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Masterminds of Travel Destination Fam Immersive Educational UBER Luxury FAM and Fully Escorted Voyage of Discovery

This FAM is available to Professional Travel agents and one adult companion. Space very limited.

I’m a passionate traveler - I find almost childish excitement from every new place I visit even if it isn’t too far from home. I delight in the new discovery, the hidden restaurant or a new item I find handmade by a local vendor. As a travel agency owner I often get invited to places that seem even out of my comfort zone and Myanmar earlier this year was exactly one of those invitations. I happened to be visiting a travel trade event in Thailand and the person who owns the Strand Cruise asked if I had time for a last minute adventure to go to Myanmar.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is one of the least known countries in Asia. So, feeling a little trepidation, although not one to pass up an adventure, I said "yes, I would love to".

I then embarked on one of my most surprising and uplifting travel experiences of my life.

Step back in time as we begin our journey in Myanmar. After our international flight we will sit back and enjoy the stunning Strand Hotel. An old Colonial hotel with service that makes you wonder if they would be tying your shoes next.

"The finest hostelry East of Suez" Author John Murray in his 1911 ‘Handbook for Travellers in India, Burma and Ceylon’ declared The Strand as “the finest hostelry East of Suez”, a title it has enjoyed for more than 100 years.Built in 1901 and acquired soon after by the Sarkies brothers, famed for the likes of Raffles in Singapore and The E&O in Penang, The Strand Hotel remains one of Asia’s most enduring and awe-inspiring Colonial landmarks.

Spend four nights in the Capital of Myanmar, Yangon. Yangon originated as a small town called Dagon on the outskirts of the ancient kingdom of Okkalapa. In 1755 the founder of the Third Myanmar Empire, King Alaungpaya – who reigned from upper Myanmar – conquered the southern parts of the country and renamed the town Yangon, meaning End of Strife. After the British colonised the south they turned the town it into a busy port. The British have long since departed but they left a legacy of beautiful colonial architecture and tradition.

The welcome was warm but this became a trend throughout this fascinating country. Besides being a land of spectacular landscapes and buildings, Myanmar boasts a fierce, proud, and kind population who will go to almost any lengths to make you feel welcome.

This country is as you would imagine most South East Asian countries to have been hundreds of years ago before tourism became the currency of choice. It has the look of old Asia that has been preserved by its harshly imposed self-isolation.

Todays Yangon appears lost in time and you almost feel like you have been given an early entry pass to an amazing place that will soon be overrun with tourists. Here life seems to have gone on largely unchanged for the past 2,500 years: peasants, oxcarts, the same kinds of food and clothes yet they are surrounded by beautiful gold pagodas and shrines everywhere you look.

This will be a FAM like no other. You will be with fully paying guests and treated as such however paying just a fraction of the price.
A country that has defied time and commercialization.

After a few days in Yangon we take a short flight to Bagan where our four night /5 day cruise begins on the Irrawaddy River. You will be greeted at the airport by the butler from the cruise and driven to have a surprisingly wonderful breakfast near our first visit of the day which was a Lacquer Factory. I was so surprised and interested to see how Lacquer Ware is made and how long it takes. After our action packed day we joined the boat waiting for us at the banks of the river.

Having seen the poverty along the drive during the day my expectations were low for my cruise but oh how wrong I was. The cabins are elegant, the food is divine, and the crew are so coddling that you’re surprised that they don’t tie your shoes. The top deck is a teak platform with straw chairs and a small swimming pool and elegant bar; there is enough space so that you can have reasonable privacy even when many other passengers are up there.

Each day we were greeted with grateful thanks from the people for coming to visit their country and we were made to feel very welcome and special. The area of Bagan to Mandalay has over 230,000 ancient pagodas. These vary in size from just a few feet tall to towering gold and marble structures housing giant Buddha sculptures.

On one morning many of my fellow passengers chose to take a hot air balloon ride over the temples and pagodas for one of the most spectacular sights. Looking down from the matching red balloons as you float gently along at dawn will be forever burned into my memory as one of my life highlights!

For many years Myanmar disappeared behind a wall of self-isolation, and only recently did it reopen its doors to the outside world, revealing the country’s unique culture and stunning scenery to new generations of visitors. With a diversity of terrain that ranges from ice-capped mountains in the north, to pagoda-filled plains in the centre, to miles of pristine beaches along the coast, Myanmar has something to offer at all times of the year.

Just one of the thousands of Pagodas and Stupas in Myanmar
"Elegantly dancing her way along the Ayeyarwady River, Strand explores thousands of years of culture and riveting scenic beauty while offering sophisticated elegance on board. From ship to shore, The Strand experience best showcases this magical country."

PORTHOLE CRUISE MAGAZINE

The ship casts off on day two for a relaxing cruise upstream towards Mandalay to enjoy the passing landscapes and villages along the river bank, with scenes reminiscent of the days of Rudyard Kipling and other intrepid explorers who have visited this rugged landscape over the centuries.

After a leisurely breakfast, day three brings a visit to Ava, the ancient imperial capital of successive Burmese Kingdoms from the 14th to 19th centuries. Horse carts await the ship to transport guests for a delightful ride through the naturally preserved Ava landscape and key landmarks.

After Our week in Myanmar we will then be going to one of my favourite cities Bangkok. There we meet up with Canadian Celebrity Chef Massimo Capra who will be our host for the three nights of our gastro tour of Bangkok. Massimo will accompany us as we eat our way around the flavours at the best restaurants in Thailand plus a fabulous walking street food tour ending at the restaurant owned by the ex chef to the king of Thailand.

Spend some time exploring this metropolis and melting pot of cultures where the people will greet you every time with a smile. One of the safest large cities in the world and very interesting. We will have a Thai Cooking class, visit the Summer Palace of the King and of course the famous reclining Buddha. Each evening we will experience more of the best food this city has to offer.

Our Journey starts on March 22nd 2019

Inclusions

  • Fully escorted by Lorraine Simpson and Keith Gallinger
  • 3 nights in a 5* Hotel Yangon
  • 4 nights Luxury Strand Cruise from Bagan to Mandalay including all meals and excursions, wine and beer with meals
  • 2 Evening dinners in Yangon
  • 1 lunch in Yangon
  • 2 excursions in Yangon
  • Breakfast daily
  • All ground transfers
  • Flights between Yangon and Bagan
  • Flight between Mandalay and Bangkok
  • 3 nights Bangkok at 5* hotel
  • Evening food tour in Bangkok
  • 2 optional dinners in Bangkok with Celebrity Chef Massimo Capra *
  • Full Bangkok Itinerary hosted by Chef Massimo Capra
  • 2 excursions in Bangkok
  • Optional Luxury Cooking Class in Bangkok with lunch *
  • Transportation
  • Entry into our Mastermind Agents Program for referral

Additional 3 nights in Chiang Mai Luxury 5* resort for just $399 space limited.

* Optional with Additional cost

Price per person on a double occupancy basis for the full itinerary Thailand and Myanmar FAM rate was $2300 now just $1900

Exclusions:

  1. International Flights
  2. Meals where they are not listed
  3. Alcoholic drinks unless specified.

This fabulous journey will also include a few extras from the Tourism Authority of Myanmar to thank you personally for coming an visiting this wonderful country and will be a very special treat. We will certainly be well taken care of during our time there with full itinerary to follow.

Credits:

Created with images by takeshiiiit - "bangkok thailand temple landscape old sun sky" • Max Bender - "Take the tuk tuk"

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