Saturday, August 15, 2015

Travelling Myanmar by bus - best tips by travellers around the world

As Myanmar is still under developing infrastructure for tourism, it may be challenging in the beginning to get around the country if you plan to travel with buses and trains. The main connection to reach Myanmar from foreign countries is Yangon International Airport. Thus most likely you will end up search for bus connection from Yangon to other cities (Bagan, Mandalay, etc.) 

Recently, they have also opened up the Mandalay International Airport for some international flights from Bangkok and Singapore as the number of foreign visitors to Mandalay has been growing rapidly. Before landing Myanmar, make sure you do a bit of research on how to get around, tag along with the people and get used to the transportation system. In this post you are going to find the best guides and tips recommended by travellers around the world who have visited Myanmar.
Highway Express First Class Bus in Myanmar

1. Bus company / tour agent

There are plenty of companies and tour agents to choose from. One of the most important things to keep in mind is to be clear about the destination, price, and duration of the trip. In some major bus routes such as Yangon - Bagan, Yangon - Mandalay, Yangon - Naypyidaw, bus conditions from large highway express bus operators such as Elite and JJ Express are excellent. The coaches are new and comfortable with soft seats and air-conditioning. However, some routes such as Bagan - Mandalay, the operators use mini-buses.
2. Schedule
Usually bus schedules are only confirmed within 7 days prior to the departure. During low seasons, buses may run less frequency on daily schedules.
3. Price
Buses in Myanmar are most likely faster and cheaper than train and plane. Train ticket price for foreigners is different price and higher than local price. For bus tickets, you can easily book ticket or check the price via Scapetour. If you book bus tickets via Scapetour, you can avoid hassle of buying ticket after you arrive Myanmar. However, Scapetour will charge a small booking service fee for arranging ticket.
4. What to bring
#1 Essentials & valuables Always take with your most important and expensive items (wallet, passports  & papers, gadgets, etc.) especially if you travel alone or if you want to get out of the bus in the middle of the trip for a short break. 
#2 A small bottle of water plus some snack - In case you will get thirsty and hungry
#3 Tissues and hand sanitizer
#4 Earplugs - Some buses in Myanmar may be very loud as Burmese music and movies can be playing on the TV till late hours, make sure to bring good quality ear plugs or earphone to listen from your own ipod.
5. Tag along with the people around
The wonderful experience you would get with travelling comes not only from what you see or do but also most importantly who you are with. Talking to the bus driver, a local you meet on the road or a fellow traveller seating next to you can be useful to enhance the experience. Especially if you are travelling alone, these people would help you in most cases such as getting lost, robbed or failing to return to your bus on time after getting out for a short break. 
6. Night bus
You can find lots of the necessary tips for overnight bus via Grrrl Traveller

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Donate for Myanmar's flood - support Burma to save its beauty

Myanmar (or Burma), known as one of the top rising destinations for travelers in Asia, has recently experienced widespread flooding due to the monsoon season. Nearly 100 people have died and 1 million have been affected until today according to BBC. Although the flood did not have major impact on big cities like Yangon or Bagan, Myanmar’s tourism would undergo serious situation as transportation were incapable of running efficiently.

Flood disaster in Myanmar 2015
Burma is calling for urgent support from international aid especially in terms of food, clothing and money. Many donation campaigns have been ran and promoted throughout the world to save this beautiful country that is full of thousands of pagodas, stupas and temples. With that being said, check out what solo travel bloggers wrote about exploring Myanmar as a beautiful destination and a country full of hospitality before deciding to donate.

''Burmese people are the most genuine, friendly, warm-hearted and amazingly beautiful people I have ever met. Not one will turn you away when you need help and hardly anyone will try to short change you or be cheeky in a transaction. 
They are so fascinated by the presence of outsiders, that you can see the sheer excitement on their faces. Smile and say hello, shake hands, hug, exchange e-mail addresses and revel in the wonderful reaction you get back. Spend at least two weeks here if you can – skimming this incredible landscape is an absolute waste. I’m already trying to plan spending another month here.''

