I am currently planning a 4.5 month trip to SE ASIA. I have spent some time working on the Thai-Burmese border so I am familiar with Burmese, Karen and Mon culture. The main aim of my trip is to spend 5-6 weeks working on a documentary project on the Thai side of the border between Sangkhlaburi and Mae Sariang. However before this I have time to spend approx 3 weeks travelling around Myanmar.
I have been reading up on travelling around Burma and it seems it can be a lot more difficult and expensive compared with Thailand, Vietnam etc. As a solo travelling photographer with quite a small budget I would like to fit in the maximum amount of stuff on a relatively little money.
I have been using the Lonely Planet guide and I would like to maybe combine a few of the routes and need some advice on what to see/miss/avoid and the best ways to get between. I would love to see the main attractions (most of them sunrise or sunset if possible) and also see some small town Myanmar a little of the tourist trail.
From reading the guide the places I definately want to visit are: Yangon, Pyay, Bagan, Monywa, Mandalay, Amarapura, Pindaya Caves, Inle Lake, Mawlamyine, Hpa-an and maybe Mrauk U (but seems a PITA to get to)/The golden rock (seems expensive to be there at sunrise).
If anybody could suggest a good route or if anybody has any information they feel would be of use I would appreciate it!
I would also like to know how to get to Mrauk U the cheapest way?
Burma is a WONDERFUL country and doesn't have to be expensive by any means! Local food is cheap, as is transport. Probably less accommodation options than the rest of SE Asia, but still won't break your budget.
Because the infrastructure of the country is relatively poor, getting around is time consuming. Very time consuming unless you fly. Like Mandalay to Bagan by bus is 40 minutes by plane, 10 hours by bus or overnight by ferry.
So if you've only got 3 weeks and a limited budget, I'd keep your travel plans tights and not try to do too much.
- Yangon & Schwedagon pagoda (of course) plus some of the little known villages in the delta.
- Mrauk U and Ngapali on the West Coast (like much of Asia 30 years ago - go before it all changes!) about 6 years ago
Kachin state travel can be difficult and local people are a little suspicious of the camera so always ask.Nights can be cold and flights are efficient ...three weeks will fly by
Internal flights can be arranged in Yangon and there are 3 flights for the price of two
The beautiful lake nr to Hopin was recently closed
Carry at least 5 copies of your passport over 5 years ago