Travel to and from Myanmar

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  AnthonyDunn 13 Jul 2017
at 09:01

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  • DavidSmith2

    I have the possibility of a job in Yangon, Myanmar on an annual, rolling contract. For personal reasons, I will need to ensure I can return to Europe on a fairly regular basis (London, Munich, Frankfurt, Zurich would all be fine).

    Plenty of fight options showing on the usual sites and prices are much of a muchness, with plenty of transit options (Doha, Dubai, Bangkok, KL etc). But I would be very interested to know if any members have done the trip and if they have any recommendations on the best airline/routing, or any other tips.


    We looked into going there last year, purely on holiday though, and taking into account personal preferences, and dislike of ME3 carriers, would have gone via HKG on CX. They were not cheapest but competitive for a good quality product.


    David, I only did this trip once, so not very much to go on, but I flew EVA to Bangkok and used Bangkok Airways to Yangon and back.
    Great experience. Direct flights so only one stopover. Both airlines are a gem. Great aircraft, the best personnel one can wish.
    You can get there cheaper, but it is simply not worth the trouble.


    I live in the region so my flights are somewhat shorter, but I would use SQ they have a good network in Europe and Changi Airport is the best hub in SE Asia. There are numerous SQ flights with SilkAir the regional operator of SQ…

    As a side note I have to also agree with Edski, EVA are a great airline and I am very impressed with Bangkok Airways when I have used them…


    Hi David. I have done this trip twice. In both cases via BKK, once Thai all the way (to London), the other with Bangkok Airways and then KLM (to AMS). The benefits of transiting in BKK are (1) it has the most flights between the two cities (so you have more flexibility on time of travel), (2) it is a shorter hop than say going to KL, HCM or SIN first before getting onto your long haul flight, (3) prices from BKK to Europe are generally very competitive (certainly relative to a SIN or HKG), and (4) you can get direct flights from BKK to all the cities you mention, meaning you can make this a one-stop journey (rather than more stops). The one thing I am not sure about is the agreements Bangkok Airways has with other airlines for baggage forwarding, since I travel almost exclusively with carry on only, so that is something to look into. Clearly not an issue if you go Thai all the way. BKK is a bit of a zoo at times, but overall I have found it decent enough for transfers, and depending on alliance and class of travel, a small number of recent lounges (and many rather poor ones). Hope this helps. Safe travels!


    Hi David just voicing agreement with the comments on Bangkok Airways.A really great airline. Cheap fares, free hot food even on short domestic runs, airport lounges for economy passengers and a willingness to fix any problem quickly. If you transfer from Thai business class, and have to re check bags in BKK,make sure the crew give you an express immigration pass. They often forget leading to a steamy tedious wait in long queues.
    If you become a Bangkok Airways frequent flyer you’ll get discount flights for weekend escapes to Thai resort Islands which might ease the stress of the job transfer.


    Thanks for all the comments – given me even more food for thought.

    If I do get the job, then I am inclined to accept, in which case I hope I can add to the knowledge bank for Myanmar flights.


    Spent 10 days in Myanmar last year (holidays). It was a superb experience. Flight-wise, we flew in with Vietnam Airlines and out with Thai (connecting Swiss flight). The ME3 started flying to RGN only a few weeks later. That said, I am also a big fan of Bangkok Air. So flying to BKK and connecting with PG is a good option. Hope you’ll get your assignment.


    David, I did this with Air France to Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, and then Air Vietnam to Yangon. It was a good easy connection and all worked well.


    Echoing the above, from experience.

    Thai Airways, into Bangkok and using the local airlines, like Silk Air or Bangkok Air – from BKK into Rangoon/Yangon – means only one stop, i.e. when you’re transiting through BKK onward. So you get a direct flight from Europe, London – then the local flight between Thailand and Burma. Use the local SE network as the better option for Rangoon/Yangon for sure. Allowing yourself a good 90-120 mins of transit time… don’t try on less due to operational issues in Burma/Rangoon beyond the airline’s control. Its still a developing place, even if the airspace isn’t exactly crowded, its heading that way.


    I’m based in Myanmar and have been for many years. Feel free to PM me questions about living and working here.



    Others have outlined the sundry options ex-Europe and BKK certainly has plenty of connections on both Thai and Bangkok Airways. I’ve used the latter because they connect to both RGN and MDL. PG are happy to interline onto other carriers – particularly when they codeshare such as with CX to HKG. As well as the ME3, there are also connections via SIN, KUL and HKG.

    If you are going to spend some serious time working in Rangoon, Burma (I absolutely refuse to use the place names from the military junta) then, to make the most of your time, might I suggest looking up the online Burmese course courtesy of the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)? It’s gratis. You will need to get a smattering of the language because the former military regime hollowed out the education system and the level of English language tuition in schools and spoken English is often risible. During their decades of self-imposed isolation, their nationalist rejection of “the language of colonialism” lead them to downplay English language tuition and the country is now facing up to this act of self-harm.

    There is an indispensable book that I would recommend your reading if you wish to develop a better appreciation of the place and get under the skin of the many fault lines through Burmese society: “Blood, Dreams and Gold: the changing face of Burma” by Richard Cockett. Published by Yale University Press and the ISBN is: 978-0-300-20451-3 Cockett was the erstwhile SE Asia correspondent for the Economist, seriously knows his stuff and writes extremely well. The book is both enlightening and deeply upsetting because you will then understand how the country has been robbed blind and its institutions gutted by the military (and their Chinese sponsors/weaponry suppliers).

    You should take the opportunity to get to see the country albeit that the infrastructure for getting around is seriously primitive in places. The rail network is as it was in 1948: narrow gauge, ancient trains and a trackbed that has seen no maintenance in decades. “Very, very bumping….!” as we were warned. There are inter-city buses and a burgeoning network of quite expensive domestic airlines, almost all using ATRs.

    Owing to its isolation until recently, most Burmese are delighted to see overseas visitors and are not cynical (yet) towards tourism. They are largely sceptical though about who profits: mainly cronies of the military leadership which have variously expropriated much of the proceeds of a booming tourism industry through their ownership of hotels and airlines.

    Bagan is Burma’s Ankhor Wat and risks being despoiled by some rather brutal and unsympathetic approaches to “restoration”. Mandalay is pretty unprepossessing but we found upcountry into Shan State fascinating: Hsipaw and Pyin Oo Lwin. The latter has a phenomenal botanical gardens dating back, as you’d expect, to the days of Empire. You must also take in a visit to Inle Lake before the military and its cronies get around to building a hideous complex on the SE corner of the lake (the earth works for the roads scar the landscape) and do get to visit the boat builders and the silver smiths. Wherever you go, meet the locals and you will find Burma’s recent history walking up to you. Courtesy of one such encounter, we now sponsor an entire family of kids through their schooling and I am in the process of sending out a load more books on English language tuition.

    Having recently been to Sri Lanka, it was like imagining Burma some 40 years on: with a massively better infrastructure. Burma’s rotted during the six decades when the country was in the economic deep freeze. I will admit that I am green with envy at your assignment: if someone came up to me with one, I’d grab at the opportunity. It will be grinding and infuriating on occasions but remember where the country has just come from and enjoy the experience.


    Oh, and one other detail I forgot, if you join Bangkok Airway’s BlueRibbon club, this means that you automatically obtain an extra 10kg baggage allowance. Well worth the minimal effort:

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