Burma forum

3 week itinerary please comment

  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
    28th July, 2008
    Posts: 39

    This is what I have finally come up with for my itinerary. Om paper it looks feasible. What do you the experts think.
    Have I short changed any place?
    Nov 3 BKK-Yangon
    Nov 4 Yangon
    Nov 5 Bago
    Nov 6 Yangon
    Nov 7 fly to Mandalay
    Nov 8 Mandalay
    Nov 9 Mandalay
    Nov 10 Mandalay
    Nov 11 Boat to Bagan
    Nov 12 Nyaung U Bagan
    Nov 13 Nyaung U
    Nov 14 Nyaung U
    Nov 15 fly to Heho
    Nov 16 Nyaungshwe
    Nov 17 Nyaungshwe
    Nov 17 Nyaungshwe
    Nov 18 Nyaungshwe
    Nov 19 Ngapali
    Nov 20 Ngapali
    Nov 21 Ngapali
    Nov 22 Ngapali
    Nov 23 Yangon
    Nov 24 Yangon -BKK

    #1 Posted: 5/9/2009 - 22:52

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  • Tilapia

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    Hi Nywoman,

    Tough one to comment on. The first thing that pops into my head is why you don't fly to Heho first and then work your way towards Bagan, and then Ngapali. Also, maybe you could comment on how you are going to be getting around. You mention one flight, but will the rest of the trips be by bus?

    Will you stay in Heho and then go to Nyaungshwe the next day? Are you planning on flying from Heho to Ngapali?

    Good spots. You'll enjoy what you see.

    #2 Posted: 7/9/2009 - 05:00

  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 39

    Thanks Tilapia,
    I knew I could count on you. Thanks for your thoughts.I wanted to do one boat ride, though after Laos I may never want to be on a boat again.
    Fly from Yangon to Mandalay, boat to Bagan, fly to Heho and taxi to Nyaungshwe. Then fly out of Heho back to Yangon to take a flight to Ngapali.

    There are some little snags to this plan if I want to include Ngapali.
    Mandalay Air does not have its winter schedule in place as of now.
    The summer schedule shows two flights a week Tu and Th, which does not work for me. I don't have a week to stay there and to arrive Tuesday late and leave Thursday seems a shame. I don't know how Air Bagan flies?

    It may well be back to the drawing board. I don't think I will be going by bus anywhere, that too may change.

    #3 Posted: 7/9/2009 - 05:47

  • Tilapia

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    Hi Nywoman,

    This is just a suggestion-query ... why don't you leave a little elbow room for changes in plans?

    For example, lessen the reliance on flights and use the buses/pick-ups/taxis more. I know road travel can take a little bit longer, and isn't always the smoothest, but flights in Burma can take up an entire day. The flying time isn't long, but getting to and from the airports, waiting times, possible delays, etc. can gobble up a lot of time. Buses can also take a lot of time, but you can catch night buses for longer trips (eg. Inle to Mandalay, Bagan to Yangon, etc.) and they will sometimes pick you up at your hotel. Using them can free-up some time. They also give many, many more options.

    One very common thing I noticed in Burma was that people were often teaming up at guest houses and renting taxis together to take them from Point A to B (I did.) So, it is possible that you may run into someone who is going the same way as you, and taxis are always available for hire. OR, it's often possible to join people who already have a taxi who might be going the same way as you, and just chip in (I did.) Again, more options.

    With this in mind, you could fly to Heho then bus/taxi to Mandalay, boat to Bagan, bus/taxi to Pyay, then bus/taxi to Ngapali, then fly back to Yangon if you want. I'm not saying to do it like this ... it's just an example of what is possible without dedicating your time to flight schedules, or zig-zagging across the country.

    Also, I would save Bago for last, especially if you are going to Bagan. I'd keep it for the end and, if there is time, I'd continue on to Kyiatiyo for a night, then check out Bago on the way back to Yangon. I would also shave a day off of Inle. You have Inle scheduled for Nov. 17th twice. Maybe this is a typo and you aren't really planning on being there for that long?

    I also recommend the Schwedagon at sunrise AND sunset on the same day.

    Happy Planning.

