Traveling in Myanmar

Myanmar travel itinerary for 2 weeks

A new travel darling, Myanmar is one of Southeast Asia’s most enigmatic destinations. 

Formerly known as Burma, this country has emerged as one of the least discovered places in Southeast Asia after decades of the military rule. 

Located between India to the east, China to the north and Thailand to the west, Myanmar is an adventurer’s paradise with thousands of Buddhist temples in Bagan and undiscovered hills of Inle Lake.

If you crave a less discovered travel destination, Myanmar travel should be on your list.

Myanmar visa

Residents of most countried need a visa to Myanmar. You can read more about Myanmar visa here.

Best time to visit Myanmar

October through February is the best time to visit Myanmar.

The monsoon season is over by October and while it still can be hot and muggy in southern Myanmar, northern parts of the country such as Inle Lake and Mandalay have comfortable weather.  

Arriving in Myanmar

Foreign visitors typically arrive in the country via international airports in Yangon or Mandalay, but some also come through land border crossings with Thailand in Tachileik and Myawaddy.

Myanmar currency

Myanmar money is called Kyat (chat)

Paying for things in Myanmar might be confusing at first because prices are listed in thousands. I recommend having enough cash when you travel around the country, as credit cards are often not accepted in Myanmar.

To make things easier, get a notepad and make a list of the equivalents of $5, $10, $20, $30 in kyats, because U.S. dollar is accepted at all currency exchange kiosks and in some hotels.

Myanmar language

Burmese. English spoken by staff in touristy places. 

Myanmar Travel

Traveling in Myanmar

– Plane – Flying is the fastest way to travel in Myanmar, however you will miss out on the country’s beautiful landscapes. Major destinations in Myanmar such as Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake and Ngapali Beach have airports and offer daily flights around the country.

– Bus – While taking a bus in Myanmar will save you money, it will take longer and might involve an overnight ride on bumpy roads. However, some less touristy areas of Myanmar such as Kalaw or Mrauk-U can only be accessed via bus routes because of their remoteness. 

– Train – If you have a lot of time and are up for an adventure, take a train. Myanmar’s trains are notoriously slow and bumpy, so the ride is far from comfortable. Reaching some destinations can take up to 24 hours, but the upside is that you get to see the beautiful countryside. 

Schwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar, Yangon


The former capital of Myanmar, Yangon is a mix of colonial architecture, modern buildings and Buddhist temples. 

Yangon is a perfect place to start your Myanmar travel itinerary because it offers quick connections to other popular destinations within the country.  

Yangon is laid out in a grid and its streets are numbered, so it’s easy to find most places when you have a map in your hands. 

Myanmar food

Myanmar food delicious, however, it’s still under radar because the country opened up to tourism only recently.

The Burmese cuisine has a lot of influences from Thai and Indian cuisines depending on the region. And there’s a lot of good variety too! You can also find many vegetarian dishes that can be made vegan too.  Think curry, steamed veggies, noodles and rich soups. 

Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar
Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar

Shwedagon Pagoda

The most sacred site for Buddhists in Myanmar, the gilded Shwedagon Pagoda is believed to have relics of Buddha inside it. As a foreign visitor, you have to pay 10,000 kyats for the entrance. 

PRO TIP: Myanmar travel requires some knowledge and preparation. Read my article about everything you should know about Myanmar travel ahead of your trip! 

Sule Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar
Sule Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar

Sule Pagoda

Located in the middle of downtown Yangon, Sule Pagoda is easy to find. This landmark is believed to be more than 2,500 years old and plays an important role in the country’s politics and cultural identity.

PRO TIP: Myanmar’s rich culture is one of the reasons why the country has become so popular. If you want to learn why you should visit Myanmar, read my article! 

Kandawgyj Lake, Myanmar

Kandawgyj Lake

Take a stroll along nearby Kandawgyj Lake that is famous for the magnificent Karaweik, a replica of a royal Burmese barge. Today the replica houses a restaurant and serves as a main attraction of the lake.

