28 Day Expense Report Included at the End


I am outside Mr. Kid’s Hsipaw guesthouse at 5:30 am and the bus is right on time.  The bus trip is surprisingly fast.  I sleep the first 2 hours.  We arrive in Mandalay at 10:30 am, earlier than I expected.  Taking a scooter taxi from the bus station to the AD1 guesthouse I must look a sight.  The driver has my large backpack between himself and the handlebars, while I wear my day pack and camera bag hanging onto the seat by fingertips.

Checking in, I find a fairly basic room but clean with a private BR (hot shower)–a big step up from the last Mandalay dump and about the same price.  The staff is warm and friendly  Free wifi and a rooftop breakfast are included.  They arrange a shared taxi to the airport for me the following morning with a civilized 10:15 am pickup.


Novice nuns collecting alms (rice) outside the AD1 Guesthouse


With the benefit of time on my side I want to check out the two attractions I had hoped to see last time here.  I take a moto-taxi to the bottom of Mandalay Hill and do the 45 minute barefoot walk up 1,729 steps to the top, enjoying the views and shooting photographs.  It is a somewhat laborious and sweaty climb and I see very few tourists on the way up; although, there are a few stations with the usual vendors looking quite bored.


Enormous image of Lord Buddha midway in my Climb


When I get to the top I discover there are lots of tourists.  Apparently, there is a modern elevator from a parking lot where the jumbo tourist buses park.  As this is a most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site, it somehow seems unproper to me to cheat your way up.  I am glad I walked and yes sometimes ignorance is bliss.



As sunset nears, the edges become packed with tourists.  I decide I have seen enough sunsets and do not want to fight the crowds for a little peek.  I head down 20 minutes or so before the sunset.  About halfway down and all alone, I get a surprise and am treated to the most unique and magical sunset view through a garden and over the Irrawaddy!  Who says there is no such thing as karma?






In the evening I take another moto to see the Moustache Brothers perform.  Two of the three brothers served six years of hard labor for making jokes about the regime during a performance at the home of Aung San Suu Kyi in 1996.  Pressure from Amnesty International, Suu Kyi (herself under house arrest for 15 years and currently a member of the parliament)  and such American heavy-weight comedians as Bill Maher finally resulted in their release.

Currently under house arrest, they still perform in the garage of their house with their wives and a couple of grown children.  Combining song, dance, video, cardboard signs and political commentary, some of the humor is a bit obscure and hard to understand for Westerners as only one brother speaks some English.  But I feel like I am witnessing a small part of history.  An appropriate ending to my month in Burma.



My 12:50 pm Air Asia flight to Bangkok the following day is smooth and I am back at New Siam II almost before I know it.  Talk about culture shock.  In Myanmar, they roll up the sidewalks and turn the lights out after 7:00 pm (if there is even electricity that day).  Here, I go out for a drink and dinner at 9:00 pm and get a massage after that.  I have landed back in the present time and all the convenience that encompasses.  As I drift off into a deep sleep, there is only one thought.  Ta-ta and mingalaba.  I cannot wait to return to Burma!

More photos


Expense Report for My Month in Burma (28 days in USD)


Accommodations:      $379.25

Bribes:      $17

Entertainment (incl. tours):      $158.52

Food:      $168.81

Miscellaneous:      $19.16

Transportation:      $402.28

Total:      $ 1,145.02

Daily Average:      $ 40.89


  1. Not included-Air Asia flight Bangkok to Yangon- $104.16
  2. Not included – Air Asia flight Mandalay to Bangkok – $152.00
  3. Included – Air Asia internal flight Inle to Mandalay
  4. When I left Bangkok I figured expenses would be higher than in Thailand so I budgeted $50/day.  As you can see, I came in 20% under.  I left Thailand with $2,500 in brand new crisp $100 bills (these are absolutely necessary for travel in Myanmar).   I returned to Thailand with over $1,000 unspent.  I liked that.  btw, Burma is probably the safest place on earth to walk around with cash (see my travel tips).


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Judie May 15, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    Nice ending to a memorable adventure in Burma! Love the photos and your narrative, as usual! Look forward to your next posting! Take good care~

    • Philip May 15, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

      Thanks Judie!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge