Honeymooning in Myanmar!
Posted: March 2013
Foreword: This report was emailed into us at The Leaping Lemur and I'm going to quote Mirka's email (at the bottom of the report) because it's what makes us keep working away at this site. Mirka - thank you :-)
Elli Murr xx

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Honeymooning in Myanmar!
Mirka Molnar Lachka, March 2013

Bangkok

Go early to the embassy- the office hours start at 9:00, but be there at 8:00 to avoid the queuing. For "same day visa" have one passport picture and your ticket prepared to show.  However, we had a ticket issued for a day after two days- and we still luckily got our visa for the following day, so obviously the control is not so strict. Price: 1260 bath

There is possibility of 48hours visa, too. Price: 1000 bath

You can pick up the visa since 3pm.

Prices: generally they were already higher than what was in the Leaping Lemur Guide, published 2 days before our arrival to Burma. It is worth to bargain; usually the prices can drop of 30%.

Agoda.com: advantage, if you are short of proper dollar notes and are looking for something "really" nice.  In fact it is almost impossible to get a room reserved in advance otherwise, because the hotels, which do not take a down-payment (they do not use credit-cards) are hesitant to fix a room for you.  Even if they reserve a room via phone "for a good word”, it can happen that they accommodate in "your" room an in walker who pays cash on the spot.

Yangon:

Accommodation: Aung Tha Pyay: 65 USD, in old town. No wonderful breakfast and a room with vista to a swamp- but inside clean and cosy.

(Clover City Centre: USD78 without breakfast (which looked great) - perhaps a bit more expensive but it offers everything you would expect from any European hotel: small but clean, design, breakfast, English-speaking staff. Actually we were received by 8 people at the reception, who are probably in training, as a new Clover is just about to open next doors.

Big advantage is that you can book it via Agoda.com (pay online- which may be in the end of your journey a big advantage)

Bogyoke market is just next doors. In fact, you get some souvenirs also from the street-sellers around the roofed market. If you bargain a little, you can get there souvenirs for half price of what you would pay in the markets. Do not miss the night street market: it is a lively and colorful occasion where you meet local people and local specialties...

Food: if you are missing a proper slice of pizza or a juicy steak, you can get these at 50th Street Bar.  It is a place, where the few expats living in Yangon meet.

BAGAN:

We flew in from Yangon for 105USD per person.  Originally we wanted to take the famous flight by hot-air balloon but it was overbooked (has to be reserved a few days in advance) and it costs far beyond our budget (400USD per person) - so we gave up.

We booked a horsecart (half day 12-18:30 for 13 000kt) and spent afternoon riding around the archeological site. (You pay extra 5USD at the airport- but actually no one

Asked for the ticket at the site. Tired by the heat and overflow of sellers and children selling you anything we decided to leave the following day to the mountains.

Restaurant: Weather´s Spoon: great food affordable prices, friendly staff

Accommodation: New Life (40 USD) - very new, fresh paint, enthusiastic staff. Located just next the famous Tante hotel, which has a pool also outsiders can use for a charge of 6USD.

KALAW

Came there by bus: for 15 000 Ks. Left at 7:30, arrived at 15:00. (Arrival is scheduled at 14:30 but we had some technical problems, which may not come as a great surprise. The busses are not in perfect technical condition: so you may have a really cold air-conditioning cooling you to point of frost, or you may be opening windows as it may feel like in oven)

Accommodation: Sky Shine- 35 USD. (It was not a problem to get an accommodation, our third try worked out- and the hotel was simple, but clean and cosy)

Restaurant: Nepalese Food Station

Tracking – Hotel Sky Shine called a guide to accompany us for 2day tracking. Our main luggage was transported to the hotel at the final destination point, and we were just instructed to take small backpacks and a litre of water per person. (Later we found out that we would stop at small shops on the way, so we could always refill, recharge and refresh ourselves.) 

It was a pleasant, not too difficult track- walking in hilly terrain, only high sun made walking difficult. We were lucky to pass by a local celebration of accepting novices to monastery. There was a festival in the village, and we were invited to attend a feast (first really enjoyable Burmese food) and meet the local people. We spent the night in a simple monastery, inhabited by a small group of young monks. There were few other people with guides spending a night but it did not disturb the serenity of the place. The guides cooked the dinner for us-on fire and it was the most delicious meal we had in Burma ever.

 Our guide drank all the time. We were pleased that he spoke English, but we saw a few other well speaking and well mannered and educated guides, so we were a bit jealous.

The following day we woke up early and arrived at Inle Lake at noon. A boat took us to   NyaungShwe, where the luggage was waiting for us.

 

ATMs:

Yangon- the one we saw did not work but announced to accept all major credit cards

 NyaungShwe: KBA bank- exchange of money, withdrawal of cash at the market street

Hotels: in Inle Lake and Ngapali hotels should be booked in advance. The hoteliers


Inle Lake (Nyaung Shwe)

Hotel Goldstar- USD40- the last one to take us in the last minute.  I recommend to book accommodation in advance.

In the evening it was already booked out again. It is good to book in advance as this is really a touristy town. There was very friendly, helpful and professional staff. They arrange travel-tickets without provision, busses and flights and also boat trips around the lake. They also have bicycles which is a natural necessity in this town, actually provided in every hotel and travel agency.

Eating: "Nepalese Restaurant" just behind the corner of Gold Star offers really delicious food or good prices. Service if friendly and they actually speak English.

Horse ride:
We decided to take a horse trip for 45 000Kht/person at ADVENTURE TRAVELS at the market street. It ended in disaster, as our horses got scared by a passing truck, threw both of us down on the ground and rushed into each other.  Obviously, the trip was very poorly organised, the horses (both stallions!) were restless from the beginning, not used to traffic and hating each other. The travel agent refused to refund us; only after some negotiation he paid a part of our fee

Boat trip:
A boat is usually available from sunrise to the dawn. The regular root takes you around small villages, where traditional crafts are produced and also at the floating market, where these and other goods are sold for relatively high price. Even though the aim is to sell, the trip is really worth it, especially if you agree with the driver to take you to some remote places to watch birds or swim.

Spas

We took a bicycle trip to a mountain  monastery, passing by Maing Thauk orphanage with very friendly and devoted people. Then we took a boat to famous spas. In fact, the not-so-well-kept (actually dirty) pools for a high price (8USD) diverted us from our plan to dive ourselves into beautifying, relaxing water.

Vineyard

A half-an-hour bicycle ride from   NyaungShwe, located in beautiful scenery of red mountains. Even though a French couple had told us that the wine is like vinegar, it is enjoyable to have a glass and enjoy the ambience not much different from Provence.

Ngapali

Accommodation: Hotel Bay view (possible to book and pay via Agoda.com) - which can turn out to be an unbeatable advantage at the end of the trip

Small –sized hotel run by a German manager. Very clean and perfectly kept- offering all the qualities you may expect from a good European hotel. Focused on German retirees, however, there were few younger couples (probably on honeymoon, like us: a candle dinner on the beach is a highlight for a romantic couple). There is a pool in the middle of the resort, right next to a nice beach-bar European prices. 
However, unbeatable is the Restaurant “Best Friend” which is just next to the hotel on the other side of the road. It is owned by an employee of Bayview and offers best fresh see-food and decent wines for reasonable prices.

Activities: except of working on your suntan, you can go snorkeling, catamaran, rent a windsurf...

Definitely visit a Pearl Island opposite of the Ngapali Beach.

Amazing experience is the sunrise at the beach in the nearby village: the fisherman coming back from a night trip in dozens of boats, unloading and selling out the fresh catch…

Eating: Unbeatable is Best Friend Restaurant just behind the Bayview resort. You can get delicious fresh sea-food and fine wine for a third of the price from the hotel.


Your website has been extremely useful for us- the most up-to-date info, we could find about this ever-changing country. Thanks for that!
 Please, do not hesitate to ask back
  Mirka Molnar Lachka
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  • A sample from our facebook page. Follow us for regular updates.


    Garden of Reflection,
    Chiang Mai, Thailand:
     
    There is no glory for a lazy person however good looking

    Temple,
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    Solitude and silent reflection seems to be moving with the times

    Almost Famous,
    Pai, Thailand:

    Toilet humour, bar humour and a great quiz.
    Posted 26 Jun 2013, 21:11 by Elli Murr
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