Hi all! I'm planning my next solo trip to Asia and this time I want to stop in Myanmar for more than just a visa run from Thailand.
I'm planning to fly in to Yangon from Bangkok and spend 5-7 days travelling around. I know it's not a lot of time but I'd like to make the most of it. Can any one recommend an itenirary for that amount of time? I normally don't go on packaged tours but I wonder if it's a good idea in Myanmar given the limited time I have?
Visiting Bagan has been on my to-do list for a while but since my budget probably won't have room for the balloon flight, I wonder if it's still worth it? Is it possible to hike to a nice viewpoint?
Other than Bagan I'm a bit lost in thought about places to visit. I really like getting to know different cultures, I enjoy visiting markets, temples etc. and I don't mind having to work for getting to interesting off the beat places (hiking etc.). I'm not too fond if loud party places and am more of a drinking-beer-on-the-beach-with-a-guitar (and someone who plays it) kind of person. Any recommendations with that in mind would be much appreciated
Lastly, since I'm in a bit of a time crunch this time around I was thinking of flying from Myanmar to Hanoi, Vietnam. Is that possible?
I have an Irrawaddy river trip booked in February 2015. The original itinerary had me bussed from Yangoon to Prome to get the boat to north of Mandalay.
They have amended that to catching the boat in Yangoon and getting off in Mandalay.
This is what they say about why...."The reason for this is that the road transfer to Prome, all of 160 miles,
used to take just under five hours in a coach. Due to the increase in traffic
resulting in the import of so many new cars with Burma opening up.
Typical journey times this season have been seven hours plus and last week we
had a coach that took nine and half hours. Clearly this is unacceptable. "
Some thing for you to bear in mind when travelling by road.
It might be helpful for you to note that my boat does go through Bagan, 7 days after leaving Yangoon
Thank you for the message Steve! I hope you have a great trip
I'm aware that the transportation can be time consuming and that's a good point. Since I have time constraints I think it's likely I would travel to Bagan by plane from Yangon - that it's if I go there and that's the best opinion for me.
I'm open very open to other possibilities though, I'd love tips on alternative destinations within Myanmar that might be a better fit.
[ Edit: Edited on 16-Apr-2014, at 17:34 by MissCaswell ]
I'd really recommend going to Mandalay if you have the time - it's worth seeing the city itself and spending a day trip visiting the ancient cities around it. I spent around a week in Myanmar; I got the overnight bus from Yangon to Mandalay, then the boat from Mandalay to Bagan (which was an enjoyable trip) and then flew with Bagan Airways back to Yangon. In Bagan I hired a man with a horse and cart for 2 days which was a great way of getting around.
You'll love Myanmar. It and its people are superb - my favorite country in SE Asia. I've backpacked there 4 times. Bagan is amazing even without balloon flight. Coming home from the temples on the back of a horse cart after sunset - perfect. With short tour I recommend flights. I've flown Yangon-Inle Lake, Yangon-Sittwe, Thandwe-Yangon and been pleasantly surprised. My top spots are, in order, Yangon itself, Bagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay (though some don't love it), Moulemein(via train), Pyin Oo lwin (by train) then Hsipaw, Mrauk U, beaches (Ngali, Ngwe Saung). For 7 day trip I'd recommend 2 days in Yangon; fly to Bagan for 2 days; Irrawaddy ferry to Mandalay for overnight; fly to Inle Lake (Nyaungshwe ) for 2 days & back to Yangon. You can't do justice to those places in less . Since the slight political change in the country in 2012 tourism has gone crazy. I went last in Jan 2013 and found accommodation impossible to get on spec so left my normal haunts & "discovered" Moulemein, Mrauk U & the beautiful beaches. I don't recommend you go there instead but that you pre-book accommodation & flights well in advance.
Overnight buses are certainly worthwhile - transport and bed for the price of one! At Bagan, most of the hostels and hotels have bikes to use - usually for a very small rental charge. The circular route is less than a 20km round trip over pretty flat ground all the way. You can stop where you want as often as you want - a perfect way to see the temples from the ground and much cheaper than a balloon flight (although not quite so spectacular).
MissCaswell - The following is in the hopes it will trigger some more thoughts for your trip as well as my own.
I will be arriving in Yangon by air from Saigon with 4 or 5 days before my river boat to Mandalay. Would that give me enough time to go sit on a beach on the West coast for a couple of days & back to Yangon? I have read that the ride can take 5 hours from Yangon but expect it is more. What is the ride like? Interesting, or not so? Are flights an option?
At the other end of the boat ride I intend taking the rain from Mandalay to Hsipaw & have a room booked there at the Mr Charles Hotel. Anyone done the train ride? Anyone stayed at the Mr Charles?
Beach stop sounds great. I found the bus ride to Chaung Ta beach very interesting though the cheapest fare involved an early start from a remote bus station in Yangon. The beach is great - more populated by locals. We loved it. We also went to the beaches near Thandwe (eg Ngapali) which involve a flight - also very nice but more for international tourists.
An alternative to the beach is a train trip on the world's worst train (hilarious) to Moulmein vie the Golden Rock and return by coach. This is off the tourist track so very interesting but like most of Myanmar, really safe.
I've also done the train trip though decided to get a share taxi from Mandalay to Pyin Oo Lwin for a day or 2 then onward to Hsipaw by train. We really liked it so we did the train back to Mandalay. We also stayed at The Mr Charles Hotel. It was very good.
Hi everyone and thanks so much for the feedback! I think I'll have to take a day after finals to process all your advice
I was wondering about how to budget a week in Myanmar. Since the tourism industry there is growing so rapidly and the prices change so much I know it's hard to estimate but any insight would be much appreciated.
I read some where that people have been travelling there for about 35$ pr. day - now I'd rather be safe than sorry so I wonder if 50-55$ pr. day would be sufficient (not including air travel between locations but including accommidation, food and drinks)?
Since this will be my first stop in Asia and having crisp dollars seems to be important I think I'll get currency at my local bank and I'd rather have a bit too much than a tad too little