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  1. #1
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    Recommendations for hotels/travel: Mandalay and Bagan

    I'm going to visit Bagan in the summer and would appreciate it if anyone has some good recommendations for accommodation in Mandalay and Bagan, and also the best way to travel between the two.

    Any other tips like availability of ATMs, changing cash, etc. would also be much appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Harry

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    IN Mandalay i stay at the Royal Power Hotel street 80 between 27 & 28 u will be the only tourist there, big rooms, ok breakfast $30 for twin room get a high up room (like801) great views
    OR
    White lotus; Corner 79 & 32nd only $20 but alot smaller,no breakfast
    both have so so wifi,( u get much better internet using a mpt sim card and smart phone) cable tv and aircon

    Bagan (Nyaung oo)
    New Park hotel (bungalows with porches) $20-35/night depending on room, noce layout, close toa good street with lots of restaurants on it, rents ebikes

    Atms everywhere, change on arrival at airport to Kyat

    I took an 9-10 hour boat down and a 9 1/2 hour train back bus's do it in like 4-5 i am told but hate bus's
    http://teakdoor.com/vietnam-nepal-an...lay-bagan.html (BURMA: Mandalay-Bagan)
    Last edited by Phuketrichard; 22-01-2017 at 10:00 AM.
    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol or insanity, but they've always worked for me" HST

    View my pics

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    Just had a quick look at your Pics very impressive,will have another look later.

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    ATMs not too hard to find everywhere. Money changers offering better exchange rates for cash $US can be found too. Take a load of new, clean, unblemished $US notes and don't crunch them up in your wallet. Every time you pay in $US they will examine each note and if it's not in perfect condition they will request another. A lot of places price rooms by $US but take local currency at a slightly worse exchange rate so it's often cheaper and easier just to pay in $US. Out on the street use kyat.
    Ronald McDonald never sells to children. He informs and inspires through magic and fun.

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    Member tuferguson's Avatar
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    whats considered high / low season for the hotels?

    i was wondering about a trip in feb.

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    what i have found is prices go up a bit in high season (dec-jan-feb) but ONLY in the high tourist areas, Bagan, Inle lake.
    the rest of the country the hotels stay the same

  7. #7
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    Well I'm sort of pushed for time and found I can connect from the Yangon Mandalay flight and fly straight to Bagan.

    Looking for something nice by the river but I've narrowed it down to a couple of places by the river that get top reviews on Tripadvisor.

    By flying I can get a full day and a half in Mandalay rather than just an afternoon and a night.

    Things to do?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda
    Things to do?
    Sleep

