Itinerary advice for travel around NYE
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Oct 18, 2012 6:27 AM Last Post By: WowieBowie
Oct 14, 2012 5:59 PM
Itinerary advice for travel around NYEHi all,
I'm flying from NYC to Myanmar the morning of Dec 26 to meet up with 2 friends who are traveling around SE Asia for a few months. We are all single women in our late 20s/early 30s. We are looking to spend Dec 26-Jan 5 traveling together and want to see the must-see highlights during that period (My friends will potentially arrive in the country as early as Dec 16 to spend the first 9 days or so traveling without me too.)
We generally like good food, cultural activities, beautiful sites, meeting other travelers/new friends, and some nightlife. It would also be nice to fit in a beach since I'll be coming from somewhere with true winter, but not a must if not recommended over more unique destinations in the country.
Would appreciate some advice on recommendations on which parts of the country my friends can see in the first 9 days vs. the must-sees we should see in the last 11 days, as well as where it would be best to spend New Year's Eve (maybe somewhere with some nightlife?).
Some places we're considering overall (not the extensive list):
Thanks so much for any insight.
Edited by: smartcookiee
Oct 14, 2012 6:49 PM
1Somehow you missed Bagan in your list of must-see places. And it is a must-see. I'd put Bagan and Inle in the top two spots. Mandalay, while interesting, is less compelling. You will likely be flying in and out of the country through Yangon, so take the opportunity to spend a couple of days there on your way out.
Sittwe is a mere stop on the way to/from Mrauk U. Indeed, IMO, you are better off if you don't have to stay in Sittwe overnight. Your friends could go to Mrauk U while awaiting your arrival - if the area has re-opened to foreign travelers.
You should probably mark good food off your lis of things to experience in Burma. The best Burmese food I had there was merely ok. Burma is not like Thailand or VN or Cambodia in terms of plentiful good food.
Personally, I'd cut the beach and spend time at more cultural/historical places, but there are those here who love the beaches there.
NYE will be most lively in Yangon. After all, it isn't the new year in Burma, just in Western countries.
Oct 16, 2012 1:52 PM
2Thanks for the advice. Yes, missed Bagan - not on purpose :)
Based on your feedback, I'm thinking the following. Is this doable?
Friends' itinerary before meeting me, Dec 17 - Dec 25 or so.
- Mandalay 3 days
- Flight or buses or trains to Sittwe (then ferry to Mrauk U.)
- Mrauk U. for 3-4 days
- Buses and/or trains to Bagan (no direct flights, only via connection in Mandalay or Yangon)
- Meet me in Bagan Dec 26
Dec 26 - Jan 5 (after I arrive)
- Bagan, Dec 26 - Dec 29
- Fly to Inle Lake Dec 29 8:05am Air Bagan (also possible to hire a shared taxi for the trip via Mt. Popa. 1 hr to Mt Popa and 6-7 hrs from there to Inle Lake. Recommended? Cheaper for 3 people traveling together?)
- Fly to Ngapali beach Dec 31 9:15am (Air Mandalay) for NYE (reading that there are bonfires etc at tourist hotels and would like to be in a warm place)
- Fly to Yangon Jan 3 10:25am Air Bagan or 10:30am or 12:55pm Air Mandalay
- Fly to Bangkok to DMK airport Jan 5
Oct 16, 2012 2:39 PM
3Your friends' itinerary is not doable unless they have booked a tour and arranged permits, as this is the only way that it's currently possible to go to Mrauk U. Plus travel to Mrauk U by bus or train never has been possible . Sounds as if your friends need to do some urgent research :) !!
The bit after you arrive looks fine given the short time you have, and yes, a taxi would be cheaper than flights for the three of you to get from Bagan to Inle, and much more interesting , too. Try and schedule a stop at a market on the way - they rotate dates but you should catch one at Shwenyaung, kalaw, aungban
Oct 16, 2012 3:31 PM
Oct 16, 2012 6:45 PM
5It depends on your level of interest in Buddhist temples. If you love temples, three full days won't be enough. If you are so-so about temples, two days should be fine. I typically recommend to people three full days at Inle as well. Note that three full days is four nights in a place.
As Caroline says, you need permits and a group right now to get to Mrauk U. Whether that will change by the time your friends are there is unclear. Getting two/from Mrauk U (when open) involves flights to/from SIttwe as well as a boat/ferry. It's a fairly expensive trip in comparison to other destinations easily reached by bus.
Oct 16, 2012 8:40 PM
Oct 17, 2012 3:59 AM
7Mrauk U is now open, was there this weekend. See my comments on another topic.
I don't know where Cassie ate but some of the Burmese cuisine is amazing, just a word of advice ask the locals for food and don't rely so heavily on your LP guide for food, had some great street eats too.
Oct 17, 2012 4:11 AM
8Monywa/Pakokku might be an option - but really, don't your friends have access to the internet or a bookshop ? They really need to do some research of their own and choose something that appeals to them, depending on their interests.
And talking of research- you/they do know about the need for dollars cash and booking ahead at least in Yangon/Mandalay ?
Edited by: carolinenixon
Oct 17, 2012 10:32 AM
I listed our interests, so was hoping for help with recommendations because this is a unique country where many areas are not accessible on and off and assumed the regulars here know the latest info best. Though it seems there is confusion on Mrauk U. given Wowie's post above.
Yes, we're aware of visas, cash, and booking ahead. Trying to plan an itinerary so we can actually book ahead.
Oct 17, 2012 12:52 PM
Oct 18, 2012 6:27 AM
11Cassie - what the hell is your problem? I don't know how many eons ago you were there, but they are currently allowing tourists up there
I just got back from Mrauk U, and the situation isn't constantly changing, they had it closed since June and just reopened for tourists recently.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$57.24 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$69.43 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$53.06 per night