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International Mission Excerpts - 2012 - Myanmar

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NECA International Study Mission to Tour Myanmar, Thailand, and Singapore

NECA's 2012 International Study Mission is a study in contrasts. Myanmar (formerly called "Burma") is a resource-rich country but was left underdeveloped during the 49-year reign of a military junta that ended just last year and is only now opening to western visitors and business interests. Singapore is a thriving financial center that has enjoyed a massive increase in wealth during the same period. Thailand has been out-pacing its neighbors in terms of economic growth since the 1980s and is now a major exporter.

Construction site visits and meetings with local contractors (including members of the Federation of Asian and Pacific Electrical Contractors) will bring out the fascinating differences between these nations and intrigue tour participants. In fact, "fascinating" and "intriguing" are adjectives that apply to the entire 2012 International Study Mission to Mynamar, Thailand, and Singapore October 17-November 2. In addition to learning about the electrical contracting industry and our industry counterparts in these countries, participants will enjoy great amenities, outstanding sight-seeing, and exotic adventures throughout the trip.

It begins upon arrival in Bangkok at the Shangri-La Hotel, a luxurious five-star hotel in the heart of the city. The next day, an afternoon trip down the Chao Phaya River takes in Pak Klong, the biggest fruit and flower market in Bangkok; Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Bangkok's most well-known landmark; the Thai Royal Palace, home to all the kings of Siam (except Yul Bynner!) since 1782; and the  celebrated Temple of the Emerald Buddha

Following a visit to traditional Thai teak homes on Sunday, an overnight ride aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express takes us to the River Kwai Bridge Station, where we disembark for a guided tour and an overview of the history of the Thailand-Burma railway and the bridge made famous in books and movies.  

The next day's agenda includes a trip to colonial Georgetown, capital of Malaysian island nation Penang, where a guided introductory tour will take in pre-World War II mosques, elaborately-roofed temples, churches, bazaars and colorful shophouses. Another trip aboard the E&O luxury train gets us back to Singapore and the Shangri-La Hotel, with a guided tour of the city planned for Thursday. The next day, NECA contractors meet with members of Federation of Asian and Pacific Electrical Contractors and visit active construction sites in bustling, rapidly expanding Singapore.

And, on the next day, Saturday, October 27, participants fly to Yagon (Rangoon), take a connecting flight to Myanmar (Burma), check in at the Mandalay Hill Resort, and later enjoy a guided afternoon tour of awe-inspiring Mandalay, a major pilgrimage site for Burmese Buddhists that is famed for its abundance of pagodas, monasteries, and breath-taking views. The next day's daytrip covers Maymyo (Pyin Oo Lwin), a former British hill station.

On Monday, October 29, tour-goers fly to Bagan. After check-in at the Aureum Palace Hotel, it's time to explore this ancient city. On tap for the next day is an afternoon flight to Yangon, the former capital of Burma, before arriving at the majestic Strand Hotel, a stately Victorian icon described as "a Yangon heritage hotel without peer." The sun sets on a visit to Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar's most revered shrine.

A full day to explore Yangon follows. We'll visit downtown's frenetic markets and fading colonial buildings by trishaw and by foot. And, yes, we'll shop in one of Yangon's colorful bizarres. This afternoon, contractors visit an active construction site and meet with local contractors.

The trip wraps up with a return flight to Bangkok and the Shangri-La Hotel. The memories last a lifetime!

Download the brochure/reservation form under the link (below) to "Related Documents." (Note: Receipt of final payment is due in the office of American Travel Association (ATA) no later than August 18.) If you need additional information, please contact Geoff Robertson at ATA (phone:706-663-2171; e-mail: travelata@aol.com).

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