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Plan for Myanmar visit

Cannes, France
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401 posts
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Plan for Myanmar visit

Hello fellow TA contributors,

We have traveled extensively throughout SE Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Bali, Singapore, and Thailand) and reviewed much for TA. We have never been to Myanmar and in reading through the forum we are confused. We are not deluxe travelers nor are we back packers.

This is our problem, there are people who say if you don’t go with a travel agent (and very few agents are mentioned on the forum) you will have problems and be stuck at airports with cancelled flights and problems with hotels, etc. Then there are others who have done it on their own and seem to have done fine.

We never travel with a tour and generally pre-book our flights and hotels. Our interests are cultural and historic.

So what advice do you have for our sort of traveller? We wish to visit Bagan, Inle, Keng Tung, and either Mandalay or Yangon (don't see the need for both). We will likely be flying international in and out of Bangkok.

We are open to having an agent book our flights and hotels, if that is really helpful or necessary to be sure that if there’s a problem they can sort it out – assuming that there are more problems for these things in Myanmar than in other Asian countries, where we never had problems.

Is Myanmar like China where few people speak English or another language?

TA forum travellers have always been the most helpful to us so we have posted this before we start making our trip plans.

Thanks in advance.

Calgary, Alberta...
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1. Re: Plan for Myanmar visit

Well, winter is usually a busy travel season for Myanmar, and yes you would most likely won't be able to find an accommodation. But from my experience, most hotels we stayed were not fully occupied anyway. One thing to consider is that I actually got a better pricing on hotels by booking through travel agent (at least that's what I think by comparing the prices with hotels' websites).

My recommendation would be to get a travel agent for booking hotels, domestic flights, pick-ups & drop-offs, and necessary transportation (like boat in Inle lake), etc... You won't have to travel with a big tour group. There are many posts on this forum with regards to travel agent. I would reccommend Myanmar Delight.

Destination Expert
for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
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2. Re: Plan for Myanmar visit

[ and very few agents are mentioned on the forum ]


If you use the spyglass search feature "Agents" you will see threads and posts from genuine travellers who recommend good Agents. There are about 8 frequently mentioned-those who try to self advertised are closed down pretty quickly by the TA Mods.If you want my personal thoughts then please PM me.

The strong recommendation here is to book your hotels and flights through a local Agent especially for peak season. You may have read of travellers who got away by not doing this but they would have been with budget hotels out of season but even then there were reports of backpackers having to sleep in a Monastery as there were no beds in town.

And one of the things the Burmese still thank the Colonial Brits for is the language so, unlike China and some other SE Asian countries,English is their second language and widely spoken and understood, especially in tourist areas.

I am sure you have read Top Questions,always a good start when planning a first visit.

Please do post again with any specifics you need answers for.


New York City, New...
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3. Re: Plan for Myanmar visit

My husband and I just returned last month. I think you can go either way. We have also traveled extensively in SE Asia. We inquired but didn't use a travel agent in Myanmar. We contacted our hotels and horse cart guide directly via email. Everyone responded quickly so we were able to book everything on our own. The owner of our hotel in Yangon booked our internal flights since we couldn't do that online with US credit cards. We paid her for the Air Bagan flights in cash when we arrived in Yangon.

Island of Malta...
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4. Re: Plan for Myanmar visit

We usually do our own thing but I'm glad we played it safe in Myanmar. Tour Mandalay did our bookings and transfers (traffic is bad there in the towns). See their Facebook page.

Decent hotels are busy and they are more likely to look after regular business that comes through a local agent. Why make things more difficult than they need to be? People were getting bumped from hotels all over the place while we were there. It happened to us - but our agent made sure we were ok. If you book independently you are on your own.

We also recommend Pandaw cruises up the Irrawaddy as an excellent introduction to Myanmar.


Berlin, Germany
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5. Re: Plan for Myanmar visit

If you have already travelled extensively throughout SE Asia before without a group than there is no need to start now.

We travelled 3 weeks in Myanmar in November independently and most of the time it wasn't much more difficult than travelling through Vietnam in 2002 and Laos in 2007. It might requires more planing and booking ahead if it comes to accomodation though. Normally we book only the first hotel after arrival and the rest we do while there. This time we booked all our accomodation in advance.

We organized all hotels except the one in Mandalay with contacting the hotels by mail or phone. We had our problems finding one in Mandalay but eventually we found an agency who organized one for us. The other thing we booked ahead was the one internal flight we had from Bagan to Yangon. We did that through a travel agency in Germany who specializes in travels to and in Myanmar.

All the other transports like boat from Mandalay to Bagan, train from Yangon to Mandalay and bus from Yangon to Ngwe Saung Beach we organized ourselves while there. It wasn't maybe as straightforward as we experienced it in other Southeast Asian countries but we got there in the end.

We get by o.k. with English and about 3 or 4 words Burmese. We almost always found someone who could speak a few words English and if not we tried it with explaining it with our hands. ;-)

Cannes, France
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6. Re: Plan for Myanmar visit

many thanks for all your advice

7. Re: Plan for Myanmar visit

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