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general topics

Sydney, Australia
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general topics

Hi , has anyone recently travelled to Myanmar? i would like fresh advise on the following questions please:

I am planning a trip to Myanmar on 1st Dec this year. i have 13D/12N to spend there.

1. is travelling solo difficult for a female?

2.which is the safest and most reliable domestic airline out of these Myanmar Airways, Myanmar Airways International (MIA), Yangon Airway or Air Bagan? The more i read , the more confused i get, different people experienced different feelings with these airlines.

3. It seems travelling around Burma is very time consuming..frequent flight delays and cancellations. So is this better just to join an organised tour? but the problem is i hate being rush around on a tour, what to do ?

4. any recommendation for a good , reliable, efficient travel agents? please post their contact details .

Please Help ! I haven't book a thing yet..just my return air ticket going there...time is closing in on me....help please ! thank you !

yangon
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1. Re: general topics

Q.1 .. No , no difficult at all and very safe according to many solo female traveller.

Q2.MAI fly international route only. Others , actually not much difference. Unless weather not approved , most become on time. Others do not have much difference . However , Myanmar Airways is more local and tourist do not fly due to government own . Others Domestic . Air Bagan , Air Mandalay , Yangon Airways, Air Kambawza , Asian Air.

Q3. No difference with organized tour . they also using the same Airlines and if you stuck , they stuck too. Don't worry for solo.

Q4. search and if you have find one and have doubt about , you can ask back on this forum.On this forum , many recommended travel agency.

Sydney, Australia
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21 posts
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2. Re: general topics

Thank you mgzaymin for your info, great help..

1. Do you or anyone by any chance know what is the exchange rate for $1 Usd to how many Kyats?

2. Is it true that i don't have to exchange USD to FEC anymore at the airport on arrival?

3. i read on the Myanmar travel tips.. there is baggage kgs limit of 20kgs on all domestic airlines in Myanmar. Is this include the weight of a carry -on bags or just the check -in bags only?

4.Also , is it true that the "customs will hold onto your mobile phone and laptop upon arrival and you can collect on your departure" from Myanmar Travel tips website as well. Can anyone clarify this for me please?

5. Do u recommend me to join a tour or just travel independently?

6. has anyone use Myanmar travel? how is their service and reliability? is this a goverment or privately own travel agent?

I would be really appreciated if i have some of these enquiries answered.

Yangon, Myanmar
Destination Expert
for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon)
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1,008 posts
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3. Re: general topics

Hi Blabla ! Welcome to Myanmar.

1. See this link for current exchange rate. http://irrawaddy.org/ daily update.

2. Correct. You do not need to change FEC anymore.

3. Check baggage 20 Kg, Carry-on 7 Kg.

4. Completely wrong. They won't even ask you.

5. Both has advantages and disadvantages. If you want to travel independently just booked major transportation and accommodation. The rest, do yourself. Full package will be very expensive. Anyhow Myanmar is safe. There are some trip reports from female solo traveler. Please read it and you'll get an idea.

6. There is no government owned travel agencies except Myanmar Travel & Tours ( MTT )

yangon
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1,279 posts
6 reviews
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4. Re: general topics

Just to add up for the kkym no.6 "Myawaddy Travel , under the Myanmar Economic Holding, army run business association"

I believed what blablabla asked for Myanmar Travel is not government.

MTT , Myanmar Travel and Tours , under Ministry of Hotel and Tourism , did not organized tour anymore . Am I right KKYM?

Sydney, Australia
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21 posts
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5. Re: general topics

Thank you mgzaymin and kkym above you guys are great help. I will continue to read more on this forum so i don't ask the same or similar questions

Sydney, Australia
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21 posts
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6. Re: general topics

Hi local experts:

Can anyone please clarify this exchange rate for me ?

Currency Converter Results :

US Dollar (USD) Myanmar Kyat (MMK)

1 USD = 6.5064 MMK 1 MMK = 0.15369 USD

I actually cut and paste the above info from a currency converter website. Does it means 1USD = 650Kyats not 6.5Kayts? it's a big different?

