Planning: Overview of the planning involved for Indonesia and Myanmar, the flights booked, and introduction of the trip.
To finish up the summer travel, there were two countries in South East Asia that I wanted to cross off the list. Indonesia and Myanmar would become country 52 and 53 respectively. (Flags in the banner are Indonesian and Myanmar, left to right.)
With my partner, Christina, we got into planning mode. As we were in Beijing and needed to get back to the US we booked a roundabout flight path to arrive at our destination.
The fourth most populated country in the world with over 17,500 islands make Indonesia a very distinct country. Under Dutch rule for much of its history, Indonesia gained independence after Japan’s takeover was ended in WWII.
It will be fun to explore the diverse country, in terms of ethnic groups, religions, and biota.
Interesting fact: Indonesia is the largest muslim country (population) in the world and has been used as an example for religious tolerance.
The size of the country and the fact that it’s made up of islands will make it challenging to explore it in a short amount of time.
Previously known as Burma, Myanmar has had a rough history of civil war and a poor international reputation.
The country has been ruled by the Mongols, British, and briefly by the Japanese in WWII. Burma achieved independence in 1948 only to be transformed into a socialist government after a military coup in 1962. During the military rule, the country was infamous for drawn out civil wars involving child soldiers, torture, and rape.
Finally in 2011, the military ruled government was replaced with a democratic government, though the military still hold a lot of power.
Primarily Buddhist, the country is very diverse with 135 different ethnic groups.
The mystery and status as an up-and-coming tourist destination make Myanmar a compelling country to visit.
With our limited time, we had a lot to squeeze in for the two countries.
We planned to travel to Indonesia first going to Jakarta then Bandung before enjoying Bali. Then flying to Myanmar’s main city Yangon. From there we would visit Bagan, Mandalay, and Inle Lake.
We pre-booked our international flights and a few domestic ones with AirAsia, Thai Airways, and SAS. The flights were as follows:
PEK – KUL – CGK
CGK – DPS
DPS – KUL
KUL – RGN
RGN – BKK – ARN – EWR
We still have internal flights to book in Myanmar, but we decided to figure that out once we got there.
To prepare we both got visas for Myanmar which involved two separate trips to the Myanmar Embassy in Beijing. The process was pretty straight forward. Fill out the form, wait in a long line, pay 200 RMB (~$32) and pick up the passports a week later.
For Indonesia, we opted for the visa on arrival ($25).
Besides some research, contacting people, and packing, we didn’t prepare much more. The trip will be very spontaneous around a rough itinerary.
With only one day rest after getting back from North Korea, we would soon be back in the air!
Keep posted for the frantic journey!