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Splendors of Myanmar & Bhutan

  • Destination: Asia & India, Bhutan, Myanmar
  • Duration: 18 days
  • Start: 10/18/2017
  • End: 11/04/2017
  • Price: $7495

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Combine our two extraordinary trips in two very different parts of the world, yet close by each other. Myanmar is decidedly Southeast Asian and struggling to enter the 21st century after being shut out from the world until the turn of this century. Bhutan has been closed to the world also. TV only arrived in 1999 and smartphones have not yet arrived. How refreshing! You will not want to miss these popular destinations if you are a serious traveler.
Start in Yangon, End in Bangkok.

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Day 1

Wed, Oct 18, 2017 • Depart The USA

travelForward
Depart the USA on any regularly scheduled flight to Yangon (RGN.) There are flight options into Yangon through an Asian gateway (Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong) or the Middle Eastern gateway of Doha. Otherwise, you may wish to book round-trip Bangkok and plan to overnight in Bangkok before flying into Yangon.
Day 2

Thu, Oct 19 • Arrive Yangon

mbday2Arrive Yangon International Airport where you are met by your Burmese tour guide after clearing immigration and customs control (A VISA IS REQUIRED FOR ENTRY INTO MYANMAR. IT MUST BE OBTAINED PRIOR TO DEPARTURE FROM THE USA.) and transfer to your hotel, The Strand Hotel. Renovated in 2016, this iconic hotel was built in 1901 by the famous Persian brothers, Sarkies, who also built the Singapore Raffles. Gather this evening in the hotel for a Welcome Dinner with fellow travelers.

Hotel: The Strand Hotel – 5☆
Room: Deluxe Suite
Meals: Dinner

Day 3

Fri, Oct 20 • Yangon

mbday3This morning drive to China town and walk through 17th and 18th streets to see the vegetable and fish & meat markets. Walk up one of the small side streets to see the older Chinese buildings. Discover here how Chinese noodles and Dim Sum are produced. Continue walking to Indian town and visit the Indian market. Here all kinds of spices are sold. Drive to Botathaung Pagoda, located close to Yangon River. It is said to contain Buddha relics.

Make a photo stop at the gilded Sule Pagoda, dating back over 2,000 years, and a landmark in central Yangon. Afterwards, stop at Bogyoke (Scott) Market for an opportunity to see Myanmar’s wide range of handicrafts. Stop alongside Kandawgyi (Royal) Lake to take photographs of Shwedagon Pagoda. Finally stop for sunset at the world famous Shwedagon Pagoda. Its golden stupa is the ‘heart’ of Buddhist Myanmar. The Pagoda is believed to be 2,500 years old and the central stupa is surrounded by dozens of intricately decorated buildings and statues. There are always many Burmese people praying and making offerings at Shwedagon. It is a fascinating place to people watch.

Hotel: The Strand Hotel – 5☆
Room: Deluxe Suite
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Sat, Oct 21 • Bagan

schEarly this morning, transfer to Yangon Airport for the flight to Bagan. Scattered on a large plain beside the Ayeyarwady River are the magnificent red brick temples and pagodas that are the great legacy of the kings of Bagan. Built from 1057 to 1287 AD in honor of the royal Buddhist faith, the pagodas display impressive architecture and interiors of colorful murals and exquisite Buddha statues. From the top, one can enjoy awesome views of the immense, temple-dotted plain.

We start our sightseeing from the airport with the busy local market, continuing with visits to a diverse selection of the most important pagodas and temples in Bagan. These include the Shwezigon Pagoda, a huge gilded temple built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century. Continue to the eminent Ananda Temple; one of the finest and largest pagodas, with a 170-foot shimmering gold tip plus four huge standing-Buddha images and numerous seated figures arranged around the interior gallery.
Later, visit a lacquer craftsman’s workshop in nearby Myingaba village. Sightseeing continues with visits to Manuha Temple, built in Mon style in 1059; Nanpaya Temple, a unique sandstone monument that is said to have been the palace of King Manuha; and Gubyaukgyi (Myingaba) under the protection of UNESCO because of its ancient mural paintings.

