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Three weeks in Myanmar

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Hi all,

I've spent the last couple of weeks reading through all the excellent advice on this forum after deciding to take a (somewhat) last minute trip to Burma this summer. I'm looking for some advice on my itinerary, and have a few additional questions.

I'm a 30 year old male, travelling solo - my first time travelling around SEA.

Rough itinerary:

Day 1 Mon 23rd July Bangkok to Yangon arrive approx 8am
Overnight Sleeper to Bagan
Day 2 Tues 24th Arrive Bagan
Day 3 Wed 25th Bagan
Day 4 Thur 26th Bagan
Day 5 Fri 27th 6am boat to Mandalay
Day 6 Sat 28th Around Mandalay
Day 7 Sun 29th Around Mandalay

Day 8 Mon 30th Pyin Oo Lwin day trip
Late evening train (or bus) to Thazi
Day 9 Tues 31st 5am Train from Thazi to Kalaw
Afternoon around Kalaw (maybe to Pindaya?)
Day 10 Wed 1st Aug Kalaw to Inle Lake via Kakku
Day 11 Thurs 2nd Inle
Day 12 Fri 3rd Inle
Day 13 Sat 4th Morning Flight to Yangon from Heho
Bus to Bago
Day 14 Sun 5th Bago - then on to Kinpun (Golden Rock)

Day 15 Mon 6th Bus back to Yangon
Day 16 Tues 7th Morning bus to Pathein
Day 17 Wed 8th Bus to Chaung Tha
Day 18 Thur 9th Chaung Tha
Day 19 Fri 10th Chaung Tha
Day 20 Sat 11th Bus to Yangon
Day 21 Sun 12th Yangon
Day 22 Mon 13th 8am (ish) flight to Bangkok

Now - some questions:

1. Am I giving myself enough time at the various "main stops"? I know I have factored in a few wasted days, especially the night spent in Thazi, since I would like to take the train ride from Thazi to Kalaw.

2. Am I better off going Bagan - Mandalay - Inle or Mandalay - Bagan - Inle ? Or does it really matter?

3. I would prefer to spend the last week of the trip going to see Mrauk U, but given the current unrest, am I better off forgetting about it?

4. I have given myself a few days on the beach at Chaung Tha (again, I think I would prefer Ngapali, but if I'm not going to Mrauk U, it seems a bit of a trek just to go to the beach there.) Am I wasting my time going to a seaside setting for some relaxation during the rainy season?

5. How much of the various elements should I have booked before I travel? Internal flights I will have to, and probably the overnight train (either to Yangon - Bagan or Yangon - Mandalay). I will use Santa Maria travel, based on all the good reviews I have heard from here.

But hotels? Internet prices are in a lot of cases double what are quoted in the most recent LP - and this is for low season travel! Am I better off just walking up when I arrive in the town, or ringing ahead the day before? I'm wary of having everything completely set in stone before getting there, as I might decide I want to spend an extra day somewhere...

I think that's enough to be going on for now.

No doubt I'll have more questions as I go on.

Thanks for reading this far!

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