''The people of Myanmar have touched my heart time and time again throughout my travels and documentary work in the country these past few years.  Unfortunately, the state of the country still leaves the citizens incredibly vulnerable when it comes to natural disasters.  I highly encourage others to visit the country independently and connect with the citizens in a thoughtful way.  A small amount makes a huge difference.

''I've been to over 35 countries in Asia, and Myanmar is unquestionably my favorite.  The culture is authentic, the food is fantastic, and the people are some of the most kind-hearted and welcoming that I've ever met.  It's also a very affordable destination for budget travelers like myself. Myanmar is a place that I will always go back to visit whenever I am in Southeast Asia.  I can't wait to visit soon!'',

Monday, August 3, 2015

Hot air balloon flight in Bagan - the ultimate guide to explore Myanmar from the sky

As popular destinations in Asia such as Thailand and China are becoming too mainstream, travellers who seek to explore more exotic places in the South East are moving forward to countries like Myanmar or Vietnam. If you are a big fan of Buddhist temples and monasteries, Myanmar is definitely an ideal destination with thousands of pagodas in Bagan remaining among the millions that were built in the past.

One of the must-dos on your travel list in Myanmar has to be ballooning over Bagan. It is a spectacular experience of a lifetime, which is worth paying for. In this article you are going to find the best guides and tips for exploring Myanmar from the sky with hot-air balloon.

Do not show up in Myanmar searching for hot-air balloon during rainy season, which is between May/June and October. The ballooning season is short: from late October to mid March, when the winds are calmer.

A typical flight program usually starts in the early morning from 5AM before sunrise. You will be picked from your hotel to the launch site with private vehicle and kindly served light breakfast while watching your balloon be inflated by the crew. After giving safety briefing and flight instruction, your pilot will start the flight, during which he will explain the history of ballooning as well as of Bagan, and point out the most important pagodas.

The flight usually lasts up to one hour. You will surprisingly be awarded with a flight certificate, sparkling wine and a ride back to your hotel. 

How much?

Price for one ride per person is 320 USD for standard ticket or 380 USD for premium ticket. Book through an agent will save you some cash. Discounts are sometimes available and you will be refunded if the flight to cancelled due to weather conditions.

How to book?

Ballooning over Bagan flights can be easily booked online via ScapetourBook easily with Scapetour via online and enjoy a better rate!

What's the real experience like?

If you would like to know more about the actual experience before deciding to pay for your flight, ask from experienced travel bloggers who have been there such as Dustin Main or Jodi EttenburgPlease feel free to contact us at if you have questions about Balloon Booking and Scapetour will be happy to assist.

Most important tips

  • You do not need to freak out because of the height as all the basket come up high and safe 
  • Always pay attention to the pilot's instructions.
    When the balloon lands, DO NOT HOP OUT until the pilot says 'OK'!
  • Though balloon ride is expensive, it is worth paying extra money for a smaller balloon because the experience is way much better than having to share your corner with too many people
  • Always read the Terms & Conditions before booking your tickets.
Book through Scapetour and save you some cash today!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Myanmar Thingyan Guide 2015 for Tourists and Travellers

What to do in Myanmar during Thingyan

Myanmar is entering a week long Thingyan and  New Year holiday starting April 13th. The official holiday period is from 13th to 21st April.

If you are tourists or travellers during Thingyan period in Myanmar and not familiar with the festival, this guide could be a little helpful for you.

Most businesses including restaurants and supermarkets will be closed from 13th to 17th April. If you will be in Yangon during this period, it is time to stock up on grocery. Also, find out which restaurants will be open during Thingyan and where to party during Thingyan.

