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Would you risk flying Bagan/Yangon same day cruise departs?

Would you risk flying Bagan/Yangon same day cruise departs?

Old Jan 17th, 2015, 12:54 PM
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Would you risk flying Bagan/Yangon same day cruise departs?

Hi,
My husband & I will be arriving in Myanmar end of March aboard a cruise ship and we just have been notified that we'll be arriving at 5:30a instead of noon on a Saturday and we depart at 4p on Monday….so now I have more time ashore and am rethinking our plans.
My first thought was perhaps we could get a flight to Bagan that day and return late on Sunday, but i was told by a local tour operator that isn't possible…that we'd have to return Monday morning. While I would love having two nights there, I'm extremely leery about trusting domestic flights to reliably get us back Monday am when our ship departs that afternoon.
The cruise line does offer a shore excursion of an overnight to Bagan on Sunday, also returning the next morning (Monday), which is prohibitively expensive. They are trusting the airline (Asian Wings, they're using) to get the group back in time, but I don't think I can risk this on my own. Yet, I know Bagan is the highlight of Myanmar and I would really love to see it.

My alternative plan is to spend Saturday in Yangon on a private tour with a local operator, and spend the night at a hotel in Yangon (the Savoy?), and then also tour the city the next day. This way we can absorb more of Yangon at a leisurely pace, and escape to the hotel pool in the heat of the day. On Monday, I was just going to take the ships excursion to Thilawa (Syriam) to see some villages.

So, should we go for it and see Bagan….or just concentrate on Yangon? Would love to hear what you would do.
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Old Jan 17th, 2015, 01:21 PM
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I don't think this is a question about Myanmar, I think it's a question about the reliability of flights in general. I had no particular difficulty with flights in Burma but I wouldn't leave myself so little wiggle room anywhere, unless there are extenuating circumstance and I don't think this is one of those. And maybe in particular in a place with relatively few flights if things go south. You'll probably be fine, but I tend to enjoy what I'm doing less, thinking about the possibilities.
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Old Jan 17th, 2015, 01:24 PM
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Another thought...if I really wanted to see Bagan, and I'd understand if you did, I'd ask myself, "what's the worst that can happen?" In this case, it would be missing the ship's departure. Can you then catch up with it at the next port? If the answer is yes, and you can live with the expense, then I'd say go for it.
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Old Jan 17th, 2015, 01:46 PM
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A big fat "No!" from me.
There's enough to occupy your time in Yangon. And The Savoy is a lovely colonial hotel. It's not very central, but is within walking distance of the Schwedegon Pagoda. There's the circular train, and a day tour of the countryside is very enjoyable.
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Old Jan 17th, 2015, 02:00 PM
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Thanks MmcPerdu & LancasterLad;

If we missed the ship…it has 3 days at sea before landing in Cochin, India…so unless I had access to a helicopter that could lower us on the ship…this would be a very expensive problem!

I think in this case, less is more, and I'd probably be a nervous wreck in Bagan worrying about the flight! Of course, if I REALLY wanted to go, I'd pay that high shore excursion price and let the cruise ship worry about getting me back….but, money has it's limits.
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Old Jan 19th, 2015, 11:11 PM
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wise decision.
SS
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 06:41 AM
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If you really want to get out of Yangon, which isn't a bad idea, could you visit Inle Lake instead of Bagan? At least equally well worth seeing.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 07:26 AM
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Either one would require a flight, both have the same transportation issues, but Inle Lake requires an hour plus drive each way from the airport. Unfortunately, there just isn't enough time on this cruise stop to visit any place away from Yangon.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 07:29 AM
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If you really wanted to see any of those places, I would look into how much it would cost to leave for your trip a couple days earlier. That's really your best option.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 01:11 PM
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internetwiz is right and that is actually what we were planning to do. I think your cruise is in Thailand before Yangon. It is easy to get a flight from Bangkok...several a day to either Mandalay or Yangon and then in country flights from Mandalay to Bagan to Yangon or round trip Yangon to Bagan.

The key is to plan to spend the night in Yangon the night before the ship arrives. There are flights twice a day from Bagan to Yangon, but you need a back up flight to allow for a canceled flight.

