We're planning on travelling to Burma within the next few weeks, three of us have had this itinerary or a 15 day stay in the country before travelling south into Malaysia/Indo
I wondered if I could pop our itinerary on here and if anyone with experience of travelling in Burma could give us some feedback on our trip, and any advice/contacts to help us. I know it's not peak season but we've booked or contacted hotels and guesthouses where we plan to stay to check availability and so far we're in luck.
Here's the plan:
Arrive Yangon (3 day stay)
- travelling 3 hour bus to Kinpun (2 days stay)
climb Mt Kyaiktiyo to see the balancing stone and return to Kinpun
- from here travel to Bago and then on to Inle Lake
trek around Inle lake and Kalaw for 4-5 days.
Bus from near Inle Lake to Bagan
stay in Bagan for 3 days.
bus back to Yangon ready to leave the next day.
What do guys think?, from what i've read travelling around Burma takes slightly longer than elsewhere and we want to avoid extortionate train fares. We've all spent time in Vietnam and Thailand travelling and know plans don't always work out, any feedback you have would be great and really help iron out any kinks.
Anyway, thanks for any feedback.
It looks like a good itinerary to me, though most people include Mandalay (you could squeeze this in before/after Bagan, but you'd need to allow two nights really). I love Mandalay. The city itself isn't beautiful, but it's worth visiting for Mandalay Hill, and some of the surrounding attractions, like U Bein bridge. It's just pleasant to explore. Bagan's also great - you can rent a moped or push bike for a few dollars, and, with the roads pretty quiet, explore the temples more or less at leisure.
I gather the trekking around Kalaw is fantastic, though I haven't done it. I've been to the town and the countryside is beautiful. Also quite high so a lot cooler than Bagan/Mandalay.
I think you're going at a good time of year, if you don't mind a bit of rain. I was there for a few weeks in April - 45 degrees Celsius each day, which was a bit much for me.
I agree that Mandalay is great and should definitely be included in your itinerary if you can. There are some interesting ancient cities in the surrounding areas which make a good day trip. I didn't think that Yangon was particularly great and there isn't loads to do there, so I'd spend 1 day there and 2 days in Mandalay instead.
I travelled around Myanmar using public buses which weren't too bad, and used Bagan airlines (who were fine) for an internal flight from Bagan back to Yangon. I also used a boat from Mandalay to Bagan which was quite a nice way to do that stretch.
Like what bex76 and MGane mentioned, you might be better off including Mandalay in your itinerary, even for just a couple of days. Include Inwa, Sagaing, Mingun and U Bein Bridge in an out of town day trip from Mandalay (with sunset at U Bein). I spent a week in Myanmar earlier this year and went to Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan.
Lake Inle is also a must see destination, especially since it is in between Yangon and Mandalay. So yes, you can travel from Kalaw/Lake Inle to Bagan or do a Yangon-Mandalay-Bagan-Lake Inle route (or include it before Bagan).
Two weeks is enough time to include the areas east and south of Yangon, so in addition to Kinpun, you may want to go to Mawlamyine.
Train rides aren't exhorbitant, but they are outdated by South East Asian standards. The overnight train from Yangon to Mandalay costs $33 for the sleeper cabin, but it is not airconditioned and the trains are leftovers from the British colonial time. If you're not up to the experience of riding the train, I would recommend the overnight buses that cost about 18,000 kyat - and these are the really nice ones.
And finally, make sure to catch both the sunrise and sunset in Bagan - it's one of the greatest sights anywhere in the world.