Nga-htat-gyi Buddha Temple

Nga-htat-gyi Buddha Temple

One of the major tourist attractions in Yangon, Nga-htat-gyj Buddha Temple is a home to a 14-meter tall Buddha in a sitting position. The temple is located in the Ashay Tawya Monastery complex which is adjacent to the Chauk-htat-gyj Temple, home of the reclining Buddha. 

Chauk-htat-gyi​ Temple, Yangon

Chauk-htat-gyj Temple

Another major attraction is Chauk-htat-gyi, a Buddhist temple with a huge reclining Buddha. Unfortunately, the huge statue was being renovated when I visited, so all I was able to do was to check out the bamboo scaffolding around it. Not far from it is another temples Nga-htat-gyi famous for its huge sitting Buddha.

Bogyoke Market, Yangon
Bogyoke Market, Myanmar

Bogyoke Market

Visiting the famous Bogyoke Market is a perfect way to end your trip to Yangon and continue your Myanmar travel. This colorful bazaar is an array of decaying colonial-style buildings that house stands with textiles, souvenirs, jewelry, household items and art work.

How to get around Yangon

Getting around Yangon by taxi is the best option, if you want to save time. Taxis can be found at all major tourist sites and you should try to haggle down the price when you think that it’s too high.

If you have time, take a ride on Yangon Circular Train. It’s a slow and bumpy ride with frequent stops, but it offers a great chance to see the city. Taking this train is also a great cultural experience as you will see many vendors making their way through train’s cars. 

Hotels in Yangon

If you stay in downtown Yangon, you will be in close proximity to most tourist sights. 

I stayed at Vibe Inn, and paid $25 a night during the beginning of a tourist season in November. 

This hotel is in the middle of Chinatown and has plenty of food stands and restaurants nearby.

If you are looking for a cheaper version, I recommend Hostelworld. They have good options for hostels in Myanmar and other parts of Southeast Asia. 

How to visit Lake Inle, Myanmar

Inle Lake

Located in the hills of northern Myanmar’ Shan state, Inle Lake is a freshwater lake known for its floating villages and fishermen who steer their boats by wrapping one leg around the paddle. 

Take a boat tour around Inle Lake to visit local villages and markets and interact with local people who make silver, textiles and paper from scratch. 

Inle Lake is a must stop on your Myanmar travel itinerary. My guide to Inle Lake will help you to plan your trip! 

Village in Inle Lake, Myanmar
Workshops in Inle Lake, Myanmar
Inle Lake village

Fishermen of Inle Lake

Hundreds of fishermen come to Inle Lake to make their living. 

While they wrap one leg around the paddle and use it to move their boats, they try to catch fish with a conus-like basket made out of bamboo and net. 

The process makes for an awesome photo opportunity and some fishermen even strike a pose when a tourist boat approaches them. It’s a good idea to give a fishermen a small tip, as most of them live off what they catch in the lake.

Indein Village, Lake Inle, Myanmar

Indein Village

As part of your tour of Lake Inle, you will get to visit Indein Village located on the west edge of the lake. Go along a small dirt road after getting off your boat and you will find thousands of ancient stupas on top of the hill, many of them crumbling from the old age and lack of maintenance. 

Myanmar travel itinerary - Lake Inle markets

Inle Lake markets

There are several Inle Lake markets in the region. Some of them are floating markets while others are located on the land. If you want to get fresh vegetables, fruits or spices and other traditional Burmese goods that can’t be found anywhere else, these markets are a perfect stop on your Myanmar travel itinerary. 

Stupas in Kakku Village, Myanmar
Kakku Village, Myanmar

Kakku Village

Take a trip to the ancient Kakku Village in the Inle Lake area. 

The village is about 1,5 hours inland from Lake Inle and is famous for its remarkable collection of 2,478 stupas. Kakku a religious site for Pa-O people, the second largest ethnic group of Shan State in Myanmar. Foreigners can access Kakku village only with a Pa-O guide who typically wears a colorful turban and a traditional black Pa-O dress.

Kakku Village, Inle Lake, Myanmar

How to get to Inle Lake

You can take a flight to Inle Lake or catch a bus.

I took an overnight bus to Inle Lake which departed from Yangon at 8 p.m. and arrived to Nyaungshwe, the area’s largest township at 6 a.m. 