Hotel: Aureum Palace Resort – 4☆
Room: Jasmine or Orchid Lake View
Meals: Breakfastl, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Sun, Oct 22 • Bagan

mbday5OPTIONAL: There is no better or more spectacular view of the ancient kingdom of Bagan than from a hot air balloon. This world-famous archaeological site of more than a thousand Buddhist temples scattered over a plain is at its best when seen from a bird’s eye vantage, as the sun comes up gently over the Ayeyarwady River.

You will be collected from your hotel in Balloons Over Bagan’s vintage Renault bus, and provided with a light breakfast and safety briefing while the balloons inflate, before enjoying a dawn flight lasting just under one hour.
Balloons Over Bagan is operated by qualified pilots and technicians who are all registered in the United Kingdom. Cameron Balloons Ltd., the world’s largest manufacturer of high quality balloons, manufactures the equipment. Eleven balloons carrying a total capacity of 140 passengers are available for pre-booking.

This morning visit Minnanthu village by horse cart. Visit Tayoke Pyay, Payathonzu and Nandamanya Temples (noted for exquisite 13th century murals) and Kyat Kan Cave Monastery, a famous meditation centre in Bagan. Visit farming houses around Bagan.
In the afternoon, enjoy an excursion to the beautiful Nat Htaung Kyaung, a monastery famous for wood carvings, built in 1781 by a group of monks. Admire the monastery’s collection of ancient Buddha statues and lacquer boxes.

Hotel: Aureum Palace Resort – 4☆
Room: Jasmine or Orchid Lake View
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Mon, Oct 23 • Bagan | Mandalay | Amarapura | Mandalay

mbday6Transfer to Bagan Airport for a flight to Mandalay. From the airport drive to Amarapura and take a stroll on U Bein Bridge, which at over a kilometre is believed to be the longest teak bridge in the world.

In the afternoon, drive along the busy Ayeyarwady River where you see many boats loading goods as well as women washing laundry. The visit Mahamuni Pagoda, home to a spectacular Buddha image covered with thick layers of gold leaves. Stop at local workshops to see Kalaga tapestries being made, gold leaf being beaten into paper-thin pieces. From here, we go to Kuthodaw Pagoda, where the Theravada Buddhist scriptures are inscribed on 729 marble slabs, giving rise to its nickname ‘the world’s largest book’. Next visit beautiful teak-carved Shwenandaw Monastery, the only Royal Palace building to survive World War II bombing. Atop Mandalay Hill lie glittering glass-studded temple walls which reflect the evening glow as you watch the sunset.

Hotel: Mandalay Hill Resort – 4☆
Room: Deluxe Mandalay Hill View
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

Tue, Oct 24 • Mandalay | Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymo) | Mandalay

mbday7Drive up into the hills from Mandalay (80 Km, about 2 hours) for a full day visit of Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo), a former British hill station. Visit the local market and drive through the charming town in a horse-drawn ‘stage coach’, giving you the chance to admire the red brick and half-timbered houses, complete with English-style gables, turrets and chimneys.

In the afternoon, visit the tiny Forestry Museum (if open) and the National Botanical Kandawgyi Gardens, which were laid out by Sir Harcourt Butler, a former Governor of Burma – the flower beds are similar to those you would find in an English country garden! Proceed to Peik Chin Myaung Caves, since ancient times a Buddhist shrine. Return to Mandalay in the early evening.

Hotel: Mandalay Hill Resort – 4☆
Room: Deluxe Mandalay Hill View
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8

Wed, Oct 25 • Mandalay | Heho | Inle Lake

mbday8After an early breakfast you are transferred to Mandalay airport for a domestic flight to Heho. Transfer from Heho airport down into the valley to Nyaungshwe on the edge of Inle Lake (approx. 1hour). Stop along the way to visit Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery. Board a private local boat to take you to your hotel, the Inle Princess Resort.

In the afternoon, take a long-tailed boat across the lake to Indaing at the western end of Inle for one of the most scenic trips on the Lake. Passing through the busy village of Yawama, the largest on the Lake, and photograph the many channels and tall teak houses on stilts. Enter a long tree-lined canal towards Indaing Jetty where farmers cultivate the land on either side under the backdrop of the Shan Hills. After disembarking we will take a brief 15 minute walk through Indaing village to reach the 14th-18th century pagoda ruins of Nyaung Ohak. Many pagodas here remain charmingly unrenovated with plants and even small trees growing out of them making them very eerily atmospheric. A covered walkway, popular with souvenir stalls leads up to Shwe Inn Thein Paya, a complex of weather beaten zedi (stupas). Returning to the river jetty we take our long-tailed boat back along the canal to the Lake.

