Hi. We are new to Travelfish and new to Asian travel. We are embarking on our maiden voyage next month, flying into Singapore on May 26th and out of Bangkok on June 19th. Our original idea was a shotgun, exploratory approach: cover a lot of ground, get a good overview, and identify places to return for more in-depth visits in the ensuing summers. As usual for us, we changed our minds. After spending two straight weeks on a steady diet of Travelfish, we have now decided we must visit Burma. We will spend a night in Singapore, then take the train up to KL on the 27th of May. Roughly planning a 11-day Yangon-->Bagan-->Mandalay-->Inle Lake--Yangon loop. The plan is fly everywhere we can within Burma, because time is more important than money (to a point, obviously).We are not going to even attempt to get a visa here in the U.S., because they want us to mail our actual passports to Washington D.C. And that's just sheer madness in my mind. There is no way I'm sticking my passport in a mailbox. If that isn't a travel disaster blog waiting to happen, I don't know what is.
Our guiding question then, one that we are hoping to get some input on from some grizzled veterans, concerns securing our visa and a flight from KL to Yangon. My specific questions are below:
1. I'm assuming I will need to book our return flights ere we apply for a visa? I've read that one thing that will be required is a return ticket?
2 I also read that recently it has become possible to secure a visa in KL in one day. Is that true? How many days "cushion" should I allow? Right now I'm thinking of booking the KL-->Yangon flight on May 30th. That would give us a couple of days. Should I allow more? I don't think I'm going to love KL, but I think I will likely love Melacca, so maybe we could do a side trip there while letting the visa do its magic?
3. Is there any advantage/disadvantage to booking the flight ahead of time? Like now? I'm not great at doing the seat-of-my-pants thing, but I'm working on it. Is it like in the States, where one gets a better price if they book a flight in advance?
4. Has anyone had a visa denied? We are a librarian and a junior high school associate principal. I can't imagine that raising any red flags, but, then again, for all I know there is a secret guild of Burmese librarians that have the government in a panic.
P.S. I want to go right to Burma from Singapore and KL because then I won't care so much about any expense in Burma. I know myself well enough to know I'll suffer if I experience cheap travel in Thailand, and then go to the more pricey Burma. Psychologically, I want to get the expensive (and, yeah, I use that term relatively) stuff out of the way and then feel I'm getting away with robbery during the rest of the trip. That's just me.
Thank you in advance for any first-hand experience you can share with us. I appreciate this opportunity to ask questions and get clarification. I can't express how impressed I am with the quality and quantity of information I've found here on Travelfish.
See this post for information on getting a visa for Burma in KL - it appears a one day visa should be no problems.
As soon as your dates are set I'd book the flights. Check AirAsia in particular for discounted flights.
I've not heard of anyone except journalists having visas denied and that was quite some time ago - I wouldn't expect any issues in this regard.
Hope that helps
Thank you somtam2000. I didn't think the visa would be a problem librarian/educator types, but it is good to get confirmation. I also appreciate the AirAsia tip, as I am ignorant about the numerous airlines operating within Asia. I suspect we will be doing a lot of flying since we only have the 24 days.
Fondo: How weird that I never considered Singapore in terms of securing the visa. I did some investigation and it appears that we can make an online appointment at the Myanmar Embassy in Singapore before we even leave the states, and then have the visa in hand in a day or so. The Tiger flights look good, too. Thank you so much.