I will be travelling in Burma for 1 month this upcoming February and am planning (so far) on doing the big4 - Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake. I am looking for some other places to go considering I will have a whole month of travel there! Any input is greatly appreciated!
I am not sure about going to the Golden rock, I have heard mixed reviews - for example the trip there is painful and long and the Golden Rock is almost not worth it... any real experience with this? I am also a female so I know I will not be able to physically go up to it.
#1 jennakuz has been a member since 23/9/2011. Posts: 14
I thought that the Golden Rock was one of the country's highlights, but I guess it depends on what one is into. Not sure what you mean about the trip there being painful and long, but if you're referring to the truck or bus ride up the mountain, just don't do it. It's far, far better to walk up the mountain from the pilgrim basecamp of Kinpun and then take a ride back down. The walk takes about 5 hours. There are small tea shops along the way. The scenery is astounding.
I went up in time for sunset and it was brilliant. The place was buzzing with activity. At night the rock is illuminated, but much of the pathway going down to the truck/bus stop is not. If I were to do it again I'd take a flashlight up with me.
You can do a great loop starting in Yangon that takes in Mawlamyaing, Hpa-an, Kinpun/Kyaiktiyo, Bago and then back to Yangon. You can also make a stop in Thaton, between Hpa-an and Kinpun/Kyaiktiyo if you like. It's a nice little town.
Mawlamyaing is a really nice city of around 300,000. This is where you can catch the ferry to Hpa-an (highly recommended). Hpa-an is pretty good, but the best thing about the town is getting there. From Hpa-an it's possible to arrange a ride to Kinpun. I went in a pick-up with a bunch of people who were making a pilgrimage to the rock.
I wrote a bit more on the post beneath this one, but here's a link to it anyway ...
Thanks for the info. this was definitely helpful. Are there any other loops/routes you know of other than to the Golden Rock/the Big 4? more to the north? Approx how long would you say it takes to do the loop you wrote about above?
#3 jennakuz has been a member since 23/9/2011. Posts: 14
I think Tilapia has given some great info, even though I haven't done that loop yet. But I will keep that info handy for my future trips to Myanmar...
Apart from the Big 4 that you have planned, you can consider going to Rakhaing state in the West along the Bay of Bengal. You could go to Sittwe, Ngapali beach and further up the Kaladan river to Mrauk U. Its a laidback place and I loved it thoroughly...
I just got back from there 4 days ago and am supposed to write a trip report (hopefully this weekend...)