Myanmar travel blog — The fullest Myanmar travel guide & suggested Myanmar itinerary 7 days perfectly

Myanmar, or Burma, is a calm and attractive nation in the minds of Westerners. If I had just heard the stories of the predecessors, I would have figured out a few things, because no one returns home without carrying an album called “Burma in my heart” or something along those lines. Myanmar has stayed in my mind as a place of sentimental recollections of Vietnam, of Hanoi, of the kind people, the simple and kind labor people who are weird and illogical. Going to Myanmar makes me want to remain for as long as possible, rather than just for a week or two. Don’t think about what you’re going to do tomorrow, or how you’re going to use your time to go to the most beautiful location fast to shoot it; just let it be, and enjoy it. So, what should you do in Myanmar (Burma) and how should you spend 7 days in Myanmar (Myanmar schedule 7 days, Myanmar 1 week itinerary)? To find out the solution, read our Myanmar travel blog (Myanmar blog, Burma travel blog, Burma blog) with the most comprehensive Myanmar travel guide (Myanmar guide, Burma travel guide, Burma guide) from how to get there, best locations to visit, top things to do…

Mandalay | burma travel blog

 

Monks walking on Ubein Wooden Bridge

 

Friendly people
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A cat sitting in a pagoda in Inle Lake

Myanmar is still in ruins as a result of more than 50 years of military rule, but luckily, the political situation is improving now that a government is trusted by the people to lead. It is clear that the locations that require conservation are properly preserved and promoted, while cities that require economic growth, like as Yangon or Mandalay, have a long-term vision and planning. There are no motorbikes in Yangon; motorbikes can only be found on tiny roads and alleys.

Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon

 

The center of Yangon. (Flickr/Francisco Anzola)
Traffic in te center of Yangon.

 

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Yangon circle line train

 

Koh Può Myanmar
Yangon street food

When I arrived in Myanmar, there was a huge earthquake in Bagan, and several temples were seriously damaged. However, it appears that this does not matter too much because, while remaining a tranquil Buddhist nation, the people are extremely friendly, welcoming, and ready to assist foreigners. Today, I heard on the news that Myanmar is ranked first in the world for philanthropy and assisting others, despite the fact that it is still a very impoverished country. They are still one of the safest places to visit.

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Ancient capital of Bagan

 

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Lovely kid

Burma travel blog: Some things you need to know before going to Myanmar

Visa

Citizens of several Southeast Asian nations do not need to apply for a visa before coming to Myanmar, however unlike other countries in the area, such as Thailand, Malaysia, or Singapore, Myanmar only issues tourist visas during 15 days. If you wish to remain longer, you will need to apply for a visa extension. The visa application price is $50, and you may apply online here.

Feeling sitting alone on a deserted temple watching the sunrise of Bagan, it’s hard to describe …

Money exchange

This was perhaps the issue I was most interested in on my last trip, because I visited at a time when Myanmar’s Kyat currency was at a low. Normally, the conversion rate is USD 1 970-1000 Kyat, however during my trip, 1 USD was converted for 1270-1300 Kyat, a decrease of over 30%, making it inexpensive to buy everything.

myanmar kyats
Myanmar kyats

Because ATMs are few in this nation, you will have to convert currency in person. The best strategy is to swap USD at home and bring USD to Myanmar to exchange for Kyat. Because the exchange rates are similar everywhere, I believe that exchanging at the airport is the most convenient and almost the best option. Airport currency counters purchased – sold Kyat from USD 1.270-1.280, which is too excellent because airport exchange counters in Bali – Indonesia make too much difference. Buying USD to exchange for Rupiah in Bali is 12.600, and selling is 13.600, which is far too high. You don’t have to worry about exchanging money in Myanmar since the exchange rate is favorable and everything is inexpensive. When you return home, if you still have dollars, you can exchange them for USD at the airport. Remember to bring new USD to exchange; if they are old or crumpled, they will not exchange. The currency rate for 7 days in Myanmar is around $250-300, which is more than enough.

When you arrive at the airport, proceed immediately to the arrival hall, where you will find the money exchange desk in the center, next to the door. When I returned, they still took all Kyat denominations at the same rate of 1.280 Kyat for USD1.

