Advice on Myanmar

Old Nov 10th, 2005, 12:57 PM
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Advice on Myanmar

I visited Thailand in 2001, and am returning next year. This time however, I 've decided to add another country in. I have 28 days, so I thought that I would spend 12 days in Thailand and 12 days in Myanmar(other days are traveling days). Is that going to be too much. The first time in Thailand I stayed at 3 different places and spent 18 days. That was so relaxing. This time I am traveling to alot of places(Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, and Inle lake). In Thailand, Mae Hong Son, Chiang mai, Bangkok, Soppong and Pai. Has anyone done that, and enjoyed themselves? It gives me a few days in each place with longer at Inle Lake since it's in the middle of the trip. Also people have mentioned setting up driver/guides from their guesthouses in Myanmar instead of doing it ahead. Has anyone had bad experiences with that? Any tips would be great. Thanks
Old Nov 10th, 2005, 01:08 PM
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The thailand portion is doable if you are only spending a couple of days in Bangkok. To do the northern thailand section properly and without going nuts I would spend at least 8-9 (and I'd do at least 9)days which leaves 3-4 for Bangkok where I assume you spent a fair amount of time on your first trip.

For Burma, again it's doable but I think you'd enjoy it more if you only went to three places. I would definitely go to Inle Lake and Yangon. Whether to go to Mandalay or Bagan depends on your interests. Bagan is a wonderful archeological site with fascinating temples but it's an outdoor museum -- no people. But since you aren't being "templed out" on the rest of your trip it might be your best option. I found Mandalay more romantic and exotic sounding than it was in reality.
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Old Nov 10th, 2005, 01:55 PM
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I spent 16 days in Myanmar in 2003 (Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Kalaw, Inle Lake, Yangon). I would echo the earlier suggestion that Mandalay sounds better than it looks. I found Bagan absolutely extraordinary, but I love ruins and such. I enjoyed Inle Lake, but depending on whether you're staying on shore or at one of the places "in" the lake, it's actually rather difficult to get around and after a day or two, the novelty of riding around in longtail boats wears off. With twelve days I might suggest Yangon, Bagan, Inle and skipping Mandalay and spending some time at the villages surrounding Inle Lake if you get bored and/or are looking for village-type experiences (as opposed to the hustle of Yangon). In the alternative, you could fly into Mandalay, spend one day, and then take the boat down to Bagan. We did that trip (on the "local" rather than tourist ferry - it takes longer but is such a great experience).

We pre-arranged our driver/guide which worked marvelously, so I can't comment on doing it through the guesthouse. Have a fantastic time - Myanmar is an extraordinary place.
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Old Nov 10th, 2005, 02:36 PM
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redtop-your trip sounds wonderful and you've been given some excellent advice here. Many of us love Myanmar. The people are so friendly & have a wonderful gentleness about them. Well, most of them do!

What month are you going? We arrived Yangon Mar 29 2004 and it was starting to heat up most everywhere. April-July is not the best time to visit Mynamar. Try to go Nov-March.

We usually allow 3-4 days at each destination so if you enjoy travelling this way, then do it. We get bored easily so find 4 days max is enough for a taste of each place.

Myanmar is not as easy to get around as Thailand, where transport choices are excellent. Are you flying between all or some destinations in Myanmar & using drivers/guides for local touring? Fly long distances & hire a car & driver for short local trips. Sitting in a car or bussing it on those roads can be very tiring.

We used a local agent, Santa Maria Travel in Yangon (by email). Check out their website, were excellent & most reliable.

And don't miss Bagan. It is unique and there is nothing quite like Bagan, anywhere I've ever been. Enjoy yourself.
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Old Nov 10th, 2005, 07:44 PM
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I would also suggest spending some time in some nearby Shan towns/villages and skipping Mandalay.
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Old Nov 11th, 2005, 06:17 AM
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We also used Santa Maria Travel but did not make any arrangements in advance. We went to their office in the morning, told them the dates, flights, hotels, etc. that we wanted, and picked up all the vouchers perfectly executed in the afternoon. They are wonderful!
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Old Nov 11th, 2005, 10:26 AM
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Due to family problems, we have pushed our trip back to November of next year. That is so far away, but gives me plenty of time for planning and getting wonderful advice. If I fly into Mandalay and stay one day, then take the ferry to Bagan (which sounds exciting) then the rest might be doable. I wish I had another month, but I'll just have to come back again(hope to see Cambodia next time). I've got plenty more questions, so you'll be hearing from me again.Thanks
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