Photo: Temple outside Monywa.

Burma forum

Burma Itinerary Tips? I have 2 weeks.

Posted by jessieo on 26/5/2009 at 11:04

Hi guys!

I have 2 full weeks in Burma (I arrive in 10 days) flying roundtrip to Yangon. Any suggestions on a great itinerary?

I know that Bagan and Mandalay are musts, and I figure I will spend only 2 days in Yangon. Is it feasible to add Inle Lake, Mawlamyaing and/or Kyiatiyo?

Thanks in advance - Cheers!

#1 jessieo has been a member since 20/5/2009. Posts: 16

Posted by Tilapia on 27/5/2009 at 01:26

Hi Jessieo,

In case you haven't seen it, check out this link. It is info I typed out for someone who was considering going a while back ...

Two weeks is not a lot of time in Burma, but it is better than none (depending on who you talk to ... some would say that no time in Burma is enough.) Whether or not you have enough time to go to Inle depends on how much time you plan to spend in Mandalay and Bagan, and how you intend to travel.

If you decide to travel overland, my experience tells me that going to Inle will be make you very tight for time, but it's not impossible. Consider that you will have 2 days in Yangon, will use at least one (literally ... at least!) full day to get to Mandalay, two or three days in and around Mandalay, another full day to get to Bagan, two or three days in Bagan, and then another full day to get back to Yangon.

Again, it depends on what you want to see and do, and how you want to get around. I thought that Mandalay was good for 4 or 5 days, but some think that it is not worth 1. If you want to check out the town, Saigang, U Bein's Bridge, Mahamuni, and Mingun, you'll need at least three days. If you're really into temples and photography, you'll need at least two full days (3 nights) in Bagan. It's at least a 10 hour boat ride from Mandalay to Bagan. If you want to see Inle Lake and maybe do a trek, you'll need 3 or 4 days in Nyaung Schwe. You get the picture.

I always recommend that people take the train to Mawlamyaing, ferry to Hpa-an, pick-up to Thaton and then on to Kyiatiyo and Kinpun to hike up to the Golden Rock, Bago, then back to Yangon as a good 2-week loop. Just something else to consider. From my point of view, Mawlamyaing and Kyiatiyo are also "must-sees."

I'm pretty sure that you could manage to see Kyiatiyo as a 2-day trip from Yangon, but that will only be possible if you skip Inle. If you go, do try and get there in time to do the walk up the mountain to the temple, rather than taking a truck or bus up. It's mind-blowing. In my opinion, it was much more interesting and much less touristed than Inle, though when you go to Inle Lake you will be able to visit Indein, which I thought was fantastic.

Having said all that, weather may be a deciding factor in what you can and cannot do, so I'd definitely keep my options open, but have some kind of general outline of where to go. I have a feeling that Mandalay and Bagan (and Yangon) will be stinking hot when you are there, but that it may be a bit cooler near the coast (Mawlamyaing) and up in the hills (Kyiatiyo and Inle Lake.)

Hope that helps a bit.

#2 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,507
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Posted by Jennifer70 on 26/8/2009 at 14:43

Hi Jessieo! Yes, two weeks are not enough for this wonderful country but it's better than nothing!
I had no expectations, no clear ideas and then I’ve found inspiration in "Ko` Travelling in Myanmar" a book I've bought at
I simply did the same journey that is described in that book (Yangon, Sagaing, Amarapura, Mingun, Mandalay, Bagan, Salay, Kalaw and Inle and Yangon) and it worked for me! You could just skip one or two stops from that journy...
Have a look at
Take care,

#3 Jennifer70 has been a member since 26/8/2009. Posts: 3

Posted by seagypsy on 27/8/2009 at 00:25

Traveling by road up-country by bus is very time consuming (especially the Yangon to/from Inle Lake area and Yangon to/from Bagan) so if you can afford to fly, then I'd recommend doing so. Even the Yangon to Mandalay leg by overnight bus is exhausting but if it's one long haul trip you want to experience it's this one OR the Bagan to Inle Lake bus.

With 2 weeks, you could visit the 'big 4' destinations of:

Yangon 2-3 days (recommend book-ending them, spend at least one day at the beginning getting oriented, exchanging money and loading up on kyats for your up-country travels since Yangon offers the best exchange rates, and visiting the incredible Shwedagon Paya [stick around for sunset, too]). Also recommend arriving back in Yangon a day early for your return flight to leave room for bus break downs or delays.

Inle Lake area 3-5 days (include perhaps Kalaw and if time permits Pindaya).

Mandalay 2-3 days (including nearby ancient royal centers of Mingun [morning/half day trip by boat], and then the 3 royal capitals of Amarapura, Inwa/Ava, and Sagaing [a long full day, share hired transport with others from your guesthouse/hotel]. If time permits, a day-trip to Pyin Oo Lwin, a former British Hill Station would be great too.

Bagan 2-3 Days (rent a bike to tour the many many temples; catch sunset at one, too).

#4 seagypsy has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 136

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