My boyfriend and I (28 years old) are planning a trip to Myanmar in January/February next year as a part of a 5 month trip to Asia and we would love to get advice/recommendations from you all experienced travellers.
This is the plan that we have in mind (for 22 days):
Day 1 Arrival to Yangon
Day 2 Yangon
(night bus or night train Yangon-Mandalay)
Day 3 Mandalay
Day 4 Mandalay
Day 5 Trip Mandalay - Bagan (by boat if there is any or by bus)
Day 6 Bagan
Day 7 Bagan
Day 8 Bagan
Day 9 Trip Bagan - Kalaw (9h by bus)
Day 10 Trek Kalaw - Inle Lake (day 1)
Day 11 Trek Kalaw - Inle Lake (day 2)
Day 12 Trek Kalaw - Inle Lake (day 3)
Day 13 Inle Lake
Day 14 Inle Lake
Day 15 Inle Lake
(night bus Inle Lake - Bago)
Day 16 Bago + trip Bago - Mawlamyaing
Day 17 Mawlamyaing
Day 18 Friday boat Mawlamyaing - Hpa An
Day 19 Hpa An
Day 20 Trip Hpa An - Golden Rock
Day 21 Golden Rock, trip to Yangon
Day 22 Departure
What do you think about this itinerary? Do you have any suggestions?
We travel on a budget, therefore we would like to travel by public transportation when possible. We do not mind to spend a night in a bus or train either. We would like to sleep in budget-medium guesthouses, to eat in street stalls or simple restaurants and to visit the sights even though there is a tourist fee. Maybe one or two nights we will treat ourselves with a more comfortable accomodation or a fancier restaurant, but nothing too expensive. We would like to keep it under 35 US$/each. Does it sound reasonable for Myanmar?
Thank you so much in advance.
Sonsoles & Iván
#1 queensy83 has been a member since 23/10/2011. Posts: 2
Hi Sonsoles & Iván,
You might want to post your question in the Burma branch of this website.
I did an almost identical trip about 8 years ago, only I went to Mawlamyaing first.
Recommendations? First, I would recommend that you do not try to stick to this schedule. Transport is notoriously slow and unreliable in Burma, and there are so many incredible places and sites that you'll probably want to throw it out the window a couple of days after arriving. You have plenty of time, so I would not even bother trying to adhere to one.
Rather than going Yangon-Mandalay-Bagan-Kalaw-Inle, you may want consider this route ... Yangon-Kalaw-trek to Inle-bus to Mandalay-boat to Bagan-bus to Yangon. This will avoid having to backtrack across the country to get to Kalaw.
Lots to see and do in and around Mandalay ... Saigang, U Bein's Bridge and Amarapura, Mahamuni and the temple there, Mingun, and Mandalay itself. You may want to add another day onto the city.
The train from Yangon to Mottama (or straight to Mawlamyaing now, I guess) is fantastic! And Mawlamyaing is a great city well-worth a few days. There was one place to stay when I was there (this place ... I am surprised that they have a website now ... http://www.mawlamyine.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=88 )
You can see on this website that there are other places to stay there now.
The ferry trip to Hpa-an was definitely one of the best water trips I've done. Highly recommended. Hpa-an, despite it's beautiful location, doesn't have much to keep you there.
Stay an extra day in Kinpun, the pilgrim's base camp for the Golden Rock, and do the walk up the mountain. Stunning scenery and you'll make the walk with lots and lots of pilgrims. You won't be able to walk up there and get back down in good time if you try to do it the day you arrive from Hpa-an (I made that trip by pick-up). Neither is it likely that you can do the walk up, head down, and then try to get back to Yangon in one day. You should consdider arriving on day 1 from Hpa-an, get a guest house, chill-out, and then walk up the mountain early the next morning (day 2), or later if you want to be there for sunset (incredible!!!). You might be told that you can't get down after dark, but I managed to squeeze into the cab of a dump truck carrying about 100 pilgrims back to Kinpun for $1 (the most terrifying road trip I've ever experienced). Spend that night in Kinpun and then head back to Yangon the next morning (day 3), perhaps with a stop in Bago on the way. Your guest house owner can get you bus tickets and can arrange to have the bus pick you up at your guest house. When I was there only one guest house could take foreign visitors, and my friend and I were the only ones there.
I took about 5 1/2 hours to get up to the Golden Rock, and that was taking my time. My buddy did it in 3 1/2. The scenery along the way was awesome! The rock and temple area is mind-blowing. Lots of animist stuff along the way and up there, as well. Very interesting. Best thing I did in Burma! I was exhausted after, but it was worth it ... especially that truck ride back down.
VERY cheap food and all you can drink tea in the tea shops. Great for mornings if your guest house or hotel doesn't provide breakfast. The biryani shops in Yangon are excellent and really cheap, plus they open early and stay open late.
Extend your visa by a week or two. You won't regret it. Burma is unlike any of the other countries you'll visit and one month really isn't enough. With 5 months, you've got loads of time. I don't recommend rushing through the place. Realistically, it's almost impossible to rush around there. Things move too slowly.
Not trying to plan your trip. Just pointing out a few things that may help.