Culture and clothing

The first rule is to always greet people with a warm smile and the phrase Minglabar (Ming-gla-ba) – Hello. The Burmese are highly kind and polite people; if you haven’t laughed and greeted someone before, they have, from adults to toddlers.

Myanmar is a Buddhist country, and the people here are deeply committed to Buddhism and revere monks. You must remove your sandals and wear trousers that cover your knees before visiting any of the temples (although I see quite a lot of temples in Bagan, shorts are okay). If you are not wearing pants, they will want you to buy or rent a Longyi, which is a square fabric that wraps around the waist from the waist down, similar to the men’s costumes here. It is also because of this that you should bring a pair of slippers with you because visiting numerous temples in one day and having to take off your shoes all the time is bothersome.

Novice monks with umbrellas running at temple, Bagan, Myanmar
Novice monks with umbrellas running at temple, Bagan, Myanmar

Remember to always respect the culture and beliefs of indigenous people, places of high cultural and customary nature that you need to keep in mind, be quiet and not behave as freely as at other comfortable places.

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Longyi

Sim Card in Myanmar

Purchasing a Sim Card in Myanmar is simple and inexpensive; simply go to a convenience store. Ooredoo, Telenor, and MPT are the three largest network operators. I opted to purchase a Sim Card from MPT and was quite pleased; the cost of one Sim Card is 1.500 Kyat, with top-ups available in quantities of 1.000, 3.000, and 4.000 Kyat. I added another 3.000 Kyat to my account to use for a week here; before purchasing a Sim, they gave me 500 Kyat, and the initial top-up came with an extra 1.000 Kyat. After purchasing, you should request that the vendor activate the Sim and 3G for you; the 3G access price in Myanmar is 6 Kyat/MB, thus with the amount of money I have loaded, I have 750MB in my account.

Souvenir

Souvenir stalls, Htilominlo Pahto temple.
Souvenir stalls, Htilominlo Pahto temple, Bagan

Souvenirs may be purchased at every tourist attraction. Around Bagan, it is often centered in temples, or even youngsters bring retail things, but in Inle, souvenir shops gather at each stop if you purchase a full-day boat trip. There are many lovely handcrafted things offered around, such as wooden dolls, wind chimes, and silver objects. In Inle, there is a historic home that makes silver goods, so when you come here, you may witness them directly manufacturing silver products. The typical price for each piece is approximately 5.000 Kyat, with sand or gold paintings in Bagan costing around 10.000 Kyat.

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Traditional umbrellas

Other experiences

Aside from major towns such as Yangon and Mandalay, everything in Myanmar is underdeveloped in other areas, and services are severely inadequate. There are still grocery stores, but they are few and far between, and pharmacies are practically non-existent. As a result, you may need to carry personal possessions from home because equivalent products are difficult to locate here.

Yangon market

When it comes to payment, many places, hotels, and individuals give services, and when they state the price, they say both USD and Kyat rates, which means that if you pay them in USD, that’s OK. However, paying in USD generally results in a larger loss, therefore it is better to pay in Kyat if the price is indicated in Kyat. Another thing to remember while buying and selling is that anything may be bargained for. Keep in mind that you constantly negotiate in most transactions, whether it’s buying tours, renting vehicles, or anything else. Of course, you should study the following information to understand how the price is acceptable so that you may haggle with them.

Maing Thauk floating village in Inle

Myanmar travel blog: When is the best time to visit Burma?

The weather in Myanmar is typically extremely hot, however there are considerable variations between seasons. To organize an ideal vacation, you must understand what season is the tourist season and what activities are available. It’s worth noting that Yangon’s time zone is 30 minutes later than Hanoi’s.

A horse cart carrying tourists on dusty road at sunset in Bagan
A horse cart carrying tourists on dusty road at sunset in Bagan

Peak tourist season

Beginning from the end of October and lasting until about February of next year, this is also the period when I strongly advise you to visit Myanmar. It is still fairly hot in the middle of October, but the temperature will gradually fall until February to more than 20 degrees Celsius, which is pleasant and does not have much rain. The most surprising thing, however, is that this season in Bagan, hot balloon excursions – known locally as Hot Air – Balloon – will be available. You’ve undoubtedly seen photos of Bagan dawn with hundreds of air balloons soaring in the yellow sky, which won’t be seen if you visit during another season. It is preferable to travel in November because I visited towards the end of October and the number of Air Balloons did not increase much. Going during this season, it is also acknowledged that the tour price, the lodging cost, and occasionally there will be no lovely rooms if not booked early.

