What to Expect
Each Vantage Adventure is designed to help you fully experience local culture and to get out and explore while keeping active. We find these are the two most fulfilling and rewarding ways to transform any trip into an adventure, and into the experience of a lifetime. To that end, we’ve rated each trip to indicate the level of cultural immersion and physical activity, with “1” being the lowest and “3” being the highest.
CULTURAL IMMERSION: The different customs, friendly people, and rich history of Burma make this tour unique. Burma is a relatively poor Asian country, and until recently has been closed to the outside world. Burmese people practice Buddhism and uphold traditions of hospitality and optimism, so you will encounter good service wherever you travel. Few people speak English on the street, so you will need a good map and your hotel card when leaving the hotel on your own.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Sightseeing is done via air-conditioned coaches with local guides. Porterage services are not available inside the airport area and passengers will need to carry their carry-on bags and sometimes even checked bags from the bus to group check-in counter (however, luggage carts are available free of charge). With a lack of unpaved roads, uneven footpaths are commonly used especially in small towns and villages. This tour is not appropriate for handicapped individuals or those with walking difficulties. Please note that the cruise is not handicap accessible. The amount of stair climbing to embark and disembark the ship will be dependent on the river’s water level. To fully enjoy this tour, passengers must be in good physical condition.
PACING: During this adventure, you'll cruise for 9 nights aboard the RV Irrawaddy Explorer, and enjoy 3 nights in at a hotel in Yangon. This itinerary is well balanced, with daily shore excursions. All meals on board ship are included. There is also one long motorcoach transfer from Prome to Yangon that will take 6 hours, including time for rest stops.
WHAT TO WEAR: Shorts, short skirts or revealing clothing are not appropriate, especially when visiting temples or any religious site. Myanmar is a conservative culture. We recommend you bring sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, hat, rain coat, and sensible walking shoes which can be easily removed when required.
SPECIAL FACTORS: The best time for Burma travel November through February when there is seldom rain and temperatures are pleasant. During monsoon season, which lasts from June through early October, expect short periods of heavy rain in the afternoon and hot, humid weather. We recommend you bring a rain coat. Due to high temperatures, we also recommend bringing comfortable sandals for temple visits. All hotels feature modern facilities, and are air conditioned to meet the best International standards. You'll find many of the local dishes are very spicy because chili is a popular ingredient. You will encounter poor road conditions, including bumpy and unpaved surfaces.
Local Conditions: While Vantage can control our travelers’ experience while aboard our privately chartered, Deluxe river ship, conditions ashore in Burma — where the public infrastructure is still in the early stages of development — are out of our control. While you will witness a unique and exciting time in this Asian country, you may find conditions, facilities, and services rudimentary by Western standards. The travel industry is developing gradually in Burma — creating a novelty that draws many travelers to visit. However, while traveling in remote areas, you may encounter electrical blackouts, rough road conditions, and only basic (but clean) accommodations.
In addition to Burma's less developed infrastructure and educational system, its gentle Buddhist customs and lifestyle result in a slower daily pace than that of Western countries and most other Asian countries. To maximize your enjoyment, we encourage patience and calm when dealing with local people, customs, and services. Because the open expression of emotion and anger are considered taboo here, Burma is a particularly laid-back and pleasant destination to visit.
Mobile: There is no international roaming in Myanmar, so mobile phones from other countries currently do not operate there. Older CDMA-based (800mhz or 450mhz) cell phones are your best bet in order to make and receive calls in Myanmar. To access the cellular network using a CDMA-based phone, you will have to buy or rent a local SIM card at the hotel's shop. Newer GSM-based cell phones will most likely not work, as the network is quite slow.
Internet: In Yangon, you will be able to check your email at hotel business centers and airports for a fee. However, the Internet connection will be very slow.
Telephone: Calling home via hotel phone will be very expensive.
Gifts & Donations: While traveling in Myanmar, in some areas you may encounter poverty and beggars. Please ask your Adventure Leader before giving out any gifts or donations. When visiting a local school or village pagoda, your Adventure Leader will buy a gift on behalf of the group to donate.