Myanmar JourneysBurma Travel
14 to 28 February 2019
As Rudyard Ki-pling described it as'a country completely different from any other', our latest Great Road Journey is visiting Myanmar. Myanmar is an excellent self-drive resort, full of kind travellers and some of the most intriguing attractions in Southeast Asia. Along with our 2006 India cruise and our 2012 Vietnam cruise, we believe that our 2018 Myanmar cruise was another global first since, as far as we know, no other organization has done a self-drive Myanmar -approved vehicle itinerary.
Myanmar, a self-drive city, is really active in all areas. They have good streets with nice landscapes, interesting and singular places to go and good value accommodations. Days 2 - 15 February Welcome briefs followed by a breakfast trip through Yangon and a free afternoons. How does it feel to travel Myanmar yourself?
There' s no intercourse in Myanmar. You are likely to be pulled over by the cops at least once during your stay, but you will find them kind and supportive. Myanmar - How do I get to Myanmar? Myanmar Cooking - Mynamar has a beautiful diversity of dishes that is a blend of Myanmar, Chinese & Thai, and many places will specialize in one or the other.
The Wifi is good in most of the hotel we use.
By bicycle or on feet, by rail or on a stream, the Frontier crew gives its advice for travel and secret places all over the country.
Frontier's staff will give advice on travelling and hiding places throughout the whole area. It is in generally good conditions with many eateries and mechanics along the way. Luckily, as a rule, traffic travels at a relatively slow 80 km/h on the open roads and 50 km/h through the cities.
Travelling by rail in Myanmar is usually tackled with caution. They cost about 15,000 K and can be purchased in advanced at the box offices on Bogyoke Aung San Road (take your Myanmar ID or your passport). Sailing starts from Yangon Central, which eliminates the need to drive to the Yangon Central International Airports or, even more importantly, to Aung Mingalar Aiport.
From Yangon, the 4pm departure time allows you to spend a few hrs on the outskirts and in the country before darkfall. This 220-kilometer long voyage from the Kayah State capitol Loikaw to the former Thandaunggyi mountain terminal in Kayin State is a challenging excursion - by cars.
From the first hours before dawn it is a relatively easy trip southwards to DEMOSSO, where a motor cheque and a savoury pasta and hot breakfasts with sweets are well-informed. For the remainder of the trip there are not many possibilities for meals or gas stations. Demonstroso is at the head of a loop: the trip goes CW through the centre of Kayah State before returning to Taungoo and Thandaunggyi; the anticlockwise trip goes through the states of Kayah, Shan and Kayin (with a short detour to the Bago region before returning to Kayin).
It' s an amazing landscape as soon as you get out of Demoso, but the street is less than that. It is only about 60 kilometers to the next station - a small hamlet called Heshsuku, which forms the boundary between Kayah and Shan - but the drive will take several inches. In Shan and Kayin states, the street qualitiy is improving slightly, but the curvy ride is not progressing any more.
Not very tempting, the cement street to (or from) Mandalay is clogged with cloudy lorries, crazy riders and stray cattle. Unless it' s the be-all and end-all, the trip along the powerful Ayeyarwady River (the true "road" immortalized in Kipling's poem) is more pleasant.
From Mandalay to Bagan it will take between two and four working day, according to the timetable. I started my voyage on the Ananda cruise ship with a short sidetrip to the North to Mingun. It is a historic town, famous for its 1800s monuments and incomplete stupas and the Mingun bell, one of the biggest in the underworld.
In Mingun the ship winds its way southwards, past the former imperial capitol Amarapura to the east and the pagoda-clad hill of Legaing to the West. Ngapali and Mrauk-U receive the most interest in Rakhine, while the far southern part of the state has gone a little overboard. Nothing more than in Zikhone, a dozy little town in a timepiece.
It is also called after the prunes that are growing in the area and is the site of one of the most attractive in Myanmar. A walk through the powdery alleys of the little Zikhone, seven hrs drive from Yangon, is a delight in itself.
The unbelievably nice Laung Gyo Beach is ten Minuten from Zikhone. The next stop is Kanthayar, which somehow made it into two earlier issues of the Lonely Planet travel guide to Myanmar, mainly because it has a very mediocre shelter. Satthwa lies further north which provides a shaded stop before you arrive at the lovely Maw Shwe Chaing coves.
In Kyeintali there are another hours drive further north and there is a sheltered mangrove and shelter. Apart from the fact that this is not a play area, it is the burning sands of a harsh and staggering fishermen's town on Myanmar's remote southerly southern cliff. That' the garbage dump of the town, the toilets and the soccer field. A stopover on the Dawei Peninsula, San Hlan is a charming landfinger pointing directly southwards into the Andaman Sea.
Nearer to Bangkok than Yangon, it is a breathtaking landscape with rugged hills, fishermen towns, falls and pristine beauty. Dawei, the city' s capitol, is only an hour's flight from Yangon and the base for the exploration of the mainland. Outside the city, the major street crosses the Dawei River before winding through towns, paddy fields, cashews and botanical gardens.
At the end of the street is paradise, an almost ideal spot with basic accommodations that can only be accessed via a jungles path. Undoubtedly the most breathtaking sandy stretch of the Po Po Po Kyauk or Grandfather Beaches, a one hours drive south of paradise. Nicknamed after a hill near by, it is Myanmar's copy of Whitehaven Beaches in Nordo Austral.
From Mandalay, take a 30 minute turn towards Lashio and then turn to your LH. However, in early 2016, some walkers from Mandalay discovered an even bigger cascade, shi HTTPhat yetagueun ("eight-level waterfall"), further uphill with Google Maps.
We ride our K10,000 per night (including helmet) from here to Kandawgyi Lake and then along the shore of the Ayeyarwady River. Crossing the viaduct into the Legaing region, we pass through the Legaing Mountains, which are a colony of convents and palagodas - some of them very old.
We have our breakfasts there and the whole town is full of states.