Hotel: Inle Princess Resort
Room: Lake House
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9

Thu, Oct 26 • Inle Lake

mbday9Explore one of the 5-day markets (on market day only). By visiting 5-day markets, you will get insight into the life style of the ethnic Pa-O, Danu and Intha inhabitants who come to these markets to sell their goods. During today’s excursion by boat on picturesque Inle Lake, you will see the famous leg rowers, the typical floating gardens where fruit and vegetables are grown, local methods of fishing and the colorful village life. A highlight is often the visit to the traditional village of Paukpar, with its neat rows of bamboo houses and where we may be able to stop and visit a family for Shan tea.

In the afternoon we visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State and the boat construction workshop at Nampan village. Also see some traditional handicrafts – silk weaving on wooden handlooms in Inpawkon village, a cheroot workshop and a blacksmith shop. Continue by boat to visit Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries on the lake and where inside its large wooden meditation hall there are over 200 year old ancient Buddha statues. Returning back to the hotel the beauty of sunset over Inle Lake enchants all visitors.

Hotel: Inle Princess Resort
Room: Lake View Room
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10

Fri, Oct 27 • Heho | Yangon | Bangkok

mbday10Transfer to the airport for your flight to Yangon. Connect with international flights to Bangkok. Transportation and our guide will be available if we need to spend some time touring before our flights. Upon arrival in Bangkok, we will transfer to the Novotel Hotel for overnight. Dinner this evening is on your own.

Hotel: Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi
Meals: Breakfast

Day 11

Sat, Oct 28 • Bangkok

mbday11

Hotel: Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi
Meals: Breakfast

Day 12

Sun, Oct 29 • Bangkok | Paro | Thimpu

After breakfast, check out of hotel and transfer to the airport for flight to Paro. The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in the entire Himalayas. The journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom. Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air. After immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will be met by our representative and welcomed to Bhutan. (A VISA IS REQUIRE FOR ENTRY INTO BHUTAN. IT IS ARRANGED BY OUR BHUTANESE PARTNERS AND STAMPED INTO YOUR PASSPORT UPON ARRIVAL IN BHUTAN.)

Afterwards drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan with an en-route stop at Chuzom, the confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers. Three different style of stupas, Tibetan, Nepalese and Bhutanese, adorn this confluence. Shortly before reaching Chuzom, you will see on your left Tschogang Lhakhang, “the temple of the excellent horse”. It is a private temple, built in 15th century, as the result of visitation from Balaha, the excellent horse, a manifestation of Chenrezig, the compassionate Buddha.

After lunch, visit Textile Museum which provides fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life, followed by visit to Simply Bhutan – an exclusive project under the Bhutan Youth Development Fund – it is a living Museum and Studio encapsulating the cultural heritage of the Bhutanese people. The infrastructure portrays ancient Bhutanese architecture which is being lost to modernization.

The evening is free in Thimphu. * Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu (Altitude 7800 ft).

Hotel: Room: Meals:
The Taj Tashi *
Deluxe Room
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13

Mon, Oct 30 • Thimpu

Our sightseeing program starts with a visit to King’s Memorial Chorten which is continuously circumambulated by people, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who wished to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace.

Then proceed to visit Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang). You can pay here your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley.
Afterwards take a short drive (15 km) to Pangri Zampa, 16th century one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan located just north of Thimphu. Here is a monastic school where Buddhist students learn Lamaism and astrology based on Buddhist philosophy.

After lunch, visit to Trashichhodzong, an impressive fortress/monastery housing a Secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot and central monk body.
Stop at the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts shops, to browse through examples of Bhutan’s fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewellery, interesting items made from local materials.

This is followed by interesting weekend market of Thimphu. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Hotel: The Taj Tashi
Room: Deluxe Room
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14

Tue, Oct 31 • Thimpu | Punakha (75km, 3hrs Drive)

Morning after breakfast visit to the National Library, which houses an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern Academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion. Then we visit the nearby Zorig Chusum, commonly known as the Painting school, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.

