to be woken up at a certain time please advise them the night before.

YOUR DAILY SCHEDULE: Enclosed in your final documents will be a daily itinerary listing the main stops on your river expedition. However, much will depend on river conditions and other such factors. Therefore, a final “Daily Schedule” will be posted each evening for the following day.  This will contain a fact sheet with information on the sites that will be visited on the following day. Guests are asked to remain patient and flexible. The ship will do its best to devise an interesting, educational, and exciting program for each port but, being an “expedition”, it will not always be possible to follow itineraries to the letter as river conditions may alter by the hour. Please keep an eye on the notice board for any subsequent changes to the Daily Schedules. (The ship is equipped with a Public Address system but use is as seldom as possible so as not to disturb passengers and crew on break).

WATER: We recommend against drinking tap water anywhere in Burma!  Bottled mineral water is provided for drinking on board free of charge. Off the vessel, never accept ice in your drinks and avoid ice cream, crushed sugar cane, salads and the skin of fruits.

LINEN/TOWELS: Due to limited storage and cleaning facilities on board and in order to conserve water, towels will only be changed daily if they are placed on the floor. Extra blankets, if needed, are stored in the drawer under your bed.

LAUNDRY: A laundry bag is provided for your laundry needs, and a laundry list is to be found in the rattan folder by your bed. Laundry is collected each morning when your room is made up and will be returned to you by the following day. If you wish to have your laundry done, please place the items in the bag and mark up the list. The charges will go on your bill in US $. Dry cleaning is not available.

If there are items that you do not wish ironed please advise the staff.

HAIRDRYERS: Available on request from the Purser.

ELECTRICITY:  230 volts (2 round pin type plugs as found in continental Europe). In order to use any appliance (including shavers, hairdryers, chargers for cameras), you will need to bring 2 things:

1)     UNIVERSAL TRANSFORMER to convert from the US 110 Volts to the 230 Volts. (Recent electronic equipment such as cameras and laptops may automatically convert the range of 110 to 240. Please check your individual item.)

2)     UNIVERSAL ADAPTER PLUGS for sockets, which are different than at home. Since there are no supplies of converters/adapters on board we highly recommend you purchase a transformer/adapter plug set at any travel or appliance store before you leave.

NOTE TO CAMERA & VIDEO OPERATORS: Most Asian countries have a different T.V. system (PAL/SECAM) than the United States (NTSC). They are not compatible! Therefore, make sure you bring enough blank film/DVD’s with you! Also, film for cameras may be different and not readily available. If you require batteries, bring extras. Bring along enough supplies!

MEALS:  On board the RV Katha Pandaw, meals are taken at one sitting and it is not required to sit at the same table each time.  Meals are either buffet (breakfast & lunch) or set menu (dinners).  Meal times are posted on the notice board and will vary according to the day's sightseeing program. A mixture of Asian and Western cuisine is offered and there are always vegetarian dishes. We try to purchase products locally as much as possible to support the economy of the villages we stop at and to give our passengers a real taste of the lands through which we pass.

DRINKS: Tea and coffee are available throughout the day from 6am on the Sun Deck. Drinking water is provided in your cabin daily and with your meals.                                    

HEALTH/VACCINATION:   No inoculations are required, but you may want to discuss your visit to Burma with your personal physician. He may recommend certain precautions for you.  All senior staff is trained in First Aid. In case of emergencies, local medical stations are within reasonable reach on land along the river route. Each passenger must have medical and repatriation insurance.

SMOKING: Please note that smoking is only permitted in designated outside areas. This is a wood-finished ship and the danger of fire should never be ignored.

SECURITY: Security is generally good compared with many countries abroad.  Nonetheless, it is a wise precaution not to carry valuables such as large sums of cash or your passport outside the ship. When in port, a 24-hour watch is kept on the gangplank controlling access to the ship, and each cabin is equipped with a safe.

CURRENCIES & FORMS OF PAYMENT:

While Traveler Checks and Credit Cards are growing in acceptance – their use is still LIMITED to hotels, banks and selected shops in major cities ONLY! CASH IS STILL KING – and the US DOLLAR is the preferred currency!

ON THE SHIPS: The onboard currency is US Dollar. All your onboard expenses are billed to your account, which is settled the day prior to disembarkation and you can pay this bill in cash or credit card (Visa or MasterCard only)

SHOPPING: On board, you will find a small boutique with a collection of locally made handicrafts, postcards and stamps. Throughout Myanmar of course there is a whole spectrum of handicraft items to buy.  Some items of distinction would be bamboo items (make sure bamboo is properly matured), embroidered, traditionally crafted wall hangings, Burmese ethnic folk dolls, leather craft, rattan items, and string puppets. Bagan is the center of red and black lacquer ware production.  Colorful lengths of cotton or silk cloth are also a popular souvenir choice--- a beach wrap, a skirt, a table cloth, or numerous other uses.  Bargaining is EXPECTED!   That is part of the fun of shopping here. Whenever you make purchases, please note that the majority of items are handmade and may contain imperfections natural in goods that have not been mass-produced.  It is worth taking a little time to check each item that you wish to buy in order to avoid disappointment. We regret that neither we nor the vessel owners can be held responsible for problems relating to purchases you may have made while abroad.

