Myanmar & Laos

I was in Myanmar and Laos for about 2-3 weeks earlier this year. With these two countries off the bucket list, I’ve covered every country in South East Asia, except for East Timor. Trust the German, who is all about efficiency. :p Alright, so let’s get started with Myanmar or Burma (how some locals prefer to call it).

Myanmar, the Golden Country

myanmar

  • Was it awesome? Yes!
  • Would I go again? Hell yes!
  • What did I do? Yangon, Kalaw, Inle Lake, Bagan
  • Positive: Temples, Landscape
  • Negative: Food

Now for a little breakdown on the places & things I did…

Yangon 

yangon.jpg

Hostel: Little Yangon Hostel – cool but expensive
Transport: from airport take a fixed rate cab, others negotiate taxi rate / take local bus
To do:

  • Shwedagon Pagoda: 5/5 stars! Absolute highlight!
  • Snake Temple: 2/5 stars if the snakes are mating because you can’t hold them. Beware of scams (boy who worked at the ferry came with me to make sure I get around in hired a driver for me and they overcharged me a lot, so do it on your own, don’t trust people)
  • Sule Pagoda: 3/5 stars. Alright, not more. Better save the entrance fee
  • Bogyoke Market: 3/5 stars. Cool market for souvenirs and post cards

 

Kalaw/Inle Lake

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Local fishermen at Inle Lake

Hostel: Stayed in Remember Inn after my trek. Nice place but a bit pricey.
Transport from Yangon: Go by night bus from Yangon and arrive 5am in Kalaw (55km away from Inle Lake).
To do:

  • Trek with Ever Smile Trekking (Call Toe:08150683) 3D2N around 42k kyat. Great value for money, stunning landscapes and cool trek
  • Boat tour and winery near Inle Lake
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Sunset from the winery

 

Bagan

Hostel: I stayed in Shwe Na Di Guesthouse, was a good and reasonable price for the dorms.
Transport: From Inle Lake, take the train to Thazi, then a taxi to Meiktila. Don’t take taxis at the train station as they overcharge ten times. Walk to the main road, stop a taxi there. Once you arrive in Meiktila, then take a bus to Bagan.

*Note that Thazi has no direct buses to Bagan so you have to go to Meiktila first where buses to Bagan only leave the next morning. So you’ll probably have to spend the night in Meiktila*

To do:

  • Nyaung-U for the most budget. If you take the local bus from Meiktila get off in old-Bagan to save the entrance fee.
  • Rent an e-bike to get around.
  • See the hot air balloons float up in the sky during sunset. *Bagan sadly closed the temples, so you can’t climb them anymore.
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One hell of a view!

Finally, what would I have done better in Myanmar? Hsipaw for trekking and taking the train from Hsipaw to Mandalay for a stunning train ride.

Laos

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Monks crossing a wooden bridge
  • Was it awesome? Yes!
  • Would I go again? Yes!
  • What did I do? Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang
  • Positive: Landscape, Sandwiches
  • Negative: Ventiane

Get in: Easy with the train from Bangkok (see seat61.com)

Vientiane

Go here for visa run for India and local clubbing experience, otherwise: get out quickly! Stayed at Dream Home Hostel, it was good, they have a pool.

Vang Vieng

Hostel: I stayed in Central Backpackers: Free Whiskey, Loud & drunk people, and disgustingly dirty bathrooms..
To do:

  • Either go partying with intoxicated Backpackers or get away from the centre and witness stunning landscapes.
  • The water tubing is fun, but I suppose it’s better in wet season.

The sandwiches here are some of the best I ever had.

Luang Prabang

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The most chilled part of Laos. Hang around here for days, weeks, whatever. Hundreds of bars and restaurants with great food.

Hostel: I stayed in Spicy Laos, one of the cheapest places in town.
To do:

  • Go to the waterfall (touristy but still really good)
  • Do a sunset cruise and walk around the city, the night market is also very nice.
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Waterfall in Luang Prabang, water was super cold!

What would I have done better in Laos? Spend more time in Vang Vieng, away from backpackers and enjoy the amazing landscape. Also go to the south to the 1000 islands. Take the boat from Luang Prabang to Thailand in wet season.

All pictures are real and taken by me, just in case you’re wondering about how unreal it looks. :p Any queries/comments, don’t hesitate to write them in the comments. Stay tuned for my posts on India!

 

Andy

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