    while the hotels in the Inle Lake region gave you decent value for your money, the hotels in Bagan, like Yangon, give you terrible value for your money. For double the price of something quite nice in other Southeastern Asian countries like Vietnam, you are getting a really old, sometimes dirty, sometimes non-functioning shanty room. This hopefully will change in due time but as long as tourists are showing up in droves, they might as well keep on raising rates and renting these types of accommodations. At this point, you are just tired that at every turn in Myanmar, the focus seems to be about money. They want to charge you 500% more for produce, they want to upcharge you for taxis, they charge you more for food, they want $50 to enter the country, they want $20 to see Bagan, they want $15 for you to see Inle Lake, and it goes on and on. The value just isn’t there. But here you are in Bagan, ready to see the highly-acclaimed ancient temples and other structures spread around the area.
    You walk into town, past the touristy signs for spaghetti, pizza and cheeseburgers, and ask around to get to a good spot for sunset. The best option seems to be taking a horse and so you set off and end up at a relatively quiet temple. The sunset is pleasant, and the scenery is nice.
    Before you leave the horse’s owner behind, he desperately seeks your business for the following day, a day when you want to visit Bagan in full. After hashing out the details, you agree that he will meet you at your hotel at a time that will ensure you are at a temple for the sunrise.
    Back in town, you try to find a place to eat that looks authentic, but it seems nearly all the options are quite poor—tourist traps hawking Italian food or places with tired looking food. At some point you have no choice, and you settle in at the best place you can find for a mediocre meal.
    You head to bed early, for the practical reasons of getting up early the next day and the obvious reasons that the town is dead. You head back to your rudimentary room and call it a night.
    The next morning, you are waiting for the side of the road at your hotel watching the clock tick by. A minute turns into five minutes which turns into ten minutes. Having waited now for 15 minutes, with no horse in sight, you decide you must now come up with an emergency plan, or risk missing the sunrise.
    You quickly head off on foot, in the direction of the temples until you run across a local who appears to be waiting for a bus. He asks if you need a motorbike ride. Next thing you know, he has turned your desperation (and misplaced trust in the horse owner) into cold, hard cash and you are whizzing along on the back of his motorbike for a one-way ride to “the best” temple for sunrise.
    “The best” temple for sunrise comes into view and he tells you to continue on foot up a certain path to reach it. You thank him, happy to be bailed out of a blown operation, and set off. As you arrive to “the best”, you find it crawling with people. Tour busses are pulling up into the parking lot, tourists are battling each other with tripods trying to set up for “the shot”, as others are standing around waiting with headlamps unnecessarily shining, surely ruining photographs a plenty.
    You take a seat on a rock one level down from the top (in hopes of additional serenity). Just before the sun rises, a big mob of Chinese tourists arrives and promptly set up their tripods directly in front of you, chattering loudly.
    After the sun rose, you climb the steep stairs back to the ground and note that the better photo is of the mobs of people aboard the “best temple for sunrise”. The theme of “get to Burma before it becomes touristy” is ringing in your head, quite an empty phrase at this juncture. If you were looking for peace, this wasn’t the place.
    Between the dingy hotel room, the non-existent internet, the over touristy infrastructure, the poor food scene and the average experience of the area, you decide to get out at once. While you admire the ancient architecture (and in some cases, new architecture as a bunch of these have been rebuilt), you are not blown away by the environment. After exploring some more, you walk back to your hotel, grab your bags, take a cab to the airport and buy a ticket on the next plane outbound.
    Of course, you tried to buy a cheaper ticket online, but the internet didn’t work. You tried to buy a ticket at the ticket office in town, but they told you that you had to go to the airport for a same day ticket. And when you arrived at the airport, they gave you an inflated price (surprise!) and demanded it be paid with brand new US bills. Of course, they gave you change in used, worn, wrinkled Myanmar Kyatt bills. “This is okay,” they assure you.
    One of the better sights of Bagan was from the departing plane, knowing you were no longer going to be in the middle of the Myanmar tourist mecca. There are some places where you connect and this was not one of them, despite all the high praise garnered.
    Perhaps if the military government hadn’t kicked out all the residents from the older area (for tourism-related reasons) it would have had a better and more authentic feel to it, but wandering the scrub-brush and feeling like hosts to a parasite system doesn’t really have a warm and fuzzy feeling to it
    #026: Ancient Bagan Burma (Myanmar) TripHash

  9. #9
    Member tuferguson's Avatar
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    ok, so dont go to bagan then.

    at the moment its looking like i will be there for about a week. is there anywhere that is recommended?

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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Well I'm sort of pushed for time and found I can connect from the Yangon Mandalay flight and fly straight to Bagan.

    Looking for something nice by the river but I've narrowed it down to a couple of places by the river that get top reviews on Tripadvisor.

    By flying I can get a full day and a half in Mandalay rather than just an afternoon and a night.

    Things to do?
    why dont u just fly into Mandalay from Bangkok?? ur there by noon.
    with a week 3 days Mandalay ( 1 day in town, 1 day ancient cities- U bien bridge sunset, i day to mingun by boat)
    Boat down to Bagan ( takes a full day but very nice) than 3 days Bagan and back to Mandalay and home

  11. #11
    Member tuferguson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phuketrichard View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Well I'm sort of pushed for time and found I can connect from the Yangon Mandalay flight and fly straight to Bagan.