If you stay on the lake away from the main area, a boat from Nyaungshwe will take you there in about 20 minutes.

Bagan, Myanmar


Home to dreamy sunsets and thousands of ancient temples, Bagan is one of the best places to visit in Myanmar.

As one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia, so it’s definitely a must stop on your Myanmar travel itinerary! The temples are believed to be the remains of the ancient Pagan Kingdom that existed between 9th and 13th century and constituted the regions that started forming today’s Myanmar.

PRO TIP: While most tourists know the town as Bagan, the area is actually split into two areas: Old Bagan where most temples are located, New Bagan that has most of the commercial business including restaurants and hotels and Nyaungu from there Irrawaddy River can be seen.

Bagan, Myanmar
Bagan, Myanmar

How to get to Bagan

There are several ways you can get to Bagan. You can either get to Bagan by plane from Yangon, Mandalay or Lake Inle or by taking a bus, or by getting on a boat in Mandalay and getting to Bagan via Irrawady River. 

Where to stay in Bagan

There are many hotels in Bagan, and the best part is that they are fairly reasonably priced.

Here are some suggestions: 

1. Villa Bagan

2. Heritage Bagan Hotel

3. Nanda Garden

Sunrise watching in Bagan

The main activities in Bagan include watching the sunrise and roaming the area’s many pagodas. The best way to do that is by e-bike that can be rented at many places throughout the area. 

With over 2,000 temples, you can roam Bagan for a few good days. As you go around the area, you will see horse carriages parked around temples in various parts of Bagan. I have seen some of the owners beat the horses that look tired and malnourished, so I would encourage you not to take horse rides in Bagan.

You can float in a hot air balloon over Bagan temples for over $300 a person or watch them soar into the morning sky from one of the area’s many pagodas. 

Because of the 2016 earthquake, access to many pagodas is now closed. The few pagodas that are still open get overcrowded as the night turns into the dusk, with at least 50-70 people atop a pagoda trying to catch a shot of balloons

Mount Popa

When you get tired of pagodas, take a taxi to the nearby Mount Popa. You will see plenty of cute monkeys along the way, so your hike up 700 steps toward the top will not be boring!

For those who want to see the ancient temples and avoid the crowds, the remote town of Mrauk-U might be a good alternative to Bagan. The only caveat is that Mrauk-U is located in the coastal Rakhine State and requires some hopping around as there’s no direct bus or flight that goes there.

Mandalay, Myanmar


Built at the foothill of Mandalay Hill,  Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar. Mandalay is a primary transportation hub for northern part of the Shan state and is considered upper Myanmar’ s commercial center.

Getting around Mandalay: Mandalay is spread out. To get from one place to another, you will have to either catch a taxi or tuk-tuk, a three-wheel bike common in Southeast Asia and India.

Renting a bike in Mandalay

To save time and money, I recommend renting a motorbike in Mandalay. However, you should ONLY do it if you feel confident enough to ride it on busy Mandalay streets. To give you an idea, renting a bike cost 15,000 kyats a day ( from a hotel ) and about 6,000-7,000 kyats from an e-bike store. Taking a taxi in Mandalay from one landmark to another is about 5,000 kyats and up.

If you are not comfortable riding a bike, you can also hire a private taxi driver, however, you should expect to pay more money for it.

Mandalay Hill, Mandalay, Myanmar
Mandalay Hill, Myanmar
Mandalay Hill, Mandalay, Myanmar

Buy a tourist pass for Mandalay

Before you venture out, get a pass for about 15,000 kyats that covers most temples and attractions near Mandalay Hill. 

I bought my pass for all things to do in Mandalay at the entrance of Mandalay Palace which covered most landmarks in the area. It’s a great way to save time and money!

Mandalay Hill

Start off your adventure with a climb to Mandalay Hill, the city’s highest point. 

Be ready to walk up the concrete stairs to the top barefoot because the climb goes through multiple pagodas. And if you prefer an easier route can take a taxi all the way to the top. If you are lucky, you may even spot a monkey or two on your way up.

