Since Myanmar opened its borders in 2012, tourists have been loving this untouched magical country in Asia. Myanmar is a huge country with so much to see and it’s a place where locals will welcome you with open arms.
We promise you, you won’t regret visiting Myanmar. In this blogpost we’ll show you the perfect 2-week Myanmar route!
Our advice is to plan a trip of at least 2 weeks to see all the highlights. If you can, we would even suggest to stay up to 3 weeks to see everything of what this beautiful country has to offer.
IS MYANMAR SAFE?
This is definitely the question we get asked the most about Myanmar, and we are happy to say: YES! The country does have a history of bad human rights but always remember that the locals and the government are different people. We firmly believe we should support the locals after all they have been though instead of not visiting Myanmar.
From personal experience, locals have always been so happy to see tourists, and we have always been welcomed with open arms! We have not felt unsafe for a second during out trip and we have never heard stories where people got in trouble.
IS MYANMAR EXPENSIVE?
No, it’s a very affordable country to travel around in. You can definitely do Myanmar on a budget if that is how you want to travel. Should you prefer a little luxury now and then, then there’s the possibility to stay in luxurious hotels as well, especially in the more touristic places like Bagan, Yangon and Inle Lake.
We’d say it’s perfectly possible to do Myanmar with a budget of around $50/day if you want (per couple that is!). This budget would include clean accommodation, plenty of local food and the use of public transport. Prices are similar to Indonesia.
HOW TO GET AROUND?
Talking about transport, Myanmar is not very developed yet so getting around might take a while! It’s very important to take this into account when crating your itinerary.
The easiest, cheapest and most common way to get around is by bus. We always opted for the ‘Luxury Bus’ from JJ Express. Very affordable (think slightly north of $1/hour) and quite comfortable. Just make sure to take a warm sweater or jacket on the bus because they like to blast the A/C.
There are options to take a domestic flight as well, but it’s definitely more expensive, and as I don’t like to fly, I have trust issues with small and/or new airlines sometimes. When the GM of a hotel we stayed at told us that when he arrived in Myanmar a few years ago, pilots were flying with their cockpit door open and were smoking all the time, I was happy we booked the bus :-).
DO I NEED A VISA?
YES! For passport holders of the following countries, it should be possible to obtain a visa on arrival: Austria, Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Russia, Spain and Switzerland.
For all other countries, you can apply for a visa online. Make sure you do this at least a few days before arrival.
At present, the cost of a visa is $50.
Everywhere we go, even if it’s only for a few days, we always buy a sim card on arrival. It’s the first thing we do. That way we stay connected all the time, we can google something, order a Grab/Uber, check Google Maps etc. A lot of countries lack good wifi and it’s almost always cheaper to buy a local sim card than to go on your roaming data from home ;-). Just a little tip!
DAY 1 – 3: MANDALAY
Fly into Mandalay, the second largest city of Myanmar. This city is surrounded by some of the most beautiful temples, such as one of the most famous ones pictured here above (in white), the ‘Hsinbyume Pagoda’.
A few must sees in and around Mandalay:
– Mandalay Hill
– Mingun Pagoda
– Hsinbyume Pagoda
– U-Bein Bridge (for sunset!)
– Kuthodaw Pagoda
– Zay Cho Market
– Mandalay Palace
– Shwenandaw Monastery
If you are looking for a nice place to have dinner, we highly recommend Mingalarbar.
Budget Accommodation – Hotel The Haven
Luxury Accommodation – Pullman Mandalay Mingalar
DAY 4 – 8: BAGAN
Bagan is one of those places that will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale. It is without a doubt one of the most magical places we’ve ever visited.
We highly encourage you to wake up early every morning to see the sunrise over the 2200+ temples! It’s such a beautiful sight.
Bagan has earned the UNESCO World Heritage status in Juli 2019. Since then, you can’t climb temples anymore. While we were there, we were still able to climb on some temples (as you can see from the picture above). Even though you can’t do this anymore, it’s still a must to go here on your Myanmar trip.
Bagan is all about exploring, preferably with an e-bike. You can rent them at almost every street corner and they only cost $5-7/day. Just drive around on your own, get lost and visit the most beautiful temples.
We mostly explored 3-4 hours every morning, before heading back to the hotel for lunch and a relaxing afternoon at the pool. Before sunset we would take our e-bikes and drive around some more, until we found a good spot to watch the sunset. After sunset we would find a restaurant and have dinner before going to bed early and waking up early again the next morning!
One of our favourite restaurants was ‘The Moon nr2’. We liked it so much, that we went there 2 evenings in a row!
While we haven’t done it ourselves, we would have loved to do an early morning hot air balloon trip. Maybe next time!
Budget accommodation – Villa Bagan
Luxury accommodation – The Hotel at Tharabar Gate
DAY 9 – 11: INLE LAKE
Inle Lake definitely takes you back in time. The whole area around the lake consists of wooden villages on water! See how locals work on their floating gardens, how they handcraft things and how they fish. It’s a very interesting place to visit and one of our favourite places in Myanmar.
One of the things you definitely have to do is a boat tour that you can arrange through your hotel. The guide will pick you up at your hotel very early in the morning and show you some of the highlights Inle Lake has to offer. He will know where to go, don’t worry, but he’ll probably give you a few options to choose from depending on your preferences.
Some things we would highly recommend visiting during this guided tour are the unique floating gardens, some small factories and workshops and definitely watching the local fishermen working their magic on the lake during sunset! It makes for a great photo-op, too!
Another must visit the Maing Thauk Village. This place is almost completely built on water and it is impressive to see how the locals living and working there go about their daily routines.
If you have some time left, the Shwe Inn Dein Pagodas are a bit out of the touristic area but definitely worth a visit as well.
Budget accommodation – Golden Empress Hotel
Luxury accommodation – Sanctum Inle Resort
DAY 12 – 13: YANGON
Yangon is Myanmar’s largest city, and definitely has some things to offer, but it’s mostly a business city.
The sight you can’t miss when in Yangon is the Shwedagon Pagoda or as tourists like to call it: the Golden Pagoda. It is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar and because it’s so high it completely dominates the Yangon skyline. A great monument to visit!
There are plenty of good restaurants to choose from in Yangon, but we can highly recommend the Rangoon Teahouse, a good option for dinner, and very close to our hotel.
Budget accommodation – Prestige Residences at Golden Valley
Luxury accommodation – The Strand (one of our favourite hotels in the world)
PLACES TO ADD TO YOUR ROUTE
If you are a very fast traveller or you have more than 2 weeks, we would recommend adding the following 2 places to your route:
People say it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Asia. We personally haven’t been because we only had 2 weeks and since we just came from the Philippines, we just had our daily dose of beach, but if we ever go back to Myanmar, we will definitely add this to our itinerary!
A hidden gem in Myanmar, often skipped by tourists! Explore beautiful rice fields, caves or hike to the top of a limestone mountain.