Transfers to & from Airports in Burma

Old Mar 20th, 2013, 06:10 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,396
Transfers to & from Airports in Burma

I am wondering if one needs to work with Santa Maria TA to arrange transfers to & from the airports to hotels? Are taxis available at airports? Are prices comparable? Is it easy for hotels to arrange taxis to the airports? Does it differ based on city/airport?
We need to get:
from & to Mandalay airport / Rupar Mandalay Hotel
To Bagan Airport from Tharabar Gate Hotel
From HeHo airport we need to get to & from our hotel at Inle Lake
From Yangon Airport to and from Traders Hotel

Thanks for your advice
yestravel is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2013, 10:26 AM
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Based on my time in Burma a year ago the only place I think you need a pick up arranged ahead of arrival is at Mandalay Airport. There were no taxis waiting for incoming flights. Maybe things are different today with the expansion of tourism. At the other airports there were taxis waiting. You should not have any trouble getting your hotel to call a taxi for you to take you to the airport.
shelleyk is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2013, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I agree with SHelley, you will want a transfer at Mandalay. Also, consider that you might want a stop at Kakku on the way to your hotel at Inle. Santa Maria can arrange this. No need for transfers at Bagan or Yangon.
Kathie is online now  
Old Mar 20th, 2013, 01:22 PM
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Thanks! Just what I needed to know. We're trying to wrap things up with our plans with Santa Maria and the transfers remained a question for me.

@Kathie - Looking at the map it appears that we could possibly go to Kakku as a day trip from Inle Lake? We have 5 nights staying at the lake so plenty of time I think to see lots. In your TR I believe you said it took about 5 hours from airport to Kakku to hotel. Does that make sense to do a separate trip to Kakku or is it better to see Kakku on the the way from the airport to Inle Lake?

On a different topic - if we want to use Minthu as a guide in Bagan how far in advance should we contact him? Is this his correct email thanks again!
yestravel is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2013, 03:02 PM
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You can do it either way. Because of our limited time, we had to make very efficient use of our time, which meant going from the airport to Kakku to our hotel at Inle. As a day trip from Inle, you could take in some other things in the area as well.

MinThu's address is [email protected]
Kathie is online now  
Old Mar 29th, 2013, 01:39 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 192
As someone who just did this, here is some current info:

Rangoon -- Easy to get a cab at the airport; there's lots of competition for your business, so don't overpay. And no need to have your hotel book your return cab; you'll get a better price if you go out to the street and get a taxi.

Mandalay -- As others said, it's probably best to make arrangements in advance. There seemed to be a couple stray cabbies there, but you might get ripped off because they'll sense that you're desperate. Also, you'll most likely want to book your return taxi thru the hotel unless your hotel happens to be somewhere that gets a lot of taxi traffic.

Heho -- Even if you're just going from Heho airport to Inle, you might want to see how much SM is charging for the transfer. We found that the cabbies in Burma were generally not trying to gouge Westerners and offered us prices that were in line with recent travelers said they had paid (some slightly higher, and we'd negotiate a bit). But there was a cabbie "mafia" at Heho airport and it took fair amount of work/tactics to get the normal price. If you don't want to deal with this sort of thing, you might as well pay a bit more for SM to pick you up.

Bagan -- Easy to get a taxi at the airport, and lots of competition for your business. Not too many random empty cabs driving around Bagan randomly, so you'll probably want to have your hotel arrange the return.
LAX_Esq is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2013, 12:27 PM
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And one more voice to the mix--

We used SM for our trip in November/December '12; at that time SM required that they arrange the pickup from the Yangon airport; it wasn't negotiable; SM said they required it as they would be giving us all the hotel vouchers, airline tickets, and the balloon over Bagan tickets, etc. It wasn't that much more than the taxi we arranged ourselves to take us to the airport when we left.

We went to Kakku from the Heho airport; it didn't take five hours--more like three 1/2. Since the Taungyi festival was just starting that day, it was a good thing we did do it that way or it would have been a much longer trip any of the following days that we spent in Nyaungshwe.
The SM fee was hefty but finding a taxi in Heho to do Kakku and then Nyaungshwe would have been difficult. When are you traveling? If it's in late November and during the Taungyi festival, it will color your experience at Inle Lake. What hotel are you staying in at Inle? During the festival, the town AND lake were overrun with tourists from around the entire country as well as foreign tourists. We hired a taxi in Nyaungshwe for our return to the Heho airport and it was very reasonable.

Bagan--Minthu's brother/cousin picked us up and took us to the airport for a very reasonable fee.

Mandalay--we also stayed at the Rupar Mandalar and a transfer definitely makes sense. The hotel is quite a distance from the airport. And the SM representative who met us with the taxi was delightful.

If you're planning to go to Pyin Oo Lwin I'd definitely recommend arranging that on your own. I'd have to check, but I believe we did it for about half the fee that SM suggested.
520 is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2013, 01:14 PM
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@520We will be there in January. I would be interested in hearing what you paid on your own to get to Pyin Oo Lwin as we will be going there and spending the night before going to Hsipaw. At Inle lake we are staying at Pristine Lotus Spa. On the wait list for other hotels. I have a feeling lots of places are getting booked by tour groups and I am thinking there will be cancellations later on.
I got an email from Minthu and he charges 10$ for airport transfer in Bagan. We arrive in Bagan by boat.
yestravel is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2013, 08:30 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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My DH thinks that the round trip from our hotel, the Rupar Mandalar to Pyin Oo Lwin was $90; we shared the fare with a Swiss couple who were going to be staying overnight in POL, so he's not sure what the exact fare was as we paid a larger percentage. Of course, as it will be a year later, prices will probably have gone up.

$10 from the Bagan airport sounds about right.

Good luck w/cancellations. We were wait listed from February until November for the Inle Lake Princess and never got a cancellation; ONE room did become available at the Inle Lake View--but, as I said, the Taungyi Festival changed everything AND we needed four nights. We decided to stay at a b & b in Nyaungshwe and were very happy with our decision. The first three nights we were in Nyaungshwe, there wasn't a room to be had. There were something like 200 people sleeping on the floor of a monastery--and two young men who had been on our flight and arrived w/o reservations wound up in the "servants' quarters" of a hotel--one bed, no hot water, etc.

Friends who just returned reported that Burma is supposedly getting 1 million tourists this year; that seems highly improbable to me--even with the huge spike in tourism....
520 is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2013, 02:46 AM
Join Date: May 2012
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If you've booked a place to stay, get them to organise a pick-up from the airport. It will be a family member, and probably $30 cash.

We were there in Dec/Jan on a bit of business , and I can tell you the prices have risen shockingly since the same time last year. We were swindled an extra 50% on our hotel booking, and had to stand over the hotel manager to keep the room we had booked for an agreed price when the guy tried to downgrade us.

Burma is a swindler's paradise at present.

It's asian corruption at it's worst. I can say that, because we have done business all over SEAsia, and if you can stand it, you have to expect the worst, which is what's happening in Burma.

You can't trust anyone in government there, but the ordinary people are lovely.
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