In the first pass at our trip it was worth it to us to miss three nights on the ship to see Bagan. Plus when we got the cost from the agent, it was so much cheaper than what the ship was offering and seeing much more, it was impossible to pass up. You might like to contact our agent...Myanmar Shalom. They have been great to work with...hopefully the trip is all that is promised.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 04:10 PM
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cwn, we'll be stopping in Phuket before Myanmar…and yes there are several days at sea before reaching Myanmar…but too much hassle to fly from Phuket to BKK to Yangon…and at the high cost of a cruise…we'd be wasting the cruise experience. So, I'm happy visiting Yangon for two days and staying overnight…having dinner at Le Planteur….all is good.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 05:54 PM
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barefootbeach...I understand wanting to enjoy the ship especially the one you are on.

We are looking forward to our two days in Yangon, though the city does get mixed reviews. I combed through trip reports here for a while as our trip has changed and changed again. Here are some of the things I took from others' reports that are on our list to check out. It may be of interest to you or someone else.

National Museum. Tickets for the museum 5000k per person. 5 floors of exhibits. Much too much, so pick and choose: Ground floor - Lion Throne showroom. The Lion Throne is over 150 yrs old. First floor-Royal Regalia showroom. Made of pure solid gold and studded with jewels. Used on ceremonial occasions by the King and Queen. Second floor - Myanmar Traditional Folk Art showroom. Blacksmith, gold & silver smith, wood & ivory carving, stone sculpture, painting, lacquer ware. Third floor-Myanmar Ancient Ornaments showroom. From Pyu period to Yadanabon period. Fourth floor-Showroom for the Culture of National Races. Models with traditional costumes, musical instruments and cultural artifacts.
Sein Yaung Chae Pagoda - tiled in green, mirrored scales reflecting the sunlight, the building’s a stunner. The glass motif extends to the interior, where big, medium and thousands of small Buddhas maintain watchful eye.
Shwedagon Pagoda - crown jewel especially at sunset.
CWGC WW11 Taukkyan War Cemetery half way between the airport and Bago.
Take a public boat over the river, visit to Twante or Thanlin and Kyauktan, the pier is next to Botataung Paya which is worth a stop.
Bogyoke Aung San home, now a museum.
Circle train will take at least 3 and a bit hours, you could get off at the halfway point and explore the market there, the town is Danyingon.
Drive/walk through area of old Colonial Buildings - City Hall, Seat of the High Court, Embassy of India, Accountant General and Strand Hotel.
St Mary’s Cathedral - designed by a Dutch architect and completed in 1899.
Sule Pagoda’s area - the Buddhist landmark standing right in the heart of Yangon.
Scotts Market - (Bogyoke Aung San Market) sprawling indoor 75 year old market, visit Yoyomay – specializes in Burmese tribal textiles. It is on the first (Europe), second (or upper floor US) floor. The fabrics – from several of Myanmar’s tribal peoples.
Wander the warrens of the larger market behind Scott’s.
Lunch at Monsoon and a visit to Pomelo market place - a fair trade marketplace for small Myanmar producers, using local materials, local artisans produce quality, handmade products with a contemporary twist. Located above Monsoon Restaurant.
Governor’s Residence for lunch.
Dinner:
PADONMAR....appetizer of mixed vegetable tempura. Entrees consist of rice, pomelo salad, stir fry shrimp with peas in the pod, and chicken curry with potatoes. Tiger beer and colibai and a coke. Given free desert of fried bananas. Bill is 27475 kyats with 10% service charge included.
L'OPERA...Start off with a bread basket filled with a variety of breads and dips-tapenade, bruschetta, and garlic, mixed salad with homemade Italian dressing. Tagliat nostrane which is broad homemade noodles with sausage & porcini mushrooms in a tomato based sauce and vegetarian lasagna. Mandalay beer & green tea. chocolate ice cream & cheesecake. Bill $49.
LE PLANTEUR....definitely fine dining. A unique dining experience. Frequented by celebrities and political leaders. A Michelin star chef. There is seating inside the house and outside in the garden - tropical plants, trees, candle lit tables, and treated to be mosquito free. It's really lovely. Order the set menu with one appetizer of marinated salmon, includes a cheese board and dessert trolley. Cost $130-service charge not included. The service impeccable and the food divine.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 06:19 PM
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cwn….Wow! My own personal Fodor's travel guide! Thanks so much for adding so many possible ideas for Yangon!

Just a few comments from some of my readings…that the National Museum was a disgrace…in very bad shape. Perhaps it's been spruced up lately. I'm probably going to skip it, unless we have extra time.

