Photo: Temple outside Monywa.

Burma forum

10 days in Burma

Posted by sn0wman on 12/5/2016 at 22:14

Hi I will be travelling to Burma from dec 9-17 / 18 dec and i roughly have some plan of what i am going to do.

A few qus i wish to ask before i confirm my trip for dec.

1) I manage to check bus services on the website so i can prebook in advance to travel from 1 city to another. But it seem like there is no way to book any train service in advance?

2) I intend to take a train from Mandalay to Hsipaw so that i can experience the Gokteik but I also read that can stop over at Pyin Oo Lwin for a short day trip before going to Hsipaw. My Qus is Pyin Oo Lwin worth to stop over? If it is worth to stop over and i continue my train from Pyin Oo Lwin will i still be able to experience the Gokteik before i reach Hsipaw?

3) Hsipaw and Kalaw trekking. Looking at the map Hsipaw trekking is able to bring me to inle lake (which i intend to do so) but i also read on the forum that Kalaw is also quite nice. If i am able to arrange my time will there be any trekking from Hsipaw via Kalaw before reaching Inle Lake? I checked with Sam family trekking they havent gotten me any info.

Will the trekking for Hsipaw or Kalaw be tough? Because we seldom do trekking so might scare is tough to trek around,

4) read that inle lake is fill up with tourist, i also read that heho is good to explore so if i stay 2 night in inle lake and explore out to heho (day trip) for 1 day and another half to full day for inle lake should be enough right?

#1 sn0wman has been a member since 8/3/2012. Posts: 11


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Posted by antoniamitchell on 13/5/2016 at 06:50

Hi Snowman,

1) As far as I know, you can't prebook any buses over the internet. Not only is internet still pretty much in it's infancy there (most hotels offer wifi, but it's normally too slow to actually use, or at least it was when I was there in June 2014), but the infrastructure just isn't there to support online ticketing. Bus companies still hand-write out a paper ticket when you buy one. So, don't worry about booking your tickets before you go. If it's not that busy where you are, you can buy your tickets on the day of travel. If it is busy (as it probably will be in December), just buy your tickets a day or two in advance (ie., if arrive in Hsipaw on Monday morning, and want to leave on Wednesday morning, I'd buy my ticket on Monday)

2) The viaduct is between Pyin Oo Lwin and Hsipaw, and it's quite a slow train, so the journey from Mandalay to Pyin is about 4-5 hours (I think), and from Pyin to Hsipaw is another 6 or 7. I think there might only be 1 train a day in each direction on this route (2 max) so it's not very easy to have a short break in Pyin, and you wouldn't want to leave Pyin too late anyway, because the journey takes such a long time (it's a very uncomfortable train ride - it bumps about a lot - so you can't rest on it if you get tired. So if you just want to see the viaduct, there's no reason to take the train all the way from Mandalay. I'd suggest you take a share taxi to Pyin (takes 2 hours) and then get on the train from there.

3) From Kalaw you can trek to Inle Lake, not from Hsipaw. The trek from Kalaw is 3 days, I think. It's not really hard walking (it's not mountainous, for example) but if you don't normally walk very far, a 3 day walk might be a bit much for you. You might prefer to do shorter, day treks, to see if you enjoy it.

4) Inle is probably the most touristy town in Burma. The local area / countryside is nice, though, but you'd need more than 1 day if you wanted to explore the countryside AND do the traditional boat trip. I haven't been to Heho so I can't say about that.

A small note - it looks like you're trying to fit in quite a bit into a ten day trip. Remember that travel in this part of the world is very slow and tiring. Getting from Hsipaw to Inle or Inle to Mandalay will take a whole day, so the more places you try and move between, the more time you lose to travel (rather than enjoying yourself). So my recommendation is always: less is more.

Have a wonderful trip!

#2 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 556
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Posted by sn0wman on 16/5/2016 at 01:51

Thanks antoniamitchell for the reply. I manage to find this website( myanmarbusticket.com )to pre purchase the bus ticket, of cause the ticket might be abit more ex than buying on the spot as it is charge in USD.


