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Burma forum

Bangkok to Yangon - advice

Posted by iciclesecret on 21/11/2014 at 04:52

Hi all,
I land into Bangkok on 26th December and would ideally like to spend some time in Thailand until New Year... perhaps Ko Phayam, but open to ideas! I fly out of Yangon on the 17th January. Seems to be so many options to explore in Burma, I'm a little overwhelmed. What are the must see and dos?
I'd love to experience the best of the food, the people, river cruises and possibly beach huts by the coast, as well as ideally Bagan and Inle. Not as fussed by major cities, and I think that Bagan would fill my temple quota for the trip.
Any advice is hugely recommended?
thank you for time,

#1 iciclesecret has been a member since 17/7/2008. Posts: 16

Posted by iciclesecret on 21/11/2014 at 11:05

After a little more research...

Thinking about getting to Mandalay and then taking a river boat to Bagan then flying over to Inle Lake and flying onto Ngapali Beach. Does this sound sensible? Is the river boat ride worth it, or should I just base my travel from Yangon rather than taking the extra flight up to Mandalay?

#2 iciclesecret has been a member since 17/7/2008. Posts: 16

Posted by antoniamitchell on 21/11/2014 at 14:00

Well, for my two cents, Mandalay isn't a great city (I found it ugly and a bit boring) but it does have the advantage of being closer to Inle and Bagan than Yangon , although Yangon is a nicer and more interesting city (with better food - hopefully they haven't completely cleared out the street vendors by now).

I'm assuming you're not on a really tight budget (internal flights in Burma are quite expensive)? Because you're flying out of Yangon at the end of the trip, you could explore it then and don't gain anything really by passing through it earlier. So I'd consider either flying straight to Bagan or Inle (which usually means having to change planes in either Yangon or Mandalay), or flying into Mandalay and taking the boat to Bagan. I suppose it depends on how much the boat from Mandalay to Bagan appeals (I'm afraid it wasn't running when I visited, so I can't say anything about it, but I'm sorry I missed it).

You could devote one day to Mandalay if you're taking the boat, as you might as well see it as you're passing through (I'd suggest you hire a taxi or motorbike taxi to take you out to the big teak bridge). But I wouldn't suggest devoting much time to Mandalay, as there are much better places to explore (IMHO).

Hope that helps you make up your mind - enjoy your trip!

#3 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 566

Posted by caseyprich on 22/11/2014 at 11:18

When I was in Myanmar last February the border at Ranong , Thailand had just opened and some people were crossing overland from there, working their way up to Dawei (not an easy leg as some areas and roads were still closed to foreigners and had to be flown or boated around). Around Dawei was incredible, and Mawlamyine was probably my favorite location in country. That would eat up most of your trip and you could head over to Yangoon to fly out. It'd be an easy 2 weeks of a journey to get from Ranong to Dawei, but it would be much farther off the tourist trail - and still plenty of temples, just not the ones famous in Bagan .

If you're looking for an easier leg, then fly into Mandalay, go to Inle and Bagan and then head down to Yangoon. Easy enough route that has well worn ruts so that you can make do in limited time. (Though a really nice river cruise is between Malamyine and Hpa-an).

#4 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281

Posted by iciclesecret on 25/11/2014 at 09:37

Thanks. I think I might stick the easier run this time for my first visit. Is Ngapali Beach a nice place to be?
Was thinking 3 nights in Bagan, 3 in Inle beach and then some time at Ngapali? Wondering about plane vs buses and which legs are worth doing.

#5 iciclesecret has been a member since 17/7/2008. Posts: 16

Posted by iciclesecret on 25/11/2014 at 11:42

thanks papar burma

Not that fussed by cities so might skip Mandalay!

Would you suggest pre-booking accomodation?

#6 iciclesecret has been a member since 17/7/2008. Posts: 16

Posted by relaxedTrev on 29/11/2014 at 22:26

if you are starting at bangkok or Ko Phayam it make much more sence if you go overland into Southern Myanamr either by boat at Kawthaung / Ranong border crossing (which you are already within 100km of at Ko Phayam) or by van at the Kanchanaburi / Phu Nam Ron.

from Kawthaung you then speedboat through the archipelago and arrive in the historical port of Myeik then up to Maungmagan Beach in Dawei, these beaches are far more "untouched Myanmar" and far more beautiful than those in the west of the country. if your staying at Ka Phayam it implies that you like the less developed more relaxed beaches and lifestyle if so then southern myanmar is going to be a winner for you.

A map of timetables and modes of transport and cities in the south is on this link

as you get above Dawei there is the rivers of Ye, Caves of Hpa-an, largest reclining Buddha in the world, ogre island, Golden rock. mawlimyine all before you make it to Yangon.

#7 relaxedTrev has been a member since 20/11/2013. Posts: 13

Posted by PelonBombero on 29/12/2015 at 21:36


Great advice, I am completely changing my whole trip base on you, thank you!

I will fly into Bankok BKK so any recommendations getting to Ranong/Kawthouung? Bus?

I guess the border is still fine to cross there and sounds like highlights are, in order...

Myeik- to
Maungmagan- Nabule Beach to
Dawei - Tuk Beach , rivers of Ye, Caves of Hpa-an, largest reclining Buddha in the world, ogre island, Golden rock. mawlimyine to

There has to be so much more en route, but is it all boat until Myeik? Do you go by boat all the way to Dawei?
Anyways thanks for the GREAT post!

#8 PelonBombero has been a member since 29/12/2015. Posts: 1

Posted by macxell on 20/8/2016 at 02:54

If it sounds sensible? Depends on the perspective..
2 flights in three weeks + the arriving in Myanmar (which is somehow necessary and not everyone has longer time... i know, but 2 inland flights..?)

#9 macxell has been a member since 28/2/2016. Posts: 1

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