Burma itinerary

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Sep 5th, 2009, 10:07 AM
  #1
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Burma itinerary

Have finally put together what seems, on paper at least, a resonable itinerary.
Would really appreciate any input. Do I need to contact a travel agent for internal flights, it seems that most people on this board work with TA's.

Nov 3 BKK-Yangon
Nov 4 Yangon
Nov 5 Bago
Nov 6 Yangon
Nov 7 fly to Mandalay
Nov 8 Mandalay
Nov 9 Mandalay
Nov 10 Mandalay
Nov 11 Boat to Bagan
Nov 12 Nyaung U Bagan
Nov 13 Nyaung U
Nov 14 Nyaung U
Nov 15 fly to Heho
Nov 16 Nyaungshwe
Nov 17 Nyaungshwe
Nov 17 Nyaungshwe
Nov 18 Nyaungshwe
Nov 19 Fly to Thandwe Ngapali
Nov 20 Ngapali
Nov 21 Ngapali
Nov 22 Ngapali
Nov 23 Yangon
Nov 24 Yangon -BKK
Nywoman is offline  
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Sep 5th, 2009, 10:34 AM
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3 Weeks in Myanmar - wow! IMO I think you should reduce Mandalay and increase more nights in Bagan. Are you looking at taking the ferry from Mandalay to Bagan? If so I don't know if you can stop at Mingun or not but that would be worthwhile. I did not find Mandalay that exciting and the main attraction there, the Mandalay Palace, was rather "Disney" like.
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Sep 5th, 2009, 10:44 AM
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looks like fun, can't wait to hear all about it on the 25th

bob
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Sep 5th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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I envy all the time you have!

We have opted for more time in Bagan - four full days, but it depends on your interests.

In terms of flights... well, there are three (non-government) airlines to choose from, and only Air Bagan has currently published their fall schedule. Their flight times don't meet my needs, so I'm awaiting other schedules. I do have a travel agent working on my internal flights, as I haven't found a way to book online.

As you know, we opted not to go to Mandalay. The Palace is entirely a "reconstruction." I would like to visit the old capitals in the Mandalay area, but not this trip.
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Sep 5th, 2009, 11:20 AM
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Hanuman,
The reason I had picked that many days in Mandalay were the excursions available. Mingun being one of them. I just thought of Mandalay as a pitstop. Personally, I think 4 nights and 3 full days is going to be enough for Bagan. I like temples but I don't dream about them.

For Kathy I am sure that 4 days is not enough time.

However if you are talking eating experiences well.........
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Sep 5th, 2009, 12:31 PM
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I'll be very interested to hear about your excursions from Mandalay. It will help me plan for next time.
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Sep 5th, 2009, 01:03 PM
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Since my laptop is coming with me I am sure that there will be trip reports.
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Sep 5th, 2009, 01:08 PM
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Hi NY: I stuck this on another post but realise it's better in here.

http://www.orient-express.com/web/rt...h=10&year=2009

I think there's much to be discovered in Mandalay, actually, but you have to be pro-active. Guides of any kind there have real trouble thinking outside the normal tourist box. Kathie is right, that 'Palace' is a sterile horror. Conventional wisdom seems to be that Mandalay is crap; but mostly those views seem to be from people who have, like me, endured the one day tour guided tour. I've been back a few times since.

There is more, but you'll have to think hard how to get to it. A cool guide will do it. Mandalay seems to be the massage capital of Burma, BTW. Burmese massage is a whole different thing. I died and went to heaven, with many a 'yee-owch' on the way.

Have you found a hotel there yet? There is one interesting place that escapes me right now. The 'foreign tourist' hotels are pretty grisly, I think [perfectly fine but just horrible, bland and kinda evil.] lol. Strangely enough, merely walking around the streets in Mandalay would be as interesting a thing as any. It's a very interesting experience, simply because NO foreign tourists stray off the beaten path.

Your guide will implode. lol lol lol. Once you get past that point tho', things can get interesting. I'll be fascinated to see how you tame them. The concept of the free independent traveller is still kinda strange. In my experience in Burma people thought I was particularly tragic traveling on my own. Noticeably so - of course, this meant that they were nice to me, in a gentle, sweet, patronising way. heh. But they thought I was pathetic and sad, just the same. lol. A couple of guides were simply amazed; I was the first single traveler one of them had ever had.

As per usual, the trick is to get to any of the places on a different schedule than the tour buses.
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Sep 5th, 2009, 02:10 PM
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Thank you Dogster, appreciate the link, somehow I think I will stick to the regular ferry.

Do I need to have a guide in Mandalay? If you recall I was not super thrilled with my guides in China and Cambodia and was hoping to do without. I wasn't thinking of going to the Palace, and now I definitively will not.

There is one guide that I will use in Yangon if I can find him. He seems to be quite the character. My friend who spent 6 weeks in Yangon thought he might be a good idea.

If the Burmese trhink single male travelers are pathetic, what will they think of this woman.... that her children have abandoned her? It will all be a very interesting experience.

Any particular pointers or places outside the box that you can think of.

Am so glad that you are on the mend.
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Sep 5th, 2009, 02:18 PM
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I think I posted this before, perhaps on eks' thread, but if you're in Mandalay do see Shwe In Bin Kyaung - the wood carving is gorgeous. I thought Mingum was more interesting for the trip there and back than for the sights.

Friends of mine did a day trip to Sagaing, Inwa, and Amarapura that seems to have been worthwhile.
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Sep 5th, 2009, 02:39 PM
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Actually, NY, I don't know whether you can do this independently. I only managed to get outside the box after three visits, trapped each time, in a variation of The Mandalay-Day-Tour-of-Death.