Afterwards drive to Punakha via Dochu-la pass (10,130 ft) stopping briefly take in the view and admire the chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m ), Kangphugang (7,170 m ), Zongphugang (7,060 m ), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana – finally Gangkar puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.
Afternoon take a short excursion to Chimi Lakhang, situated on a hillock in the center of the valley, is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humor, songs and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings and due to this was also known as the ‘Divine Madman’. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and want one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. It is about 30 minute walk across field from the road to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’. It then follows a tiny stream downhill to Yoaka and across more fields before making a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang.

Punakha (alt. 4265ft) served as the capital of Bhutan before Thimphu and is still the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the chief abbot). Blessed with temperate climate and owing to its natural drainage from Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers, the Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fruits.

Evening at leisure in Punakha. *Dinner and overnight at the Hotel in Punakha (Altitude 4265 feet).

Hotel: Uma Punakha*
Room: Deluxe Room
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15

Wed, Nov 1 • Punakha | Paro (125km, 4-1/2 hrs Drive

After breakfast visit the Punakha Dzong, built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative center of the region. Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan’s history. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by Bhutan’s fourth King.

Later drive back to Paro descending back down from Dochu La, follow the way back up the dramatic Wang Chhu and Paro Chhu river valleys, before crossing through Paro Town towards the north end of the valley.
Upon arrival in Paro check in at the hotel.

The beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates within itself a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries, National Museum and the country’s only airport. Paro is also one of the most fertile valley in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields. This afternoon you will explore Paro and its surrounding.

Start with a visit of Ta Dzong, originally built as a Watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armor, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. After the visit walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning (“fortress of the heap of jewels”), which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala. *Dinner and Overnight at the hotel in Paro (Altitude 7200ft).

Hotel: Uma Paro*
Rooms: Deluxe Room
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16

Thu, Nov 2 • Paro

The morning is reserved to visit Taktsang Monastery (5hrs hike total), one of the fabulous locations in the world. The Taktsang Monastery is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor.

It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building, but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendor.

On the way back to the hotel, will visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.

We enjoy our Farewell Dinner at the hotel in Paro.

Hotel: Uma Paro
Rooms: Deluxe Room
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17

Fri, Nov 3 • Paro | Bangkok | USA

After breakfast transfer to the airport for onward flight to Bangkok. Upon arrival in Bangkok. Connect with your flight back to the USA.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 18

Sat, Nov 4 • Arrive the USA

Arrive the USA.

Hotels

The Strand Hotel – 5☆

5star

Built in 1901, The Strand quickly became one of Asia’s most prestigious hotels, hosting such guests as Prince Edward, George Orwell and Noël Coward. Today the white-washed façade, teak-framed windows and elegant interiors are newly splendid, and transport to the bygone era when Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham were in residence.

Aureum Palace Resort – 4☆

4star

Set within Bagan Archaeological Preservation Zone amongst the ancient temples of The Kingdom of Bagan this expansive resort and luxury spa set amidst 27 acres of tropical landscaped gardens offers the ultimate in relaxation for guests seeking a unique experience for the historical traveler.

Mandalay Hill Resort – 4☆

4star

Handily placed in a beautifully manicured jungle at the base of Mandalay Hill, the city’s best resort hotel has a lovely outdoor pool and a breathtaking spa area that feels like an Indiana Jones treasure trove. At Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel, each room has a garden view.

Inle Princess Resort – 5☆

5star

Lapped by the eastern fringe of Inle Lake and backed by the blue peaks of the Shan Hills in northern Burma, this is one of the few up-country hotels that combines five-star service with a real commitment to local cultures. It’s also one of the few not connected to the old regime.

Novotel Airport Hotel

5star

Only Novotel is situated right next to the airport terminal. A leisurely 5 mins stroll via air-conditioned underground walkway. The hotel boasts five restaurants and bars, VOUS Spa, outdoor swimming pool, fitness center.

The Taj Tashi

5star

Guest rooms adorned with swirls of hand-painted murals of clouds – a recurring motif in Bhutanese art – take in sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. Elegant, expansive and luxuriously appointed, the rooms, in the manner of all Taj Hotels, pamper guests with the finest amenities.

