Un-Tour To Myanmar
Gain deep insight to the Golden Land and experience this country like never before.
A quiet sunrise looking out over hundreds of ancient temples that dot the landscape. Quietly paddling through floating villages and vegetable farms on shallow Inle Lake. Watching Yangon come to life on the local train around this bustling city. That’s a small taste of what you’re in for.
We’ll be wrapping ourselves in the culture, with guides and contacts who will take us to those secret places unknown to most tourists and groups. If an amazing opportunity comes up, we’ll have the freedom to take it. And we won’t be rushed because we’re not following a checklist because you can’t plan when opportunity will come our way. Instead, you’ll be able to really get a feel for the country both with our guidance and with the time and freedom to go exploring on your own.
Why We Love this Tour
Two reasons. One: Myanmar is simply a fascinating country. It’s got diverse cultures, delicious food, extraordinary sites, a beautiful landscape, and some of the most friendly people I’ve met anywhere in the world. Two: This tour has been extensively researched and planned by Dustin Main, who has been to Myanmar more than a dozen times to work on a photo documentary project, made countless friends and contacts there, and knows just the right places to be at just the right times (to avoid the tourists groups and get the best photos). This trip will engage you with the local culture and people like no other small group tour. It’s got just the right amount of adventure and no doubt you’re going to love it.
- Day 1-3YangonWe'll start our journey in the former capitol of Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon. Here will dive into the heart of the city by taking the Circle Train around, watching the neighborhoods slowly pass by, and the locals jump on to go about their day. After, we'll meet an activist and former political prisoner to hear about the sacrifices many have made to secure the route to democracy for the Myanmar people. As the sun begins to fall, we'll head out to the docks on the Yangon river to watch the sun drop below the horizon. On January 11th, we'll fly north to Nyaung U, our base to explore the temples of Bagan.
- Day 3-8Bagan / Nyaung UOur base for exploring the temples of Bagan will be the bustling village of Nyaung U. We'll take advantage of an excellent opportunity to visit this extraordinary place before the crowds arrive when Bagan becomes a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the next couple of years. Together we'll watch the sun come up from atop a 1000 year old temple, discovering paintings preserved on walls for centuries, and discover the ruins by e-bike (which could be the most fun you have all year). We'll visit and support social enterprises and see what they are doing to help push Myanmar forward, especially for those most at need. Oh, and you can bet we'll be eating plenty of my favorite Myanmar dessert Ma Gi Bi Lay (Tamarind Flakes) that are extra special in the region. On January 15th, we'll head by private bus to the hill station in the Shan Hills named Kalaw.
- Day 8-10KalawNestled in the cool Shan hills, the hill station of Kalaw will be a nice change of pace after our time in Yangon. We'll check out the local market, take a wander in the nearby hills, and get our first taste of Shan cuisine. This place is so popular with our group, we've extended it another day from previous tours. On October 23rd, we'll take the train through the hills of Shan State en route to Nyaungshwe.
- Day 10-13Inle Lake / NyaungshweJanuary 17th - 21st After taking in the cool mountain air in Kalaw, we'll move to the natural beauty of Inle Lake. This shallow lake is home to dozens of villages along its shores and on its waters, and more than a handful of different ethnic peoples for whom the lake provides. With mountains on either side to frame our journey, we'll experience the lake in a multitude of ways; from the special 5-day market which moves everyday from village to village, to a canoe ride with the famed Intha people who paddle standing on one leg (you have to see it to believe it). We'll partake in farm-fresh eats and delicious local meals. Yum. On January 21st, we'll fly back to Yangon.
- Day 13-14YangonArriving back to Yangon later in the afternoon, we'll head out for a final dinner together and reminisce about the good times and memories from the past 2 weeks, while seeing who bought the most tamarind flakes and longyi to take home. Finally, we'll visit Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the most famous sites in Myanmar.
- Day 14Depart From YangonYou'll have the day to do what you like, be it last-minute shopping at the famous Bogyoke Market, enjoying a wander around Inya Lake, or hitting up the tea shop one last time for a sweet "laphet yeh" (sweet tea). We'll help organize a ride to the airport for you once we've all exchanged e-mails and hugs.
Traveling independently in Myanmar can be great if you have the time and the patience, but decoding the beautiful puzzle of this country takes time… time that most just don’t have to unlock the secrets. Years… that’s the time Dustin has put in to get under the skin of this place to find out just how it ticks.
We want you to experience the Myanmar that we know and love. The one where we don’t just watch from afar, but we learn and participate (if you like) to deepen your understanding of this land. We’ll do that by picking up a bit of the local language and maybe throwing on a traditional longyi to wear around town while we wander (seriously comfortable).
The tour is purposefully small, with a maximum of 8 people. In addition to Dustin, we’ll have his team of Myanmar guides and contacts at our disposal. Yes, 2-3 guides for 8 people means that questions get answered, and we can split off into even smaller groups instead of crowding around like most tours.
Dustin’s been photographing around the world for the past 7 years, and the past 5 in Myanmar. His work in Myanmar has been displayed in print, galleries, and licensed around the world. He knows the great spots (he’s literally writing a book on it), so don’t forget your camera. This isn’t a photo tour, but photographer or not, we’re confident that you’ll come home with some of the best photos from any trip you’ve ever had.
Local, local, local. We’ll be staying in nice accommodation that is locally owned by families, and not the government or cronies. We’ll be eating in local restaurants that make fresh, delicious food. And we’ll be meeting the local people, so when you leave the country, you won’t have just “seen” but you will understand what makes this place so amazing.
Travel in Myanmar can be exhausting, and we’re big fans of spending more time in fewer places. So instead of trying to hit every city or town, we’ll be spending more time in a few spectacular places instead. This will allow us to go deeper into each location, instead of spending all of our time sitting in a bus or a plane going place to place.
What if I have paid, and then I change my mind. Can I get a refund?
Sometimes the best-made plans need to be put on hold, or canceled. Unfortunately, we will incur costs from the moment your seat is reserved. However, we don’t want to act all big and corporate, so this our promise to you:
– If you cancel, $500 USD ($600 CAD) of any ticket price is non-refundable.
– If you cancel within 60 days of the tour start date, you will lose 100% of your ticket price (this is due to the difficulties in finding a replacement for you at such short notice).
– If you cancel between 60 and 90 days before the tour start date you will lose 50% of your ticket price.
BUT – we will always do the right thing, so, if we fill your seat after you cancel, we will refund at least 80% of your full ticket price.
Why Un-Tour to Myanmar on Unquote Travel?
We’ve known Dustin for about 5 years now and traveled on his Un-Tour to Myanmar in November 2017. He is a perfectionist and this trip is exquisitely manicured. You don’t want to travel to Myanmar with anybody else and we are thrilled to be offering you this opportunity on Unquote Travel. Dustin has very similar travel values as us and know he’s “doing the right thing” when it comes to responsible travel and running a business.
Your trip Leader and Guide
This Un-Tour to Myanmar was conceived, researched, designed, and is lead by Dustin Main, the voice behind the blog, A Skinny Escape. Over more than a dozen trips to Myanmar over the past five years, he has created the photo documentary project “This Myanmar Life“. Dustin has enlisted excellent guides along the course of this trip, each of who will bring you closer to the places and people of this fascinating country.