Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Myanmar. Itinerary.

Kalaw, Myanmar.  (Photo from travelmediate)

It has been a couple of months since I reached out to several of my travel partners to see if any of them would be interested in doing a trip to Myanmar. I was lucky that two responded - Bro and my friend, Ayşe.  The three of us traveled through Mexico in 2011 and we had so much fun that I've been looking for a follow up trip ever since.  This will be that trip!  I'm very excited.

It's a popular travel route to go to Myanmar via Thailand so we'll be spending a few days in Thailand as well.  The plan is to fly from Bangkok to Mandalay and then return to Bangkok from Yangon.

I had hoped we would be able to do two weeks in Thailand so we could see more of the country but since the other two work full time, there are leave constraints.  Damn that work thing!  So, we'll have about a week in Thailand and that should be enough to cover Bangkok and a bit of Chiang Mai.

I did some preliminary research on Myanmar before reaching out to the others.  It was quickly evident that while independent travel in Myanmar is possible, there are quite a lot of restrictions and with language and good transportation also being constraints, I decided it was easiest to just do a private tour.  One thing about Asia, travel is relatively cheap so even private tours are very affordable.

I also decided we needed to spend at least two weeks to cover the major sights and thankfully, the other two have enough leave that they afford to take two weeks in Myanmar. 

Once I had confirmation that the three of us were a go for Myanmar, I focused time and effort on getting us a guided trip.  This will be a private trip that I organized with the assistance of a coordinator from One Stop Tours & Travels, a local company based in Yangon.  I first reached out to them in mid October and from day 1 have been working with one of their coordinators - Bon Bon.  Working from one of their set itineraries, I made changes according to what I thought would be more suitable to our interests and price range which is usually dictated by me, the budget traveler as the other two are more generous with their travel dollars.  Our Myanmar trip will have one long boat ride, two internal flights and one foot trek.

Bon Bon and I exchanged emails very frequently and I must say, he's been very responsive since the first email.  It's taken six weeks of going back and forth and all the bookings have been made on Bon Bon's side.  I still owe Bon Bon some information but I hope to have that to him by the end of this week.

So, here's our itinerary for Myanmar.  Very happy that the major part of the planning is done.   There's still work to be done but hopefully, everything will be wrapped up by the end of next month!