Uma Punakha

5star

From its cosmic position over the Mo Chu River, the nine-room sanctuary has perhaps the most extraordinary views of any hotel in Bhutan: below, the lazy river snakes through emerald paddy fields; in the far distance, the snow-capped Himalayas soar above the clouds.

Uma Paro

5star

Perched on a pine-covered Himalayan mountainside, the elegant and imposing Uma by Como, Paro hotel is one of Bhutan’s best boutique properties. From its peaceful surroundings – the pool offers postcard-beating views. Delicious dining, local art and the blissful Como Shambhala spa complete the picture.

Rates & Facts

Rates Double Occupancy Single Occupancy
Per Person $7495 $10495

The following flights are additional:

Flight Coach Class Business Class
Yangon | Bangkok $420 Not available
Bangkok | Paro | Bangkok $900 $1200

All airfares are subject to change until ticketed.

Inclusions
  • Accommodation in sharing twin as listed in the Itinerary
  • All meals from Day 2 through Breakfast on Day 15, except for Day 10 (Bangkok)
  • All transfers and sightseeing as required per the itinerary
  • Intra-tour flights within Myanmar as needed
  • English speaking accompanying guide throughout in Myanmar
  • Coda Tour Manager based on minimum participation
  • Government and Taxes
  • Entrance Fees for sites listed in the itinerary
  • Pre-departure assistance & final document packet
Not included

International airfares from USA and roundtrip Bangkok|Paro|Bangkok. (These are sold separately.); Insurance of any kind / medical expenses; Beverages with meals; Expenses of personal nature (laundry, telephone/fax calls, camera/video fees etc.); Gratuities to guides, drivers, hotels, porters; All the extras mentioned above as ‘Supplements’ if any.

Myanmar Visa

The Myanmar visa must be obtained prior to departure from the USA. Information about obtaining your visa on line will be sent to you approximately 60 days prior to departure.

Bhutan Visa

The Bhutan visa is included in the program price and will be obtained by Coda Tours and emailed to you.

Myanmar

Weather

Elevation: 95 feet | Latitude: 16 54N | Longitude: 096 11E

Yangon Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
High 89 94 99 99 86 85 86 88 89 88 85 87
Low 65 67 71 78 76 77 76 76 76 79 73 67
Rainfall 0.2 0.1 0.3 0.6 11.9 21.6 22.0 23.7 14.5 8.1 2.4 0.3

Elevation: 252 feet | Latitude: 21 56N | Longitude: 096 05E

Mandalay Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
High 82 88 96 100 98 93 93 92 91 89 85 81
Low 56 60 68 77 79 79 79 79 79 78 65 59
Rainfall 0.2 0.1 0.3 0.6 11.9 21.6 22.0 23.7 14.5 8.1 2.4 0.3

Visas & Passports

The Government of Burma strictly controls travel to, from, and within Burma. You must have a valid passport with at least six months remaining validity and a visa to enter Burma. You should apply for your visa at a Burmese embassy or consulate abroad before you arrive in Burma.

Currency Exchange

The Burmese Kyat is the currency of Myanmar (Burma). The currency code for Kyats is MMK
EXCHANGE AS OF OCTOBER 29, 2013
K974 MMK=$1.00

Time Zone

Myanmar’s time zone is UTC+06:30
New York 12:00PM= Yangon 10:30 PM

Shopping

There are lots of things to buy in Myanmar including antiques, but be aware that there are strict regulations regarding their export. The same restrictions apply to archaeological artifacts. There are some wonderful items made from bamboo available. Coconut masks make for interesting decorations and come in all shapes and sizes and are popular gifts to take home. The most sought-after embroidery is the Kalaga, a traditionally crafted tapestry depicting Buddhist scenes.

Language

The Burmese language is the official language of Burma. Burmese is the native language of the Bamar and related sub-ethnic groups of the Bamar, as well as that of some ethnic minorities in Burma like the Mon.

Health

Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

Gratuities

Tips are very common in Asia, but not generally in Myanmar. For waiters, luggage porters, maids, bus drivers, taxi drivers and tour guide gratuities are a nice addition to their meager wages.

Airport Taxes

International and domestic airport taxes are charged. Most of the time, these taxes are already in your air ticket.

