Where – When – Why ?

Beautiful country of South East Asia stuck between India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand.

Country: Myanmar (Burma) / Capital: Naypyidaw

Language: Burmese

Currency: Kyat

We left in November during the dry season, only two weeks. Our goal was above all to discover the minorities of Chin and some main sites.

The country is huge and places to visit are not always easily accessible.

We started our journey in Bagan after taking a night bus from Yangon. We then went to Mindat, Inle Lake, Loikaw and Yangon. We wanted to add Mindat to our itinerary to meet women with tattooed faces, and Loikaw in the hope of being able to discuss with women “giraffe” and also because the state has just been opened to tourists.

Activities

Cities

It is very touristy but it is still a destination not to be missed. To get there we took the night bus from the Yangon bus terminal to Nyaung-U (the trip from Yangon airport to the Yangon bus terminal cost us 6000 kyt for 30min ride passing by taxis airport, traffic jams). The trip takes about 9 hours with two or three times to take pee and eat pauses. Comfort is there: room for the buttocks and legs, reclining seats, clean blankets provided, small TV (well, not the choice of the film, but it’s still nice). From the start, a young man comes to give us a little box with a sandwich and a cake (it does not give a lot to be honest), and a drink. We went through the JJ express company (via internet) and paid about $ 40 for two people. The visit of temples by scooter is great. I do not recommend cycling if it is hot because there is no shade and the floors are hot. Go in tongues! You must take off shoes at the entrance of each temple. We find it easily; the temples are beautiful. Feasible in half a day if we are content with the main temples.

The van to Mount Popa costs 10000 kyt. If you have time to lose go for it, otherwise forget this step. No great interest.

We came from Mindat and made the following journey: van Mindat-Pakokku: 7500 kyt per person / Taxi scooter in Pakokku to the bus stop for Bagan: 4000 kyt (scam) / Bus (van) to Nyaung-U: 6000 kyt in all / Night bus to Nyaung Shwe: 37,000 kyt for two. As tourists have said so well, it’s ” a little bit of France in Burma ”. There are French people of all ages everywhere, so much so that even Burmese begin to chatter a few words in French. Their favorite phrase: ” Where are you from? of France ? beautiful country France! ” … ». It is very easy to find boats for circuits on the lake, there are sailors everywhere. We passed by our hotel. It is possible to cycle around the lake. There are floating villages, temples in the mountains and monasteries to see. It’s nice, we stayed three nights there. There are good restaurants and a market next to the hotel where we stayed.

The road that leads to Loikaw from the lake is beautiful, you cross the mountain, fields, villages and can see new ethnic groups. The city itself is not really interesting. There is a temple perched on top of a mountain which is the main attraction. We hired the services of a guide and a taxi to visit the surroundings: 40000 kyts (negotiated) for the taxi and for the young guide we gave 15000, she told us to give what we wanted. She had to take a commission on the part of the taxi driver. We made the main sites of Loikaw and its surroundings (lakes, a temple in a cave). We could see giraffe women but not in Pampet because the driver inquired and now we must have a special visa to get there. You must apply at least three days in advance. Before you go there find out, it may be a step to forget in your itinerary; in any case it is the part we have least appreciated and think we have lost our time. We stayed there for one day instead of three planned.

We took the bus from Loikaw and it cost us about 26000 kyt in all. The bus stopped several times to pick up passengers, and take pee breaks. The trip will be shorter than expected: 15h; and will not be so terrible. There was music on the other hand and at times a film a little stupid that passed on a screen. The sound was super loud. But at night he did not always put the sound so it went. Yangon is a very noisy, dirty, multiethnic, multicultural, hectic city … I did not really like it but there is still a lot to see if you like temples. There are more and more trendy cafes. There are also art shops and original souvenirs. There are very well done guides that list the nice restaurants and shops (see below); It’s very well done. The Aung San market looks like a tourist attraction. You have to take the circular train at least once but avoid the first train because it is crowded and it is stuffy. You can find charm in this city in some neighborhoods where the dilapidated facades are still pretty with their faded colors. I think this city is worth a look for at least a day or two.