Sandamuni Pagoda, Myanmar

Sandamuni Pagoda

Sandamuni Pagoda is located southeast of Mandalay hill and is surrounded by hundreds of shrines that are homes to inscribed slabs of marble. Another major attraction of the site is the 41,000-pound iron statue of Buddha, the largest in Myanmar.

Shwenandaw monastery
Shwedanaw Monastery

Kuthodaw Pagoda

Located right across from Sandamuni Pagoda, Kuthodaw Pagoda is strikingly similar to its neighbor thanks to a big number of white stupas around it. Kuthodaw Pagoda boasts a the world’s largest book contained in 729 stupas each of which has a rock slab with Buddhist scriptures.

Shwenandaw Monastery (Golden Palace Monastery)​

This Buddhist monastery made from finely carved wood was originally part of the Royal Palace in Amarapura, an ancient town near Mandalay. After the capital was moved from Amarapura to Mandalay, the building was taken apart, transported to Mandalay and rebuilt as part of the new Royal Palace. But after King Mindon died, the building was moved to its current location and converted into a monastery in 1880.

Mandalay Palace, Mandalay, Myanmar

Mandalay Palace

This grandiose compound that includes towers, mausoleums and a variety of other compartments sits right in the middle of Mandalay. Unfortunately, most of the original Mandalay Palace was destroyed during the World War II bombings and restoration work has been going on since the 1990’s. 

Mingun, Myanmar


Mingun is a small town on the opposite side of the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay. It has became a popular tourist spot thanks to the eponymous Mingun temple and a few other spectacular architectural constructions.

Mingun Temple

The Mingun temple is a giant unfinished stupa whose construction was abandoned after an astrologer said that if the stupa is completed, the ruling King Bodawpaya would die. If Mingun temple were finished, it would have been the largest stupa in the world.

Hsinbyume Pagoda, Myanmar

Hsinbyume Pagoda

The beautiful white structure that draws so many tourists to Mingun is Hsinbyume Pagoda or Mya Theindan Pagoda. The architectural style of this pagoda is strikingly different from other Buddhist pagodas throughout Myanmar with the base shaped as circular levels representing Mount Meru, a sacred five-peaked mountain in the Buddhist teaching of the universe.

U-Bein Bridge

On your way back to Mandalay, stop at U-Bein bridge to catch the sunset. Tourists and locals alike walk along the longest teakwood footbridge in the world that stretches above the Taungthaman Lake. 

If you have a few more days in Mandalay, consider visiting nearby ancient towns Sagging and Inn Wa. If you have more time, take a day trip to Pyin Oo Lwin or buy bus tickets to Hsipaw.

Ngapali Beach, Myanmar

Ngapali Beach

Most visitors don’t think of pristine beaches when they read about Myanmar. Meanwhile, many of the country’s coastal areas remain undiscovered and boast pristine beauty. 

Ngapali Beach has several miles of white-sand beach along with turquoise water framed by a row of palm trees. It’s a perfect place to relax along your Myanmar travel itinerary.

How to get to Ngapali Beach

You can take a flight from major airports in Yangon and Mandalay and from smaller ones such as Bagan, Lake Inle, and Sittwe. 

Ngapali Beach, Myanmar
Ngapali Beach, Myanmar

Ngapali Beach hotels

Ngapali Beach offers a large selection of accommodations from high-end resorts to budget hotels. However, a budget $30 a night hotel will do just fine for a 3-day trip. 

Here are a couple of places to consider for you stay at Ngapali Becah:

1. Pleasant View Resort 

2. Memento Resort 

Ngapali Beach, Myanmar

What to do in Ngapali Beach

For those who like active lifestyle, Ngapali offers kayaking, boat tours to nearby fishing villages and islands with some snorkeling. And restaurants along the main drag have a wide selection of dishes from the Rakhine State cuisine.

If you just want to chill on the beach, get a fresh fruit or one of those delicious coconuts from the ladies who walk along the beach with huge trays on their heads.

The beach area has a lot of cozy bars and small restaurants that serve as a perfect venue for watching the sunset at night.

Why visiting Myanmar should be on your list

Myanmar is an incredible country that has a lot of beauty and history. While it’s still a relatively new travel destination in Southeast Asia, there are many reasons why it should be on your bucket list! 

You can read about some of them here.

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