Hello everyone, will be arriving in Yangon on October 29th and looking for advice on where I can trek and experience the villages, the culture of Myanmar that is somewhat free of tourist. Also the Taunggyi Balloon Festival begins Oct 30 - November 6th and was curious to know best place to stay either in Taunggyi or Nyaungswe?
Thanks for your help on this, and happy traveling!
Hi - we went to Burma independently in January 2012 using overnight buses to get around. I have since been told that tourism (along with prices) have increased drastically. From Yangon we went up to Mandalay by bus, took a boat to Bagan, caught a bus to Kalaw and did the three-day, two-night trek to Lake Inle and stayed in Nyaung Shwe (at the Remember Inn) then got a bus back to Yangon and on to Ngwe Saung on the coast before heading back to Yangon to fly out.
There were travellers in all these places although walking around the towns and cities you can feel like you're the only one amongst a sea of locals. The trek went through a few villages and it is possible to interact with the locals and see a little of how they live. The trek itself wasn't too difficult but was not as scenic as I imagined it would be - it was mainly through arable land around fields of chillies and other crops. My best memory of the trip was not of the scenery but of the people; some of the most interesting, curious and friendly people I've met on our travels.
Thanks for your kind response. Yes I heard the prices have increased in Burma. I also heard the buses were not comfortable, as they play loud music and the air conditioning is full blast. Did you have those experiences? Could wear ear plugs and jackets. lol. Did you make your plans ahead of your arrival to Burma. Or just found places to stay upon arrival? Thanks again!
One sleeping tablet and ear plugs and everything disappeared for eight hours! We were carrying fleeces for Hong Kong so used them on the buses. We did research from home and listed two or three places in each destination with phone numbers and then telephoned ahead a couple of days in advance - it all seemed very easy at the time.