This city is less than two hours by local bus from Yangon. The bus costs 2000 kyt round trip per person. The journey from our hotel was long, about an hour and cost us 4000 kyt. It’s a good step for a one-day break. The purpose of this visit is to see temples and Buddhas, so if you are tired of seeing, do not go! Some temples are paying. They make a ticket that includes the main which costs 10000 kyt per person. It’s a rate for tourists. You can rent bikes; we opted to rent a scooter for 12000 kyt (we did not negotiate). You have to be really careful because people ride like crazy. Some temples are pretty and people are smiling and nice, it changes the madness of Yangon.

Mountains

Amazing trip in Chin state

We took a guide for a day of hiking in the villages around Mindat for the amount of 85000 kyt for two people. We walked 7h, met lots of villagers, talked with them. We were also able to enter the bamboo house of an old couple. We learned a lot about Chin culture. Of course it was a paid hike but we do not regret; our guide was very friendly and gave us a lot of information about his culture, his way of life and allowed us to meet tattooed women, really nice and smiling (unlike most of those in Mindat who ask 5000 kyt for a photo).

Housing

We opted for two options: the first night in Nyaung Shwe and the last two nights in Yangon, we booked accommodation on booking .com. Otherwise we did the last minute. There are more and more options for housing in Burma, at all prices. All depends on what you are looking for. Prices are negotiable in some places.

Here are the places we stayed, apart from the night buses:

Shwe Nadi Guest House – Lanmadaw Road, Tait Gone Quarter, Nyaung Oo, Nyaung U, 11111 Bagan, Myanmar –

 

shwenadi.nyaungoo@gmail.com

 

– 0612460409 / 0612460137 / 00402510136 / 09402682677

This guest house is run by a little lady with a black sunglasses wearing a longyi. At first sight it seems a little authoritarian and dry but still dynamic. This hotel is full of good surprises (after 24 hours of travel we can not wait for anything …): free breakfast, shower and toilet available (thank you!), And all the information we just want after having disclosed our identity! We paid $ 30 a night. The people who work in this guest house are very kind and helpful, including the boss. All listening, they speak an understandable English. The rooms are clean and the breakfast generous. Perfect to start a great trip! Scooter rental costs 7000 kyt per day for 2 people. It’s super nice on the other hand you have to check the state of charge of the scooter. FYI, the taxi from the bus terminal in the center of Nyaung-U costs 12000 kyt and the bus of the bus terminal in the center of Nyaung-U costs 10000 kyt.

Aung Tha Ra Phu Hotel – Arzani street , No 10 Quarter , Pakokku – 09786442779

The negotiated night cost us 30000 kyt. The room was ok and similar to the previous one; we did not care a bit because we were only passing to go to Mindat the next day. The manager of the hotel is very friendly and very helpful even though he does not speak English very well. FYI, the mini van to go to Pakokku cost us 30000 kyt for 45min drive.

Se Naing Family Guest House – No address to provide but people know –

 

070-70149

 

/

 

09 44200 2645

 

Guest house Se Naing 35000 kyt at night and breakfast included. In my opinion it is negotiable. The rooms are clean. The toilet and the shower are in the same small room; it is not very convenient but hey, we have hot water to wash. It is located 5min from a very good restaurant. For information, the van to Mindat has cost us 20000 kyt for 2 people and the Pakukku – Mindat lasts about 6h including a break of 45min (the break depends on the driver). The return to Pakokku cost us less than 15000 kyt in all.

