Earlier this year I had the amazing opportunity to spend a few fabulous weeks exploring Myanmar. We’ve assembled the best of the best experiences in our favorite Myanmar itinerary here, but I wanted to share some of my most memorable experiences with you here as well.
First stop, Yangon.
Yangon is where most travelers arrive first. A mix of colonial architecture, modern high-rises and gilded Buddhist pagodas, Yangon is most well-known for the Schwedagon Pagoda.
Things can get busy at the Schwedagon Pagoda, so consider visiting here after 8pm. By this time the crowds have left and you’ll be able to take in this beautiful sight on your own. If you’re staying at the Savoy, a great option for hotels here, it’s an easy 10-minute walk.
Then, on the Mandalay.
There is so much to see in Mandalay! Enjoy a boat cruise, tour stupas, and visit local artisans.
I was particularly impressed with the Mahumuni Pagoda, a temple believed to be a living Buddha statue. I learned that people from all over the country come to pray here during religious festivals.
Bagan is a must.
You’ll notice right away that Bagan is divided into 3 areas, including; Old Bagan whichis home to most luxury hotels and the greatest concentration of historical monuments, New Bagan where you’ll find mid range hotels, and Nyaungu, the main city center.
This lovely town is a great place to get active. I loved spending the morning on a bicycle, traveling over flat, dirt roads with temples and pagodas everywhere I looked! My guides surprised me with a delicious picnic lunch, a perfect end to a perfect morning!
Also in Bagan I had the opportunity to spend four fabulous hours in a village with not one other tourist to be seen. The love for visitors remains intense. I was well received and welcomed with open arms and smiling faces.
My tour included visiting a local home as well as a “factory” making soy bean paste, shoes and pottery. But my most pleasurable experience was just walking around the streets greeting the locals, popping into the clinic and being able to do so with the utmost ease.
Finally, you can’t help but notice all the hot air balloons here in Bagan. Booking a hot air balloon experience here is certainly a worthwhile adventure!
Finally, Inle Lake to end the itinerary.
I just loved Inle Lake and wish I had 4 days to explore this region, it is absolutely fascinating!
Spending the day on the lake with my guide visiting the ‘floating villages’ was such a highlight of Myanmar for me. I loved the fishermen, who seemed to be dancing a slow dance, and slowly passing by locals washing their clothes or brushing their teeth in the lake. The precious children playing, workers planting tomatoes on the floating gardens. Life is buzzing here.
Lunch was even served to me on the boat! The servers rowed out each course to me, as I sat in my rice barge enjoying every minute of traditional Burmese food. That evening I was blessed with an incredible sunset over the lake from the balcony of my luxurious resort.
Travel Tip: Across Myanmar, it’s important to keep in mind that when visiting the stupas and other places of cultural and religious significance you will need to wear comfortable shoes that can easily be taken on and off. Shoes must be removed every time you go into a temple or pagoda or monastery. Your guide will provide clean wet wipes after each visit to clean feet. Women also need to be sure to not wear string tops and make sure knees are covered.