True enough i guess i will just take a cab to Pyin and lay over 1 night next day train to Hsipaw . Likely i will trek from Hsipaw to Inle lake. As Inle lake is abit tourist place, i will go to Heho. Maybe i will be 2 days or 1.5 days there after travelling, worse case i will forgot the trekking as it is not a must for us to do.

#3 sn0wman has been a member since 8/3/2012. Posts: 11

Posted by somtam2000 on 16/5/2016 at 04:14 admin

Hi Snowman,

There is no trekking from Hsipaw to Inle Lake - the trekking is between Kalaw and Inle Lake.

There has been fighting recently in the hinterland around Kyaukme (between Pyin and Hsipaw) and the area surrounding Kyaukme is not considered overly safe right now, so I'm not sure how much scope for trekking from Hsipaw (to anywhere) would be practical.

Heho is just the airport closest to Nyaung Shwe (the town by Inle Lake) - I'm not sure there is much more there other than the airport!

Cheers

#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,021
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Posted by sn0wman on 18/5/2016 at 02:10

i just realise i calculate my timing in Myanmar in fact if i decide to trek than i will have to give up 1 or 2 days in bagan and mandalay. If i go trekking i gonna follow my below plan but due to i have limited timing and flight problem i gonna be home by latest 18dec so i gonna replan again, maybe i will give up the trekking adn just do the main city --> yangon - bagan - manadalay - inle lake - yangon

8 dec Yangon (1st day arrival, stay 1 night)
9 dec Yangon - Bagan over night bus
10dec bagan early morning arrival
11dec bagan
12dec night bus to mandalay
13dec mandalay early morning arrival
14dec mandalay (havent decide if i wan to do a pyin oo lwin for day trip)
15dec morning train to Hsipaw, upon arrival 1 night at Mr charles
16dec trekking to inle lake
17dec arrival inle lake
18dec inle lake
19dec over night bus to yangon
20dec going home

#5 sn0wman has been a member since 8/3/2012. Posts: 11

Posted by LongestBusRide on 25/5/2016 at 14:21

Hello,

You can easily book bus tickets through any guesthouse or hotel in Myanmar a day in advance, provided it's not during a holiday period. Trains are booked at the train station. In Mandalay you can book your train the day before also.

I would suggest that if you have an early morning arrival in Mandalay, you go to the train station and try to get a train ticket for the same day... unless you want to do something specific there, so you want to spend a night.

Also, do you know that from Bagan to Mandalay the bus takes 4 or 5 hours? The road is slightly bumpy most of the way, so not great for sleeping. Instead, you might try to take a bus from Bagan to Inle Lake (you will have to change buses in Mandalay), and then return by train from Inle Lake to Mandalay.

If you do decide to stay in Mandalay, I quite liked the Royal Guesthouse, because it's on a quiet street and only a few minutes from the main bus station to Bagan and also the main train station. A mototaxi to either will be about 1,500 kyat. Also, lots of good restaurants and tea houses within 4 blocks.

Let me know if you have any questions. I was just in Myanmar in April/May, 2016. The places I visited are listed here: http://www.longestbusride.com/where-in-the-world/myanmar-visit/

Jess

#6 LongestBusRide has been a member since 25/5/2016. Posts: 5


Posted by Flamenguista on 26/6/2016 at 18:16

Thanks for the info everybody. We are looking to make roughly the same trip with the same number of days. But we are torn on flying or taking the VIP night buses. I think the deciding factor will be the state of the bathrooms on the buses. Can anyone comment on the bathroom situation? We've been on some long bus trips in Eastern Europe that didn't have toilets on the bus. It has scarred us on long distance bus travel ever since.

#7 Flamenguista has been a member since 26/6/2016. Posts: 1

Posted by ImageOfMyanmar on 2/8/2016 at 07:41

Hi Snowman & Flamenguista
That's kind of trip you both mentioned can be arranged easily by local travel agent. They can give you service for only bus ticket, train ticket, trekking as well.

For the bus condition in Myanmar, the bus are pretty good like Scania, Volvo etc. but toilet is not available on the bus, but if you want, you can ask the driver to stop whenever you need. So, normally, our local people don't worry for toilet, just ask the driver to stop when we need. It's ok.

Trekking from Hsipaw to Inle is impossible. No way. But people can do the trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake for one night or two night trek.