    #4 Posted: 7/9/2009 - 21:24

  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
    28th July, 2008
    Posts: 39

    Thanks, I knew you would come through. That sounds like a perfect way of doing it. The 17th is obviously a typo, but I did want at least 3 days at Inle a day to go to Kakku, time to go to the southernmost part of the lake and catch one of the 5 day markets.

    How are the night buses? Have only used a few in Turkey and in India.
    One has to keep in mind, which I want to forget, that I am neither young nor particularly fit. India was a terrific experience sleeping above the goats, I loved it.

    Now at least I have a better perspective on my trip and will get back to the drawing board. Will keep you posted.

    #5 Posted: 7/9/2009 - 23:42

  • Tilapia

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    When I was at Inle, Indein knocked me out. So much so that I rented a boat by myself the next day to take me back there, and only there.

    I took a couple of night buses and they were fine. A bit tight, but okay. Very inexpensive, usually at least one mechanical breakdown and/or flat.

    The boat from Mandalay was quite nice. It takes around 10 hours, but you can relax up on the deck and take in the scenery, which is mostly flat. Lots of villages along the shores, and the odd flotilla of teak logs with a hut in the centre drifting along in the current.

    There were two boats when I went. One was a faster, tourist boat. The other was a non-tourist boat that delivered stuff along the way. I took that one. It was a couple of hours longer, but the ambiance made it worth it. No idea if there are still two boats running.

    #6 Posted: 8/9/2009 - 01:09

  • Tilapia

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    Let me correct myself. There aren't really that many villages along the river when taking the boat from Mandalay to Bagan, but what you see is very interesting and not the sort of thing you see every day (except in Burma, I guess.)

    #7 Posted: 8/9/2009 - 04:33

  • Nywoman

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    Posts: 39

    To say that planning this trip is an excercise in frustration. is putting it very mildly. Am I possibly going about this in the wrong way?

    This is my correspondence with a TA in Yangon. My request:
    From Heho fly to Mandalay, boat to Bagan, bus/taxi to Pyay, then bus/taxi to Ngapali, then fly back to Yangon.

    The reason I wanted to go to Ngapali was that I had read that it was not possible to travel ,to Chaung Tha or Ngwe Saung beaches, for foreigners. Is that still a fact.

    I do need timetable for the flights and boat to Bagan. How long a bus ride is it to Pyay and then to Ngapali?

    The reply:
    You can fly from Heho to Mandalay, then boat to Bagan. From Bagan to Pyay is not available now.
    From Pyay to Ngapali Beach express bus not available for any foreigner. You can fly only to Ngapali beach.

    The foreigner need apply to get permit for Ngwe Saung & Chaung Thar. It's easy.

    For Mandalay - Bagan available on daily during high season. Sometime not available on daily due to lack of passenger.

    As I am digging deeper I realize that I am getting literal answers. I can go to Puyay and Ngpali by road but it has to be a car and not a bus.

    This is from a travel agency website, that look suspiciously official:
    E) Rakhine State

    (1) Package Tours and F.I.Ts are allowed through the inland route to Sittway, Mrauk-U, Ngapali, Thandwe, Gwa and Taungkoke either by plane, car or ship. Tours to Ahm and Kyauktaw are not allowed.

    (2) Package Tours and F.I.Ts are allowed by car to Kantharyar via Ngathaing Kyaung Gwa Road; and to Ngapali via Pyay Taungkoke Road.

    It really looks as if I will have to wait until I get there to make arrangements, and hopefully meet other travelers going my way. Worst case scenario I hire a driver myself.

    #8 Posted: 11/9/2009 - 18:59

  • Tilapia

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    Hi Nywoman,

    Everyone has their own way of planning and traveling. If you're more comfortable having everything laid-out and plotted prior to leaving for a place, then Burma can certainly create some headaches. Things change quickly. Roads open up then they close. Permits are required, then they aren't, then the place is off-limits unless you have an official guide. Boats run every day, then they run every third day. It never ends.

    So, if this sort of thing is giving you some grief, will you be more comfortable NOT having things scheduled day-to-day? Perhaps you should give some serious consideration to not planning much beyond your initial arrival and departure dates, and your first few days around Yangon? Having a list of places that you want to visit and then seeing how to go about getting to those places once you're there?

