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Ladouca May 7th, 2012 03:41 PM

Any reason why Bagan should be visited before Mandalay or vice versa?
I am about to book my internal flights with Onestop myanmar and they tell me that the airfare is cheaper if you travel clockwise than zig zag therefore recommend that we visit Bagan before Mandalay. On other reports I have read that we should visit Mandalay first because it is less interesting than Bagan. I don't really mind before or after because I will be visiting both and don't necessarily like to compare regions. I have however reserved my room at the Tharbar Gate in Bagan through agoda which means I would have to change my reservations dates if I consider the route suggested by the agency. I have read your TR report Kathie and Shelley and it seems that both of you visited Manadaly first. What are your thoughts on this? By the way I tried to connect with Santa Maria and after a return email and suggestions on their part I never heard back from them.

Kathie May 7th, 2012 04:26 PM

Mandalay is interesting, Bagan is WOW! If you were to visit Bagan first you might find Mandalay downright disappointing, in the same way if you visited Inle before Mandalay. All of the airlines run in circular patterns. I found that all had slight variations in their schedules. Some you have to stop at HeHo before Mandalay, some not, for instance. Since you've already made your reservations at Tharbar Gate, you may want to stick with those dates as agoda may not be able to accommodate a change in reservation dates without a substantial fee. (Here is another reason to book hotels through agents in Yangon - no change fees for hotels or internal flights, and the agencies rates are better than even agoda, generally).

Because of how unreliable the internet is in Burma, agents and hotels often say to email them again if you don't hear back in a few days. I'm sure Santa Maria would have ben glad to work with you, but it's good you've found another local agent.

When are you going?

FromDC May 7th, 2012 04:40 PM

I'm going through the same thing right now. My original plan was to do Mandalay first, then Bagan, then Inle Lake. But we are going in July and the only flight from Mandalay to Bagan is in the "evening" according to Santa Maria (probably late afternoon). Essentially that meant we would have to spend 3 days in Mandalay instead of 2 so I decided to do Bagan first even though I preferred the other order. Santa Maria is in the process of booking all this (we originally were planning an overnight boat from Mandalay to Bagan but that was cancelled because of low bookings in the off season so we have to fly). Perhaps there are more flights in season.

Ladouca May 7th, 2012 05:55 PM

We will be there from Nov 10th to Dec 2nd. I booked through agoda because I wasn't getting an answer from Santa Maria and I know that this time of the year is very much in demand. There are alot of places that are already full for this period. However all other accomodations and internal flights are booked through onestopmyanmar. I only booked Yangon and Bagan through agoda. Our itinerary is as follows: Yangon 3, mandalay 3,Bagan 4, Inle 4,Sittwe 1,Maruak u 3, ngapali 4 last day in yangon for back up then off to bangkok.

MichaelBKK May 8th, 2012 02:18 AM

I think I had the same experience as others. When I did both cities, flights from Yangon to Mandalay stopped in Bagan on the way there, but not on the way back, so you pretty much had to do Bagan first. I had a bit of fun in Mandalay, but I can't really argue that it's anything close to the jaw-dropping sight of Bagan.

shelleyk May 8th, 2012 04:27 AM

I would leave things as they are since you have already made your reservation at Tharbar Gate, and since you say you do not compare one region to another. When we flew from Mandalay to Bagan in January, all of the flights were in the late afternoon, so we spent an extra "unneeded" morning in Mandalay where we visited a very large open air produce market which turned out to be great and unexpected fun. We enjoyed our time in Mandalay, though it was not as memorable as Bagan or Inle. BTW, I think your itinerary looks great.

Kathie May 8th, 2012 05:43 AM

In 2011, our flight from Mandalay to Bagan was at the crack of dawn. Our flight from Yangon to Mandalay stopped at HeHo first.

When we were there in 2009, our flight to HeHo stopped at Mandalay first. No matter where you go, expect that your flight will have at least one stop before you get to where you want to be. With the increase in the number of airlines from our trip in 2009, there are more different schedules.

Ladouca May 8th, 2012 06:24 AM

Thanks to everyone for your comments.

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