Hi all, i am new here.
Read many threads on mynamar and found them to be very useful.
However, there are still some questions burning in my head =)
I am planning a backpacking trip with a friend to Myanmar for
about 20days. We will meet in BKK (he is from europe, i am fr
malaysia) and plan to get the MM visa there. Anyone know how
long does this take? Can we do it on our own or will it be
advisable to get help from a travel agency?
I have read that it's not possible to go by land from thailand
into yangon, so i guess the only way is to fly with Airasia.
Do i need to do all the bookings (accommodation) prior to arriving?
We are thinking of just fly in and then only look for accommodation.
We currently do not have an idea of where to visit yet. From this
forum, i gathered that must-visits are yangon, mandalay, bagan &
inle lake. Anyone can suggest a beach area? And some place that
is more quiet and not crowded?
Is it possible to move around with just using English, or do we
need a tour guide?
Appreciate your responses & help. Thanks in advance.
You should be able to get a visa fairly quickly in BKK. The places I saw there were advertising from 1 to 5 days -you can pay more for a faster service. You can go to the embassy direct or pay a bit more to the travel agency and save yourself the hassle. (I got mine done in Hanoi which took 4 days.)
you don't need to book accommodation in advance - it's fine to just turn up. I'd recommend getting a guidebook such as lonely planet as they only list privately run hotels/guesthouses so you can avoid staying in any government run places. This will also give you advice on how to avoid giving your money to the government in any other ways. you'll be fine without a guide too. Not sure about a beach as I only went to the places you mentioned.
The major places that tourists visit are indeed, Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake. There are some great places off of the beaten track a bit though, so I too would recommend getting yourself the Myanmar-specific Lonely Planet and reading up a bit if you can.
As for beaches, I visited Ngapali Beach. It is probably the most "resort-like" area you'll find in Myanmar, but I found that it was still quite empty and quiet when I was there (Nov). Though there are some big International resorts, it is still the type of place where ox-carts pass by on the beach and the locals are as friendly as everywhere else in Myanmar. There is also some exceptional seafood, at very cheap prices.
As for English, I learned hello and thank you in their language and then got by just fine with English. The people are actually quite starved to practice English and will often approach you and just want to speak.
I can't say enough good things about Myanmar. I was just there last week, so feel free to send me a message if you have any other questions.
Thanks a lot for the replies.
We have decided to apply for visa before heading to BKK
as we would not want to spend too many days waiting for
the visa there (just in case) as our main destination
would be MM.
Agree that a LP guide book is essential. We also would
love to see some other not well-known places apart from
the four main destinations.
I am sending you my itinerary I prepared for my trip to Myanmar
(Sept-Oct this year, my 3rd trip in the last two years) as per your request in the PM to me. Just a few things to relax your mind.
1. Get your visa done in KL.It's RM80 and it will take three days. Two forms to fill up, and two photos to go along.Siva is the guy who handles visa matters (at the counter just after the side entrance gate). Less hassle than getting it done in BKK.Your visa will take effect from the date you submit. But don't worry about losing days. If for instance, you submit your application on Nov 18, and you fly into Yangoon on Nov 23 (via BKK, right?), you will be given until Dec 21 which makes up for the "lost days". So your 20-day trip is not affected.
2. Don't bother about booking accommodation, and I will give you some fabulous GHs not mentioned in guidebooks, including the LP.You will find them in my itinerary, including the modes of transport, rates, and the places I visited. Well, Myanmar is not just Yangoon, Bagan, Mandalay,Inle & Ngapali Beach!
3. I have read some negative postings & views about Myanmar in this forum. Don't let these influence you. No body points a gun to your head! If you respect the land,its people & culture, then you will feel the land.Your experience will be one that you
cannot get in many other countries in the world.So focus on what you are going to see & marvel.
3. You don't need a guide. More people here speak English than in Laos! Like anywhere, ask permission before taking photos. You can take in cameras, videos,laptops without fear. Mobile phone is pointless as you can't use one in Myanmar.
4.I will give you some nice contacts to help you along the way.
So, have fun! ahsin pyei ba ze
kyei: zu: tin ba de.
Besides the beach that John mentioned, I have heard that Chaungtha is a nice beach area. Many people from Yangon go there on the weekends. It's cheap and a bit closer to Yangon, although travel is on bad roads.
If you go to Bagan and would like a nice quiet place to stay, go for the New Bagan area. There is a very nice guesthouse there called Mya Thi Da. It's owned by the same family that run the nearby Silver House restaurant. The rooms are only $6-8 per night. For something a little nice, try the NK Beetlenut Hotel down the street; rooms there are $15.
Thanks dana, looking forward to receiving your mail.
Thanks buzzard for your recommendation.
People from this forum is really helpful...
Now I cant wait for the trip.
A big thanks to dana
for being so helpful
with providing me the
infos & contacts.
Appreciate that much!