We booked our trip to Myanmar about a year ahead. There was an Air Asia promo and we went for it! Of course we also had to keep our eyes out for promo tickets to and from KL since there is not direct flight from Jakarta. Before our trip I was lucky enough to meet Diana, a fellow DiploWife who was just there last December. So prior to our February 2011 trip to Bagan I wrote her and she was helpful in giving us the “inside info” on Myanmar.
Good to know:
- Most of the people are Buddhist and it is famous for it’s dizzying number of pagodas
- It has been secluded from the rest of the world for many years and has only recently opened up.
- With this opening up, there has been rapid changes in the past few months according to a DiploFriend posted in Myanma. For example:
- There used to be no traffic, but now they are starting to experience it.
- Now you can find a few air-conditioned taxis (very rare though) when in the past they were non-existent.
- There used to be no ATM machines in Yangon, but now they are starting to have some but only for local accounts.
- It is better to change money in a bank or official money changer. Rates in the airport are low.
- They accept dollars, but only new, crisp bills. They do not accept markings or folds on the bills (this is exactly the same as Indonesia)
- Compared to other places, very little info can be find on Myanmar, it’s hotels and restaurants. A lot of the info available online are also outdated.
- We got a brief from the Philippine Embassy which was helpful, but it also need some updating.
- There is no way to book hotels or flights from Yangon to Bagan or Mandalay online. Everything has to be done via a trusted travel agent because you will have to deposit payment money in advance.
Thankfully I met the lovely Diana and her husband B at the Japanese Ambassadors farewell reception. And she emailed me about their experiences and recommendations for Myanmar. I feel it is a good way to start writing about the incredible country that is Myanmar.
Good evening DiploWife, It was nice to meet you at that party it’s nice we can exchange emails;as I am happy to share our great experience in Myanmar, please find bellow a few “inside info.”We traveled following this itinerary:
- 3 days Yangon
- 2 days Inle Lake
- 3 days Mandalay
- 3 days Bagan
- and back 2 days Yangon
We also asked Diana about recommendations for hotels and restaurants. Here is her helpful reply:We stayed in Yangon at Panda Hotel (not very good – clean, but old, we chose it because there almost all were fully booked); we paid like $60 /night. In Bagan we stayed in Hotel “Amazing Bagan”, very nice place; we paid like 70/night/room. We found the food quite OK, in both places. In Yangon, there was a nice restaurant, close to Scott Market. It is called Zawgi. I was told there is a very nice French restaurant “La Planteure”, you have to ask, we didn’t go there; we also had a great dinner, on the lake at that floating restaurant where they have a traditional show also. It is called Karaweik Hall.
In Bagan, we used to eat in the old part of the town, there are small restaurants close to the hotel (I remember one we used to go many times as they said they have the best burger in town – it’s true!) Weather Spoons, they have friendly and nice staff.
Thanks again to Diane for being so very helpful! The information she gave us was valuable guide for our trip. I will also be sharing with you in pictures our own experience of Mayanmar and how we prepared for it. Unfortunately we were only able to visit Yangon and Bagan. Inle Lake and Mandalay will have to wait for a future trip! Stay tuned for more stories of our Myanmar adventure!
Ana Gaby says
I just sent a link to your myanmar travels to a friend who’s traveling to Thailand and wondering what to do next! This is super insightful! see you soon!
Hi Anna, wow I am honored that you thought of sharing my blog post to your friend. Thank you. =) I hope to be posting more of my Myanmar pictures soon! I hope your friend enjoys it! P.S. Please tell your friend if she decides to go that when she eats fruits to make sure it’s washed with mineral water. My poor husband ate fruits that were washed with the regular tap and did not get to enjoy the last 2 days of our stay because he had the worst episode of a bum tummy in his life. But aside from that we really enjoyed our trip!