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First Half of Myanmar Semester Course Itinerary

Dear students and families,

As we prepare to greet students at the Bangkok Airport in just two days, we wanted to take this time to post a more detailed itinerary for our half of our course in Myanmar.  Please use this itinerary in conjunction with the previously posted tentative itinerary, which is also up on the yak board.

We are so looking forward to meeting you students soon!

September 17

The group finally unites all together at the Bangkok airport.  After some initial ice breakers and getting to know you activities, we will get settled into our guesthouse in the bustling city of Bangkok.

Sept. 17-20

We will spend three full days in Bangkok exploring the city’s sites and getting to know one another.  We will also be making two trips to visit the Myanmar Embassy to get our visas in order.  We may get the chance for visits from some guest speakers who work with Myanmar refugees in Thailand and Bangkok.  We will also begin learning survival Burmese language skills and start talking about Myanmar culture, history, and current events.

Sept. 20

We will be flying from Bangkok to Mandalay, Myanmar on this morning.  Once in Mandalay we will take a bus to our orientation site in Bagan.

Sept. 21-24

Among the beautiful ancient temples of Bagan near the shores of the Irrawaddy River, we will start to build our group culture, work through group dynamics, learn what it means to be on a Dragons trip, and start exploring Myanmar.

Sept. 25-26

We will be visiting the extinct volcanic Mount Popa to explore the monastery there, which is dedicated to Nat culture, the ancient, pre-Buddhist system of animist beliefs that defined traditional Myanmar culture and continues to be a big part of Myanmar life to the present day.

Sept. 27

Travel day to Shan State.

Sept. 28-29

In Kalaw township we will be getting introduced to Shan culture, history, and language with Ko Harri, a local of Indian descent who has interacted with many Dragons groups over the years and call this town home.  We will also be getting ready for our first homestay experience in Sin Leh Village!

Sept. 30 – Oct. 9

Homestay in Sin Leh village.  During our time here we will interact with our host families and communities and get an in-depth look into Shan rural life and traditions.  We will also be having lessons and classes on various topics, ranging from Myanmar history, Burmese language, leadership and group culture, and Buddhism.  After a long stay, we will have a farewell party with our hosts on Oct. 9.

Oct. 10-12

We will be trekking during this time from Sin Leh Village to the shores of Inle Lake.  It will be a time to stretch our legs and see a bit of the natural scenery and countryside.  We will be passing through some monasteries and villages along the way and will get a chance to eat and perhaps stay at them overnight.

Oct. 13-14

We will cap off our hike with a two day stay at Nyaungshwe Township, along the banks of Inle Lake, where we will have some guest lecturers and talk about sustainable tourism and development and explore the beautiful scenery.

Oct. 15

We will be traveling to Mandalay on this day.

Oct. 16-25

During this time we will be staying at Phaung Daw Oo, which is one of the largest monastic schools in Myanmar with over 6,000 students.  During our time in Mandalay, we will get the chance to learn and practice our Burmese, pursue individual topics of study, delve deeper in youth culture and participatory politics in Myanmar, and have discussions and adventures with the local Pre-College Program students at Phaung Daw Oo Monastery.

Oct. 26-29

We will travel to nearby Pyin Oo Lwin to explore topics of colonialism and sustainable farming and development.  This is an old quiet British colonial town where we will also be spending a few days re-connecting as a group to debrief and process all that we have seen and experienced so far.  This will be a time to set goals for the rest of the course and to give feedback to each other and the group so we continue to improve.

Please stay tuned later in the course for a itinerary for the months of November and December.  If you want a general idea of where we will be and what we will be doing during that time please look back at our tentative itinerary yak that we posted earlier.

Bon Voyage students,

Your instructors,

Parker, Nikki & Siang