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Hot air balloons, specialty of Bagan | myanmar travel blog

Low tourist season

Every year, the rainy season in Myanmar lasts from June to September, although the rainy season is monotonous. During my journey, I only encountered rain in Mandalay, but I was disappointed since I couldn’t do much because the rain was so intense and relentless. Raining causes the road in hilly places, or in Bagan, to become muddy; because of the dirt road, it is difficult to move, and it is impossible to view the golden sunshine “unique” of Burma.

U Bein Bridge at sunset, Mandalay | myanmar travel blog

The rest of the year

From March through May, the weather in Myanmar is quite hot, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius in Yangoon. Some sites with a lot of temples that you wish to see will have a problem with heated floors that are unpleasant to walk on. However, the fact that there are fewer tourists and lower costs this time of year has its own perks.

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Fishermen at Inle lake

Burma travel blog: Getting around Myanmar

Although it is currently in poor condition, transportation in Myanmar is improving, particularly in major cities, and transportation services are acceptable. Because Myanmar is so big (it is the second-largest nation in Southeast Asia after Indonesia), traveling by bus between areas can take up to 6 hours. You have the option of flying or taking a high-quality long-distance bus.

Airplane

It normally sounds like a luxurious, handy, and quick car, but not in Myanmar. The plane here is still a tiny ATR, similar to the ones I ride with Vietnam Airlines to Phu Yen or Binh Dinh, which is both irritating and hot. Sitting on this plane, I don’t believe I’ll ever step foot on it again.

ATR 72 plane

Another consideration while flying in Myanmar is that many domestic flights may not fly straight, but will instead land at a third airport to pick up extra people; using an aircraft can often be slower than taking a bus. If you still want to fly, you should book through a travel agent, even though Myanmar now has a website where you may purchase tickets online. You may also refer to this airline, which has a reasonable price: www.gmairlines.com.

Burmese kid outside Ananda temple, Bagan | myanmar travel blog

Bus

Through the online booking service 12go.asia, you may buy bus tickets to travel between cities in Myanmar such as Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, and Inle. In Myanmar, high-quality bus companies include JJ Express (the best and most well-known), Elite, and smaller, lower-quality enterprises. JJ is so amazing that I think it’s better than many bus companies in other neighboring nations, with spacious seats, charging ports, movie screens, and excellent service.

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JJ Express Bus

If you avoid booking via third parties and contact them directly through Facebook here, the pricing will be significantly lower. You may also email them at joyousjourney.express@gmail.com. I’ll talk about bus routes and service quality in another article.

You can ride a horse cart around Bagan
You can ride a horse cart around Bagan | myanmar travel blog

Myanmar blog: Cuisine, eating and drinking in Myanmar

Myanmar’s typical meals, like those of other Southeast Asian countries, include rice, meats, and vegetables. Furthermore, there are several varieties of noodle soup to select from, the most well-known of which being Shan noodles. The predominant taste in Burmese meals is generally Indian curry (Burmese Curry), but it is not as strong. The mix of Indian and Thai cuisine is likely the best way to define Burmese cuisine.

Burmese cuisine

The price of food in Myanmar, it must be noted, is fairly low; their restaurants are virtually never luxurious, which means that travelers like me and you may order with confidence. The cuisine is inexpensive, with average prices ranging from 500 to 1.000 Kyat each meal for a great and filling dinner. The most striking item for me is definitely the traditional local lunch, which costs between 4.000 and 6.000 Kyat but includes rice, 2-3 types of meat (including pig, poultry, and beef), and hundreds of veggies and side dishes. A substantial dinner. They will serve 2-3 sweets after the meal. Myanmar beer is also quite tasty and distinctive.

