Photo: Temple outside Monywa.

Burma forum

Back from Myanmar- 21jan to 31 jan 2012

Posted by teeterouge on 15/2/2012 at 05:17

A quick summary that might be of some help:
The itinerary was
By plane for Yangon-Bagan, Bagan-Heho and Heho-Yangon (Air Mandalay and Air KBZ)

Some remarks:
During high season it’s better to book accommodation: we met quite a few travelers having trouble to find a place, especially in Inle. In the end I think everyone could find something but with very basic amenities and not necessarily at a good price. It’s similar for the transportation: even the bus Bagan-Nyaung Shwe was full[/li][/ulist].
It’s better to take only 100$ bills, the hotel will give back smaller dollar notes for the change: expect the accommodation,plane tickets and tourists entry fee for the sites paid in dollars, all ground-boat transportation, meals and other small expenses are in kyat. [/li]Take warm clothes for the early morning/evenings, especially on Inle lake. [/li]Torch lamp are necessary to walk around at night, even in Yangon[/li]Planes tend to take off right on time, and even half an hour before. The airports gates are quite messy: in the mornings all the scheduled flight depart at the same time, they have 4 different flights to handle over a short period for only 1 boarding gate and the signs are not crystal clear (2 flights displayed on the same sign, sometimes they don’t feel like lifting the sign at all for all to see, and the guy using the megaphone makes mistakes when quoting the flight number, corrects himself… with a very bad quality of sound).[/li][/ulist]
Hotel Motherland Inn: they have a website and answer quickly to email. We booked our flights with them and paid when we arrived at the hotel. However: for 1 flight we were supposed to be on the morning flight, and it turned out we only got 2 tickets out of 4 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. For those who have to be on a schedule, better book and pay in advance with a travel agency.[/li][/ulist]The roomes are not so nice as on the picture, the take away breakfast is huge. The hotel is quite far from the airport: 45 min during day time (they provide free pick up) and 30min in the early morning (before 6 am)
Shwedagon paya: East gate has no entrance ticket, but the South gate has[/li]No place in the airport, neither domestic nor internation terminal to leave the luggages. That’s a bit of a problem if you are in a half day transit…[/li][/ulist]

Hotel Kaday Aung: since they didn’t answer to email (found on their website) I did the booking through Asia Room (need a credit card), no problem.[/li][/ulist]The hotel has a very nice garden with swimming pool (freezing), 20min away by bike from old Bagan.
The one negative comment would be concerning the condition of the bicycle, relatively expensive (3000 Kyats, to be compared with 1000 Kyats for a day in Inle), you might end up coming back on foot and pushing the bike! We didn’t look around, but it would be a good idea to shop somewhere else for bicycle rental.

I really enjoyed the dawns (which last for around half an hour, first the sky turns pink, then the sunrise around 20 min later, wait for it! We’ve seen some travelers going back before the sun, what a pity!)[/li]A good indien restaurant: Aroma 2 (recommended in the LP)[/li]Cost of jeep for the day, to go in the Nord and then in the central plain, comes back after sunset: 40,000 kyat[/li]No internet working at the time we were in Bagan[/li][/ulist]
§ Mingalar Inn guesthouse: booking through email, good accommodation, big breakfast. We asked to the GH directly to book the boats, apparently they offer fair prices (by comparison with other travelers met at the same times who paid more)
§ Sankar : cost: boat= 40,000 Kyat + 5$/head +guide 10$. The boat is supposed to accommodate 5 persons max (+ guide) but we managed to squeeze in a 6th one who had to sit on the floor. Bit of a long trip: 3h to go from Nyaungshwe, but beautiful trip
§ Around inle lake: 12,000 Kyats, if goes up to Indein: 15,000 Kyats
§ Bike trip: very easy, the rental shop or the reception at Mingalar Inn can provide a map, no need to rush it’s just 1h cycling, 20min cross over by boat and 1h on the other side to cycle back. There is a local restaurant on the east shore, just before the crossing, walk along the wooden bridge and someone from the restaurant comes to pick you up to take you across the canal on a stilt house.
On the west side the hot springs are welcome although a bit expensive for what it is (9$/head for private-mixte batch, it is actually 3 small pools, not private since anyone else can come, which doesn’t prevent some from bathing naked!)
Better carry a scarf if coming back around sunset: a lot of old trucks use the road in more or less good condition and dust –sand fly everywhere.

“Trek” Nyaungshwe-Kalaw:
Booked at “Two Thumns up” 2 days before, in the same street as Mingalar Inn, next toe the post office (hardly noticeable). We went with MoeMoe, very nice guy, in a pretty good mood and who took good care of us. The hike Inle to Kalaw is not complicated, there is only one big slope the first day, for almost 1h (around 11am: it’s hot!).[/li][/ulist]Walking duration: day 1: 5h30, day 2: 7h, day 3: 2h30.
We got lucky we were only two for 1 guide, walking on small paths, and slept the first evening at the school teacher’s place, the 2nd night in a monastery with only 2 old monks around. While on the other way, we pass groups of 10 peoples, most of them finished at the same monastery for the night, also they were following the road for 1 day instead of the smaller paths.

Cost for 2: 70,000 Kyats + 3,000 for the 1h boat the first day.
Food and housing are included (can donate a little bit to the monastery through)
But no the water (can be bought on the way at some places)
Good to know: no shower for 2 days, the villages are not equipped with tap water and in each place we had a fresh water tank available but in sight of everyone, so only for washing feets and hands.
The landscape is not crazily beautiful (it’s the dry season, all rice terraces are grey) but villagers live their lives along the road and the weather is pretty cool enough to walk comfortably.
Moemoe told us the best season is in November-december after the end of the rainy season, where you can see the rice terraces at their best, but also there would be some leeches…
For those who think 2 nights out is a bit long, they also offer hikes for the day or 2day/1nigh around Inle lake east side.

Address: Two Thumns up, Phaung Daw Phyan Road Nyaung Shwe, next to the postoffice, in the same street as Mingalar Inn

Hotel Eastern Paradise 20$/night[/li][/ulist]Very comfortable, especially after the hike! It’s the only city where I saw the hotel was not fully booked.
Taxi to get to Heho airport ( less than 1 hour drinving in the morning, no one on the road) 20,000 Kyats, taxi found next to the market. The hotel can arrange taxis for 25,000 Kyats.[/li][/ulist]
Have a nice trip for the lucky ones who go there ,

#1 teeterouge has been a member since 1/9/2006. Posts: 2

Posted by MADMAC on 15/2/2012 at 05:53

Has the government eased restrictions on foreigners driving motorcycles and eliminated any curfews or movement restrictions?

#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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