Super Markets Business hours

City Mart is extending their operating hours from 9am until 11pm on April 9th, 10th and 11th to allow Yangonites more time to shop at their stores. However, the extended hours is only for the following nine branches: City Mart Aung San, City Mart 47 St, City Mart Myay Ni Gone, City Mart China Town Point, marketplace by City Mart (Golden Valley), City Mart South Dagon, City Mart North Dagon (Shwe Pinlon), marketplace by City Mart (FMI).
Normal business hours on April 12th, 9am-9pm.
Closed from April 13th to 17th

Ocean Supercenter is also extending their operating hours from 9am until 11pm on April 9th, 10th and 11th at the following stores: Shwe Gone Daing branch, Pazundaung branch, North Point branch & Mingalar Mandalay branch.
Closed from April 13th to 17th

Where to eat?

Many restaurants will be closed on the first few days of Thingyan. Luckily, a few restaurants have decided to operate for the entire duration of Thingyan. Restaurants in 5 Stars hotels will also be opened: Belmond Governer’s Residence, Chatrium Hotel, Sule Shangri-la Hotel.

Restaurants in operation during Thingyan

Feel Restaurant Myanmar 
Only at these branches Pyihtaungsu Avenue St (near Shwedagon Pagoda), 115 Miles (Phyu), 286 Miles (Meikhtilar), Pyin Oo Lwin

105/107. Khayaebin rd, Dagon Tsp (near Belmond Governor’s Residence) Tel: 09 730 29973 11am to 11pm

Vietnam Kitchen
1A Phone Sein rd, Tamwe Tsp Tel: 09 43183989 8.30am to 10.30pm

Yoogane at Pearl Condo

The Fat Ox Bar
81, 50th st, Botahtaung Tsp (middle block) Tel: 099 73258587 5pm onwards

Happy Café & Noodles
104B, Inya rd, Kamaryu Tsp Tel: 01 536 985 7am to 11pm

Singapore Kitchen 
Yangon International Compound, Alone Rd, Alone Tsp Tel: 01 511 502 10:00 am – 3:00 am

Closed from 13th to 17th April
999 Shan Noodles
Manhattan Fish Market Yangon
Gekko Restaurant Yangon
Parami Pizza
Fuji Japanese Restaurant Hantharwaddy branch
Union Bar and Grill (Unsure about 18th)

Closed from 13th to 18th April
Fuji Japanese Restaurant (all branches except Hantharwaddy)
Shan Yoe Yar Fine Dining

Closed from 13th to 20th and 21st April
50th Street Café
Rangoon Tea House

Where to party?

Celebration of Yangon Thingyan Festival
When: March 20, 2015 – April 16, 2015
Time: 6pm to 9pm
Location: Karaweik Palace, Kandawgyi Palace, Kandawgyi Natural Park, Yangon
Activities: Welcome snacks and drinks, water sprinkling activity, photos in royal costume, Thingyan food
Contact info:
Karaweik Palace
+95 9 459 222222, +95 1 290545
More info:

Titan Thingyan Welcoming Party
When: April 11, 2015-04-07
Time: 6pm to 11pm
Location: Roof Alchemy Gastropub, Yangon International Hotel Compound, Ahlone Road, Ahlone Township, Yangon
Activities: Get wet and wild party, hosted by Titan Family & Entertainment, DJ Linn Linn (Pioneer Club)
Contact info:
More info:

Thingyan Music Festival (TMF) 2015-04-07
When: April 13, 2015 – April 16, 2015-04-07
Time: 9am – 6pm
Location: Yangon Thingyan Mandat, Pyay Road, in front of Kanbaung, Kamaryut Township, Yangon
Activities: DJs from around the region will be spinning.
Contact info:
TMF Organisers
09 4500 45007, 09 501 1713
More info:

Invaders Water Festival Mandat
When: April 14, 2015 – April 16, 2015
Time: 9am to 6pm
Location: Kabar Aye Pagoda Road, Bahan Township, Yangon
Activities: Music and dance, water activities
Contact info:
Invaders Organisers
09 2620 02526
More info:

Illuminati Thingyan Festival 2015
When: April 13, 2015 – April 16, 2015
Time: 9am to 6pm
Location: Illuminati Mandat Kandawgyi Kan Yeik Thar Road, near Power Light Restaurant, Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township, Yangon
Activities: Music and dance, water activities
Contact info:
Illuminati Ticket Sales
09 4210 58922, 09 550 1368, 09 25018
More info:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Myanmar New Year and Celebrate Thingyan Water Festival

