I am planning to visit Myanmar in June, and I've currently decided on going doing Yangon-Mandalay-Bagan. so i'm thinking from Bagan, should I go to Inle Lake or should I head back to Yangon?
I've gathered that inle lake is a popular destination but the reason for my inability to decide is because the lake seems to be a little out of the way and inaccessible - so is it worth the hassle? :[
#1 linjingyi has been a member since 26/10/2009. Posts: 7
Yes it is definatel worth while. You should try to visit Sagar and Kakku.
#2 isus has been a member since 6/12/2006. Posts: 1
dear all, thanks for your replies! :D
hmms i have a total of 12 days, is that enough for yangon-mandalay-bagan-inle-back to yangon?
also, kkym, can i ask if the only bus from bagan to inle is somewhat decent (hopefully not too crowded/dirty)? otherwise i may reshuffle my route cos i don't really want to take a domestic flight.. thanks!
#5 linjingyi has been a member since 26/10/2009. Posts: 7
Of course this all depends on what you are interested in seeing and doing, but I don't think 12 days is enough time to see all of these places, especially if you plan on traveling by bus/taxi/train/boat. Each of these places is, at least, one full day away from each other. You would most likely be looking at approximately 4-5 full days (Yangon to Inle takes longer than the other trips) of just moving from Point A to Point B. But, it is possible. You won't see much, but it's possible.
When I was there a good section of the highway leading to Nyaungschwe at Inle Lake was not paved and a large stretch of highway, especially leading up into the mountains, had been pounded into a fine dust (like talcum powder) by all the buses and trucks. Considering that June is the rainy season, this particular journey could be a very long, tough slog, if not treacherous or not possible at all. Maybe someone who has made the trip recently and in the rainy season has different info?
The buses I took were clean, but very tight on space. All experienced mechanical breakdowns and/or flat tires along the way. The only exception was a bus I took from Kyaiktiyo to Yangon, but that was only a 4 hour trip.
You can do a good loop that consists of Yangon - Mawlamyaing - Hpa-an - Kyaiktiyo - Bago - Yangon. You'll get great temples in Bago, Burma's second most sacred place at Kyaiktiyo, an excellent and interesting town (Mawlamyaing), and boat travel (from Mawlamyaing to Hpa-an). You'll be able to put more time into checking places out, rather than spending that time on long, cramped bus trips.
If you're dead-set on going to Bagan, I'd consider skipping Inle and would spend more time in Bagan and in/around Mandalay and Yangon.
The bus is not aircon: highway big bus. Just a minibus. It's not too crowded. You will get your own seat. But as mention above post very tight on space. If you have problem with your kneel, you shouldn't think about it. Anyhow the bus leaves in the early morning and you will get to Shwe Nyaung junction about 4 pm. Then proceed to Nyaung Shwe by a truck. It will cost about 10000 Kyats (approx. 10 US$)
If you want to do everything in 12 days you should take at least one flight. Yangon to Inle Lake by bus ( leave about 1pm and get to the junction in the morning ) Then fly from Inle to Mandalay. Down to Bagan by the river and back to Yangon by train. With all different atmosphere.
Tilapia raised a very good point about the state of the road to Inle Lake in June. December is supposed to be dry season but it rained heavily when I and mudslides blocked the road for 3 days when I was there in 2005.
Here is a picture of what the road that goes to Inle looked like:
Major traffic jams the whole way ... if you've only got 12 days and don't want to fly then it's going to be problematic.
And here is a picture of the bus I took from Kalaw to Bagan... Kalaw is on the road to Inle. I'm not sure why it says Mandalay-Bagan on the bus because it didn't even go via Mandalay!
PS sorry about typo.... I didn't block the road, mudslides did!
Will Stuart never get round to giving people an edit function?
*sips another glass of red bordeaux*....
Haha! i couldn't help but burst out laughing at the "I and mudslides blocked the road for 3 days when I was there in 2005."
Thanks everyone for sharing! In that case, I may either take a domestic flight (do you happen to know if I'd have to book in advance? :X) or skip Bagan (since i've already been to ang kor wat)
I am terribly indecisive! Sorry for asking so many questions!
#11 linjingyi has been a member since 26/10/2009. Posts: 7
You cannot fly to Nyaungschwe. You have to fly to Heho and then go to Nyaungschwe by taxi or bus (or pick-up or ox cart or bicycle.) This means that you will still have to take that bad road across the mountains to get to Inle.
Considering that it will be the rainy season, you might want to wait until you are in Yangon before getting a flight. It's possible that the roads will be good and dry, but if they are not you will not waste your time or money trying to get there. That's just my suggestion. If you are going to feel better buying your ticket online then Air Bagan will get you there.
June is rainy season so expect public buses and ground transport in general to be slower than usual - it's not fast at the best of times! I would really recommend some flights so that you make the most of your limited time. If you really want to take a bus somewhere, the Yangon - Mandalay run is the most comfortable and best value long distance ride.