    The reason I say this is because there are many travel agents in Yangon. Only a fraction exist on the internet, and those that do are likely fully sanctioned by the military. It is very unlikely that you will NOT meet other travelers who are going to, or who have just come from the places where you want to visit. Then you can find out how they got there, or how they are going there and then you can make your decisions as to where, when, and how.

    Really, unless it is for personal reasons, there really isn't much need to have everything scheduled ahead of time, though it seems like a very popular way of doing things these days. In a place like Burma, where things don't always run on-time, on-schedule, or at all, you might end up frustrated, paying too much and, generally, unhappy.

    "It really looks as if I will have to wait until I get there to make arrangements, and hopefully meet other travelers going my way. Worst case scenario I hire a driver myself."

    I'd say that would only be a worst case scenario from a financial point-of-view. There are many advantages to hiring a cab. You will be free to go when you want, wherever you want (that is allowable.) You will have a translator, a guide, someone to answer all your questions about places, food, etc. Most cabs, though not all, have air-conditioning that actually works. Cabs have WAY more leg room than the buses. You can stop whenever nature calls and not have to cross your legs until the next flat tire. You get the idea.







    This is my correspondence with a TA in Yangon. My request:
    From Heho fly to Mandalay, boat to Bagan, bus/taxi to Pyay, then bus/taxi to Ngapali, then fly back to Yangon.

    The reason I wanted to go to Ngapali was that I had read that it was not possible to travel ,to Chaung Tha or Ngwe Saung beaches, for foreigners. Is that still a fact.

    I do need timetable for the flights and boat to Bagan. How long a bus ride is it to Pyay and then to Ngapali?

    The reply:
    You can fly from Heho to Mandalay, then boat to Bagan. From Bagan to Pyay is not available now.
    From Pyay to Ngapali Beach express bus not available for any foreigner. You can fly only to Ngapali beach.

    The foreigner need apply to get permit for Ngwe Saung & Chaung Thar. It's easy.

    For Mandalay - Bagan available on daily during high season. Sometime not available on daily due to lack of passenger.

    As I am digging deeper I realize that I am getting literal answers. I can go to Puyay and Ngpali by road but it has to be a car and not a bus.

    This is from a travel agency website, that look suspiciously official:
    E) Rakhine State

    (1) Package Tours and F.I.Ts are allowed through the inland route to Sittway, Mrauk-U, Ngapali, Thandwe, Gwa and Taungkoke either by plane, car or ship. Tours to Ahm and Kyauktaw are not allowed.

    (2) Package Tours and F.I.Ts are allowed by car to Kantharyar via Ngathaing Kyaung Gwa Road; and to Ngapali via Pyay Taungkoke Road.

    It really looks as if I will have to wait until I get there to make arrangements, and hopefully meet other travelers going my way. Worst case scenario I hire a driver myself.

    #9 Posted: 11/9/2009 - 22:56

  • Tilapia

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    Sorry, I didn't mean to paste in your whole post. Forgot to erase it.

    #10 Posted: 12/9/2009 - 01:27

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  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
    28th July, 2008
    Posts: 39

    That's Ok about reposting I mean. I have come to terms with the fact that I will have to wing it. This is hard for me given my controlling kind of personality. I like general plans, but it will be a different kind of a trip.

    #11 Posted: 12/9/2009 - 09:31

  • anotherlost-
    soul

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 34

    Hello,

    You've plenty of time and can see the main sites at a comfortable pace. You may just need to rearrange the itinerary to fit around the flight schedules ... same places / different order. I sent you an email for a reliable, in-country agency on another forum; Tripadvisor I think ... let me know if you didn't get it and i'll pass it on again. There's no need to wing it if you don't want to.

    A couple of suggestions .... a half day trip to Kyauktan from Yangon (morning) and a side trip to the Golden Rock. You've already included Bago in your itinerary .... make this a 2 day trip overnighting at the rock. You can reduce your stay at Inle by one day to compensate. I'd also consider a side trip to Twante from Yangon. I don't know what your personal interests are .... post them and I may be able to suggest other things for you.

