According to front page of the Democratic Voice of Burma, a tourism boom is occuring such that hotel vacancies are either way way down, or non-existent.
Anyone have any light to shed on this and its implications for independent travelers?
Story at http://www.dvb.no/news/burma-struggling-with-tourism-boom/20200
#1 scomoore1 has been a member since 30/7/2006. Posts: 33
Definitely book accommodation in Yangon in advance before you arrive. Guesthouses are very often full and it can be quite hard to get a room nowadays, especially in high season. You can book other places in advance as you go. Most guesthouses will happily phone ahead to make the reservation for you.
SBE and Royalsithu (and others),
Is there any truth to the DVB story? Has the situation changed significantly from last year or the year before?
#4 scomoore1 has been a member since 30/7/2006. Posts: 33
Many Changes have happening in Myanmar . I am sorry to say details because of many changes . For tourism , the government decreased the visas law and Pay back the visa to some country (American , British and Australia ,too ) . So , there are most tourists in Myanmar than before . So , hotels were full booked , Air lines weren't seat if you don't reservation in advance . Even if you make a reservation in advance , don't pay deposit in advance , you can't get the room and tickets . How is the bad in Myanmar !
scomoore - Definitely the situation has changed significantly over the past year or two. All of the sudden the country has started to open up and tourists have started rushing in; an infrastructure that doesn't exist is struggling to cope with the demand. There are too few guesthouses and mid range hotels currently but I suspect that will eventually improve as more places will open up when they see there is good business to be had (the worry of course is that the government will make it too costly or difficult for local people to be innovative and it will all go to foreign investors but that's another discussion!). But there are still few, few tourists compared to much of the rest of the region and so please don't be put off - with just a little bit of foreword thinking things don't need to be over-complicated.
As SBE says, it is sensible to book your Yangon guest-house in advance as there is only a handful at budget level and they do get booked up. But after that phone ahead a few days beforehand and you should be OK; you may have to try one or two places but I always found something and never had to sleep on the streets! Lots of the cheaper places don't have email anyway so can't get booked too far in advance; midrange can be trickier since those places are often booked up by flashpackers on a more structured schedule).
For flight tickets, it depends a little on where you plan on going but for routes between the 'Big 4' where there are several options, my experience is that getting a reservation a day or two ahead is not a problem. If you plan on going to some more remote places without frequent flights, then maybe get a travel agent to book ahead for you (and then pay when you get there in cash).
It can be frustrating for the independent traveller as worrying about whether you'll get a bed for the night takes away the spontaneity and everyone is caught up in the cycle of pre-booking, but that is the current trend .......
You can book in budget hotels by phone(there is no Email in most budget hotels ) , I have heard that some tourists sleeping at the station and on the streets because there is no room for them .Now , it is too difficult to get the room in even Budget hotels . For Mid-range hotels , I am sure you can't get the room by phone or email ,even local agent can't get the room for Feb, March and April by phone or email , they have to pay deposit in advance .Otherwise , they can't get room .
Yes, You can get the flight tickets by booking tow days ahead your departure .
But , it will be expensive than local agents .
If you want to travel with train , you should try with local agent for get the seat . The Railway rule is :Must pay in advance prior 3 day before your departure for foreigners .
Have a good trip to Myanmar and Welcome!
Yes definitely try to book your accommodation in advance. I was there in late 2010 and even then I was never able to get my first (and sometimes second) choice in accommodation.
Yangoon is particularly bad as many tour groups book out the few good accommodation options months in advance. Never rely on getting an email response to a reservation request either...it just doesn't happen. Always try to book over the phone. Most places you'll try to book with will generally be used to dealing with western tourists and therefore be able to take a reservation in English.
So in short, if you're traveling with a tour group you should have no problems what-so-ever. But traveling independently (which is always more rewarding anyway) just requires some forward planning.
From my research there are currently two types of tourists to Burma.
1. The tourist who books a package tour through a Burmese travel agent.
2. The independent tourist. Who I would advise to: apart from booking their flight in to Yangon, to use the services of a Burmese travel agent to book their Yangon accommodation as well as any internal flights (from what I've read they get better prices).
Hopefully, things will continue to change for the better to allow more travel freedom for the independent traveller as I am.