Everyone says to go to Shwedagon at sunset, but I've requested we go first thing in the morning….that you can capture a bit more of the spiritual essence without all the throngs of tourists. Plus, if it's the best thing in Yangon, I want to go while I'm fresh and not wilting from the heat & humidity. That being said, I intend to go on our own at sunset since our hotel, The Savoy, is within walking distance and I can also see it in the afternoon light.

Also, the latest reviews about Monsoon on TA are pretty bad….but I do want to visit Pomelo. I've already made dinner res at Le Planteur and am really looking forward to that.

I've also read a lot of negatives about the Circular Train so will skip that. I'll take you up on your shopping suggestions at the markets. I've also requested that we visit the Bogyoke Aung San Museum, and we're going to visit Thanylin the last morning as a shore excursion. And, of course, wander the historic buildings of the Strand….and who knows what else will come up!
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 01:29 AM
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I'd check out the listed places from recent(ish) reviews on the Attractions Section on TA. But I'd dismiss any OTT reviews from reviewers who haven't got a TA footprint. The CWGC WW11 Taukkyan War Cemetery for example is in a wonderful serene setting, but it'll eat up too much of your time, and is only really worth the effort if you are carrying on to Bago by road [which we did].

And as you can see from that list there's plenty of places in and around Yangon to choose from.

I wouldn't pay to go to any attraction or restaurant (eg Le Planteur) that is [knowingly] owned by the Myanmar Government. Whenever possible put you money into the hands of the people.
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 03:19 AM
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This is the link that LL refers tobr /> http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attract...on_Region.html
SS
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 04:09 AM
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Here is a restaurant list provided to me by someone who used to work at the American Embassy in Yangon. I only went to a few of these places, but I hope this would be a good reference for all. I can't vouch for any of the links.

Food:

Myanmar:

Feel Restaurant <http://www.feelrestaurant.com/welcome.html> (124 Pyidaungsu Yeiktha Str): Great local cuisine at reasonable prices and a good spot for lunch. Local families crowd this place on the weekends.

House of Memories <http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g294191-d2481737-Reviews-House_of_memories-Yangon_Rangoon_Yangon_Region.html> (290 U Wisara Road) – set in a colonial house that once served as Bogyoke Aung San’s office. The food is delicious and reasonable (try the mutton and pork curries). Lowkey and easily a favorite restaurants here.

Chinatown (19th Street <http://katetalkstravel.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/19th-street-chinatown-yangon/>: is fantastic to walk around at night. Great street food and people watching. Plus, you can get BBQ at any one of the outdoor restaurants on 19th street b/w Mahabandoola and Anawrahta.

Cherry Man (Latha Street, No 78/82): delicious halal BBQ mutton and lassis in Chinatown

Aung Thu Kha <http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g294191-d1597684-Reviews-Aung_Thukha-Yangon_Rangoon_Yangon_Region.html> (17 (A) 1st Street | West Shwegondaing): Authentic local cuisine - curries, salads and rice across the street from Onyx and Sharky's. Good curries here.

Aung Mingalar <http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g294191-d2708533-Reviews-Aung_Mingalar_Shan_Noodle_Restaurant-Yangon_Rangoon_Yangon_Region.html> (34 Bo yar nyunt Street & Corner of Nawaday Street) - one of the best places to get Shan noodles in town.

Yunan BBQ <http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/lifestyle/dining/7793-yunan-bbq-proves-meat-plus-fire-equals-a-good-time-any-time.html> (at the corner of Kanyethethar Street and Kabar Aye Pagoda Road – by Inya Lake Hotel). Excellent local BBQ joint – their mutton curry is divine.

International:

ONYX <https://www.facebook.com/onyxmyanmar?filter=2> (on Dhamazhedi at the intersection w/ Than Lwin/Inya Rd). This is by far the best steak in Burma. And it's only for 5,000 kyats

Sharky's <http://www.oryxinflightmagazine.com/maitre-d/maitre-d-sharkys-yangon.html> (117 Dhamazedi) very good natural ice cream. Take a right when you walk out of Savoy Hotel and it will be a few doors down

Mandalay Restaurant at Governor’s Residence <http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g294191-d2328645-Reviews-Mandalay_Restaurant_at_The_Governor_s_Residence-Yangon_Rangoon_Yangon_Region.htmlhttp:/www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g294191-d2328645-Reviews-Mandalay_Restaurant_at_The_Governor_s_Residence-Yangon_Rangoon_Yangon_Region.html> (35 Taw Win Road, Dagon Township) – a great fine dining option situated in teak mansion of former British governor. Sit outside by the pool – they also have a great Burmese buffet. On Thursdays, the downstairs restaurant (Mindon Lounge), has a Mexican Taco bar<http://myanmore.com/yangon/2014/07/mexican-taco-bar-promotion-belmond-governors-residence/> with unlimited tacos, grilled items, ceviche, Mexican desserts, as well as free flow of Corona Beer and Margarita Cocktails.

