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Myanmar is once known as the Golden Land. They were once the largest empire in the Southeast Asia. Now, they are boasting numerous pagodas, temples and stupas as leftovers of their greatness. In case you plan to backpack this golden country, here are some budget tips that I hope would help you plan ahead.
- Budget flights – We travelled from Bangkok and the budget carriers are AirAsia, NokAir and Thai Lion. Always check skyscanner.com to check which airline has the lowest cost. Book your flight direct with the airline not with the booking site.
- Yangon International Airport to city center/bus terminal – Taxi cost is 8,000 kyat or $6. There were five of us so this is a deal.
- Yangon Airport to Bus terminal is about 40 mins (no traffic, allow 1 hr drive).
- Yangon city center (Shwedagon pagoda) to Yangon bus terminal is only 11 mins (no traffic).
- Yangon to Bagan via sleeper’s bus – the cheapest way is via bus. The cheapest booking site (reliable) is http://www.starticket.com.mm/ . This is cheaper than Myanmar bus ticket site I suggest you book early because the seats could be filled out easily.
- Buses are comfortable but don’t expect much. There is a blanket, free water, toothbrush and wet wipes.
- Tour in Bagan whole day– We paid 110,000 Kyat for 5 people ($81 or $16 each).
- There is an entrance fee for Bagan but you may negotiate with your driver to arrange and include it in your tour. We did.
- Balloon season over Bagan runs from October to March only.
- Food is crazy cheap! $1.5 for a good meal! Coffee is crazier! 200 – 300 kyat (15 to 20 pence of a dollar).
- Bagan to Mandalay – You can book for $6 sleeper’s bus with the starticket site.
- We book a van from Bagan to Mandalay inclusive of a half-day tour in Mandalay (sunrise in Ubein bridge, Mahamuni, Kuthodaw etc) and ends in Mandalay airport for only $30 each. You may tell the driver whatever suits you.. This is expensive compared with the bus but we paid for convenience. Contact Fatty -Koh email@example.com / (09403727817)(09798932655)
- You’ll be overwhelmed with Burmeses kindness and amiability. They are very accommodating and helpful.
- Total cost ex flights for 3 days is $74.
- Burmese puts thanaka (powder) on their faces for beauty purposes. It’s a little bit weird because it’s just on their cheeks and not all over the face. Still, they’ve been using it for more than 2000 years. Fascinating.
- Burmese men and women wear skirts! I bet it’s airy and fresh. It’s not just the Scots, now we have Burmese to uncover.
- I recommend watching the film The Lady about Aung San Suu Kyi (the current leader of Myanmar).
- Watch documentaries in youtube to better appreciate their culture.