Posted by Ruthbrain on 17/9/2015 at 09:48
Myanmar is a fascinating country and best to visit now while it's still relatively untouched by modern development. The people are so friendly, the women and men still wear traditional longis and it is a challenge to dodge the constant betel spitting. We did a 10 day circuit Yangon / Bagan /Inle Lake/Yangon. After landing in Yangon We spent 2 nights staying at Chan Myaye Guesthouse (recommended by travelfish). It was in a good location and had lovely helpful staff. We did lots of walking around Yangon, rode the circle train, tried the street food and found quite good coffee at Bar Boon (near our guesthouse). We then travelled by VIP overnight bus to Bagan using JJ (Joyous Journeys) - we highly recommend this company. Our accommodation in Bagan, Zfreti Hotel, was very kind to book us into our room even though it was only 7am. We stayed at this lovely accommodation for 2 nights and particularly enjoyed relaxing by their pool after a busy day visiting the temples. Hiring an electric bike is a great way to do temple sightseeing and also very cheap. After Bagan we caught a bus to Inle Lake - a beautiful tranquil place. We stayed 3 nights at Zawgi Inn, Nyaung Shwe - comfy clean accommodation with lovely staff. While here we did a boat trip on the lake, rode bicycles to the hot springs and just relaxed on the balcony of our cabin at Zawgi Inn. We also found a great place to eat called One Owl Grill. This recently opened establishment had a delicious range of good food and drinks at very reasonable prices. They also did good coffee and churros. We finished our travels in Myanmar with another overnight bus trip back to Yangon with JJ.
#1 Ruthbrain has been a member since 6/4/2015. Posts: 4
Posted by exacto on 17/9/2015 at 15:24
Thanks for the trip report. It sounds like you had a great time and managed to pack quite a bit into your 10 days. Do you have time to answer a few questions about costs? For example, how much did you pay for an average night's accommodation? What were the fares for those overnight bus trips? What did food cost at the restaurants you mentioned? How much was bicycle rental?
Did the overnight bus trips seem safe? If you've been to Ayutthaya or Sukhothai or Yogyakarta or Angkor, how did Bagan compare? Did you have a favorite beer while you were there? How easy was it to communicate for those who don't speak Burmese?
As you can guess, I've never been, and would love to learn a few logistics details to help round our your glowing report of the experience. Best wishes.
#2 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,808
Posted by Gogomobile on 18/9/2015 at 07:19
What is the nightlife like?
What are the roads like?
#3 Gogomobile has been a member since 14/4/2015. Posts: 412
Posted by antoniamitchell on 19/9/2015 at 00:26
Hi, not the original poster but jumping in because I was there last summer (2014).
Roads were sometimes pretty poor - saw lots of potholes on some roads, both in cities like yangon and on main roads connecting towns. Other routes (like the roads heading north out of mandalay) have decent surfaces but heavy truck traffic, so you end up in congestion going up or down hairpin bends. And in smaller towns like around bagan or inLe a lot of the smaller roads are dirt.
Last summer zfreti hotel in nyanG u (near bagan) was asking for $40 a night, but plenty of less fancy places were available for $15-25. Prices were similar in inle area. Mandalay and yangon were a bit more expensive.
I took a vip overnight bus from yang on to inle for $17. The non-vip bus was cheaper but would have been less comfy.
Meals range from $0.50-1 for a basic hawker dish or coffee shop snack/light meal, to $2-3 for a small local restaurant, to $5-10 for a touristy restaurant or western food.
Never checked out the nightlife, but I think it tends to be isolated to particular areas (many areas of yangon are practically deserted after 21:00 and most of the restaurants near my hotel had shut by that time - locals tend to get up early, I think.)
Locals are very friendly in my experience, even the ones who don'the speak english, and a lot of people you'love meet will know at least a little English - and those that don't you can mime to. Communication wasn't really a problem for me, although my English accent threw a few people - I was better understood when I used an American accent for some reason.
Finally bagan is a lot more spread out than ayuthaya or sukhothai but less well preserved in some areas, and shows in my opinion less variation in style, however it's still well worth exploring IMHO - I spent 4 days there and still didn't see it all.
#4 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 566
Posted by Gogomobile on 23/9/2015 at 07:59
So temples are the main attraction?
#5 Gogomobile has been a member since 14/4/2015. Posts: 412
Posted by antoniamitchell on 26/9/2015 at 07:32
Temples are certainly the main attraction at Bagan (that's pretty much the only reason people visit it). Other places offer different attractions: Yangon has a nice street vibe, just wandering around, looking at colonial architecture, watching people worship at the big golden pagodas. Eastern areas in Shan State (like Inle or Kalaw) are known for beautiful scenery, so people visit for boat trips, cycling, treking, same in the North of the country. Beaches in the far south of west of the country (never got to them so can't say anything). I think also part of the attraction of Burma is how undeveloped much of it still is - it feels like going back in time. You'll see more ox ploughs than tractors (I'm not saying that's a good thing, but it is interesting to many Westerners).
#6 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 566
Posted by Ruthbrain on 7/10/2015 at 23:29
Accommodation in Myanmar is a bit pricier than other Asian countries, particularly Yangon . As we are an older couple we always stayed in rooms with our own bathroom. The accommodation always came with breakfast which wasn't great except for the fresh fruit. In Yangon our guesthouse room cost the equivalent of 40AUD per night. In Bagan we stayed in pricier accommodation because it had a pool. It was also about 40AUD but well worth it - the pool was lovely as Bagan is very hot. Zwagi Inn was the cheapest of our stays at around 25 AUD a night.
Motorbike hire in Bagan was very cheap (about 6AUD per day). It was a great way to get around and see the temples which are quite spread out. We loved Bagan. It was amazing to see so many ancient temples spread around the countryside.
We generally found food and drinks quite cheap. Large bottles of Myanmar beer (a lovely drop) cost us about 2AUD. Even at 'One Owl Grill' in Inle Lake we had a nice meal with beers for about 12AUD. Coffees, 2 ice cold drinks and a plate of churros cost us 6AUD.
The VIP overnight buses were a very good way of getting from A to B. They were air conditioned, had large reclining seats and we were given blankets and bottled water. Our trips cost 17000-19000 Kyat. It was well worth paying the extra for VIP. We felt very safe in Myanmar including on the bus trips (perhaps the trip between Bagan and Inle Lake during the day was a bit hair raising due to the winding narrow roads).
We didn't have too much trouble communicating with the locals. It seems most people working in the tourist area have enough English to get by. Hotel staff are also very helpful when it comes to organising transport from one place to another.
Hope this is helpful. Sorry for the delay in responding to your questions.
#7 Ruthbrain has been a member since 6/4/2015. Posts: 4
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