Special note: Purchase expensive jewelry/gems (rubies, jade, and sapphires) only from authorized dealers and make sure to get an export permit.  Get a certified receipt for any expensive art objects as well. Items not allowed out of the country included: antiques, prehistoric artifacts, old coins, inscribed stones and historic documents.

EXCURSIONS: When moored, you are welcome to come and go from the ship. We ask all passengers to hand in their keys before leaving the ship so the staff can track who is on board and who is not. The sailing time will be advised on the Daily Schedule board, and passengers are requested to consult this before leaving the ship. Group shore excursions are organized by the Purser and are accompanied by a member of the ship’s company. Details of these are posted on the board as well. Approximately 15 minutes prior to casting off, the captain will sound the ship’s horn to warn you to return to the ship.

THE DO’S AND DON’TS: The people of Burma are generally friendly, helpful, honest, and proud. The one thing that does cause upset is any form of disrespect for their main religion, Buddhism. Unlike many faiths, Buddhists make their temples open to us foreigners, permitting the snapping of cameras and invasion of their sacred space. However, they ask that you take your shoes, socks and hats/caps off and to observe the following “rules”:

·         In the company of monks and elders never cross your legs.

·         Do not touch people on the head or the upper body.

·         Do not shake hands with monks and nuns as people in general rarely shake hands. Instead,

      smile and bow or nod your head.

·         Females should never sit down next to a monk.

·         Shorts and skirts should be longish (below the knees). For both sexes it is okay to expose arms.

In general:

·         Don’t step over any part of a person, as it is considered rude.

·         Do accept or give things with your right hand.

 

GRATUITIES:

Tipping today has become commonplace in all countries of the world. Due to the nature of these new economies, salaries for regular folk are pitiful compared to the rising costs and inflation in their countries - let alone if we compare them to western standards.  Consequently, for the majority of the people working in the service industries (hotels, restaurants, travel), tips and gratuities have become a large source of their income. Therefore, your gracious generosity will be appreciated throughout your trip. However, unlike in many places in the west including the United States - where tips are either tacked on to your bill or demanded (regardless of the quality of service), tips in the "east" are still left to your discretion!  Therefore, no service - no tip! The choice is still yours. Nevertheless, since we repeatedly get asked to provide guidelines - here they are: 

TIPPING SUGGESTIONS:  Tips should be divided in 2 separate segments:

1) Individual tips: To staff/personnel on land portions who have earned your gratitude (Tour Directors, Local Guides leading local tours, drivers of busses, specific waiters at hotels or other ground personnel that have gone beyond the call of duty to help you). These should be provided directly to each individual service provider.

2) Pooled tips: For a group of individuals working as a team to service you on a specific portion of a trip (such as crews on ships).

 

1) INDIVIDUAL TIPPING: While you are in cities or on shore excursions, local guides and drivers will escort the local tours. The so-called standard tip should be $2 per person for the guide and $1 for the driver. A $1 tip will also be appreciated by porters. A $1 per person/per day should be left at hotels for your maids. For taxi cabs or at restaurants add 10 to 15% to your final bill amount.

If you are traveling in a group, you may have a Tour Director who stays with you from the moment you arrive to the moment you depart. He/she will lead you, educate you, entertain you and if need be, scold you - but we are certain you will find their assistance indispensable in providing you with the utmost travel experience possible! Since they are essentially at your disposal 24 hours a day, we recommend $3 per person/per day x the number of days they are with you.

2) POOLED TIPPING (CREWS ON SHIPS): For ship crews we implement a Pool System whereby all the crew members, from the Captain to the "lowly" deck hand share in the gratuities collected from all passengers. The reason for doing this is that during the course of your cruise, you will actually see and meet only about 1/2 of the crew - mainly the guides, the restaurant and bar staff and maybe your cabin maid. However, there are many more crew members you will not see whose good work is equally important to the smooth operation of the cruise - from the engine crew who sweat in the "bowels" of the ship and who keep us afloat, to the many staff and crew members who arrange for our busses & excursions, to the catering people who travel to our ports in advance of the ship in order to obtain and provide us with the best available food and beverage supplies... and on and on. Therefore, to ensure equality for all, we ask that one day before you disembark you place your total gratuities for the cruise portion in an envelope and give it to the Head Purser/Cruise Director. Suggested amount:

$7-$8 per person/per day x total number of days spent on board ($7/8 x 10 = $70/$80)

IMPORTANT FINAL NOTE ON TIPS: The above suggestions are given as guidelines ONLY!

You may leave as little or as much as you feel comfortable with. If you endear yourself to any particular crew member and wish to award them directly - please feel free to do so!