Hotel NK The Little Inn  – Phaung Daw Pyan Road, Nyaung Shwe Township, 11221 Nyaung Shwe, Myanmar

We paid 22400 per night, breakfast included. The room is spacious and clean. The walls are cardboard on the other hand. We hear everything going on and off (a bit like everywhere else). Always the toilet in the shower. The staff are very friendly, speak good English and helpful. Good address. Opposite there is a small restaurant that rents bicycles for 2000 kyt a day. They organize boat trips (without motor): 3000 kyt for 2. Very nice. Another way to visit. For information, the taxi bus stop from Nyaung Shwe to the hotel costs 2000 kyt per person. But in the end it’s small, so possible on foot.

Really cheap: 18000 kyt for two, but shared shower and toilet. Hotel a little murky. Not very clean. The manager is not at all pleasant. We could not count on him to arrange a visit or recommend places.

Yangon Hub – 35, Aung Myay Thazi (1) Street, Kamayut Township, 11041 Yangon, Myanmar

Very nice place. We arrived 2 days earlier than expected and paid the same price for each night: $ 25. We had the room with private bathroom. The guest house is large, there are many showers and toilets available. The breakfast is very very blah on the other hand. The staff is very nice. Good address because not very far from the circular train and a large road with many taxis.

Transport

Forget the car rental, I do not think it is relevant, and considering how they drive it is better to avoid!

It is possible to rent scooters in the cities, it is not very expensive. The maximum we paid was 12000 kyt a day in Bago and we had not even tried to negotiate. In Bagan we paid 7000 kyt.

In some places it is possible to rent bicycles. Some people even buy bicycles and cross the country by bike (or scooter).

There are many buses in Yangon; it’s not expensive at all but you have to check for stops. Otherwise there are hundreds of taxis. They must be negotiated before the race. It is necessary to count between 2000 kyt and 4000 kyt the race. Remember to download Google Maps.

To move from one city to another there are two major options: buses and vans. Both are cheap but I think they apply a tourist fare. You can book them at your guest house directly. Otherwise you have to go to the bus terminal. Night buses work very well and are very conformable.

There are trains. We did not take one to go from one city to another. But from what I understand they are not comfortable, they are expensive and take a lot of time.

Budget

To give you an idea, here is a list of all our expenses for transportation and hotels.

Food is very cheap.

Don’t be scared to eat in the street, people bake very good food in their little trucks.

Housing Type of room Price per night Length of stay Breakfast Addresse Phone Email Other
 

Shwe Nadi Guest House

 

Bedroom with large double bed

Private bathroom and toilets

TV

Fan

Towel and soap provided

30 USD 1 night Very good

Fruits, toasts, eggs …

Lanmadaw Road, Tait Gone Quarter, Nyaung Oo, Nyaung U, 11111 Bagan, Myanmar 0612460409 / 0612460137 / 00402510136 / 0940268267  

shwenadi.nyaungoo@gmail.com

 

Scooter rental: 7000 kyt per day

Organization of bus / taxi transfers to other cities

 

Aung Tha Ra Phu Hotel

 

Bedroom with large double bed

Private bathroom and toilets

TV

Fan

Towel and soap provided

35000 kyt 1 Not tested (gone too early) Arzani street , No 10 Quarter , Pakokku 09786442779 Organization of bus / taxi transfers to other cities
 

Se Naing Family Guest House

 

Bedroom with two single beds

Shower and shared toilets

35000 kyt 3 Very good, complete No address to provide but people know  

07070149

 

/

 

09 44200 2645

 

Get in touch with guides for hiking
 

nK The little inn

 

Bedroom with large double bed

Private bathroom and toilets

Fan

Towel and soap provided

s

16 USD 3 Very good, fruits, eggs, pancakes Phaung Daw Pyan Road, Nyaung Shwe Township, 11221 Nyaung Shwe 09428310531 noanhom@gmail.com Organization of bus / taxi transfers to other cities

Organization of tours on Inle Lake

Bike rental

 

Yangon Hub

 

