3 weeks in burma - Itinerary advice
9th June, 2012
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I'm planning being in burma between 4th and 25th of November this year.
I've read many itineraries on this great site and came up with something like this:
Day 1 - yangon (land early morning)
Day 2 - yangon
Day 3 - leave to Mawlamyine , Hpa An
Day 4 - golden rock and back to yangon (on the same day?)
Day 5 - fly from yangon to bagan
Day 6 - bagan
Day 7 - bagan (do i actually need another day here?)
Day 8 - bagan to Mandalay
Day 9 - Mandalay
Day 10 Mandalay to Hsipaw
Day 10-14 (4 days) Trek Namhsan to Hsipaw
Day 15 Hsipaw - Mandalay - Kalaw
Day 16-19 (4 days) Kalaw to Inle Lake
Day 20 Inle Lake
Day 21 fly inle lake to yangon and yangon to BKK
Does this itinerary seems fine and not that tight?
Other questions :
1) should i book ahead guesthouses apart from Yangon?
2) should i book ahead the flights?
3) must i have a return ticket from Yangon to BKK prior my arriving at yangon?
4) should 1000$ be enough for this trip?
5) I'm skipping bago because I'm going to be later on at siem reap, to gather with bagan will be more than enough temples won't it?
#1 Posted: 9/6/2012 - 12:31
The first part of your itinerary is pretty tight - you are trying to visit 3 places which all warrant at least a full day, if not more, into an overnight trip. Traveling to Mawlamyine will take a full day in itself, so unless you are able to add some additional days, something will have to give from this part of the itinerary. The Golden Rock is doable as an overnight trip from Yangon but that about it. I posted on my experience to this southern part a few months ago and spend around a week to cover these places http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/burma/17499_burma-southern-circuit---yangon---malawmiyne---hpa-an---golden-rock--kyaikhto-kinpun----bago
You could shorten it by spending 2 nights in Mawlamyine, potentially an overnight in Hpa An although the surrounding countryside is the highlight of the area rather than the town itself so imho it's only worth stopping over if you can spare a bit of time there. If you plan well 1 night in the Golden Rock area is possible but again, if you're going to make the effort to get there both early morning and as the sun sets witness the most activity.
On to Bagan - what time is is your flight from Yangon? If it's a morning flight, and therefore gives you the afternoon the explore as well as the whole following day, you could cut a night here.
I haven't done either of the treks you mention so can't give you any advice on that; I've done day walks in both regions and enjoyed them and people I've spoken to have also enjoyed the overnight trips.
Regarding your other questions:
"should i book ahead guesthouses apart from Yangon?"
I would recommend booking your first stay in Yangon but apart from that you should be fine to wait until you get there - many of the smaller guesthouses don't have email so it's much simpler to phone ahead once you're in the country.
"should i book ahead the flights?"
As the first flight you intend to take is 4 or 5 days after your arrival, you shouldn't have too many problems booking once you're there.
"must i have a return ticket from Yangon to BKK prior my arriving at yangon?"
Don't quote me on this but I don't believe so as people were booking their flights out of Yangon from within Burma. Note you have to fly out though, it's not possible to leave overland.
"should 1000$ be enough for this trip?"
It should be although to be on the safe side I would take a bit more - I'm sure you're aware of the fact that there are no international ATM's and everything must be paid for in perfectly crisp US dollars. Average on $100 for each internal flight you plan on taking so I would consider taking your flight money on top of your daily spending money. As you're not planning on pre-booking your return flight does this mean you may spend more or less time? Make sure you take enough to cover your maximum stay. Costs are creeping up and although you shouldn't need to spend more than $50 a day, it will be much less stressful if you know you won't run out!
I'm skipping bago because I'm going to be later on at siem reap, to gather with bagan will be more than enough temples won't it?
The temples at Bago are very different to those at both Bagan and Angkor and although Bago itself is a pretty ordinary town with pretty grotty accommodation the temples are interesting. But it's a personal thing - I can't get enough temples, other people have a more limited attention span of them! But more to the point, you don't really have the time on your current plan. I may be wrong but from the trekking you have included, it seems like your more a countryside person.
Hope that helps!
#2 Posted: 10/6/2012 - 07:36
There are a few sections of your itinerary that may require some adjustments. Transport over there is slow and often unreliable. An overnight bus trip from Inle to Mandalay may be scheduled to leave Inle at 5 pm and arrive in Mandalay at 5:00 am, but it may arrive at 3:30 am or it may arrive at 7:00 am. Breakdowns, flats, and poor road conditions are the norm and should be kept in mind when piecing an itinerary together.
You're planning on going from Yangon to Mawlamyine to Hpa-an on the same day, and then to the Golden Rock and back to Yangon on the next day? If this is the case, then it is extremely rushed, and you won't have time to see or enjoy any of these places.
It takes the better part of a day to get to Mawlamyine (10 hours by train, perhaps less by taxi or bus). Unlikely you'll get transport to Hpa-an once you arrive in Mawlamyine. You'll probably have to wait until the next day, leaving you no time to check out Mawlamyine (which is fantastic!).
Then it's a couple of hours from either Mawlamyine or Hpa-an to Kinpun, where you either start walking or catch a truck up the mountain to the Golden Rock. You'll need at least half of a day for that spot. You might be able to catch a lift back to Yangon that day when you come down from the mountain, but your time will be extremely tight and you won't get back to Yangon until well after dark.
Once you arrive and get settled in a guest house or hotel in Bagan, the better part of the day will most likely be over. Bagan to Mandalay also takes around 10 hours, so you're only going to have one full day for a very large and very interesting place. If you are really interested in temples, then this place deserves at least another day or two in my humble opinion.
I believe Hsipaw to Mandalay is around a 5 to 6 hour trip, and then it's another 7 or 8 hours to Kalaw (give or take an hour). Again, possible but unlikely.
If you can give yourself another week there you won't regret it.
#3 Posted: 10/6/2012 - 07:45
Ah ... it seems Kirsty and I were responding at the same time.
#4 Posted: 10/6/2012 - 07:45
Funny .... at least we didn't say wildly different things!
#5 Posted: 10/6/2012 - 07:50
9th June, 2012
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thanks a lot for the info. you're just great!!
I think i'll add another 2 days for the Mawlamyine area and take 1 day off bagan to explore the countryside areas there. I'm on really tight schedule so i can only add 1 or 2 days tops...
I'll try to book all the flights and ferries to early morning leaving me some time to explore the city\village im at.
KirstyB, I'll read your post regarding Mawlamyine area soon, thank you!
#6 Posted: 10/6/2012 - 10:46
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