I'm planning on visiting Burma for 10 days at the end of April. I want to fit in as much as possible but at the same time want to be there long enough to appreciate what I'm seeing! What would be a good itinerary for 10 days in Burma?
Also, how much is the average internal flight? Would it be possible to see the big 4 if I were to fly everywhere?
It would be possible to see the big 4 (Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle) but if it were me I'd cut out Mandalay to leave more time for Inle and Bagan.
You could do Yangon -Bagan-Inle-Yangon OK in 10 days. IMO Bagan is worth a bit more time than Inle.
Spend a day in Yangon on arrival and use the time to arrange flights, change money etc and visit the Shwedagon Paya. Travel agents in Yangon often have cheaper fares than the airlines themselves for some reason.
The flights are about $100 each and I'd recommend you fly between Bagan and Inle if nowhere else. Old non A/C buses leave Bagan at 4am and it takes all day to get to Inle on a bad road. Not only would it eat up a whole day but it would also be a very uncomfortable and tiring journey in April which is the hottest time of year. There are fairly comfortable overnight A/C buses between Yangon and Inle though. While more tiring than a flight, this would be a cheaper option if the flights are too expensive for you.
I'd stick closer to Yangon. 10 days really isn't a lot of time in Burma, especially when at least two of those days will consist of the day you arrive and the day you depart (and usually the day before, as well.) So the less time you can spend traveling around the better. And, as SBE has rightly pointed out, transport is slow and often the roads are awful. Buses are also highly prone to breakdowns, as well. Last, but not least, it's gonna be HOT! You don't want to be stuck in one of those crappy buses when the thermometre is about to bust.
Consider a loop that consists of Mawlamyaing, Hpa-an, Thaton, Kyaikhtiyo (the Golden Rock), Bago, and back to Yangon. You can take the train to Mawlamyaing, ferry to Hpa-an, pick-up to Thaton and Kyaikhtiyo, then bus back to Bago and Yangon. Short distances, amazing places!
Regardless of where you go, you'll love what you see. Just try not to waste too much of that time on buses.
You could also do a very cool boat trip from Yangon to Pathein. I think it takes about 18 hours each way. Boat travel is great there. Plus, you'd be out on the water during what is one of the hottest times of the year.
Thanks for the detailed info guys, its a big help.
Looks like I've got a tough decision to make! :) From what I've seen so far though, it looks like an amazing country so I'm sure I will be back to see everything I miss out on this time!
If you intend to fly you can do big 4 in 10 days. Please see the suggestive itinerary just to get an idea.
Day 1. Arrival
Day 2. Yangon-Bagan ( morning flight ), Bagan Sightseeing
Day 3. Bagan Sightseeing
Day 4. Bagan-Mandalay ( morning flight ), Mandalay Sightseeing
Day 5. AM: Excursion to Mingun ( By boat ), PM: Excursion to Amarapura & Sagaing
Day 6. Mandalay-Heho ( morning flight ), Heho-Pindaya-Inle ) By car )
Day 7. Inle Lake Sightseeing
Day 8. Visit Nyaung Shwe and fly back to Yangon with afternoon flight.
Day 9. Yangon Sightseeing
Day 10. Departure.
All the air tickets can be arranged in advance through a local travel agency. You do not need to pay any advance. Let them wait for you at the airport and pick up and pay when you get here.
Enjoy your visit.