    Looking for something nice by the river but I've narrowed it down to a couple of places by the river that get top reviews on Tripadvisor.

    By flying I can get a full day and a half in Mandalay rather than just an afternoon and a night.

    Things to do?
    why dont u just fly into Mandalay from Bangkok?? ur there by noon.
    with a week 3 days Mandalay ( 1 day in town, 1 day ancient cities- U bien bridge sunset, i day to mingun by boat)
    Boat down to Bagan ( takes a full day but very nice) than 3 days Bagan and back to Mandalay and home
    you have quoted him but i might just copy that.


    is it better to buy the boat outside of burma or wait til i get there?
    You dont pay them to stay for the night, you pay them to leave in the morning

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phuketrichard View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Well I'm sort of pushed for time and found I can connect from the Yangon Mandalay flight and fly straight to Bagan.

    Looking for something nice by the river but I've narrowed it down to a couple of places by the river that get top reviews on Tripadvisor.

    By flying I can get a full day and a half in Mandalay rather than just an afternoon and a night.

    Things to do?
    why dont u just fly into Mandalay from Bangkok?? ur there by noon.
    with a week 3 days Mandalay ( 1 day in town, 1 day ancient cities- U bien bridge sunset, i day to mingun by boat)
    Boat down to Bagan ( takes a full day but very nice) than 3 days Bagan and back to Mandalay and home
    I am flying to Mandalay from Bangkok, and connecting to a Bagan flight that afternoon.

    I ended up booking the hotel with the best Tripadvisor/Agoda ratings, by the river and near old Bagan.

    Plenty of time to get maps etc. organised, and apparently there are a glut of ebikes around, which seems a reasonable way to get around the plains.

    Dilly's depressing diatribe doesn't bother me, of course I'm expecting the usual accoutriments that go with a tourist trap.

    Then we go back to Mandalay early morning and have a day and a half to look around there. Fly to Chiang Mai to visit friends for a couple of days, then a couple of days in Bangkok.

    I'd spend longer but I have other trips planned this year. Got lots of Oneworld airmiles, so the world is my hamster.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda
    Dilly's depressing diatribe
    dont shoot the messenger

    looking forward to your trip report and pics, thinking of having a look there too

  14. #14
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    i was wondering about a trip in march

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    There's an entry fee to the Bagan National Park area, before you get to Bagan itself. Have some cash in $US or kyat ready.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Plan B View Post
    There's an entry fee to the Bagan National Park area, before you get to Bagan itself. Have some cash in $US or kyat ready.
    What, you mean from the airport to the hotel?

    Are there places where one can hire a jeep or similar?

    Probably be able to cover more that way.

    Added: Just found this site that does car+driver for 10 hours for $50 a day.

    That actually seems pretty reasonable considering some of the prices I've seen mentioned for a guide and driver.

    https://www.scapetour.com/booking/bagan-car-rental


    Rental Conditions
    • The above rate quoted includes driver, cost of petrol, toll charges, parking fee and driver meal.
    • Our car
    • Rental rate for use up to 10-hours a day, extra hours available @ 15% of Car Type / hour.
    • Rental must end by 9:00 pm.
    • Entrance fee to every tourist attraction is the renter responsible.
    Last edited by harrybarracuda; 31-01-2017 at 07:39 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Plan B View Post
    There's an entry fee to the Bagan National Park area, before you get to Bagan itself. Have some cash in $US or kyat ready.
    What, you mean from the airport to the hotel?

    Are there places where one can hire a jeep or similar?

    Probably be able to cover more that way.

    Added: Just found this site that does car+driver for 10 hours for $50 a day.

    That actually seems pretty reasonable considering some of the prices I've seen mentioned for a guide and driver.

    https://www.scapetour.com/booking/bagan-car-rental


    Rental Conditions
    • The above rate quoted includes driver, cost of petrol, toll charges, parking fee and driver meal.
    • Our car
    • Rental rate for use up to 10-hours a day, extra hours available @ 15% of Car Type / hour.
    • Rental must end by 9:00 pm.
    • Entrance fee to every tourist attraction is the renter responsible.
    Reasonable??
    That is VERY cheap,make sure u ask
    1. what car
    2. does driver speak English
    3. amount of miles ur allowed to travel

    U want see the sunrise and sunset, with 10 hours ur going to miss one

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda
    What, you mean from the airport to the hotel?
    From the bus station to the hotel for me, but the same will apply coming from the airport.