Clothing

Do not wear shorts. No locals wear them, and the less skin/hairiness showing, the better. Please exercise some modesty in this country, likewise, women should forget skimpy camisole tops and cleavage-baring blouses.

Electricity

Myanmar uses AC220~250V and 50Hz. The electricity is mainly powered by the hydropower plants and some small-scale gas & diesel turbines. The blackouts are common from December to June every year, and this is the time where the people use electricity on quota basis. However, most tourist class hotels have backup generators to provide at least 12-hour per day electricity. This may also be varying to the prevailing fuel costs.

Bhutan

Weather

Elevation: 7544 feet Latitude: 27 32N Longitude: 089 43E

THIMPHU JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
HIGH 54 57 61 68 72 75 66 77 73 71 64 58
LOW 27 33 39 44 55 59 56 60 59 50 41 30
RAINFALL 0.6 1.6 0.9 2.3 4.8 9.6 14.5 13.5 6.0 1.5 0.3 0.1

Elevation: 15128 feet Latitude: 27 38N Longitude: 089 50E

PUNAKHA JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
HIGH 61 67 70 75 81 88 89 89 88 85 82 72 59
LOW 39 41 48 53 58 67 70 67 68 66 65 46 46
RAINFALL 7.3 15.0 25.7 33.2 29.9 54.4 100.0 106.2 60.9 24.1 6.3 2.2

Visas & Passports

You will need a passport valid for at least six months following the date of your arrival to Bhutan and a visa to enter and exit Bhutan. All visas are approved from Thimphu and are only issued to tourists booked with a local licensed tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent.

Bhutan Visa

In order to process Bhutan visa we require clear readable colour copy of passport (page containing passport no and face picture in JPEG or PDF format) at least 30 days prior to date of entry into Bhutan. Remaining validity of passport should be minimum 6 months from the date of entry into Bhutan.

Currency Exchange

The Bhutanese Ngultrum is the currency of Bhutan. The currency code for Ngultrum is BTN.
EXCHANGE AS OF October 29, 2013
NU.61.39=$1.00

Time Zone

Bhutan’s time zone is UTC+ 06:00
When it is 12:00 PM in New York it is 10:00 PM Thimphu

Shopping

There will be plenty of things to spend your money on and you’ll have ample time for shopping. Common purchases of items made IN Bhutan include: tapestries, thangkas, traditional clothing, and some food items (such as tea and snacks). Bhutan is not a manufacturing-haven. Many of the items in the souvenir shops are imported from Thailand, India, and Nepal. And they are EXPENSIVE. Even items manufactured in Bhutan are expensive. For those of you used to shopping in the developing world, readjust your expectations here.

Language

Dzongkha is Bhutan’s official language. It literally means ‘the language spoken in the dzongs and administrative centers in all the districts of Bhutan’. It has its roots in the old-Tibetan language, spoken by the people of Western Bhutan. In 1992 the first edition of a book was published, describing the grammar of Dzongkha. Besides Dzongkha there are two major languages spoken by the people of Bhutan: Sharchokpa (spoken in Eastern Bhutan) and Nepali (spoken in Southern Bhutan).
Because of the ethnic diversity of the Bhutanese people, there are also 19 dialects and languages spoken throughout the country. You will be able to communicate with many in English though; it’s the instruction language in schools and therefore widely spoken.

Health

Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

Gratuities

Tipping is a purely personal matter. We leave it up to you as to whether you want to give a gratuity to your guides and drivers. However, if doing so, we recommend that you place the gratuity in an envelope. We will provide guidelines for tipping in final documents.

Clothing

We expect visitors to dress modestly and respectfully especially if you are planning a visit to the monasteries, Dzongs and other religious institutions. Long pants and long sleeved tops should be worn when visiting such places. As a mark of respect, be kind enough to remove your hats, caps etc. as you enter religious and administrative premises, institutions and in any other place that you come across with the national flag being raised.

Airport Taxes

International and domestic airport taxes are charged. Most of the time, these taxes are already in your air ticket.

Electricity

All major towns are well connected with electricity that runs on 220/240 volts with round hole two-pin and three-pin power outlets.
It is recommended that you bring flat-to-round pin converters for your electronics if necessary, however, most hotels offer multi plug sockets. Bhutan is a carbon neutral destination. Our energy is clean and green generated by hydro power.