Myanmar is a diverse, beautiful country. Its landscapes vary spectacularly from south to north. There are so many things to explore for first timer. Hence a good travel itinerary is very helpful. I have been visited Myanmar for at least 5 times both for business and leisure purpose.
Here is my experience of how you can organize the best itinerary in Myanmar from 10 to 14 days.
Best source for travel planning
Many travelers and even bloggers think that a guide book is the best tool to plan a trip to Myanmar. Others believe browsing travel forum is essential. In my opinion, there are 3 options to get reference for travel itinerary :
– Contacting Travel Experts on forum instead of just viewing the posts.
– Check the travel blogs from those who already spent the time in Myanmar. You can simply type ” Myanmar 2 weeks itinerary blog” there comes some interesting sites to learn.
– Browsing Travel products from local tour operators or dedicated travel agencies who run guided tour to the country. I find this way is far better than the other. Why ? they update more interesting things and mostly newer than guidebook, not to mention there are contribution of local experts.
Myanmar Itinerary for First Timer
This itinerary bases on my personal experience and the expert knowledge of Myint, my tour guide bases in Mandalay who have traveled extensively in the country. The starting point and ending point is Yangon which makes more sense for those who travel from far destination to Myanmar.
Day 01 – 02 : Yangon
The first day is the left free to clear the jetlag. If you feel good then you can start with a stroll in Yangon`s old town.
What to see in Yangon for a day : the most notable site is Shwedagon pagoda. This Buddhist monument is dominating the skyline of the city by its golden light whether day or night time. Other pagodas you should visit includes Sule, Chauktatgyi pagodas.
For museum, it is advisable to see U Thant House and National Museum.
If you fancy street food, make your way to the appetizing streets at Yangon downtown. For a further culinary discovery, take a cooking class at Moonsoon restaurant.
My favorite hotel : check out My Hotel Guide for Myanmar
Day 03 – 04: Head north to Bagan & its surroundings
2 days is the perfect timing to see all the highlights of Bagan, the wondrous archeological heritage in north Myanmar. Certainly, you may not be able to see all 2,200 temples in such a short time but you can simply capture the most striking one like Ananda, Minathu, Manuha, Gawdamgyi.
The best way to enjoy Bagan for independent travel is to hire an electric bike. I do believe Bagan is best visited on a guided tour. There are secret stories that guide book would not tell you !
To stay 1 more day : afford a magnificent balloon ride to behold the area`s panorama.
New: according to Myint, there are now some off beaten tourist path excursion organized by local tour operators which brings you across the river to experience real local life.
Day 05 – 08 : Mandalay & Maymyo
Combining Mandalay and Maymyo, a fascinating hill station about 1 hour drive from Mandalay makes you feel better with your travel. The reason is you will soak up different atmosphere and importantly, having a chance to escape from the tropical heat for a least a day.
Things you should not miss in Mandalay : Royal Palace, Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mingun incomplete site, Mandalay Hill, Mandalay night market, Mustache Brother performance. For curious eyes on local traditional work, enjoy some stops at golden leaves factory, wood carving shops or famous tapestry.
In Maymyo, spend half day to hike through its green botanical garden, observing the floral eco system around the town and see churches remaining from British Colony time.
Extension Idea : go waterfall hopping at Anisakan. Book a hotel night by its luxurious resort which offers view to the fall right from your bungalow.
Day 09 – 10: Inle Lake
Inle Lake is mentioned in mostly all the Myanmar Travel Itinerary for its unique lake culture. From famous Shan noodle to floating gardens, from rotating villages to sunken stupas, everything seems to be attractively quaint. But above all, Inle has its own charm and numerous activities to make your 2 days fully occupied.
Suggested sightseeing points are : Phang Daw Oo pagoda, Indein Ruin for grand lake view, Nyang Shwe Town for oldest Monastery, In Paw Khone village for silk, weaving villages.
Extension idea: rent a bike to skirt the shore of Inle from Nyang Shwe. It is comparatively cheap and full of local fun.
Something extraordinary : have you ever heard about a trek that introduces Burmese foods and herbal medicine ? if not, book it in Inle Lake.
Beach Hopping ?
From Inle Lake, you can take a flight to Ngapali during the tourism season from November to April ( this flight is not frequent during the rest time of the year ).
Ngapali is simply the premier destination for beach in Myanmar with long, sandy beaches filled by ocean front, world class resorts.