Tips (And Cost) in Traveling to Myanmar Alone

Notes by yeyette on Saturday, April 9th, 2016 under A Week in Myanmar
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When I travel, I always heard this word, “You are so rich, you have a lot of money to travel.” My ear always bleeds when I heard that words. If I’m pissed off, I normally answer, “Yes, I’m so rich because I booked my flight ticket six months ago, the time the airline has a promotion and I normally grab it if it is way below the average price.” This shuts them up or they just don’t understand it because they don’t travel, much more traveling alone. If I’m cool, I will just smile at them and say, “Yes, why don’t you travel?” And then, I heard them say, “I don’t have money, blah, blah, blah; I have kids and family to feed, blah, blah, blah; I’m scared of traveling alone, blah, blah, blah; It’s more fun when you travel with friends, blah, blah, blah; I have a lot of bills to pay, blah, blah, blah.” I’ll tell you what, “Problems Don’t Stop, It’s Always In Existence”. The world is a world of duality, if there’s a problem, there’s always a solution. So, give time for yourself, travel at least, if you cannot make it once a year, once in two years. Travel in another country, another culture, another environment, in a place where you’ve never been before. It doesn’t have to be a first world country. I assure you, you will go home a different person. Enough those non-sense reasons, it won’t take you somewhere. Be positive, be abundant.

Here are some tips in traveling to Myanmar:

  1. If you are residing in Singapore, ticket may cost you around S$200 and below for a promotion and off-peak season. Peak season tourist is November to February where you can also experience hot air balloon in Bagan. During this season, air ticket is quiet expensive, probably around S$250 and above. Though this price, it is not expensive anymore than previous years when there are only few airlines fly over to Yangon. I bought mine at S$165 (USD117). If you are other country, you can sign up for a price alert in Kayak.com or skyscanner.com or even from the direct airlines. Sign-up all.
  2. It’s not that hard to take a taxi. Just go out of the airport and stand in the taxi line than booking inside the airport with those locals. They are three times higher the price. It’s okay to take a taxi outside and reject them politely.
  3. There are a lot of money changer in the airport. Few months ago, big establishments, guesthouses and hotels accepts US Dollar but be sure it is clean. If not, please change all your currency to their currency which is Kyat. As for the update, I read somewhere that they won’t accept US Dollar anymore.
  4. Every country has different accent. If you really cannot understand them, ask until you understand. Read our conversation with the cashier in Red Mountain Estate which was funny.
  5. Myanmar is safe to travel alone, men and women alike. I cycle 21km alone in the mountain side and only good things happened.
  6. Bus booking is difficult during peak season. If you don’t mind booking online with a minimal admin fee, then, do so. You can book at Myanmar Bus Ticket.
  7. Letter K in Myanmar pronounced as J or CH. Their currency Kyat pronounced as Jy-at or chat. (You can correct me here if I’m wrong). They don’t have coins.
  8. If you are a painting lover, there’s a lot of painting in Myanmar where you can buy for a lower price.
  9. Temples are everywhere. Indulge! But be sure to leave your shoes outside the temple.
  10. Some temples are made of gold and gem stones. Please don’t dare to take home. Respect.
  11. If you are traveling alone, you cannot finish a one set of food (unless you are as hungry as a bear and a guy) 😉
  12. If you love biking, you can rent a bicycle for as low as USD.80 per day! Just don’t forget to bring a headlamp and extra battery. If you don’t know how to bike, there are horse carriage as well.
  13. So far the cheapest guesthouse in Bagan is Pann Cherry which cost me USD7.00 per night (fan only).
  14. If everything else fails, BE CHARMING and before you know it, people are there to help you.

All I can say is that, people are very friendly and helpful. Every state has different surrounding, different course of nature. Go farther without hesitation.

A little help from a friend:

Hello – Mingalar Ba

Thank you – Kya Zo Be (pronounced as Che Zu Be)

Hungry – Bi Sar Tel

Want to drink water (drink) – Yay tak chin tel

Want to buy water – Yay wel chin tel

Toilet – Ayn ter

Want to go – (State the place first) Twa Chin Tel  (Example: Pagoda twa chin tel)

How much – Bel lout lae

I used thank you, twa chin tel and mingalar bar during my travel. You don’t have to learn all as some Burmese can speak English. Just bring it just in case you need it.

HOW MUCH DID I SPENT?

A Week In Myanmar Expenses

A detailed expenses during my one week travel in Myanmar. Only for your reference. Note that exchange rate fluctuates.
ExpensesKYATSGDUSDLink
Airfare (Roundtrip)-165117Around Yangon
Taxi from airport to Swedagon Pagoda6,0006.824.60Around Yangon
Food6,0006.824.60
Shwedagon Pagoda entrance8,0009.106.15Around Yangon
Leave your shoes fee2,0002.271.50
Refreshments 1,0001.150.80
Taxi from Shwedagon to Bogyoke Aung San Market2,5002.852.00
Bought a wooden umbrella (that I eventually sold for SGD10)4,0004.553.40Bogyoke Aung San Market
Refreshments 1,0001.150.80
Bought a pretty cloth for a friend's wedding but wasn't able to attend12,00013.6510.12
Taxi from Bogyoke Aung San Market to Aung Mingalar Bus Terminal9,00010.257.00
Bus from Yangon to Pyin Oo Lwin (booked online)-28.8021.36Pyin Oo Lwin
Expenses in Pyin Oo Lwin (NOTHING) Homestay with friend's family and they never let me spent a single dime.VERY GRATEFULVERY GRATEFULVERY GRATEFULPyin Oo Lwin
Bus from Pyin Oo Lwin to Bagan-22.6516.80On The Road to Bagan
Horse carriage1,0001.150.85
Pann Cherry Guesthouse (stayed one night)-9.457.00Pann Cherry Guesthouse
Bicycle rental (one day)2,5002.852.00
Dinner9,00010.257I ORDERED a set I didn't even finished it. Food was not fantastic.
Breakfast (street food)1,0001.150.85
Bought Tanaka from the two ladies for a present2,0002.251.65
Give to kids5,0005.704.25
Bought Petrified Wood as my travel collection29,00032.4024.00Getting Around Bagan
Late lunch15,00016.8512.50I know and I finished it.
Bus from Bagan to Inle-14.8511.00
Transportation from bus terminal to guesthouse2,0002.251.65
Bicycle rental1,0001.150.85
Refreshments1,0001.150.85
Boat + tip (Going to Red Winery)7,0007.9510.75Biking Through Red Mountain Estate
Food-12.159.00
Burmese traditional massage + oil9,00010.237.60I bought 2 small bottles of oil from Win Nyunt used after the massage. The ingredients was coconut oil, peppermint, ginger and eucalyptus. I used it at home whenever I have my scheduled reflexology.
Bought silver earrings-12.159.00
Scarf-6.755.00
Tip for fishermen who pose for photos1,5001.701.25
Food (Me and Colleen)8,0008.906.60This cheap for the two of us. I asked him to order more but he refused. The serve was huge for a cheap price and the taste was okay. Recommended.
Ref magnet (collection)2,5002.852.00
Win Nyunt Guesthouse (USD15.00/day). -30.3522.50Win Nyunt only charged me for 1 1/2 day instead of 2 nights.
TOTAL469.54344.28

I spent roughly SGD470 (USD345) for my 7 days trip including air ticket which was not bad at all. It was around SGD50/day expenses (minus the air ticket) for traveling alone. If you travel with friend, the expenses might be lower as you can share some of it (food and accommodation).

Now, pack that bag and fly!

 

 

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