From Bagan to Mandalay is only 5-6 hours drive, so you better take the day bus or train to enjoy the scenery.Because, the night bus to Mandalay arrive at the middle of the night like 2-3am. So you also have to charge for accommodation cost as well. Moreover, the bus is not too big like a mini bus only.

I would like to give suggestion that take the night bus to Mandalay from Yangon first, explore Mandalay and transfer to Bagan by Full day cruise, full day train or half day bus. Then, transfer to Inle by night bus from Bagan, Inle night bus is better than Mandalay night bus, the bus will arrive to Inle around 5am. So that's time is ok.

Pyin Oo Lwin is famous for summer resort since the colonial time and there are some colonial architect building and Botanical garden only. But visitors visit there to take the train to cross the Goteik Viaduct.

Wish you to have a great vacation in Myanmar. for any other information, please feel free to contact me via email htt.paing@gmail.com

Regards

#8 ImageOfMyanmar has been a member since 2/8/2016. Posts: 6

Posted by ImageOfMyanmar on 2/8/2016 at 07:41

Hi Snowman & Flamenguista
That's kind of trip you both mentioned can be arranged easily by local travel agent. They can give you service for only bus ticket, train ticket, trekking as well.

For the bus condition in Myanmar, the bus are pretty good like Scania, Volvo etc. but toilet is not available on the bus, but if you want, you can ask the driver to stop whenever you need. So, normally, our local people don't worry for toilet, just ask the driver to stop when we need. It's ok.

Trekking from Hsipaw to Inle is impossible. No way. But people can do the trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake for one night or two night trek.

From Bagan to Mandalay is only 5-6 hours drive, so you better take the day bus or train to enjoy the scenery.Because, the night bus to Mandalay arrive at the middle of the night like 2-3am. So you also have to charge for accommodation cost as well. Moreover, the bus is not too big like a mini bus only.

I would like to give suggestion that take the night bus to Mandalay from Yangon first, explore Mandalay and transfer to Bagan by Full day cruise, full day train or half day bus. Then, transfer to Inle by night bus from Bagan, Inle night bus is better than Mandalay night bus, the bus will arrive to Inle around 5am. So that's time is ok.

Pyin Oo Lwin is famous for summer resort since the colonial time and there are some colonial architect building and Botanical garden only. But visitors visit there to take the train to cross the Goteik Viaduct.

Wish you to have a great vacation in Myanmar. for any other information, please feel free to contact me via email htt.paing@gmail.com

Regards

#9 ImageOfMyanmar has been a member since 2/8/2016. Posts: 6

Posted by ImageOfMyanmar on 2/8/2016 at 08:14

Hi Snowman & Flamenguista
That's kind of trip you both mentioned can be arranged easily by local travel agent. They can give you service for only bus ticket, train ticket, trekking as well.

For the bus condition in Myanmar, the bus are pretty good like Scania, Volvo etc. but toilet is not available on the bus, but if you want, you can ask the driver to stop whenever you need. So, normally, our local people don't worry for toilet, just ask the driver to stop when we need. It's ok.

Trekking from Hsipaw to Inle is impossible. No way. But people can do the trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake for one night or two night trek.

From Bagan to Mandalay is only 5-6 hours drive, so you better take the day bus or train to enjoy the scenery.Because, the night bus to Mandalay arrive at the middle of the night like 2-3am. So you also have to charge for accommodation cost as well. Moreover, the bus is not too big like a mini bus only.

I would like to give suggestion that take the night bus to Mandalay from Yangon first, explore Mandalay and transfer to Bagan by Full day cruise, full day train or half day bus. Then, transfer to Inle by night bus from Bagan, Inle night bus is better than Mandalay night bus, the bus will arrive to Inle around 5am. So that's time is ok.

Pyin Oo Lwin is famous for summer resort since the colonial time and there are some colonial architect building and Botanical garden only. But visitors visit there to take the train to cross the Goteik Viaduct.

Wish you to have a great vacation in Myanmar. for any other information, please feel free to contact me via email htt.paing@gmail.com

Regards

#10 ImageOfMyanmar has been a member since 2/8/2016. Posts: 6


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