    Hope that's helpful.

    #12 Posted: 14/9/2009 - 17:42

  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
    28th July, 2008
    Posts: 39

    Thank you for your suggestions. I am in touch with a travel agency, that my friend used when she lived in Myanmar, and will be spending a few days in Yangon to sort out my itinerary.

    The itinerary you see here is not what I will follow, thanks to Tilapia have developed a different one. No need to bore people with my still to be completed trip plans.

    No I didn't get your e-mail I am hardly ever on TA. Will check for it though. Thank you

    #13 Posted: 14/9/2009 - 18:55

  • anotherlost-
    soul

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 34

    Hope you have a wonderful time in Myanmar. That email, should you need it: mrmyanmarbookings@gmail.com .

    #14 Posted: 15/9/2009 - 16:33

  • Tilapia

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    Yes, have a great time. And it is more than likely that you will find getting around there far, far easier than you may realize at the moment.

    #15 Posted: 15/9/2009 - 22:36

  • Nywoman

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    Posts: 39

    Thanks all of you, for your great help and responses. Am actually quite comfortable with my decision to wing it. Have my first 3 nights booked in Yangon at BeautylandII.

    Anotherlostsoul this is the partial response I got from your recommended travel agent "Almost all travellers to Myanmar who plan to fly / take tours / stay in quality accommodation plan and book their trip weeks or months in advance. If you wait until arrival flights may be booked up, hotels full, guides unavailable."

    This is quite the contradiction to most of the advice I have received including your own.

    Also the range of prices he quoted on the balloon ride was higher than anybody else's

    Have decided to take my chances, somehow I don't think everything in Myanmar is going to be completely booked.

    #16 Posted: 25/9/2009 - 17:23

  • Tilapia

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    I stayed at Beautyland II when I was in Yangon. It was quite good and the folks who worked there were friendly and helpful. I looked at the website and saw that prices have gone down since I was there. Guess there's more competition in the area.

    You'll be walking distance to the train station (which is worth going to see), the Sula Pagoda, lots of great inexpensive restaurants, some decent travel agents, and just about everything else. It's about a 20-30 minute walk to the Schwedagon Pagoda. Try to see it at dawn. Incredible.

    #17 Posted: 26/9/2009 - 00:59

  • anotherlost-
    soul

    Joined Travelfish
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    Hi Nywoman. Beautyland 2 is a travellers guesthouse - a 'backpackers' - that's the clientele. I've also stayed there and it's fine for what it is, and as mentioned above, the location is central. If you're backpacking and staying in windowless $10 rooms of course you can just show up and hop on a bus.

    From the quote you posted the agent is talking about quality accommodation which I would take to mean 3 / 4 / 5 star. And the planes are small and can fill quickly in the high season. I'd say the agent's advice is correct ... if you walk into a travel agency on, let's say, a Monday and ask for multiple arrangements to start on, say, Thursday; you're going to get what's left ... which is not necessarily what you may actually want. Of course everything MAY be available, but then again maybe not.

    You mentioned on another thread somewhere that you had contacted another agent and received a quote that didn't meet your requirements either. I get the impression that you're not clearly telling these agents what you want and / or not listening to their replies. The itinerary you posted at the top here is very straightforward and should be extremely easy for any agent to put together though you may have to change the destination order, as I mentioned before to work around transport schedules.

    But then you want long distance taxis ... that could cost several multiples of that $10 backpacker bed each!! And a $2-300 balloon trip!!!

    I have to say i'm confused. I'm not surprised that your agents seem to be too!

    #18 Posted: 26/9/2009 - 18:10

  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 39

    Actually I am paying $15 for a room with a window, and I hear the breakfast is nice.

    I did not receive a quote that I didn't like, I received an itinerary that did not meet my requirements. The same agent is very happy to meet with me in Yangon when I get there to discuss the details. Your agent only works on the internet, as I offered to meet with him as well.

    In my experience everything can be gotten around and worked out if one is flexible. There is always a solution, I have no problem with switching things around, in order to find space on planes or hiring a private car if need be.

