“I will be arriving Mandalay from Chaing Rai, Thailand, on Feb 3. I need to be in Rangoon on business February 9. I would like to spend time in Mandalay and Bagan before traveling to Rangoon. I will be traveling alone; I would like to see the best cultural sites on all three cities. Is there time to take the overnight train from Bagan to Rangoon?”
Wai Lin Tun, a local specialist from Myanmar, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary.
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Trip planning highlights
Summary of the trip planning conversation
Due to the limited traveling time during your stay, I would not recommend you to take an overnight train from Bagan to Yangon as the local train here in Myanmar are not as developed as those in other Southeast Asian countries. Plus, the overnight trains are not comfortable and would not be an ideal way of traveling in Myanmar. Instead, I would recommend you to take an overnight VIP which could offer you comfort as well as more affordable prices compared to the domestic flights.
Would you mind telling me which hotel category should I base the quote on: 3* or 4*? As you'd be travelling alone, the cost would be a bit higher than a normal private trip for a couple but I can adjust on lowering the costs if I could know your accommodation preference.
3 star is fine. And in general, although I want to be sage and comfort able, I more interested in seeing Myanmar and less interested in seeing other westerners.
I'm sending to you the proposal for your trip. For better experience, I've arranged the day cruise ride from Mandalay to Bagan and the overnight bus from Bagan to Yangon. Please have a look at my offer and let me know if you have any further questions.
It was (almost) perfect. The guides were knowledgeable -- MauMau in Mandalay was especially warm and made me feel like a good friend, not a paying customer. The drivers were on time; the hand-offs went smoothly EXCEPT for my arrival in Yangon. That, however, has already been discussed/remedied in country. I could never recommend the overnight bus from Bagan to Yangon. The bus "shimmied" constantly in addition to driving the potholes. Most uncomfortable. I realize it was inexpensive, but not worth it.
Wai Lin was most responsive in trip planning, and got back to me right away when I got into "trouble" in Yangon. Most impressive.