DIY in Myanmar

Old Sep 17th, 2013, 02:58 AM
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DIY in Myanmar

We would like to plan an itinerary booking flights and hotels ourselves but have noticed that most people use a local agency to book domestic flights, hotels and guides etc Is this the way to go for a trip to myanmar or can you book everything privately.?
Thanks for any advice.
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 06:37 AM
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You can book some places yourself if they have their own websites or e-mail addresses and take reservations. Some places are also listed on booking sites like agoda.com, booking.com, hotels.com, sawadee.com, travelocity.com, etc.

For our upcoming trip we used a local agency who booked the hotels I wanted, internal flights, our overnight trip from Yangon to Golden Rock, and a guided trip to Mrauk U. I also made my own arrangements for a horse cart driver for Bagan, a side trip to Mt. Popa/Salay.

Yangon sights are easy to do on your own. Can take taxis or your hotel can get you a driver. Some places you may be able to just walk to in Yangon.

The place I wanted to stay at by Inle Lake doesn't work with agents but I had an e-mail address so I made my own reservation.

Book as soon as you can-either through an agent or own your own. I found that my preferred place to stay at Golden Rock was completely booked for dates I had in February 2014 so we changed things around and got a room for early March. My agent did all that work, switching our itinerary to accommodate this.

My agent also got me preferred times for all our flights.

My advice is to use an agent to book your hotels and internal flights. Then you can decide if you want/need a guide or not. Do both-have a guide sometimes and do things on your own. A lot depends on when you are going as some months are busier than others. It also depends on your choice of hotels as some are more popular than others. Myanmar has become a very popular tourist destination so the earlier you can book things, the better chance you have of getting your first choice accommodations, etc.

Have fun!
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 06:47 AM
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You can book hotels on agoda or similar sites, but Burma is one place where it pays to use a local agent. There is no way (yet) to buy domestic flights online. **Beware** there is a scam site that will take your money for domestic tickets.

Hey, Chris, you were able to get booked to Mrauk U? Wonderful!

I have two trip reports here, which may be helpful in your planning. Just click on my name. Photos: www.marlandc.com
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 07:47 AM
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Kathie-wish there was a way to send a PM like you can on TA. Our agent booked the 3 night trip with permission and guides for our stay there. BUT, as we're not going there until beginning March 2014 who knows what the situation will be at that time. Fingers crossed that it's a go but if not, we have a back up plan. We will have almost 3 full days there if all goes as planned.

I've looked at your photos before-stunning! Wish I was half as good as you and Cheryl.

Sorry Clark55 for hijacking your post!!
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 11:22 AM
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Chris, I sure hope you can go. Good luck.
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 11:59 AM
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No problem, thanks for the great info, we're also going in February so looks like we should look at booking quite soon.
I was going to book our flights on the Mandalay air website is this a good idea? or is there another reputable ailrine? What's the name of the scam website?
Also can you recommend a good agency so that I can ask for a quote.
Thanks again.
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 03:38 PM
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I know some people who have succcessfully booked on the Air Mandalay site. But it doesn't actually buy the tickets (no way to pay). I used Santa Maria for both of my trips and they were excellent. I highly recommend them. But there are lots of good agents in Yangon.

The scam sites have a hypen in the middle of the name:
air-mandalay.com or whatever.

These days even more important than the flights are accommodations.
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 04:24 PM
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Clark55 For peace of mind I'd get a local agent to book your flights and hotels. That way you don't have to worry about schedule changes, cancellations, etc. The agent will take care of all of that.

My agent got prices cheaper than a booking site or the hotel's website for my choice in Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay. Ngapali was the same price and for Inle Lake I booked myself as the hotel doesn't go through any agents.

All you need to do is come up with a first and second choice hotel for each of your destinations. You can specify which level-superior, deluxe, etc. I requested early morning flights to maximize time in the destination I was going to.

I have all my hotels and flights booked/confirmed so you may want to start getting things rolling. I started my research for our SE Asia trip in January 2013 so when it came time to get quotes I knew exactly which places I wanted to visit, how many nights, which hotel, etc.

Some well respected agents mentioned often for Myanmar are:

Santa Maria http://www.myanmartravels.net

One Stop http://onestop-myanmar.com

Shan Yoma Travel www.exploremyanmar.com

Myanmar Shalom Travels www.myanmarshalom.com

Exotic Voyages www.exoticvoyages.com

Tour Mandalay http://tourmandalay.travel

Myanmar Delight

Asia Central Link

I'm sure there are tons more. At the top right side of the page you can type in any of these agents and do a search and read the reviews.

Good luck!!
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 10:42 PM
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Great, can't wait to get started, thanks so much for the info.
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Old Sep 19th, 2013, 10:37 AM
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Flights? You can easily stay on the ground, it's part of the adventure, with a wonderful British-built ex-colonial railway system.

Yangon to Mandalay costs just $40 or so with sleeper.

www.seat61.com/Burma.htm has the info.
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Old Sep 19th, 2013, 10:55 AM
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And many consider it to be one of the most uncomfortable rail systems in the world. The busses are both faster and more comfortable. But the train is an experience. Flights are the easiest way to get around.
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Old Sep 19th, 2013, 02:00 PM
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We had a train trip booked until I watched Anthony Bourdain be tossed like a sack on his train trip. I love train travel, but this did not look like it would be comfortable. Additionally as I researched the train trip the time ranged from 5 hours to 9 hours, so an uncomfortable 9 hour trip made me decide to fly.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2013, 08:26 PM
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Don't be put off - the train rides are amongst the highlights of a visit to Burma, and are fine.

To swap such an amazing highlight for a mere flight would be tragic. The journeys are as much part of what you're there for as the cities.
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