Page 4 of rrruss Travel Blog Posts


Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan January 12th 2018

Bagan is truly breathtaking. There's no doubting what an amazing place it is. However, the problem with an amazing place is the crowds it attracts, and Bagan is no exception. It's not difficult to escape them though, and we managed to do so with remarkable ease. Our journey from Mandalay took three and a half hours thanks to our lovely lady driver. I wish she had given me a card so that I could share her details! The alternatives were a long day on a boat or a long day on a bus, and we just wanted to get there. The big advantages of a private transfer were being able to stop whenever we wanted, being dropped off directly at our hotel, and avoiding the US$25 tourist entry ticket (read tax!) which you'll pay if you ... read more
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Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Irrawaddy River January 11th 2018

A tour of the west bank of the Irrawaddy from Mandalay has to be one of the most amazing day trips you can do. For just 40,000 kyat (US$30) our wonderful lady driver helped us move hotel, and then took us out to various places on an excursion that lasted the entire day. The Irawaddy is also confusingly known as the Ayerarwaddy. Not to worry, we stopped at the bridge to have a good look at the river and its surroundings. There are two bridges - one built by the British in 1934 and the new one completed in 2005 which we were crossing. The views across the river are spectacular and seeing the myriad temples, pagodas and stupas on the hillsides of Sagaing was quite spectacular. It would take several day trips to try to ... read more
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Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Mandalay January 10th 2018

After travelling in rather more remote parts of Myanmar, it was quite a shock to the system to find ourselves in very heavy traffic. Mandalay at rush hour is complete gridlock and we were not really sure we liked it at first. We were dropped off at our hotel, url=https://www.booking.com/hotel/mm/8.es.html?label=gen173rf-1BCAsolQFCAThIM1gDaEaIAQGYAQrCAQp3aW5kb3dzIDEwyAEM2AEB6AEBkgIBeaICDXIuc3J2dHJjay5jb22oAgM;sid=3b65adcceeb66182b43724a9d65ca3f1;dist=0&sb_price_type=total&type=total&Hotel 8, and we were quite happy with our choice. It was a bit on the noisy side, but in such a big and bustling city we couldn't have expected otherwise. We had been told that after about 8pm the city went to sleep and we were quite surprised to find this was not very far from the truth. The main problem was the mosques. It was impossible to escape the call to prayer! The people working in the alleywa... read more
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Asia » Burma » Eastern Burma » Pindaya January 9th 2018

From Inle Lake we took a taxi all the way to Mandalay. Now that might sound like something of an overindulgence but we weren't travelling directly there. Instead we wanted to visit the amazing Pindaya Caves along the way. Doing that using public transport would have been a torturous journey taking many hours and far too many connections, and we would not have been able to achieve that in one day. It cost $130 but in the end we felt it was money well spent. If you would like to arrange a driver to do this trip, you can find Mr Fatty on his Facebookpage and he'll arrange for one of his driver friends to meet you at your hotel. The route from Inle Lake to Mandalay via the Pindaya Caves is not for the faint ... read more
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Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Inle Lake January 8th 2018

He Ho was a nice little airport to arrive at and we got some stunning views over Inle Lake as we approached at sunset. We were a bit worried as our bags were last off the plane and there was no information at all about how to get to Nyaungshwe, where we were staying. Luckily there were plenty of taxis around, although the journey from the airport was a little more hair raising than we had expected. The road from the airport has major construction works in progress and that meant driving perilously close to what must be breathtaking views during daylight hours! Once you leave the main road, there is little or no street lighting as you get towards the lake, until you pass a little booth where you have to pay your National Park ... read more
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Asia » Burma » Eastern Burma » Kengtung January 6th 2018

We arrived in Keng Tung during a rainstorm of biblical proportions. Luckily a tuk-tuk driver with a handy umbrella and a good covering for his vehicle took us straight to our hotel from the bus company office. Sadly the Golden World Hotel did not meet our expectations. We try so hard not to be negative about places but so many things were wrong here. Luckily we only stayed one night before moving to the Amazing Keng Tung Resortwhich, for an extra $10 a night, gave us an altogether different feeling about the town. Cold dribbles in the shower on a cloudy day (the excuse offered for the lack of hot water at the GW) were replaced by a steaming torrent leaving us feeling clean and relaxed. Friendly, helpful staff replaced the dour reception we received at ... read more
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Asia » Burma » Eastern Burma » Tachileik January 3rd 2018

Crossing the border from Thailand into Myanmar (Burma) was always going to feel like something of an adventure. The reality was an easy and generally swift process, with no real problems at all. We got to the Mai Sai bridge in the morning which we highly recommend as in the afternoon the queues can be quite lengthy. Leaving Thailand was just a case of getting our passports stamped. Then we dwelled a little reading the customs notices. Why can't you take more than TWO decks of cards into the country? Anyway, we then worried if our e-visas would be accepted at this entry point to Myanmar as the whole system is still quite new. Getting the e-visas was easy. Just follow the instructions on the government website, pay your money and wait for your application to ... read more
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Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand January 3rd 2018

Getting to Mai Sai from Chiang Mai was easy. The green coloured buses run fairly frequently from Chiang Rai's central bus station, and from Mai Sai's not-so-central bus station it's a quick (depending on traffic!) ride up to the Myanmar border. We decided to stay in this dusty frontier town for two nights at url=https://www.booking.com/hotel/th/kongkam-house.en-gb.html?aid=304142;label=gen173nr-1FCAEoggJCAlhYSDNYBGiVAYgBAZgBLsIBCndpbmRvd3MgMTDIAQzYAQHoAQH4AQuSAgF5qAID;sid=2cb51fc303f0cbb837d657c7addf5378Kongkam House.The big problem was finding it! The location given on various map apps was incorrect. We had in fact walked past it but on some maps it is listed as Royal House and there is no sign other than the one in Thai script outside. That is how we managed to walk straight past! We then had to wait half an hour for someone to arrive to check us in as the cleaner wasn't able t... read more
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Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand January 1st 2018

We loved Chiang Rai when we visited last year. In fact, we loved it so much that we were very keen to return to the city. The plan had been to revisit the white temple and get some glorious photos with blue skies. Guess what? It rained again!! Oh, well, we still enjoyed our stay but we did some other things instead. This time we stayed at the central url=https://www.booking.com/hotel/th/baan-bua-guest-house.en-gb.html?aid=357026;label=gog235jc-hotel-XX-th-baanNbuaNguestNhouse-unspec-mm-com-L%3Aen-O%3AwindowsS10-B%3Achrome-N%3AXX-S%3Abo-U%3AXX-H%3As;sid=886757ff69da46cdce52e66b578388f5;dist=0&sb_price_type=total&type=total&Baan Bua Guest Housewhich was cheap and cheerful and we had no complaints. The rain held off for us but the skies were cloudy so we had a wander out to see some gardens a few kilometres away. On the way we were ... read more
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Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Ayutthaya December 28th 2017

Ayutthaya was once the capital of the kingdom of Siam. It's hard to believe that when you first arrive, but as you explore outwards from the centre, it soon becomes clear what an extensive site it really is. Sadly the weather was a bit of a let down when we got there and also on our first day which rather curtailed our wanderings. We stayed at the Ban Boonchuguest house which sits somewhere between a B&B and a homestay. It is not the cheapest place around by a long shot but we found the landlady to be friendly and helpful, providing a wonderful breakfast, and there are also two really cute little dogs wandering around. We set out on foot with umbrellas close at hand, and we certainly needed them at times. Our guest house was ... read more
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