Help with Myanmar Itinerary 15 nights

Old Oct 23rd, 2014, 06:43 AM
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Help with Myanmar Itinerary 15 nights

Would just like to run through this itinerary and get your opinions on it...I've changed this a few times but i'm also trying to keep it sensible according to flight timing as well to maximise the amount of time at each city. I'm focusing on the big 4. Originally wanted to fly to Bagan straight away but flights go via 2 stops for the cheaper flight..so scrapped that, then thought Mandalay but then it means we lose a day there and as you can see i might need it.

16th Nov-Arrive 11:15AM in Yangon... Depart to Heho (Inle) at 3:00PM (not sure if we can leave the airport and maybe walk around Inya Lake since it’s nearly 4 hrs gap, also when does checkin counter close for domestic flights?) Make way to Inle probably arrive by 5:30-6pm, checkin walk around the town and get something to eat. Is it better to stay close to the lake or in the main town?

17- Inle-Boat trip around lake- jumping cat monastery, markets, phaungdaw oo pagoda. Possibly do Indein ruins on this day…

18- Inle- Indein (possibly this day)+Sankar (south part of lake Inle)

19- Inle- Kakku+Taunggyi

20- Bagan- Take 1:00PM flight with Golden Myanmar Airlines and arrive afternoon in Bagan –Some temples and sunset

21- Bagan- Temples

22- Bagan- Temples + hot air balloon or maybe some villages?

23- Bagan – Salay + Mt Popa

24- Mandalay – Take morning flight 7:55AM to Mandalay. Do Mandalay sightseeing including the main temples and royal palace and maybe on this day to Mingun and go up Mandalay Hill for sunset.

25- Mandalay- Amarapura+Inwa+Sagaing+Ubein bridge

26- Mandalay – Monywa day trip to see pagoda and large Buddha statue?

27-Mandalay – Pyin Oo Lwin to see the gardens, waterfall, caves, colonial buildings, local village

28-Yangon- Take 7:50AM flight to Yangon - Arrive in Yangon in the morning. Walk around the town, go to Chinatown, high court, pagodas etc and then go to Schwedagon pagoda in afternoon/evening

29-Yangon-Circle train (does this train run frequently?) and more sightseeing of the town including Kandawgyi and Inya lakes, maybe the war memorial? Scotts markets, reclining Buddha etc

30-Yangon-maybe head to Dala OR go to the National Races Village (miniature version of replicas of Myanmar structures like a miniworld?) and Thanlyin and Kyauktan or anything else?

1 Dec-Depart 9:45AM

Thanks for your suggestions, it's my first time visiting Myanmar!

In terms of things I like to see I love a mix of everything, nature, culture, sightseeing.

Oh also is it better to get a travel agent to see if they can get better prices for flights and accommodation? Will they get it significantly cheaper than booking through other booking engines online?

Thanks guys
truelight is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2014, 07:39 AM
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Traditionally, local agents have been able to get accommodations for less. I'd say give your itinerary to a couple of agents and see what they can come up with. Also, agents can often get accommodations that are otherwise "full" as they have relationships with places.

I'll be back later with more comments.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2014, 08:48 AM
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Local Myanmar Agents can generally get better overall prices than booking direct with hotels/airlines or using Agoda/Asiarooms etc and if there are any problems,such as flight time changes, they help out.It is a strong recommendation here on Fodor's,on TA and on Thorntree to deal with a local Agent and book your International flights direct with the airline rather than get an Agent in your own country to package it-all they do is subcontract it to a local Agent and add a fat% !
I have not replied to your thread on TA (others have) but I do have a short list of frequently recommended local Agents (a few of which I have had personal experiences)and if you click on my name to the right of the forums, in on my profile page in the left toolbar you can send me a private message and I can send you the list.
best
SS
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Old Oct 23rd, 2014, 09:12 AM
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Kathie

Thanks for your reply. I just don't want the case to be that they offer me some accommodation that has bad reviews, something decent would be nice but for a reasonable price. I'm also quite fussy with bathrooms...lol

Yes, that was the case with Sri Lanka i have found too..

Silverswimmer

Thanks for your reply, and yes i posted on tripadvisor as well as some people here might not look there. I'm also a bit worried about availability but if they can give me a few prices and accommodation options that would be good...oh yes the international flights are already booked, it's only the domestic flights and everything else which has not...also golden myanmar airlines i believe have free 20kg until 26th oct or something so not sure, i have already looked at the domestic flights on their own website so i am familiar with the flight timing and prices Although i have excluded (while searching) Yangon airways as that website is just confusing and the new airline Mann Yatanarpon Airlines.

Sure will do, thanks

Do you any opinions on my itinerary?
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Old Oct 23rd, 2014, 09:37 AM
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SS has given you good advice about agents. We used Santa Maria for both of our trips, but there are plenty of good agents in Yangon.

I notice that you have made your itinerary around the (supposed) flight times. Be aware that flight times vary from season to season and get changed regularly. If you have preference to have a different order, ask the agent. The agents generally know what the schedules will be. All of the airlines fly "milk runs" where they fly in a circa ulnar pattern and stop at all the major cities. So two stops means just that - the plane lands, people get off, people get on, you fly to the next city. So it sounds like more both than it actually is. Also, from an agent, there will be little or no price difference among the various airlines.

Now to comment on your itinerary. Overall, it looks fine, though if it were me (and it isn't) I'd do a little fine tuning. I wrote a piece about where to go at Inle a few years ago http://www.travelindependently.com/r...-for-inle-lake that you may find helpful.

