Travelling around BurmaBurma Travel
Travel in Myanmar
Burma is a land that will astonish, bewilder and astound you - its transport system is no anomaly. The possibilities for exploring the land are boundless and quite discouraging, from shaky trains to ice-cold night busses and all-terrain tuk-tuks. You can reach almost every town in Myanmar by coach.
These usually give you what you are paying, with fines from Yangon to North towns (Bagan, Kalaw, Mandalay) from less than $10 US$ to over $20. To save my time, my usual way to save cash was to travel by coach over night, as most coach trips between Burma's towns take 8-12hrs.
Typical touristic centres for coach lines are Yangon, Bago and Mandalay, so if you are travelling between two smaller towns like Hpa An and Kalaw, you will probably need to take two of them. If you want to make a reservation, the simplest way is through your hotel/guest house or tour operator - you will normally be charged a small fee, but it is definitely a good idea to have someone who can talk to the coach operator and make sure your seats are available.
Travelling by rail in Myanmar is always an adventure. Sometimes it's a marvelous one. This is because the tracks are very old, some of them from the time when the British were occupying Myanmar! Things are not moving very quickly, which is good, as some travellers have been telling horrific tales about the derailment of their cars (yikes!).
Nevertheless, if you want a truly original Myanmar locale adventure, a rail ride might be a worthwhile option. Coaches are quite common and run between many (but not all) of Myanmar's megacities. One of the most favoured are Yangon to Mandalay, Yangon to Bagan, Yangon to Mawlamyine or in the opposite one.
If you want to buy a rail pass, the best way is to go directly to the railway--but don't make the same mistakes as I do; make sure you have the pass for the desired category before you do! When you want the railway ride, but don't want to sit on one for an hour, the Yangon circuit trains are a local transport service that runs into the town' s surroundings and back to the centre, taking a day or two to complete the circuit.
but I' ve been told by several travellers that there is a rewarding insight into Burma's world. Travel between some Burma towns is possible by ferry. The most enjoyable trip was on a ferry between Mawlamyine and Hpa An, and I was enjoying every moment of the 5-6h-trip.
It' simple to organise - just go to the Breeze Guesthouse (a huge azure guesthouse ) on Strand Road in Mawlamyine and ask for a ferry to Hpa An. A further possible cruise, which is used by many travellers, is the full-time trip from Bagan to Mandalay. It is not a ship I took, but it is a favourite choice for those who want to enjoy the inter-city cruise but do not want to take the Mawlamyine-Hpa An itinerary.
As I asked around about the cost of this vessel, I was cited by several operatives for the 11-hour trip, which starts around 7 a.m. and arriving in Mandalay for dinner. It is a little expensive for budgets travellers, but if yachts are your thing, you might want to try it.
It is possible to hire a motorcycle and go on a do-it-yourself trip in many towns such as Hpa An. It is quite risky because Myanmar does not really have many traffic regulations and the streets in many countryside areas are poorly kept clean. However, in Bagan you can hire e-bikes (electronic bikes) and these are really fantastic!
It is relatively secure and sluggish, but also a quick and simple way to see the vast Bagan area. Myanmar taxis are the least expensive I've seen in Southeast Asia, with most shorter trips cost less than $5 or 5,000 Kie.
There are no cabs I have seen in Myanmar, so you have to deal with the chauffeur before you enter the car. Motorcycle taxes are also available in most towns except Yangon (where motorbikes are illegal), and these are usually a maximum of $1-2 if you are willing to do so.
Moving around Myanmar can be a bit bewildering and sometimes a bit timeconsuming, but it's definitely a good idea to see the jewels this land has to boast of. I' m happy to have had a lot of experience travelling around Myanmar, so I would suggest trying a few different transport options to get a sense of what the Myanmar way of life is!