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I am planing on visiting Myanmar this Oct (2016) I read your post and am excited to be going! I will be traveling with my father. We are doing the same route I believe you took..

Day 01
Yangon Arrival - Shwedagon Pagoda
Day 02
Yangon City Tour - Overnight Train to Mandalay
Day 03
Mandalay Royal Palace Full Day
Day 04
Mandalay Daily Cruise to Bagan
Day 05
Bagan Heritage Visiting
Day 06
Bagan Local Life & Temple
Day 07
Bagan - Kalaw
Day 08
Kalaw Trekking
Day 09
Trekking to Inle Lake
Day 10
Inle Lake - Nampan Village ? Heho - Yangon
Day 11
Yangon Departure

I have never been anywhere outside the us besides Mexico when I was young so I am a bit nervous and this trip. Do you have any advice for someone like me? :)

Thanks for posting this, it was very helpful

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    Hi Forrest and welcome to Fodors. Thanks for making this a separate post.

    Several comments: Are you aware of how slow and uncomfortable the train is? It was built by the Brits and basically no improvements or maintenance has been done on the cars or the tracks since. some people want the experience, but don't expect it to be comfortable. A flight or a bus would be faster and more comfortable. With the limited time you have in the country, I'd try to cut the amount of transit time.

    Mandalay: There is nothing at all of the old Palace. It was destroyed by the junta, completely. There is only the site of the old palace, an now some fantasy of the palace constructed by the junta. I wouldn't waste two minutes on the place. Instead, I'd visit some of the ancient cities sites just outside the city. Sagaing was out favorite, but you'll probably want to see the U Bien Bridge as well - go at sunset.

    The boat from Mandalay to Bagan - In general, this is a long time on a (not very comfortable) boat on perhaps the least interesting portion of the Irrawaddy. Think about your priorities, as you are losing at least half a day of sightseeing time by doing the cruise. On the other hand, many people enjoy a day on the river.

    It appears you have two days in Bagan. I have no idea what you mean by "Heritage Visiting" but hopefully, you'll hire a horsecart to visit some of the many hundreds of temples. We love Bagan, and we love Buddhist temples, so two days wouldn't be enough for us.

    You are doing the Kalaw to Inle Lake trek, but it doesn't appear that you are spending any time on the lake. I highly recommend you spend at least a day on the lake - hire an boat and boatman and tell them where you want to go - don't miss InDien, and go to the daily market (unless it is the floating market). Don't go to the workshops unless they interest you. The workshops make some people feel that the place is very touristy. But if you do your research and make choices based on your interests, Inle Lake is a real highlight.

    You might find our photos to be helpful to you: www.marlandc.com There are photos from 3 trips: 2009, 2011 and a northern Burma river cruise in 2015. Also, if you click on my name, you can find my trip reports.

    Have a wonderful time!

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    Hi Forrest,

    I think you should consider not visiting Yangon, or at least only at one end of your trip. I want to let you know that you can fly in and out of Mandalay, if you're coming from Bangkok on AirAsia for about $60 USD each way. Mandalay is only 5 hours drive from Bagan and Inle Lake, so skipping Yangon will save you a lot of travel time at the beginning and end of your trip.

    Although I loved Yangon much more than Mandalay, you are spending so little time there that it might be better used in Inle Lake and Bagan, both places you could easily spend an entire week or more. Although you can take overnight train or bus between Yangon and Mandalay, they are not comfortable, and you will probably arrive tired. Alternatively, from Bangkok you could fly into Yangon and then out of Mandalay, or vice-versa.

    Also, from what I've heard of the Royal Palace, it does not take all day to see, so can be included as part of your full-day Mandalay tour. Personally, I would just see a few places during the half-days you are there at the beginning and end of your trip. You can easily hire a taxi to take you around.

    Let me know if you have any other questions. Also, if you click on my name you can get to my blog, which has a number of posts on Myanmar.

    Jess

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