Le Bistrot at Savoy Hotel <http://www.savoy-myanmar.com/17-0-Le-Bistrot.html> - great bistro French food and the best gourmet burgers in Myanmar!

Shwe Sa Bwe <https://www.facebook.com/ShweSaBwe>(Malikha Road) – Culinary institute trains F&B apprentices from all over Myanmar. Set in beautiful restored villa. People love their set menu, which changes weekly and you’ll have to book in advance.

Monsoon <https://www.facebook.com/pages/Monsoon-Restaurant-Bar-Yangon/215941791813872> (85-87 Theinphyu Road): atmospheric and set in an old colonial mansion downtown. Pan-Asian cuisine – good place to start for your first meal, but a little touristy. Plus upstairs is a gift shop called Pomelo<http://www.pomeloyangon.com/>, which sells free trade goods and the proceeds benefit the local artisans

L’Opera <http://www.operayangon.com/> (62 D, U Htun Nyein Street, Mayangone – by Inya Lake Hotel)

Ichiban Kan <http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g294191-d4760138-Reviews-Ichiban_Kan-Yangon_Rangoon_Yangon_Region.html> (Aung San Stadium (North Wing), Gyophyu Street, Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township) – a favorite Japanese restaurant in the city

Drinks:

Tea shops - The country has a huge tea shop culture, so this is a good guide for ordering tea in <http://www.onourownpath.com/myanmar/how-to-get-tea-like-a-local-in-myanmar/494/post> Burma<http://www.onourownpath.com/myanmar/how-to-get-tea-like-a-local-in-myanmar/494/post>. A few good ones are Lucky 7<http://www.gogobot.com/lucky-seven-yangon-yangon-rangoon-restaurant>, Sheit Taing Kya (U Wisara Rd & Pyay, near Blazon Center), Shwe Palin (several locations in Ocean Supermaket, Junction Square on Pyay Road)

Escape Gastro Bar <http://www.escapegastrobar.com/> (31D Kan Yeiktha Street) – good place for late-night cocktails

The Lab Wine & Tapas Bar <https://www.facebook.com/ThelabYangon?ref=nf> (70A Shwegondine at Kabaraye Pagoda) – great place to chill, and it’s open late!

50th Street <http://50thstreetyangon.com/> (9/13, 50th Street, Botahtaung Township): one of the only western pubs in town

Union Bar & Grill <https://www.facebook.com/UnionBarAndGrill>-located in the beautifully renovated colonial era Myanmar Red Cross Building. Has a very New York feel – opened in 2013. Thursdays are 2-for-1 pizzas and margaritas

Vista Bar <https://www.facebook.com/vistabaryangon> (168 West Shwegonedaing Road, Bahan Tsp): Rooftop bar with amazing, close-up view of Shwedagon. There is also a great chicken biriyani and chicken salad shop in the blue building across the street (chicken salad available after 2pm)

Sapphire Lounge at Alfa Hotel <https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alfa-Hotel-Yangon/211465678974842> (Nawaday & Shwe Da Gon Rds, Dagon Township): the rooftop bar has a spectacular view of Shwedagon at sunset, downtown location.

Water Library <http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g294191-d5260297-Reviews-Water_Library_at_Yangon-Yangon_Rangoon_Yangon_Region.html> (83/95 corner of Pyay & Manawharri) – newish addition to Yangon’s fine dining scene; the bar is quite good. It’s a little dead on the weekday.
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 04:33 AM
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Wow, that lot should be on a 'sticky' thread for others to add to, and comment on, good or bad.
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 05:15 AM
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LL, I started to do that but posting from my phone which is a challenge onto itself. I'll try to duplicate it later today on its own thread.
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 06:56 AM
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internetwiz
Thank you so much for all that dining info….will definitely come in handy!
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