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Myanmar travel blog: Best places to visit, top things to do, where to to stay in Myanmar

Yangon capital

Yangon (old name Rangoon) is generally the first stop on the voyage, however in certain circumstances, Mandalay may be visited first. My aircraft arrives in Yangon at 11 a.m., and I remain until 8 p.m., when I board the night bus to Bagan. So I have a few hours to explore Yangon. Because it is also fairly distant, the most likely alternative is to take a cab from the airport to the city, which would cost around 9.000 Kyat. If you travel with a group, you need rent a cab for the entire day depending on how many points you want to see; for example, if I go to three points, the fee is 35.000 Kyat. You may also use Klook to book a private automobile to travel to the city.

Yangon | myanmar travel blog

Some places you should visiting in Yangon

Shwedagon pagoda at night
Shwedagon pagoda at night
  • Shwedagon Pagoda: (Address: Ar Zar Ni, Road Pha Yar Gyi Ward, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)). One of the largest temples in Myanmar, the most beautiful and majestic. Admission: 8.000 Kyat. So, you should coming here late afternoon before sunset will be the most beautiful time and avoid hot brick background because you will have to remove shoes outside.
  • Sule Pagoda: (Address: Maha Bandoola Rd, Yangon (Rangoon) Myanmar). Admission 2.000 Kyat, is a beautiful temple in Yangon just after Shwedagon.
  • Chauk-htat-gyi Buddha Temple (Reclining Buddha Temple): Inside the temple is a huge reclining Buddha image, although a bit small but also a place to see. Free entrance fee.
  • Bogyoke Market (Address: Bo Gyoke Rd, Pabedan, Myanmar (Burma)/9AM–5:30PM/Closed: Mondays): The market is not open every Monday, just like Ben Thanh Market or Dong Xuan Market in Vietnam, many stalls, souvenirs, food and drinks.
Sule Pagoda2
Sule Pagoda | myanmar travel blog

 

Bogyoke Aung San Market3, Yangon
Bogyoke Aung San Market, Yangon

Those who enjoy taking photographs of the street should also walk around the corners, on the road, or at the bus or train station. Those are the areas that most vividly represent the lifestyles of Yangon residents.

A girl selling watermelon on a moving train that circles the entire city of Yangon.

Bagan ancient capital

Royal Bagan hotel

Bagan is divided into three sections: Old Bagan, New Bagan, and Nyaung U; in addition, excursions to Mount Popa may be purchased. The cab price from the bus terminal to the Old Bagan region is 10.000 Kyat, and there will be a checkpoint where travelers must purchase tickets. The ticket fee for 5 days in Bagan is 25.000 Kyat, which is prohibitively costly; however, you do not have to pay it if you discover a means to leave. However, you must first speak with your taxi driver in order to travel the other way without passing through the checkpoint or find another way in, because this station is just around 1km from the bus terminal and they are not very severe, there is no barrier or anything.

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Sunset over Bagan

Bagan is relatively tiny, therefore the most common method to move around is to hire an electric bike. You may rent from the hotel or from specialized rental locations. I hired a room at the Royal Bagan Hotel, which is located just next to my hotel and costs only 6.000 Kyat per day. Renting two electric bikes costs 5.000-5.500 kyat per day. Bagan should be visited for at least two days.

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e-bike

Some places to visit in Bagan

Old Bagan Area

This is the central area of ​​Bagan where most of the ancient temples, restaurants and hotels are concentrated. Usually, visitors often book hotels here. Old Bagan attractions:

  • Bulethi Temple: The temple with good spot for watching the sunrise in Bagan, but I realize that watching here is not very satisfied my eyes because the temple is low, there are quite a lot of electric cables in front.
Sunrise at Bulethi
Sunrise at Bulethi | myanmar travel blog

