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What You Need to Know Before Traveling for a Week in Myanmar: A Complete Guide

Many of you from Asia might have already visited Myanmar. If you haven’t had the chance, allow me to unveil the enchanting beauty of Myanmar over the next week. Beyond its historic sites lies a realm steeped in timeless traditions and profound spirituality.

exploring the temples of Myanmar

This is a trip I have long put off due to my aversion to crowds, but here we are, ready to immerse ourselves in the rich tapestry of warmth that Myanmar so graciously offers.

I got so many questions asking me about safety - like I always say, do your own research and assess the situation after speaking to locals. I went with my parents & we never felt unsafe at any point of time. So without further ado let us jump into the Myanmar travel guide.


ITINERARY

Yangon - 2 nights

Bagan - 2 nights

Inle - 2 nights

TABLE OF CONTENTS
FLIGHTS + VISA

We flew with Myanmar International Airways from Dubai, landing in Yangon. The e-visa is also a straightforward process, but you will need health insurance and other documents to apply online. It takes about one week for the visa to come through, and you can apply just 2 weeks before your trip, plan accordingly.


LANGUAGE

English is not very common, so use google translate or hire a local to help.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Dry season is from October to May, we went in March, it was really hot, but all places were accessible.

CURRENCY

I used dollars for the transaction, you have to exchange for local currency in Yangon for all purchases as the inflation and internal instability means you may fall short if you only have dollars.


GUIDE + GETTING AROUND + COSTS

Hiring a local guide is highly recommended, if you are on a budget. Given the local situation, having people on the ground who can advise you is of utmost importance.


The costs of the trip depend on what kind of modes of transportation you use, how many days you have, and where you stay. It could vary anywhere from $450 to $900 per person. If you need a great guide for Myanmar, please subscribe to the blog and drop me a note for the details.

Take domestic flights to get around the different cities, you do need to book these ahead of time, since they do fill up fast.

SOLO TRAVEL + SAFETY

While we were never experienced any safety issues anywhere in the country, if you were to travel solo, I still recommend having locals to help you through the trip. Safety precautions have to be taken when there. You can certainly go alone, but I would not recommend a DIY trip to Myanmar right now.

WHERE WE STAYED

In Yangon, we stayed at the five star @parkroyalyangon and absolutely loved the rooms, the service and the veggie food choices. The breakfast buffet spread with Asian/local + international dishes was an absolute treat.

In Bagan, we stayed at the incredible five-star resort @aureumpalacehotelsandresorts in Bagan & it was absolutely gorgeous. Just a stones throw away from the temples, the service, the food and the setting were impeccable, blending in perfectly with the spirit of this ancient city. Couldn’t recommend it enough.

In Inle Lake, we stayed at the stunning @aureumpalacehotelsandresorts, a five star boutique hotel with rooms built on stilts over the lake. The whole place is magical, couldn’t recommend it enough.

VEGAN + VEGETARIAN FOOD

I loved having so many different options for vegetarian food. My parents were over the mood with all the delicious options from local noodles to fried tofu to Myanmar Milk Tea.

HIGHLIGHTS
Yangon

A city of British colonial architecture and modern developments mixed with shining pagodas and Buddhist temples. Though longer the capital, there is no shortage of things to do in this beautiful city.


Getting around: it’s not easy to walk in the heat, so best to rent a car or hire a local to drive you around.


Must-see places:

Start your day at the local market where the women rule the world and all veggies are the size of a watermelon… what a treat for the senses!

markets in Yangon, Myanmar

Chinatown - wander to the Chinese part of town and check out the beautiful temples

Chinatown in Yangon, Myanmar

Visit the oldest buildings, iconic old post office and stop at gorgeous tea shops!

Chauktathgyi Temple - home to one of the largest reclining buddha statues, loved the serenity here

Chauktathgyi Temple in Yangon, Myanmar

Kandawgyi Lake - a manmade lake that offers beautiful views of the city and its pagodas

Kandawgyi Lake in Yangon Myanmar

You must end the day at the stunning Shwedagon Pagoda - a temple that is the very heart of Myanmar. Said to be at least thousand years old, this is also one of the largest. You will need at least a few hours to cover this one. Pro tip: come for golden hour and stay until sunset, you won’t regret it!

Bagan

Here’s a mini-introduction to the incredible Bagan. Hundreds upon hundreds of brick-red and honey-colored pagodas shimmering in the baking sun. Eye more massive Buddha statues inside temples – standing, sitting, reclining – than you ever thought possible. From the 9th to the 13th centuries, Bagan was the capital of the kingdom of Pagan, the center of the country now known as Myanmar or Burma. During this time, its kings built thousands of pagodas, temples and Buddhist monasteries (up to 10,000).

How to get there: the best option is to take a flight from Yangon

How to get around: though it’s a small city, there are over 4000 temples & the heat is exhausting. I would recommend renting an e-bike, going with a local in cars or you can even go on a horse/buggy.


This is the ancient city of Bagan, and it’s entrancing. We saw over 25 temples in just a few days and these are some of the most beautiful ones that you shouldn’t miss!


Ananda Temple - the grandest of temple in Bagan and the most beautiful

Thatbyinnu Temple - the tallest temple in Bagan!

Thatbyinnu Temple, the tallest temple in Bagan

Dhammayangi Temple - the biggest of all temples in Bagan

Phaya Thon Zuphaya - a temple with thousands of paintings on the wall & one of my personal favorites!

Now, the big question, should you do a balloon ride in Bagan? If you have never been on a hot air balloon before, then yes, by all means spending $300 per person might be worth it. Catching the sun rise over the temples is certainly a sight worth splurging on.

INLE LAKE

The last leg of our trip took us to Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most beautiful destinations. To this day it maintains the age-old serenity. The lake also famous for displaying a unique fishing practice of the one-legged rowing fisherman. It is the most iconic symbol that represents the fascinating local culture and what makes this small town so charming.

Serene Inle Lake with fishermen using traditional leg-rowing techniques in Myanmar.

How to get there: you can visit by car from Bagan or fly into Heho airport.


Must-see places:

Top Tip: jumping on a traditional boat is the best way to expire Inle lake


Arrange for a special trip sunrise over the lake. It's worth waking up for this!

Visit the traditional local markets where people from mountain towns come over to make a sale. Glide along countless floating markets & gardens. See traditional houses made on stilts

Visit local weavers, support the women who weave magic with lotus leaves, its so incredible to watch.

Visit one of the most beautiful abandoned temples/ruins in Shan state!

FINAL THOUGHTS

With its timeless charm and hospitable people, it holds an allure like few other South East Asian countries.

Serene Inle Lake with fishermen using traditional leg-rowing techniques in Myanmar.

Beyond its picturesque landscapes and awe-inspiring temples, it is the warmth and generosity of its people that left an indelible mark on us. Whether savoring the flavors of Burmese cuisine in a local teahouse or exchanging smiles with monks clad in saffron robes, every encounter was a testament to Myanmar’s rich humanity. If you are still wondering if it’s the “right” time to go, I won’t be able to answer that question. I took my entire family and didn’t have any issues as tourists, in-spite of the situation on the ground.

Thanks for reading. Leave your questions and comments below.

Lots of love,

Anki

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