If you are flying Bkk -> Mandalay or Mandalay -> Bkk on Air Asia, they are offering free airport transfers from their city office. The trip to/from the airport takes 45-60 minutes, and foer a taxi from the airport, the cost is about 12,000 kyat (private) or 4,000 kyat (shared). I'm not sure about taxi prices TO the airport....)
So the FREE bus is a good option! The only condition is that you just need to make your own way to their office (near the south-end of the Palace) - but that should be pretty cheap.
More details here: http://www.airasia.com/th/en/MDL-Shuttle-Bus.page
why is the bus so early? the later bus is at 915 am, but the flight isn't untill 1 PM.
if it takes an hour to get to the airport, (1015), you're still there 3 hours before check-in, the counters don't even open until 2 hours before...
#2 bbmatt has been a member since 5/11/2013. Posts: 1
Yep, you're right. There was a lot of sitting around time'- but it was only an hour or so max before check in, not 3. I didn't really think about it much beforehand, I was just ready to go. I could have sat around he hotel, or at the airport. On the upside, there is free WiFi at the airport so you can use that time to catch up on stuff.
When you get to the airport, it will be virtually empty. There are only 12 flights a day, so it's not busy at the best of times. There are chairs for you to sit on, but there were no coffee shops open when the bus arrived at 10.15 or so, so don't count on having your breakfast there. Once you go through passport control, there were a couple of coffee shops and souvenir stores open so you can have a late brunch instead.
Also - I couldn't find any money changers after passport control to convert leftover kyat back to USD. I only had two dollars worth and one of the souvenir shops exchanged it for me. But if you have lots to exchange, do it before you leave the city. I presume that there must have been exchanges BEFORE you go through passport control, but I don't recall seeing any and didnt actively look for them at that time.
Hey exacto - the rate at the banks was around 1 USD = 930 kyat ( I think! It was a month or so ago that I exchanged). However, hotels, etc generally offer 1000kyat. So if a room was USD$20 they'd accept 20,000kyat.
BTW - I still have an email of yours floating around in my inbox re: Bali. I haven't forgotten.. just been... busy! I'm heading back there next week, and there will be plenty of beach time, so will take the time to give you some info when I'm back in the Bali headspace. Just as well you weren't in a hurry...!
Flew out of Mandalay airport last Saturday, so just a quick update to the above:
- Before check-in, there were 2 bank kiosks for currency exchange (both of which were closed when the Air Asia bus arrived, and stayed closed until I went through check-in an hour later), plus a duty free pickup counter that also had a currency exchange kiosk, which I used to convert back my remaining Kyat.
- There was a small coffee shop open before check-in.
- Post check-in, there was one coffee shop serving drinks and basic food (burgers, noodles) at inflated prices - 3000 kyat for a coffee! They accepted US$, but at a terrible exchange rate (850 kyat to the dollar, when the current available rate was around 960).
- There also was what looked like some kind of local cafeteria/cafe hidden away behind the smoking area, but when I saw a tourist trying to use it, he was turned away (there was no signage for it, so it might have just been for airport employees?)