  • Shwesandaw Pagoda: Because the temple’s four sides are gorgeous, towering, and majestic, Hot Air Balloons may be used to watch both sunset and dawn. You should get at the temple at 4:30 – 5 a.m. to find a decent place; in the afternoon, you should also arrive a bit early. This is also the only temple where they verify your ticket to enter Bagan (the 25.000 Kyat ticket mentioned above), but you may inform the ticket clerk that your buddy is carrying the ticket and go; the ticket clerk does not ask any further questions.
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  • Ananda Temple: The most prominent temple in Bagan is painted brightly. Inside there are also many things to see as treasures, sophisticated Buddha statues, and even the artworks.
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Ananda Temple
  • Dhammayangyi Temple: This is Bagan’s largest temple, and if you watch the dawn from Shwesandaw Pagoda, you will see the morning direction near this temple. The temple is fairly big, but the stairs leading up to it are quite narrow.
Dhammayangyi Pahto at Sunrise
Dhammayangyi Pahto at Sunrise
  • Shwezigon Pagoda: This temple, which is located independently from the Bagan temple site, is also extremely lovely with the prevailing golden hue. I didn’t go to the temple, but there was a river dock and a lengthy hallway with lovely oblique sunlight where I could take photographs.
Credit image: shwezigon bagan blog.
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  • The remaining temples you can consider visiting such as the highest temple of Bagan Thatbyinnyu, Htilominlo temple, Sulamani Temple.
Sulamani Pahto
Sulamani Pahto

New Bagan and Nyaung-U

To get to New Bagan, you must first pass through Old Bagan, which is mostly made up of hostels and hotels. There aren’t many visitors in New Bagan, and the roads aren’t as packed as they are in Old Bagan, making it appear a little dreary. I haven’t gone to Nyaung-U, but it doesn’t appear to be anything exceptional.

Thante Nyaung U Hotel
Thante Nyaung U Hotel | myanmar travel blog

Mount Popa (Mt. Popa)

This Popa mountain, like Golden Rock, is not particularly noteworthy; it is only a temple perched on the crest of a mountain inhabited by a swarm of monkeys. To reach the summit, you must climb 777 stairs around the ridge. If you go through the center of Old Bagan, you will find several excursions or cabs to Mt. Popa, which takes approximately 2 hours and costs around 10.000 Kyat per person.

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bagan-full-day-popa-mountain-tour-banner

Mandalay

Mandalay is a major city in Myanmar with a wide territory; the sites are spread out around the city center. However, in comparison to Bagan or Inle, Mandalay does not stand out, with the exception of the iconic U Bein wooden bridge. If you don’t have much time, spending a day in Mandalay is sufficient; simply travel to the main sites such as U Bein Bridge, Inwa Village, Mingun Village, and Mandalay Hill and skip the other side points because they are unremarkable.

Mandalay city

From the Mandalay bus station, you may take a taxi or a motorbike taxi to the city; motorbike taxis cost 2.500-3.000 Kyat, while taxis cost 5.000-6.000 Kyat. I took a motorbike taxi into town and leased a motorbike for 10.000 Kyat per day, filling the tank myself. If you go with 1-2 friends, you may hire a motorbike for the day for 16.000 Kyat/motorbike and go wherever you want while being less tired. If you’re traveling in a large group, you should reserve a full-day cab for 60.000-70.000 Kyat, which can be booked right at the bus station.

Attractions in Mandalay

  • U Bein Bridge: The longest wooden bridge in the world and the main place to catch the sunrise or watch the sunset.
  • Inwa Village: To get to this settlement, which is about 5 kilometers south of U Bein Bridge, you must take a boat over the river for about 5 minutes, costing 1.200 Kyat for round trip tickets. The only way to get about the town is in a horse-drawn carriage, which costs 10.000 Kyat for a two-hour tour of the settlement that includes four stops. There are two locations where you must pay an entry charge to enter, however I simply go around without purchasing tickets. Riding a horsecart around the hamlet is also a fun activity.
Horse-drawn carriage in Inwa

 

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  • Mingun Village: There are two methods to get to this village: by boat or by taxi/motorbike taxi on the road. However, due of the route, you will have to travel around, which will be extremely far, then turn around again, which will be more convenient since you will take advantage of time. If you use the boat, keep in mind that there is only one journey per day from Myan Gyan Jetty wharf to Mingun village at 9 a.m., with a ticket fee of 5.000 Kyat and a return trip at 1 p.m. The journey takes 45 minutes. The magnificent white Hsinbyume Paya pagoda is the centerpiece of Mingun, followed by the Pahtodawgyi temple, which was still under construction owing to the earthquake, the world’s second biggest bell Mingun Bell, and the lion butt monument.
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