3 week itinerary in Myanmar with kids

Myanmar is a country which isn’t always considered as part of the South East Asia route. Its had it’s troubles and the infrastructure can make it more challenging to get around on land. And because of this we were intrigued. Because of this, we were really looking forward to spending 3 weeks in Myanmar with kids.
We wanted to travel to Myanmar with the kids to see what rustic life looked like. To see if it looked like Thailand used to do 20 years ago! It didn’t disappoint. It’s so raw and so beautiful!
Myanmar is more about the country, the people and the culture. There are a few highlights on the trip, such as Bagan temples, but it’s the exploring we were looking forward to most.

Travel routes

There were lots of suggestions about the itinerary. We’d seen several blogs show a route in and out of Yangon. But we opted to instead fly into Yangon and out of Mandalay. The in between bit was less straight forward. I wanted to take the boat from Bagan to Mandalay – but it’s not currently operating as the water levels are too low and not enough tourist – oh!
Then I wanted to take the slow train from Inle lake to mandalay, via Thazi. But there was no information and only when we got there we were told to just turn up at the train station and book a ticket 30 minutes before hand (which actually worked out ok!). The laid back approach here is verging on horizontal!
As you may have read in my family travel in Myanmar on a budget, which details the challenges in travelling overland.
It was fine though. The only issue we had was our train from Yangon to Bagan. There was no sleeper class available for the date we required. But as this was a 20 hour long journey we just moved our date forward by 1 day. By not having anything booked beforehand this allowed us flexibility.  We had no other issues or delays!
So here is our itinerary in Myanmar with kids:
Yangon – 3 nights
Sleeper train  to Bagan – 1 night
Bagan – 4 nights
Day bus with JJ express to lake
Kalaw – 2 nights
Trek to Inle lake – 1 night (2 days)
Nyaungshwe – 3 nights (near Inle lake)
Train from shwenyaung to thazi
Thazi – 1 night (purely due to transfers)
Local minibus to Mandalay
Mandalay – 3 nights
Total – 18 nights
If you have the full 3 weeks here, I’d recommend looking at Hsipaw to add onto your itinerary, maybe with a stop in Pyin oo Lwin on the return leg!
I’ll write a separate blog post on places we visited in Myanmar with kids and what we did.

Travel costs in Myanmar

Myanmar has cost us on average £60 per day. This includes all transport, food, drinks & activities.
Food is very cheap with average meals in a restaurant costing around £2, soft drinks cost 50p and beers were 50p for a small draft or £1.50 for a large bottle!
Trains were very cheap. We caught a train from Inle lake to thazi ( which took 12 hours) and it cost 3,000 kyat each. That’s £1.50.
We took a local minibus from Thazi to Mandalay (about 3 hours) for 7,000 kyat each, about £3.50. this included all the tolls
The JJ express (VIP) bus was much more expensive though at 87,000 for 4 tickets (£42 total). But total luxury and very comfortable – compared wth the trains.
As for excursions you tend to pay for an ‘area’. Such as Inle lake – which was 15,000 kyat each (£7.50), Bagan 25,000 kyat each (£12.50), but the boys were free and Mingun in Mandalay was 5,000 (£2.50). It was very reasonable! Boat hire on Inle lake for a day was 18,000 (£9), booked through our hotel.
We’ve seen and done so many amazing things in Myanmar. It really was like going back to my earlier backpacking days. It certainly tested my ability to be able to ‘go with the flow’.  But I loved every minute of it (ok, so not the squat toilets – but definitely everything else!!).

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