Bedroom with large double bed

Private bathroom and toilets

clim

Towel and soap provided

25 USD 4 Bof 35, Aung Myay Thazi (1) Street, Kamayut Township, 11041 Yangon Organization of transfers to airport and to other cities
Path Aéroport Yangon – Terminal de bus Yangon- Nyaung-U Bus Terminal in Nyaung-U centre Nyaung-U vers Bagan Nyaung-U – Mont Popa Nyaung-U – Pakokku Pakokku – Mindat Mindat – Pakokku Bus Terminal in Pakokku – Bus stop to Bagan Pakokku – Nyaung-U Nyaung-U – Nyaung Shwe Nyaung Shwe  – Bus Terminal in Loikaw Bus Termional  – Loikaw Loikaw Loikaw – Yangon BusTerminal YAngon – hôtel Train in Yangon Taxi inYangon Hôtel Yangon – Bus pour Bago Bus Bago return Hôtel – Aéroport Yangon
Vehicule Taxi Overnight bus Charette E-bike (e-scooter ) Van Van Van Van Scooter Camionnette Overnight bus Taxi Van Taxi Overnight bus Taxi Train Taxi Taxi Bus Taxi
Price (kyt or USD) for 2 people 6000 40 USD 10 000 7000 20 000 30000 30000 15 000 4000 6000 37 000 6000 20 000 40 000 + 15 000 26 000 8000 400 2500 – 4500 4000 4000 6000
Duration 30min 9h 30 min la journée 1h 45min 6h 6h 10min 1h 15min 6h30 6h 15h 1h variable variable 1h 1h40 20min

Good Addresses

Pomelo

 

(89 Thein Phyu Street, Yangon / Thi Ri Pyitsaya 4 Street, Bagan / +9509978793550). Beautiful shops. They are minorities, disabled, orphans … who make souvenirs, clothes, etc. very beautiful. Pretty things for a good cause. Not to miss !

I recommend downloading the maps on the following site: https://i-discoverasia.com/neighbourhoods/yangon/

It lists pretty shops and nice places not to miss. There are some shops in which it is possible to recover printed cards.

You will find Burmese, Indian, Thai and Japanese dishes easily; there were also Korean restaurants. Generally you will eat well in Japanese and Indian restaurants. Burmese food is very fat. Personally I liked the street food in small stands but everything is fried so every day is a bit heavy. In Yangon there are also many Italian restaurants, some are very good.

Here is a small list of the restaurants we liked the most:

– Mindat : Myo Ma. This restaurant is on the right after passing the church (from the gust house where we stayed). For less than 5000 kyt we have a hearty plate served with a small broth.

– Nyaung Shwe (Lac Inle) :

– The market. Really nice ! there are small stalls with grilled meats and fish, as well as freshly squeezed juices. The drinks are as expensive as grilling donations, we easily reach 10000 kyt for two people, but everything is very good.

– The Ancestor Restaurant (N°10 Phaung Daw Pyan Road, 09250262134,

 

theancestorrestaurant@gmail.com

 

). Nice little restaurant in the street of the hotel by going to the right (it will be on your left). The staff is very caring for its guests, it’s limited too much but they are very kind. It would almost think of a gourmet restaurant. They offer Burmese dishes that are really well prepared and delicious. dishes are small but it’s excellent; they are not hearty but for small appetites it’s perfect. A dish costs in the 4500 kyt and a coke 1000 kyt.

– The popcorn man : leaving the hotel on the right at the corner of the street. For 500 kyt you have a big bowl.

– Samkare (Lac Inle) : Little Lodge. Big favorite for this very pretty restaurant. The dishes are very good even if not very rich; but as it’s hot it’s more than enough, it’s more of the greed that makes me say that! For 5000 kyt you can have a succulent dish.

– Yangon :

– Nilar Biryani & Cold Drink ( 216 Anawrahta Rd., Pabedan). Indian restaurant super good! It looks like a bistro 50s in the USA but it’s clean and the dishes are delicious.

