I am planning to spend 2 weeks in Burma next March, and I was wondering whether it would be possible to see Yangon, Mandalay Bay, Bagan and Inle Lake, considering that I will not fly at all inside the country. I intend to take a train from Yangon to Mandalay, then a boat to Bagan and either a bus or a train from Bagan back to Yangon.
I am not at all sure about how to get to Inle Lake. From what I understand, the road from Mandalay to Inle is horrible.
My other limitation is that I need to travel during the day. I do not want to take either an overnight boat or a bus. I am not opposed to taking an overnight train.
Is it possible to travel by land inside Burma and see everything I want to see in 2 weeks? Please help me and, if my limitations/plans are unrealistic, talk some sense into me. Your input is greatly appreciated.
It's possible to visit all of these places in two weeks, but you won't have much time in any of them, especially if you're going to be traveling during the daytime. I guess how long you spend in each place will be determined by your interests. If you're really interested in temples, frescoes, and Buddhas, then you'll want to spend several days in Bagan, at least. If you're not interested in temples then there's not much point in going there at all.
You may want to alter your itinerary so that you move in a loop, rather than having to backtrack from Bagan over to Inle. It's a long way! For example, you could go from Yangon to Bagan, then to Mandalay, then to Inle, and then back to Yangon. Or, you could go the other way around. I really don't recommend backtracking, especially if you only have 2 weeks.
It's going to be hot (!) and you may find night travel preferable to daytime travel. Those buses can get awfully crammed and incredibly hot. Not good for a 14-16 hour trip.
If you are not on much of a budget (or if you meet someone going in the same direction as you), you might consider hiring a taxi and driver to take you around. It would be much better than relying on bus and train and boat schedules, especially considering your time limits.