The MDToD takes you to perfectly interesting places and manages to make them completely dull. Beware the shopping stop[s]. Anything to do with beating of gold, silver and snakes should be avoided.

There's a great temple thing with a gold buddha covered in gold leaf so much you can hardly see him and women can't go inside. lol. Well, not to the inner sanctum. It's the BEST place. Worth hours. I suggest visits to what I call Monk shops while at this place. I developed a tremendous enthusiasm for Monk things while in Burma: bowls and belts and a gold umbrella. As you know, there's a different regional monk aesthetic in Burma. Cheap as chips, too.

I actually enjoyed all the side trips from Mandalay.

Odd travellers tip #1: when in rural villages keep an eye out for cow decorations. You'll find out what I mean. When in small towns go to hardware shops. Yup. Hardware shops and look for cow decorations. Burmese hardware shops may not resemble hardware shops as you know them. Persevere. They contain cow decorations; one of the unexpected wonders of the world.

Horses like to dress-up in Burma, too - but I prefer the cows.

Now I bet you never knew that.
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Sep 5th, 2009, 03:03 PM
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Om the guide-free biz: Yangon is no problem. You can potter around there on your own, grab a cab, wave your arms and everything'll be fine. A wise woman would stop and admire the staggeringly cheap and recent pirate dvd's on sale in the street. 10 current movies on one C.D. $1.20.

Inle you need a guide, simply to get you from A-B. I dunno how you'd do it on your own.

Mandalay should be equally simple, really: but don't assume there is an infrastructure. They can play the 5 star game and extract mucho $$ - but options run out after that. Be aware. That said, I'm sure there is no restriction.

Really, it's less guiding than simply zooming you from place to place. There is a certain ease in that. Things are spread out, up hills and inside gates, outta town. Unnecessary difficulty to arrange totally oneself - yeah, you CAN - but why? You'll have the same experience either way. It's almost impossible NOT to. Monks feeding, pretty old bridges, sunsets, boat rides - you're in the loop. Which is fine.

There are some good things to see in the loop. See them in the right order, under the right conditions, take your time and they can be very rewarding.

Travelers tip #2
Sometimes in Burma people think that covering their beautiful old temples with bathroom tiles is really, really good. To avoid disappointment, it is best to know this.

Tip #3
You can 'adopt a pagoda' at Kakku and restore it from a really cool crumbling ruin to a concrete thing that looks like it was made yesterday. Neat, huh? lol. Then you have your name engraved on it.

I was tempted to adopt one, then demand they left it as it was.


I found mine tended to let me wander, relieved at not having to perform.
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Sep 5th, 2009, 03:06 PM
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what does that last line mean? Nothing. lol. It snuck in under the radar.
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Sep 5th, 2009, 03:13 PM
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Tip #4
[all this is just while it flashes into my mind]
There's a street where they make stone statues. It's on the tourist route. They stop for three minutes, cough and go.

Stay a little longer. Watch the guys doing their carving. Time your visit for about 9.00a.m, use the low rising sun and take pictures in the dust. Just round the corner is an Nat temple. Go find it.

Tip #5
Anything with the word 'Nat' in it is really, really interesting. Wrapping your head around all that stuff is fascinating and quite specific to Burma. Hence Mt. Popa. Ask for local festivals. You'll need a bodyguard. Extraordinary and very, very loud.
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Sep 5th, 2009, 05:55 PM
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Nywoman,

While I was in Myanmar I read about a town North of Mandalay in the highlands that look very interesting. Big English style manors converted into hotels or BnB and surrounded by a forest. Can't remember the name of the town but if you ask the travel agent you're using, it might be worth a quick visit or an overnight trip.

The best restaurants or eateries in Myanmar, in my experience there, were around Yangon. There are a few restaurants that specialize in fish and fish head in clay pots and they were the best for us. In general the food was disappointing but I hope you'll be able to find something good there.
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Sep 5th, 2009, 06:08 PM
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Your itinerary sounds great. I wish Kathie luck on getting the flights she wants. For the 3 tour groups and 2 individuals that will be there when she is, the flights will be as they always have been - inconvenient. If I had had more time, Mandalay would have been the next stop. As Dogster says, persevere and get what you want as far as guide(s) or no guide(s) are concerned. Good luck in using that laptop - might as well leave it at home because it will be useless in most of Myanmar...
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Sep 5th, 2009, 06:23 PM
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Am not clear on the message to Kathie. Hope she knows.

Dogster as usual grear obscure advice. I get it though.
All of you good advice abd great rips

Thanks everyone, I wish I was there tomorrow. The laptop,
I can write, store and post when convenient. Myanmar is not the only country I am going to. Writing is my friend, when I travel alone.
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Sep 5th, 2009, 06:33 PM
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Of course, Myanmar is not the only country. How else could I see you in November?
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Sep 5th, 2009, 06:40 PM
  #19
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Have definitively developed dyslexia. Meant to wtite all of your good advice and great tips.

Oh well!!!!!
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Sep 5th, 2009, 07:04 PM
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Thanks for the good wishes, Craig. I thought my flight preferences would be easy to accommodate - morning flights. With that request, the best Eddie was able to offer on one leg was a flight leaving at 5:30 pm!

Dogster, Craig, anyone with advice on setting up a driver to meet us at the Heho airport and take us to Kakku and the surrounding area before going to our hotel? I was thinking about emailing the hotel with this request. We plan to use the hotel to set up our boats for the next two days.
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