a VirtualTourist member
We will be staying at Inle Princess Resort which is on the lake. We would like to know whether we should book a hotel transfer from Heho airport to the hotel. Can you please let me know what was your experience of getting the taxi and boat on your own and how much it cost and whether there is much room for bargaining. I was reading how the taxi drivers form a cartel. Is it similar for boats too? Thanks very much.
You will need to book a taxi through your hotel as Heho airport is quite remote from the hotels on the lake. We paid about US$30 but it may have increased as times have been tough. We did not stay at the Inle Princess but at one similar (see my tips).
I am pretty sure that there are deals between the hotel owners and the water taxi drivers. What we did was simply go down to the lake and wait for a water taxi and luckily managed to organise that he would take us around for the next couple of days without the hotel owner being an intermediary. I think we might have been lucky!! The other way you might consider is to go into the local townsite as soon as you arrive and ask around. Similarly, you might ask your taxi driver if he knows anyone in the town who could show you around.
Either way not many people were around when we were there (July 2006) and I suspect much fewer now.
As an aside if you are flying back through Heho check before you let the taxi go when the plane is leaving. We spent a very frustrating 5 hours waiting for a flight with absolutely nothing to do and nowhere to walk or sight see.The airport is pretty basic - one basic shop.
If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to ask. Have a look at my tips...Inle was beautiful but like most of Burma suffering under the regime.
Thanks [VT member baf50].
If you can arrange airport pickup, that's your best bet. The Heho taxi mafia are tough. A year ago, the price for a car was18-20, but when I went two months ago they were asking for30. Yes, the airport is a long way from Inle Lake (or Nyaunghswe, Kalaw, and Taunggyi) but that's still a big chunk of money to pay. The other option is the share taxi (they also leave from the same parking lot) that can take you to the Shwe Nyaung junction) for 10,000 kyat per person. After that, you can get in another share taxi (or even a motor bike!) for the rest of the trip to Nyaungshwe for another 2,000-3,000 kyat.
Thanks bangdong. Yes, we figured to avoid the hassle to order the hotel taxi and boat pick up. They quoted USD 37, which doesn't seem too bad considering if they can charge you30 just for the taxi.
Another thought...make sure you have your camera ready and setting on action as you will see quite a few sights along the way from Heho to your hotel from your taxi (land or water)