    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda
    Added: Just found this site that does car+driver for 10 hours for $50 a day.
    That's a good price. Especially if the driver is also a guide.
    The ebikes were $7 a day and battery life will prevent you from getting more than a few hours riding before a recharge. Having said that there's not actually anywhere to go apart from zipping around inside the park.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plan B View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda
    What, you mean from the airport to the hotel?
    From the bus station to the hotel for me, but the same will apply coming from the airport.


    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda
    Added: Just found this site that does car+driver for 10 hours for $50 a day.
    That's a good price. Especially if the driver is also a guide.
    The ebikes were $7 a day and battery life will prevent you from getting more than a few hours riding before a recharge. Having said that there's not actually anywhere to go apart from zipping around inside the park.
    I was thinking about things like Mt. Popa, which is an hours drive away.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phuketrichard View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Plan B View Post
    There's an entry fee to the Bagan National Park area, before you get to Bagan itself. Have some cash in $US or kyat ready.
    What, you mean from the airport to the hotel?

    Are there places where one can hire a jeep or similar?

    Probably be able to cover more that way.

    Added: Just found this site that does car+driver for 10 hours for $50 a day.

    That actually seems pretty reasonable considering some of the prices I've seen mentioned for a guide and driver.

    https://www.scapetour.com/booking/bagan-car-rental


    Rental Conditions
    • The above rate quoted includes driver, cost of petrol, toll charges, parking fee and driver meal.
    • Our car
    • Rental rate for use up to 10-hours a day, extra hours available @ 15% of Car Type / hour.
    • Rental must end by 9:00 pm.
    • Entrance fee to every tourist attraction is the renter responsible.
    Reasonable??
    That is VERY cheap,make sure u ask
    1. what car
    2. does driver speak English
    3. amount of miles ur allowed to travel

    U want see the sunrise and sunset, with 10 hours ur going to miss one
    I'm there for three days, I'll see at least one of them a day.


  21. #21
    Member tuferguson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plan B View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda
    What, you mean from the airport to the hotel?
    From the bus station to the hotel for me, but the same will apply coming from the airport.


    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda
    Added: Just found this site that does car+driver for 10 hours for $50 a day.
    That's a good price. Especially if the driver is also a guide.
    The ebikes were $7 a day and battery life will prevent you from getting more than a few hours riding before a recharge. Having said that there's not actually anywhere to go apart from zipping around inside the park.
    i presume there is the old fashioned way of getting round when the battery dies ie pedalling?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuferguson
    Just found this site that does car+driver for 10 hours for $50 a day
    You sure that wasn't Cart and driver?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by tuferguson
    Just found this site that does car+driver for 10 hours for $50 a day
    You sure that wasn't Cart and driver?
    I'm guessing not unless one of the fuckers drinks petrol.

    And they're on Viber, so you can call them and find out if you're that concerned.

  24. #24
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    cart is $20-25/day includes feed :-)
    thats why $50 is very cheap

    I was thinking about things like Mt. Popa, which is an hours drive away.
    I went to (and stayed ) Mt Popa in Nov as we were on motorcycles coming from Mindat on the way to Mandalay.
    Was not that impressed but did NOT walk up.
    Late afternoon is best for photography

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    Quote Originally Posted by tuferguson
    presume there is the old fashioned way of getting round when the battery dies ie pedalling?
    It's actually an electric moto-scooter. You'd be pushing it back to a recharge spot. It doesn't hit any kind of dangerous speed but it's good enough to get around the dirt paths to see the temples. Bloody quiet too. Let's you sneak up on snakes crossing the paths. Watch out for that.

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