There is one big problem traveling in Myanmar. There are too many things to see and do.
The country has more Heritage sites than all Asia together, it has the most beautifull nature in the world, it has unique colonial history, it has all the spirituality new age travelers dream of, it has beautifull tribal culture etc.
And soon Yangon will offer all the things you get in Bangkok, Singapore and other big Asian Cities.
Most travelers going to Myanmar travel along the tourist trail above visiting Mandalay (B), Bagan (C), Inle Lake (D) and Yangon (A)
That’s about all they can manage in the 8 – 12 days most travelers have in Myanmar.
The problem is that each of the places (except maybe Yangon) have more offers than you can visit in a week or two. We just got back from our third visit to Bagan – and again we saw places we couldn’t imagine existed. Mandlay – our favorit city – reveals more and more of its gems everytime we return. And Inle Lake has the first and only spot on this planet where Thomas wants to end his days.
That is only along the tourist trail. If you expand the circles around each of the places on the trail you either need months or you die of stress. And don’t even think about going outside the trail if you only hav 2 weeks.
So no matter what: Most travelers have problems with time.
Of course you can always fly. But flying in Myanmar does not always get you to you destination earlier compared to taking the bus. And then it is expensive…
Here is a few good ways to gain a day or two.
- The easiest way to get a ‘free’ day:
When you buy your flight tickets: Buy to Bangkok only.
The tickets from Bangkok to Myanmar you buy seperatly: Fly in to Yangon and out from Mandalay. That way you only have to go the very boring distance Yangon – Meiktila once (from A – E in the map above). Allthough the trip itself only takes only takes 6 hours you always end up spending a whole day reaching your final destination.
Nok Air, AirAsia, Bangkok Airways have each 3 – 4 daily flights between Bangkok/Yangon, Bangkok/Naypyitaw and Bangkok/Mandalay.NOTICE 1: All the low cost flights leave from Don Mueang Airport. Most flights from international long distance flights arrivesat Suvarnabhumi Airport. To get to Don Mueang Airport use the free shuttle buses between the two – it takes 45 minutes.NOTICE 2: Book your tickets out of Yangon before you enter the country. AirAsia has a new security system on their online booking where they sms you a security code you need to enter to finish your flight booking. But the problem is that you can’t use your international phones in Myanmar 😦NOTICE 3: To/From Mandalay. AirAsia has free shuttle bus to/from Mandalay to the Mandalay AirPort
- If you want to visit Mawalamyine:
Take the night train – it leaves at 9 pm and arrives around 6 am in the morning. Return by bus – and stop over at Mt Kyaikto (Golden Rock).
- If you have Angkor Wat on your Asian Trip:
Fly directly to/from Yangon from/to Siem Reap. The day you win not going via Bangkok you can spend in Myanmar.
- If you want to combine you Myanmar travel with a few days on the beach.
Consider going to a beach in Thailand – its much faster (we will have a seperat post about beaches)
Travel to Myanmar