Let’ s Visit the Fairy Land of Bagan Brian Vu Sunday, August 6, 2017 No Comment

Have you ever imagined waking up in the early morning in a place that is surrounded by thousands of ancient temples and gilded pagodas? You might consider it as nothing but a fairy tale, mightn’t you?
Myanmar – The land of the Buddha has long been a popular destination for tourists from Vietnam. However, it has not been a top – ranked tourist spot for many reasons.

The first reason that needs to be mentioned is the high expense. With the same budget, you could definitely make a visit to countries whose tourism has been developed in the region. In addition, Myanmar is lack of nightlife activities and entertainment options as those of the neighboring Thailand. The inconvenient transportation is also worth mentioning. Moreover, this country does not “possess” as many charming beaches as Vietnam.

Nevertheless, if you spend time “analyzing” and making a specific plan, you will probably find the journey to Myanmar quite easy and the expense affordable. Let’s think of getting up in the early morning in the tranquil and peaceful atmosphere of ancient temples and pagodas, greeting the stunning sunrise in the highest tower. Thus, you definitely find your travel rewarding. Coming Bagan - Myanmar to experience such amazing things.

Suggestion for the  4 – day – and – 3 – night trip to Myanmar

Something that needs to be considered:

- The cash (US dollar) that you bring with must be “new”. Moreover, you have to keep it very clean: no dirt, no fold, no wrinkle, and no cut unless your cash will be valueless in this country.

- Putting on slippers and pants because you must only wear pants or long dress and take off shoes to walk on barefoot at temples. 

- “comfortable” clothes because the weather in Myanmar is as hot as that in Thailand.

- Bringing the wallet with you because the Myanmar usually use “change” for convenience in trading, so you might receive a “pile” of Myanmar Kyat when exchanging 100$.

- The budget fluctuates from 6-7 million (no charge for shopping).

Rate: The Kyat is the currency of Myanmar (Burma) (1,000 kyatt = 17,000 VND). 100$ =  120,000-125,000 kyat.

1. Book flight ticket

From Ho Chi Minh City, you might take a flight of two airlines, namely Vietnam Airlines and VietJet Air to Myanmar. There is not much difference of the charge between these two Airlines (depending on the time of booking). The charge of the flight ticket of Vietnam Airlines ranges from 2.5 to 3.5 million VND with 20 kg deposit + meal and VietJet Air is about 1.8-2.5 million VND, including only 7 kg portable goods, respectively.

2. The journey to Yangon

Day 1

- Entry: Go down the stairs, turn left, receive entry forms, fill in information, and get the seal.

- Currency Exchange: Look for the currency exchange counter that offers higher rates. Bear in mind, the bank note must be new and you should exchange 100$ because other denominations will be lower. Don’t forget to show passports for the counters, too.

- Buy  SIM card: It might cost you 8,000 Kyatt = 140,000 VND to get a 2G  SIM card.

- Move to the center of Yangon and travel to Bagan

Taxi: Taxi is the most “preferred” mean of transportation in Myanmar because it has not expanded the use of public transportation. The fare of taxis is quite affordable. Don’t forget to “make a deal” of the charge before you get on the Taxi. On the first day, you should grasp your time to visit Yangon, then go to the bus station to catch a coach to Bagan in the evening to save time.

The charge of traveling from the airport to visit Shwegadon Pagoda, have lunch and then back to the bus station to Bagan ranges from 20,000 to 30,000 Kyatt/ person depending on the number of passengers. (this must be agreed in advance, should pay by Kyat in stead of  USD). However, you might face to traffic congestion, so it might take you much more time to travel during the rush hours. 
Characterized by over 2,500 years of history, Shwegadon Pagoda is considered top – ranked  sacred Buddhist monastery in Myanmar. The pagoda is splendidly gilded, decorated with diamonds, so it definitely grasps your eyes right they step onto. Moreover, the pagoda is the custodian and curator of four treasures for the followers of Buddhism. The entrance fees for visiting is 8,000 Kyat/ person (140,000 VND). Bear in mind, you must wear pants or long dress and walk on barefoot when going around the temple.

- After visiting the temple, the taxi drivers will take you to the local restaurant for lunch. The price is reasonable and food is quite good. From here, you go to the bus station to get on a coach to Bagan (heading back to the airport).

You might catch the coach of 2 transportation company. The first one is JJ Express departing at 8 p.m (available on the coach at 7:30 p.m). The other is Elite Express running at 9:30 (get on the coach at 9 p.m). Elite is much more preferred for the reason that it offers not only the same quality but also safe in time and lower cost. The JJ price is 20,000 kyat (340,000 dongs) and Elite is 16,000 Kyatt (270,000 dongs), respectively. To travel easily, you should buy two – way ticket and give the drivers your address so that they can pick you up back to Yangon at the hotel in Bagan.

3. Travel Bagan

Day 2-3: Explore Bagan

- In the early morning, you are available in Bagan at 5 a.m

- Take a taxi to the hotel: Give the Taxi driver your hotel’s address, he will take you there

- Entry fee: For foreign visitors, the entrance fee is  25 USD / person or 25,000 Pyat (paying in USD is better)

- Accommodation: There are many resorts in the area of Old Bagan. They offer a reasonable price, ranging from 700,000 - 1,000,000 VND / 2 people (including breakfast). I stayed at Yadanarbon Bagan resort.

- Travel: To visit the temples, you might travel by 3 vehicles, namely carriage (3-4 people at 25,000 kyat/per day), electric car (10,000 Kyat), and bicycle (2,000 kyat / 8 hours).

- Visiting:

+ The complex of Lawkachanthar, Thagyarhit, and Thagyarpone temples. In the early morning, the first rays of sunshine bathe the whole ancient city a golden sun, making it more attractive.

+ Htilo Mininlo Temple is considered as one of the most exquisite and elaborate temples that was built by King Zeya Theinkha.

+ Ananda Temple is named the most beautiful temple in Bagan that features four large gold Buddha statues in four directions.

+ Being built under the reign of King Narapatisithu in 1183, Sulamani Temple is considered as one of the most beautiful ancient temples in Bagan. It captures the attention of visitors right they step onto by beautifully decorated the walls outside the temple that featuring elaborate murals. 

+ Dhammayangyi temple is the largest temple in Bagan that is at the shape of a pyramid. Especially, the temple has no apex like others. 

+ Thatbyinnyu Temple grasps the eyes of visitors of moss-painted tiles and bricks reflecting the passing of time.

+ Unlike other temples that are famous for unique architecture, Shwesantaw temple has long been known as an ideal destination to watch the stunning sunrise and sunset.

+ Located near the Ananda temple, Nochanthar Temple is characterized by the typical architecture of Myanmar.

- Eating: From the resort, going straight ahead, then turning right, you will see Aye Mya Thida Food & Drink Center Restaurant. The dishes are quite good and might satisfy the taste of tourists from Vietnam or China. The price ranges from 60,000 - 80,000 VND / person.

In addition, there are many good and cheap restaurants around. There is one thing interesting that you definitely enjoy a good meal at big restaurants at a very affordable price in Bagan. How amazing!. For example, Queen restaurant offers a set of 19,900 Kyat ($ 20) for 4 people. You might make a visit to Nada Restaurant that provides great dinner, luxurious scenery, traditional Arts performances, and musical instruments performances. The price is at 25$/people.

Moreover, if you want to enjoy foods of Myanmar recipes, you might enjoy the buffet at Myanmar Foods House,  a popular restaurant. It is a buffet but they serve food on the table and you might order that you’ d like to. It is priced at 3,500 Kyat / person.

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