– Parami pizza (No. 11/C, Corner of Malikha Road and Parami Road, 7th Quarter, Mayangone Township, Yangon). Good pizzeria. We stumbled upon it in the storm, we were not disappointed. The pizzas are made over a wood fire and are delicious. They are still not given: minimum 10000 kyt for the margarita. The drinks are expensive: between 2500 and 5000 kyt. It looked like a tourist restaurant. There were a lot of Asian tourists. The wifi worked very well though.

– Japanese restaurant : Katsu (N°B-2, Aung San Stadium North side, 0973199618,

 

katsurgn@gmail.com

 

) et Sushi House (N°247/269 B.Room 001, Build C, Delt Plaza, Middle Shwe Gon Dine Street, Bahan, Yangon, 01552772)

– Shwe Sa Bwe Company Ltd/Restaurant Trainig Center (20 Malikha street, Mayangone Tsp, Yangon, 09421005085/01661983,

 

shwesabwe@gmail.com

 

): great restaurant. The chef is French and allows young people from poor families to learn the trades of the hotel industry. The food is good. You have to go if you want to do a good deed.

Yangon Bakehouse (Pearl Condo, Block C, Ground Floor, Kabar Aye Pagoda Rd, Yangon). A little expensive but allows women who work there to have double the monthly salary. It is mainly for expatriates and tourists.

Do Not Miss

– A stay in Mindat: if we had more time we would have done a nice hike of two or three days. Do at least one on a day.

– Drive a scooter.

– A balloon ride with Bagan Ballon: Great experience, to do without hesitation. The pilots are very serious. We will learn that three quarters come from England. There is a breakfast served before take-off and another just after. Both are good and hearty. Champagne is served on arrival.

– Motor boat tours on Inle Lake:

– Boat trip north of the lake: 10000 kyt per person for the day. Easy to find a boat, there are touts at every street corner. Otherwise ask at his hotel.

– Boat trip to Samkare: 25000 kyt per person for the day.

– Eat street food.

Advices

No need to take dollars. You can exchange money at the airport and pay in kyat. Plan more than expected. There are several exchange offices. The exchange rate varies significantly from one office to another; It is interesting to note that the rate also varies with the type of denomination of the notes to be exchanged.

Remember to always walk around with PQ and soap. The toilets are rarely clean. Take a towel and shower gel in case you do not stay in a place where it is provided.

For clothes, if you leave when it’s very hot, forget the cotton! you will stink and be uncomfortable. I bought two pants in markets, I shot with it for two weeks. I left with a merino wool t-shirt and others in cotton. The Merino was great, no smells and comfortable. Be respectful: do not put on tank tops, short dresses, shorts … people are covered and are very modest, they do not kiss and do not give hands in public! Take flip-flops (you have to take off your shoes before entering the temples, and believe me, it’ll quickly make you feel better).

Do not take pictures of people without their consent or without a big smile after, they can not take it.

If you have little time, take night buses. This will save you time and money.

No need to book accommodation and transportation in advance, you will always find something. However do not do anything if you do not find: camping is forbidden; doing so risks endangering the people in your neighborhood and yourself.

Download offline maps like Google maps. They will be useful in Yangon (unless they start using GPS). If you can, find cards where the names are also written in their language.

Prefer to travel in a backpack, it is much more convenient and they will be more easily transported in mini-vans and vans.

Take a power strip. No adapter needed if you have French plugs.

It is possible to buy a SIM card if your phone is unlocked; you can use 3G. But there is much better to do than spend your time on the internet!

When we arrived in Loikaw, we learned that access to the village of Panpet required a visa. This was not the case last year, so it looks like it’s new. Be sure to apply before you arrive as it takes about three days.

We never had problems. The people are really nice and helpful. We never felt in danger. Be smiling and respectful and everything will be fine. Avoid talking about sensitive subjects (politics, education, living conditions, etc.) without them having initiated the subject themselves.

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