    Personally I don't see any reason for the tone of your reply. How I choose to spend my money and where to sleep is no concern of yours.

    #19 Posted: 26/9/2009 - 18:43

  • anotherlost-
    soul

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    Hi Nywoman.

    Just to remind you ... you're on a forum. You asked for opinions! I gave mine based on what I see. Sorry you seem to have taken offence.

    I love this country and hope you have a wonderful time here. I just fail to see why you're getting so unnecessarily stressed over what should be a straightforward plan.

    #20 Posted: 26/9/2009 - 19:05

  • Tilapia

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    When I was there a room without a window cost $17. It was probably a good thing, though, because it was dark and quiet and perfect for sleeping off my jet-lag.

    I thought their coffee was good, but skipped the "American" breakfast for a Burmese one ... ohn-no-khauk-swe (Burmese curry coconut noodle soup with chicken.) Absolutely delicious!

    When you arrive you should ask one of the other travelers staying there where they get their money changed. I always got mine changed at the City Cafe which was on Bogyoke Aung San and Sule Pagoda Roads on the SW corner, two or three doors west of Sule Pagoda Rd. It's probably still there. There is (or was) a very good travel agent a few doors north of the Beautyland II.

    #21 Posted: 26/9/2009 - 22:20

  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 39

    Fortunately there won't be any jetlag since I will have been in Laos and Thailand for almost a month prior to my arrival.

    That breakfast of ohn-no-khauk-swe sounds delicious am really looking forward to all new experiences and tastes.

    Thanks for the tip of City Cafe.

    #22 Posted: 26/9/2009 - 23:28

  • wisegranny

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2009
    Posts: 1

    nywoman hi,
    I was reading with admiration your plan for Myanmar, one of my future destinations: at the moment I am a Himalayan person in Nepal Ladakh and Sikkim:

    I notice you mentioning that you are not the youngest, not that I think it makes a difference if one is healthy, and I assume you travel on your own:
    I would appreciate a feed back regarding your experiences, as a single "mature" woman in South East Asia and :
    Also your Mynamar experiences in particular.
    Thank you² and enjoy:

    #23 Posted: 23/11/2009 - 19:52

  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 39

    Left Yangon this morning for Bangkok, I was very sad to leave and can hardly wait to return.

    My trip reports, not a finished blog will be up on Nywoman@blogspot.com. shortly.

    Tilapia you were spot on, it didn't quite work out that way but it was just fine and quite marvelous you were in my thoughts many times during these 3 weeks.

    #24 Posted: 24/11/2009 - 23:30

  • Tilapia

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    That's good to hear. Spot on about what?

    Glad you enjoyed yourself.

    #25 Posted: 26/11/2009 - 02:13

  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 39

    You were so reassuring the entire time I stressed out. Told me it would be easier than I thought it would be, and it was. I didn't take too many buses, except locally, when you read my report you will see why.

    Am so anxious to get back there, the people are amazing.

    Sorry it is www.Nywoman.blogspot.com

    Am in Singapore right now waiting for my flight back to NYC

    #26 Posted: 3/12/2009 - 21:31

  • dawemmy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 9

    Did you get to Ngapali? I went there 5 years ago it was beautiful but so hard to get there--an all night cargo type bus filled with dried fish! I went to Nwe saung this past October and it was great, just as beautiful as Ngapali and easier to get to from Yangon but the food is more to be desired. At Ngapali I stayed at the Lyin Tar Oo--it was the cheapest then how is it now??

    #27 Posted: 26/1/2010 - 10:50

  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 39

    I flew to Ngpali and stayed at Lin Thar Oo as well. It was $20 a night and great. Apparently the two owners have split, but both maintain the name I stayed in the northern part of the hotel.

    #28 Posted: 26/1/2010 - 19:53

  • dawemmy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Alicechen--above comment NOT appreciated!
    I subscribe to this link so please don't post again.

    #29 Posted: 27/7/2011 - 06:39

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    dawemmy
    What did he write? It's gone!

    #30 Posted: 27/7/2011 - 12:26

  • Nywoman

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 39

    It was spam. with links to shopping sites.

    #31 Posted: 27/7/2011 - 16:51

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