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3 weeks in Myanmar - Independent backpacking

Sample Itinerary, top highlights, transportation, accommodations, costs

This is my 3 week itinerary around Myanmar. We aimed to fit as many as possible sites which provide for variety of activities, while deliberately avoiding beaches (this because we had plenty of that on Tiaman island.)

Yangon

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Get To
Fly in from KL with Air Asia for next to nothing. A $10 taxi ride from the airport.

Top Highlights

  • Yangon itself - a great place to get a sense of Myanmar. Get accustom to pollution, street food and buzzing nightlife around the pub street.
  • Shwedagon Paya- the biggest and greatest Pagoda complex in Myanmar, a good place to visit at the beginning before you become totally sick and tired of Pagodas. $8. Make sure to cover your legs (man and women) otherwise you will be pressured into buying a Burmese skirt. I got one which made for a nice souvenir, don't see myself wearing it around London though.
  • take a circular ride around Yangon. $1 from central train station (site to behold!).

Where to Stay
Mahabandoola Guesthouse, Cnr of 32nd st and Mahabandoola Rd (directly opposite Sule Pagoda) - $12 double.

Bago

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Get To
Take a train. No need to book, just turn up at the ticket office an hour before, someone will see you take you into the station chief's office and write up a foreigners ticket - first class $1. Foreigners now pay in Kyat and the same fairs as locals.

Top Highlights

  • Reclaining Budhe - believed to be the longest
  • Shwe mawdaw Pagoda (Golden God Temple) - believed to be the highest

Both cost $10 - but actually free after 5pm.

Where to Stay
San Francisco Hotel, No.(14), Main Road, S/Zainganaing Qr - $14-25 double.

Mawlamine

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Get To
Nerve-wrecking night train from Bago. Don't remember the cost, but no more than couple of $.

Top Highlights

  • Pa Auk Taw Ya Monastery - 15km south of town, ask in your hotel about where to pic up a truck.
  • Kyaik Tan Lan Pagoda. Up on the hill, this is great place to see the sunset over town.
  • Rivera for a nice meal after the sun set.

Where to Stay
Breeze Guesthouse - 6. Strand Road $15-20 double

Hpa-an

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Get To
5 hour boat ride - $12, or Bus - $2.

Top Highlights

  • Biking around the cliffs
  • Bat Cave - be there at sunset for an unforgettable show of nature.
  • Shweyinhmyaw Paya - a pilgrimage site, for great views and authentic experience watching locals and pilgrims.

Where to Stay
Soe Brothers Guesthouse, No.(2/146), Thitsar Street - $12.

Golden Rock

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Get To
5 hour bus ride from Hpa-an to Kyaiko - $5, and a 30 min pic up truck to Kinpun where you spend the night.

Top Highlights

  • Golden Rock (surprise)
  • Ride to the Golden Rock (my personal favourite)!

Where to Stay
Once you get of the pic up truck there will be hoteliers offering rooms, they shout out prices so it's quite easy to spot the cheap one. I believe we stayed in a place at the end of the main road (it's a one road town) for $12.

Bagan

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Get To
An overnight Bus from Bagan (10-12 hours) - $15 and a $5-$10 for a taxi to take you from the bus stand on the highway to the ticket gate at Bagan.

Top Highlights

  • 1000 temples of Bagan, quite obvious
  • Sunrise view from the top of a Pagoda
  • E-biking around ancient temples!

Where to Stay
Plenty of places all along the main road. Prices higher than elsewhere in Myanmar. 20 fan double, 25 AC double.

Mandalay

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Get To
A 6 hour bus ride from Bagan - $8 from door to door.

Top Highlights

  • Snake charmer by the main Pagoda!
  • Not many other...

Where to Stay
ET Hotel, 83rd and 23rd/24th Street - $20 for fan double. Pay an extra $5 and get AC - really worth it!

Pyin U Lwin

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Get To
2 hour pic up ride from central Mandalay, ask at your hotel and they will easily explain where to get it, also confirm the price. I believe we paid 1500 Kyat.
Top Highlights

  • Anisakan Falls - make sure to take a dip in the ice freezing water.
  • The night food market - all sorts of stuff!

Where to Stay
Cherry Guesthouse, next to the clock tower on the Lashio Road. $20 for a double

Kyaukme

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Get To
Only the train! Well there is a bus of-course, but you must take a train which takes best part of the day and in the general class costs around $1.

Top Highlights

  • Motorbike village trekking, what a great alternative to reportedly overcrowded Hsipaw.
  • Train over Gokteik Viaduct - I'll have a separate post on this point!

Where to Stay
Not a lot of choice. Northern Rock, Shwe Phi Oo Road - $12 per double.

Inle Lake

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Get To
12 hour excruciating bus ride from Kyaukme - $15, the bus leaves from a station on the Lashio highway, your hotel will arrange a ticket and call a tuk tuk to take you there. You will need to take a tuk tuk from main road to the town - $1.

Top Highlights

  • Boat ride on the lake. Make sure to include further side of the lake where monastery is.
  • A bike ride around the lake to hot springs!
  • Trek to Kawar (we haven't actually done it)

Where to Stay
Diamonds star guesthouse, Yone Gyi Road, a short walk from the pier - $15 for a double.

Kalaw

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Get To
3 hour painfully slow train from Inle or a 1 hour bus.

Top Highlights

  • Circular village trek - can do on your own with a GPS map
  • 3 day Kalaw - Inle trek

Where to Stay
Pine Land Inn - main road, $12 for a double

After researching the web and reading a lot about high accommodation costs and inflated attraction fees we have set ourselves budget of $70 per couple per day. In fact $50 was more that sufficient.
ATMs- plenty
USD - if binning cash, make sure it's brand new - literally brand new!
Language - English is widely spoken
Internet - widely available, cheap and slow

Posted by dima.safr 11:05 Archived in Myanmar Tagged accommodation hotel bus train bagan mandalay golden_rock pagoda transport inle_lake yangon backpacking viaduct kalaw independent bago bat_cave myanmar_rail motorbike_trek e-bike

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