Sydney, Australia
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21 posts
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7. Re: general topics

Hi local experts,

1. it's me again, i researched so many websites and looked at many package tour itineraries, why is it most tourist arrived in Yangon for one day and fly out to Heho, Mandalay or somewhere else the next day ?

2. this make me wonder, should i do the same? as i will be arriving on 1st Dec , it's a Thurs and i understand that not many tour agency opens on the weekend especially outside of Yangon. If i planned to go up country anyway during my stay .

Should i fly to Heho on Friday and visit Inle lake? .

How much does it cost to flight from Yangon to Heho one way?

Does domestic airlines in Myanmar have different price to flight on Fri, Sat and Sun? cheaper during Mon to Thrus? like peak and off peak time and day?

May be staying around Inle lake for the weekend. At least this way when i arrived in Heho airport, it's still a working day, this will allow me to book boat trip , day trip etc...

3. Should i stay in Inle lake 2 nights or 3 nights? if i want to visit Nyaung Shwe village, the leg-rowing fishermen, floating gardens, floating village -Ywama, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the weaving village of Inpawkhon and the jumping cat monastery...do i have enough time to do all these in one day (2nd Saturday )? Do i have to join a local tour for this or can i dido around myself?

4. Does anyone know which day of the week is the floating market in Inle lake opens?

5. 3rd Dec Sat: Inle lake to Dein to visit a small Pa O tribel village , the hidden 13th century monastery. Has anyone been to this off-the-beaten- track? How accessible is it for an independent traveller? Join a local tour??

6. Any other interesting things to see or do around Inle lake ? Sometimes the locals know some hidden gems that guide books and tourists do not know !!!

7.. Is there any flight from Heho to Mandalay on a Sunday ? which airline? and how much will it cost?

i can only planned up to here for now.. i am killing so much of my brain cells already... i hope the local experts and frequent travellers to Myanmar on this forum will be able to help me by providing sound and reliable advise inorder for me to plan my 13 days trip smoothly to this magical country.

I need all your help. I , thank you to those already spent their time in replying on my post. Much appreciated ! I wish you continue giving me advise and see me through planning all the way to the end....to be continued.....

St Austell
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3,497 posts
31 reviews
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8. Re: general topics

Re. exchange rate explanation ... look at this recent post because I asked the very same question:

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g294190-i9408-k4…

yangon
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1,279 posts
6 reviews
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9. Re: general topics

As kkym , said , please refer http://irrawaddy.org/ . Most of you found in the web are so called official rate but no one use it including government.

Yesterday rate is about 750 kyats and up and down so frequently these days.

Your question :-

1. Yes , you can do the same or its all depend. But please note that most travel agent do not have Saturdays , Sundays or holidays (except in Myanmar new year , April 12-18) . Most open 7 days a week . So do not worry for your boat or car hire , only you may need to worry about air tickets

but still can manage.

2. Flight cost are no difference between week days or week end.

3. Usually , 3 days 2 night is enough . As per your mention place , you can do in one day as well . We do not have local tour group and you may do your self . The boat for one day will be approximate 30~40 usd per day.

4. Market is rotating every 5 days , so no particular days for floating market . To tell you the truth , floating market become less impressive . Anyway , I will check it and let you know around Dec 1.

5. No problem . You can do alone as well for the Indaine.

Since you have 12 days , you can easily go around . If you intend to fly every where , then you should consider , Yangon-Bagan-Mandalay-Inle lake route . There will be more flight if you schedule as above . If you schedule as Yangon-Heho-Mandalay-Bagan-Yangon , then , less flights.

If you are alone and you have no problem to stay in budget hotel , I suggest you to start with Mother Land Inn 2 in Yangon . There will be numbers of travelers , good atmosphere , you can get plenty of advise and and even you can joint with them if you find someone . Usually they all sit at the entrance and sit , drink and share the experience at evening and night.

