Photo: Temple outside Monywa.

Burma forum

Back Up Plan for Mrauk U?

Posted by ehenness on 19/7/2012 at 14:44

Hello Travelfishes,

I'm planning on heading to Burma in February 2013, and in order to plan my savings/budget I've found an itinerary.

However, I realize the situation at Mrauk U is that no travel is allowed there currently. I'm hoping this will change come February, but if it doesn't, what would be a good substitute?

I'm a solo female traveler, not a big trekker. I enjoy gorgeous landscapes and culture like dance/music, etc.

Day 1 - Arrive 10 AM in Yangon
Day 2 - Yangon
Day 3 - Early flight to Bagan with Bagan temples all day
Day 4 - Bagan
Day 5 - Bagan
Day 6 - Bagan to Mandalay
Day 7 - Mandalay
Day 8 - Mandalay
Day 9 - Early flight to Heho then travel to Inle
Day 10 - Inle
Day 11 - Inle
Day 12 - Flight to Thandwe then travel to Ngapali
Day 13 - Ngapali
Day 14 - Ngapali
Day 14 - Flight to Sittwe then boat to Mrauk U
Day 15 - Mrauk U
Day 16 - Mrauk U
Day 17 - Mrauk U
Day 18 - Chin State tour
Day 19 - Travel to Sittwe
Day 20 - Flght to Yangon
Day 21 - Yangon
Day 22 - Fly back to Bangkok in early AM

What do you think? Please feel free to add any other tips or suggestions.
Thanks!

#1 ehenness has been a member since 22/3/2011. Location: Canada. Posts: 18

Posted by Tilapia on 21/7/2012 at 13:34

Hi,

If Mrauk U doesn't work out, you can make a really nice loop from Yangon that takes in Mawlamyaing, Hpa-an, Kyaikhto/Kinpun/Golden Rock, and Bago (unless you're templed out from Bagan and Mandalay).

Unfortunately, from what I understand, the public ferry from Mawlamyaing to Hpa-an no longer runs, but Mawlamyaing is, on its own, a very nice and interesting city with wonderful people, and the scenery around Hpa-an is fantastic. Plus, the Sadar Cave is very close-by.

You're not into trekking, but the walk up the mountain to the Golden Rock from Kinpun is amazing!

Something I didn't have time for but hope to do when I go back is take the ferry from Yangon to the city of Pathien, which is far off the usual tourist route and, apparently, quite wonderful. If you go, let me know what you thought.

I usually like to suggest to people going for just 2 or 3 weeks that they consider extending their visa for a week or two. Most, after leaving the country, wish they'd had stayed longer.

Have a great time. It's an amazing country.

#2 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,485
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Posted by enigmatic on 3/8/2012 at 03:45

Allow some flexibility by not booking the Yangon/Bagan or Mandalay/Heho flights unless you're especially averse to night buses and very early arrival times. The roads in Myanmar really aren't that bad.

A detour which can be included between Bagan and Mandalay is
Monywa: stroll along the busy waterfront before sampling the street food in the evening, then take a motorbike trip to visit Buddha caves carved from solid rock. Would fit best with two nights and one full day in between, although transport options are faster and easier than LP suggests.

Even if you're not into trekking, a morning bus up to Hsipaw to soak up some village atmosphere, take in the valley views and then get the train to Pyin Oo Lwin (where you can stop overnight or go straight back to Mandalay) the following morning isn't a bad option. Likewise, Kalaw has pretty hillsides all round even if you only stay one day and then get a pickup to Inle.

#3 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84

Posted by ehenness on 31/8/2012 at 12:13

Thanks for your replies!

@Tilapia: I completely forgot about Golden Rock, and it definitely sounds like my cup of tea! I've gathered Golden Rock is near Yangon...but how far? Is it do-able as a day trip?

Pathein and Hpa-an both look nice too. I wish I could stay longer in Burma...but alas commitments...

@enigmatic: That's encouraging to hear that the buses are a workable option. My worry with them was delays or breakdowns that would mean loosing time actually seeing the sights! But if they are on par with say Vietnam or Cambodia, then I would definitely consider them. Hsipaw looks nice too and worth thinking about!

#4 ehenness has been a member since 22/3/2011. Location: Canada. Posts: 18

Posted by Tilapia on 31/8/2012 at 16:11

If memory serves correctly, the Golden Rock is about a 3-4 hour bus trip from Yangon. You can probably do it as a day-trip from Yangon, but I wouldn't consider it if you plant to walk up the mountain from the pilgrim village, Kinpun.

I think it makes more sense to arrive the day before and get a room, start early the next day and walk up to the rock, then either walk back down or catch a lift on one of the trucks going back to Kinpun, spend another night then head to your next destination.

I stayed up there for sunset and got one of the last trucks and it was worth every second. There's a small village on the other side of the mountain top that is pretty interesting, and as long as it's not too hazy the views are excellent. Nothing but jungle for as far as you can see. I was there for NYE and when Mars was super close to the moon, so there were loads of pilgrims and lots and lots of activity and energy. The place was buzzing.

There are only a couple of places for foreigners in Kinpun. The one I was at was very good and inexpensive.

#5 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,485
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