In exactly less than a week from now, the people of Myanmar will be celebrating their New Year, also known as Thingyan. It is believed that the word Thingyan was derived from the Sanskrit word, Thinkanta, or Sinkanta. It is the most important holiday throughout Myanmar. The festival is similar to Songkran in the neighbour country of Thailand. This year, Thingyan will be celebrated from 13 April to 17 April. It is the longest public holiday in Myanmar.

In the olden days, the people of Myanmar celebrated Thingyan by sprinkling the elderly such as parents and teachers with scented water using the sprouts of ‘thapyay’ (the leaves from Eugenia tree). These days, water is sprayed, splashed or doused to one another in public, regardless they are friends or family members. Do not take offence if you get splashed by strangers while walking down the streets in Myanmar during Thingyan, even if you are just observing. The Burmese people believed that the act of splashing water is a show of blessings and good wishes. Other activities include partying on the street and ‘mandat’ (stage), street parade on floats and sharing of home cooked food and drinks outside of their house to neighbours and revellers.

According to the Encyclopedia, Thingyan is linked to the Hindu tradition in which people splashed each other with specially prepared red liquid during the transition to a new year. Another source had it that, around the 10th century, the royalty in Bagan era carry out holding hair-washing rituals, called Thingyantaw. The purpose was to cleanse and purify their bodies, minds and spirits for the new year. For a proper royal rinse, a special water mix would be concocted, it included coconut water, water from the well, pond, lake, river, mountain, rain and melted snow, water that jewels have been dipped in and sometimes water from neighbouring countries will be added. This water concoction must then be added to another scented medicinal mixture which contains 28 herbal ingredients.

It is no doubt that the Water Festival has evolved over time. These days, it is a huge street trance party, far from it's royal beginning. As the festival deviates from its traditional root to a modern day event, there are more and more locals who look forward to take advantage of this long holiday period to focus on strengthening their spiritual belief by checking-in to meditation centers across the country. Others volunteer their time in religious group activities such as cleaning of the pagodas, monasteries and Buddha statues.

All the same, the team from Scapetour wish everyone a safe and Happy Thingyan. Play well and meditate well. In the spirit of Thingyan, let the bad luck from the last year be washed away and welcome the best in the new year!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

ScapeTour set to tackle tourist-travelling problems in Myanmar

ScapeTour set to tackle tourist-travelling problems in Myanmar

 Scapetour Myanmar - Travel arrangement made easy in Myanmar!
The newly launched online bus-ticketing platform ( aims to be the solution for free and easy travellers looking for transport options in Myanmar using technology.

As Myanmar is opening up to the rest of the world in recent years, its tourism is also growing leaps and bounds. This is evident from the jump from 200,000 travellers in 2011 to 3,000,000 in 2014 and a projected 5,000,000 this year in 2015.

However, transportation can be troublesome and time consuming with the lack of infrastructure.  Booking coach bus tickets manually at the bus station or travel agent can take up to half a day if you are not familiar with Myanmar due to not knowing where to buy and traffic conditions.

Scapetour is a start-up looking to simplify the booking process for bus tickets. Travellers can secure their tickets early and complete the booking process in minutes with the use of Scapetour’s simple mobile-friendly user interface. In essence, travellers book online and Scapetour will handle the ground work.

In the words of the Founder, Kyaw Lin Oo, of Scapetour:” We created Scapetour because once I was also caught in a scenario where I wasted so much time just getting my transportation plans confirmed. Booking these tickets can be time consuming and that’s why I want to provide this solution for others and we have EventNook’s ticketing technology which is proven technology platform which has served thousands of events in Asia with its event ticketing and online payment solutions.“

As of now, Scapetour is focusing on bus ticket bookings with a mission to make travel arrangement easy and accessible for tourists coming to Myanmar.