December is quite busy and suggest you to book now as much as you can.

australia
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278 posts
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10. Re: general topics

I have just returned from travelling solo.

I had the most amazing trip and having traveled over 35yrs in Asia I can't remember ever being in a country where the people go out of their way to help, are kind and so genuine, with no strings attached. At no time did I feel unsafe. I had so many great experiences with people stopping to offer me lifts, meals, cups of tea.

You should read the blog put up by GBN31 full of great information and photos

http://travelwithkidz.quivertreeworld.com/

I flew Air Mandalay but I think Air Bagan are also very reliable.

All my flights bar one were on time and quite a few left early. One flight was cancelled (changed to a later time that day). You need to ask your accommodationl to reconfirm the day before.

I used Tour Mandaly

yuyuwin.tourmandalay@gmail.com

I was very happy with the pre trip correspondence and contact when in the country. I am the first to admit that I was a painful customer but Yu Yu was fantastic and never showed any frustration with my indecisiveness and change of plans. Thanks Yu Yu.

The cost of flight from Yangon to Heho was approx $US88. Same for Yangon - Bagan

Heho - Mandalay approx US$40

I agree with mgzaymin go from Yangon to Bagan- Mandaly- Heho

Currency moved from 780 Kyat to 735 kyat.

Take small US dollars $5, $1 notes to pay for the taxi into Yangon before you

change money. Also to pay for the Government charges for Bagan, Inle as if you pay in Kyat its a poor exchange rate eg. $5 = 5,000 kyat

I changed in Inle as well but rate was no as good. There is some room for not bargaining as such but asking if its possible to get a better rate.

Re the itinerary.

You can see most sights in Yangon in one day you will need to stay one night on the way out. I stayed 2 nights on arrival but i like to take things slow. The Shwedagon Pagoda was the highlight. I went there 3 times.

I loved Nyaungshwe/Inle lake there is plenty to do there so stay at least 3 nights if not 4. I stayed 8 and couple have stayed there for weeks/months.

Heho airport has nothing there basically you get the taxi and go either to Kalaw where you can then do a trek to Nyaunshwe or go directly there. You will then be able to make arrangements for exploring the Inle Lake area with your guest house or one of the many tour operators that are open 7 days a week.

Being on your own the boats can be a little expensive around Kyat 14,000.

I was lucky to share boats with other travelllers. The more on the boat the cheaper. Maximum around 5-6.

The boats usually does the market, floating garden, jumping cat, weaving, silver making and Inthein in the one trip usually start around 7.30am arr back at 6pm.

Be warned its not off the beaten track and that time of year there will be plenty of tourists.

I went down to Sagar Lake 3hrs one way. Loved it but its around 40,000 Kyat. I was lucky to share it with a lovely French family. Long day.

Also the Lake can be cool so take a wind proof jacket.

I preferred staying in Nyaungshwe rather than on the Lake - more happening there and better place to access other trips. 8 days here.

I personally did not like Mandalay and would spend minimum time or bypass completely.

I loved Pyin U Lwin (2 hours from Mandalay) and Kyaukme. Hsipaw was OK

but i like the first two better. Next time I would like to go to Namhsan. I spent 10 days in this region.

If you want to go somewhere a little different I thought the idea of going to Kentung sounded appealing.

I was there in July/August which is monsoon season so was restricted with where I could go. Even though the rain was not a problem in the areas I visited.

I also thought Bagan was beautiful I stayed 3 days but you could do it in 2 days.

My advice is not to try and see everything, I love to leave something for next time.

I stayed in some great Guesthouses average price between $14-25 a night.

Yes you can do it cheaper and I looked at these options but I was happy to pay a bit more for a better location or cleaner room. I am not needing TV, aircon, but like a bathroom.

Even though I flew between major sights when I arrived I tried to use the local bus, pick-up shared taxis, rickshaws, motorbike, two feet and bicycles. Taxis for one person can add up in price.

I did PM you if you want some help or further info, happy to share my experiences