WE HOPE THAT THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HEREWITH WILL MAKE YOUR TRIP MOST ENJOYABLE! FOR FURTHER DETAILS ON BURMA/MYANMAR, PLEASE SEE OUR LIST OF SUGGESTED READING BEFORE YOUR GO!

THANK YOU AND BON VOYAGE!


 

SUGGESTED READING BEFORE YOU GO!!

 

Title of Book    -     Author              

 

“Lonely Planet Guide- Myanmar”Robert Reid and Michael Grosberg

“Burma Insight Guide”  -  Francis Doral and Clare Griffiths (produced by the Discover Channel)

“Letters from Burma”  -  Aung San Suu Kvi* and Fergal Keane

“Let’s Visit Burma”  Aung San Suu Kvi*

 *1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient

the following are available on-line from:  sales@wisdom-books.com

“Burma: A Photographic Journey, 1855-1925”Noel F. Singer

“Mandalay: Travel from the Golden City” - Paul Strachan

“Pagan: Art and Architecture of Old Burma” - Paul Strachan

“Old Rangoon: City of the Shwe Dagon” - Noel F. Singer

“Scots in Burma: Golden Times in a Golden Land” - Alister McCree

“Burma: Encountering the Land of the Buddhas” - Ellis Everarda

internet sources:                                    

www.lonelyplanet.com

www.amazon.com                                      

EMERGENCY CONTACTS:

For the hotel names and addresses used for your specific departure - please consult the CONTACT SHEET supplied with your final documents. In addition, the following address may be useful to you:

Yangon, Myanmar

Embassy of the United States of America

581 Merchant Street

Kyauktada Township, Yangon

Ph: (95 1) 379880 or 370965

Fax: (95 1) 256018

 

SOME USEFUL Burmese WORDS AND PHRASES

Good morning/afternoon/evening/night = mingalar ba

How are you? = nei kaun: ye la

Very well, thank you = nei kaun: ba de

Goodbye = thwa: bi

Yes = jou’ ke/hou’ te

No = hin. in

Thank you = kyei: zu: tin ba de:

You are welcome = kyo zo ba de:

I beg your pardon (apology) = sei’ mashi. ba ne

I am sorry, please excuse me = sei’ mashi. ba ne

A few terms and numbers (useful for bargaining):

How much? = bel lau lel

Please let me have (   ) = (   ) pay bar

Okay/Alright/Agreed = kaun: bi

One =  ti’                                            

Two = hni’                                                     

Three = thone                                                 

Four = lay                                          

Five = ngar                                                     

Six = chauk                                                    

Seven = kunit (kun)                                                   

Eight = shit                                                    

Nine = koe                                                     

Ten =tasel      (Eleven = tasel ti)

Twenty = hni sel       (Thirty = thone sel)

One hundred =ta yar                                                                                                                          

One thousand = ta htaung,

 

GOOD LUCK! (no one said it would be easyJ)

 

PACKING TIPS & SUGGESTIONS

Items You May Wish to Bring Along:

·         Facial tissues, washcloths and shower caps, as they are not supplied on board.

·         Skin cream, Sun Block and other cosmetics for sun protection.

·         Insect repellent.

·         Spare set of eyeglasses for emergencies. If you wear contact lenses, bring a pair of eyeglasses for occasions when contacts are bothersome to wear, such as in strong wind or dust.                                    

·         Medications, which are vital to your health. These should be accompanied by a letter from your doctor (signed and dated), certifying that such medications are vital to your health. Dosage should be indicated. Always pack any personal medications in your carry on luggage, not in your checked baggage.

·         Common remedies such as laxatives, indigestion tablets, aspirin and travel sickness pills (the latter will probably not be needed while in the protected waters of the inland waterways).

·         Sunglasses.

·         Umbrella (good for downpours and as sun block)

·         Bring plenty of film, digital memory and/or blank video cassettes.

·         Sewing, cosmetic, shoe shine, first aid kits, etc.

·         Laundry soap packets and flat sink stopper.

·         Diet sweeteners if you do not take sugar.

·         Instant coffee especially if you prefer decaffeinated!

·         Non-dairy cream packets for your coffee (cream not available on all ships)

·         Binoculars (excellent for viewing scenes from the river).

·         Batteries for cameras, shaver etc.

·         Transformer and plug adapters (purchased at K-Mart, Thrifty, appliance stores)

 

Average annual temperatures: (Nov to April – DRY season / May-Oct – WET season)

 

Rangoon

Mandalay

Month

Av. High/low (Fahrenheit)

Av. High/low(Fahrenheit)

Jan

89/65

82/56

Feb

91/61

88/59

Mar

96/72

96/66

Apr

96/75

101/77

May

91/77

98/78

Jun

86/75

93/78

Jul

84/75

93/78

Aug

84/75

91/77

Sep

86/75

91/75

Oct

88/75

89/74

Nov

88/74

84/66

Dec

88/66

80/57

Source: Various Internet sites

 

Updated 17 February 2012 - ST  @ Property of Value World Tours Inc. @ All rights reserved