Your Bagan time sounds fine. I highly recommend taking a horsecart to visit the temples - it's so atmospheric.

Mandalay. Frankly, I think you are devoting too much time to Mandalay. The city itself is "hard to love" as many people have said. All of the old Palace area is merely a figment of the generals' imaginations - nothing is left of the historic area. We actively avoided it. Do visit the Maharani Buddha and note that this Buddha was taken from the Mrauk U area as war spoils. You'll see some Angkorian bronzes here as well, also taken as war spoils. I thought the gold leaf places were worth a stop - the process hasn't changed in hundreds of years.

In terms of the ancient cities - the only thing worth seeing in Amarapura, IMO, is U Bien's bridge - go at sunset. Actively avoid the crush of tourists who want to watch the novice monks eat in silence. Ava/Inwa has some lovely ruins, but the rigid system they have there where you get in a very uncomfortable horsecars and are taken to the only four stops allowed made it less than enjoyable. Sagaing was lovely, indeed. We could have spent a whole day there. Pyin U Lwin was a disappointment to us. The botanical gardens were nice, not remarkable. Many of the old colonial houses have been torn down and the generals are building McMansions as fast as they can. We were put off by the overwhelming military presence, as there are several military academies there. So be aware that even the market there will be filled with military personnel.

You have listed a number of good things to do in Yangon. Up to you, but I find the miniature replicas of places impossibly kistch-y and avoid all of them.

When you work with an agent, be clear about what you want and don't want. Often, agents will give you an all-in price that includes guides everywhere. You don't need that. I had Santa Maria set up airport transfers only ay Inle and at Mandalay. Taxis are easily obtained and cheap at Bagan and Yangon.

I have two trip reports here, one from 2009, one from 2011. Some of the politics and some of the currency issues have changed since then but the info on site, etc is still good. Just click on my name to find the reports, they may be on the second page of reports. I also have a reading list for Myanmar. This is a destination that rewards lots of research. Photos are at www.marlandc.com

Have a wonderful trip!
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Old Oct 23rd, 2014, 09:41 AM
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Oh, I was posting before your last post appeared.

If the agent offers you accommodation you don't want - tell them. They know the accommodations and can be very helpful. Mostly, we knew where we wanted to stay and told them where to book, but I needed a recommendation for Mandalay and SM's recommendation was great. There will be some back and forth with an agent to fine-tune exactly what you want.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2014, 11:35 AM
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Hi Kathie,

Ok thanks for the agent suggestion, i might just email them what i want and see what kind of response i get back, hopefully they reply quite fast.

The flight times are taken directly from the airlines website which now is able to be booked online, don't think that was the case in 2011. Although Yangon airways only just have schedule times and the new airlines Mann Yatanarpon Airlines don't really have a usable website, so it is based on the other airlines which now have online booking engines. I'm sure they do get changed just hopefully not big changes! Also some flights are direct and the ones that have two stops or 1 stop will show it when you search for the flights. Originally i was wanting to go Bagan first but then there's two stops and will get there like 6-7pm, so just scrapped that idea.

Oh ok, as long as it's not more than the airlines prices.

Yes! Great article you wrote. But i'm guessing you did Indein on another day along with the markets, golden boat, jumping cat monastery and workshop?

Well, i'm mainly using Mandalay as a base to see surrounding towns. I think Mingun half day and half day of Mandalay would be enough i guess.

haha im the kind of traveller that likes to see everything, and then if i find it not really that worth it, then i just won't visit it again if i go back to the country.

lol reminds me of Luang Prabang in Laos with the morning alms and all the tourists but i didn't mind it.

im thinking of hiring a driver for the whole day so i can see what there is in sagaing/inwa/amp. Do you know how much this would cost?

ah ok, yea it does look nice but not amazing although the waterfall looks nice just as kind of a relaxing day and since its only like 90 minutes from Mandalay thought it was easy enough to get to.

haha i only suggested that because there is a golden mt rock replica and if im not going to the real thing and if i had another 2 days i would, its the next best thing i dunno i might skip it depending if the other places r worth it more.

mmm sure, i think i have to write down the accommodation i want and even if not available maybe ask to see if they have it available in their inventory and how much it costs.

ah Myanmar is such a rapidly changing and much more tourists are coming in now! But it should be lovely! Been to most other south east asian countries now want to add this one to my list!

Interesting trip report will write down those sights and make sure its included! =)
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Old Oct 23rd, 2014, 12:25 PM
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A driver for the day isn't very expensive - maybe $50. The travel agent can arrange it, That's what we did.

While the airlines had website when we went, the times on the websites and the actual flight times bore little relationship to each other. Hopefully, they are better now. But having an agent who will call your hotel if your flight gets changed id very helpful.

When I was there in 2011 the deluge was just starting. The pace of change, which had been glacial for decades suddenly surged. So I know some things are different.

Are you planning to go this year? If so, good luck on the lodgings.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2014, 01:04 PM
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Okay cool.

Yea you have a point with any flight schedule changes.

yea it's gonna look pretty different i guess in a few years time, developing rapidly.

Yes in November! =) hopefully the weather is alright.

Thanks Kathie
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Old Oct 23rd, 2014, 01:13 PM
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November is a good time to go. I do hope you'll be able to find lodging you like. I know there has been some recent building, which should help the accommodations crunch.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2014, 01:25 PM
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Yes i'm hoping! I will post back here and tell you a quick summary of how it goes =)



In the meantime if anyone else wants to join in please feel free.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2014, 01:43 PM
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A little quip.The new head monk has stopped the cat's antics-they are still around but no longer jump for tourists
SS
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