We paid about US$25 per day for the services of 2 guys and this old Corolla. Neither had any training, but were excellent guides in and around Mandalay. They tried really hard to provide us with all the services of a good driver and guide team. These guys were actually unofficially attached to our hotel, The Sedona, and it was quite comical to be ceremoniously delivered to the front door of the rather swish hotel in a battered old car which was arguably older than us!
We found this a convenient and easy way to get around, particularly the sites outside the city. They also delivered us at the airport at the end of our 2 days with them.
At the end of our trip, we both agreed that these few days had been amongst our most enjoyable. We ensured that the guide and driver ate meals with us, and had many good laughs together. We were very impressed with their efforts, and overall standard of service.
The fixed price for a taxi to and from the Mandalay airport is US$15. The distance is 40 kms, and takes about 1 hour. Therefore, the fare is relatively reasonable. I have a warning tip about "sharing" a taxi on my tourist trap list. Be aware of expats offering to share a cab with you - as this proved to be an artful way of having us subsidise his taxi fare to his home in the country.
Regardless, make sure it is VERY clear that the fare you agree to is the fare for the journey, and not the PER PERSON fare if you are not travelling alone.
The pickings are relatively slim for taxi drivers from the airport, as most people travelling in Myanmar are on escorted tours. So, dig in and make sure you get a fair fare deal! Also be mindful of the distance to the airport from Mandalay, and the commitment required by the drivers to be there in the first place - often for several hours - awaiting fares. This can work for and against you, if you don't take a reasonable deal. The price of fuel is the same as everywhere else, so most drivers will make sure they do a fare both ways.
We used a blue taxi because this way more would go into the community. They have a 2 stroke engine and there are fumes so it is a little uncomfortable especially if you are tall. Your head might hit the roof when you hit bumps because the taxis do not have shock absorbers.
However, apart from giving money and employment to those who need it you also get to actually be more in touch with the locals especially if you sit at the back. They will smile and wave at you and there is no doubt you see more!
I am having trouble loading on photos-will add text later prices etc
These things are great fun, if a trifle uncomfortable. They are the blue jeep taxis that seem to be everywhere in Mandalay. I'm not sure what routes they ply, or of they just pick up like a Western taxi, but you can hire one for a whole day for about 10USD. At that price, the driver will take you basically wherever you want including Amarapura and U Bein bridge as well as anywhere within Mandalay itself. You could easily fit four travellers in the back, which makes it a fairly cheap days transportation.
A word of warning here, though. Some of the drivers have a bit of English but not all, so it probably pays to pick your driver, unless of course you speak Burmese.
When I asked (through the guide) how old the vehicle actually was, I was told it was 46. So was I, and I reckon the taxi will still be going long after I'm gone!
Transport options from Mandalay International Airport to the city are limited. It also takes one hour to get there because the airport is quite far away. There is a one way fixed fee of USD9. I tried to negotiate and pay less but they wouldn't budge on the price, not at all. I asked if I could pay in kyat but their rate was quite bad so I just paid in USD. It is quite a long way though and the driver drove us around to different hotels after we got to Mandalay. Not a bad deal in the end. One important note: don't wait around for another taxi if you arrive at night. The last arriving flight is around 8pm and after that the whole place shuts down. The taxis only wait for about twenty minutes after the flight lands and then they leave. Yikes!
You can hire a private taxi fairly easily in Mandalay. In fact, you'll barely be able to leave your hotel without being appoached. We decided to hire a cab for the whole day and tour around the city and surrounds. I was a great way to do it and probably saved a lot of time too.
We paid USD20 for a driver and guide for the day. (We were told by other taxi drivers that that was too much but I think that they were just fishing for business ;-).
These particular guys are based outside the Sedona Hotel.
The road to Maymyo takes one through some fantastic mountain scenery on a winding road. The only way the is by road and transportation choices are few. One can choose to pay a pittance and squeeze into the back of a truck(they pass for buses here) with 40 or 50 others, or share a taxi with 3-4 others. If you want to splurge, $15 will get you a one-way ride in a private taxi. It is well worth it because the driver will stop at the appropriate scenic spots. Mind you, one never knows of what vintage one's taxi will be. Many vehicles that could not make it up a hill will be seen at the side of the road being repaired, their passengers waiting.
Hotels and Guest Houses will arrange any mode of transportation you prefer.