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Explore the best of Myanmar

Explore the Best Myanmar has to Offer in 3-Weeks

With so much to see and so little time, here’s how to make the most of your 3-weeks taking in the best Myanmar has to offer! Everything from obtaining your visa to the best time to visit based on weather patterns. Find out where to go, what to see and eat and where to stay. Work out your budget and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!

 

STOP WORRYING ABOUT THE POTHOLES IN THE ROAD AND CELEBRATE THE JOURNEY. – FITZHUGH MULLAN

 

Enjoy the beauty and serenity of Myanmar! The Best Myanmar

Enjoy the beauty and serenity of Myanmar!

 

MYANMAR VISA

As Myanmar has only been open to the public since late-2011, a pre-arranged visa is required for all visitors. Apply online at http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/.

MYANMAR WEATHER: What’s The Best Myanmar Season?

Myanmar has a tropical monsoon climate with 3 distinct seasons, so plan your trip accordingly.

  • Cool: November – February
    • Warm to hot (but bearable) & relatively dry
    • Least humid, most comfortable temperatures
    • Peak season
  • Hot: March – May
    • Extremely hot & dry
    • Often dusty & hazy
  • Rainy: June – October
    • Monsoon season
      • June – August
        • Heavy, constant rainfall
        • Especially in Yangon
      • September – October
        • Intermittent rainfall with a bit more sun
        • Especially in Mandalay & Bagan

 

SEE MYANMAR – OUR BEST STAY, PLAY, EAT TIPS BY CITY

Here’s an overview of the places we visited and would recommend:

MANDALAY

Buddhism is a major part of Myanmar's culture! - The Best Myanmar

Buddhism is a major part of Myanmar’s culture!

STAY

  • Four Rivers B & B – Choose from either a private room or a pod style bunk bed. The pods are great! They offer a curtain, power plugs and your own personal life, so even though you’re living the dorm life, you’ll enjoy a bit of privacy.

PLAY

  • Mandalay Hill – Take a trip to Mandalay Hill to soak up a beautiful sunset.
  • Visit the Ancient Cities
    • Amarapurna
      • Maha Gandhayon Monastery – Witness the beautiful procession of the monks receiving alms. Public is welcome, but please respect their culture.
      • U Bain Bridge – A popular place to watch the sunset, so get there early. Secure your viewing spot on the bridge, or head out with one of the local boats to get a different perspective.
    • Inwa
      • Boat Ride – Set on an island, enjoy a short boat ride as you enjoy a 15-20 minute cruise across the water.
      • Horse & Cart Tours – Once you get to the other side, hop on one of the horse and cart tours. It’s often muddy, so trust us, you don’t want to try and walk it. Plus, it’s the best way to see the island, so the small fee (5,000 kyat – $4) you pay is definitely worth it.
      • Bagaya Monastery – Check out this beautiful wooden monastery. This is also where they collect the historical site fee (10,000 kyat – $7.50).
      • Yadana Hsimi Pagodas – Visit ancient pagodas in ruins and see a 200-year old Banyon tree. It is absolutely stunning!
    • Sagaing
      • Sagaing Hill – Climb to the top to see the numerous pagodas lining the hills. It’s definitely a site to be seen.
      • U Min Thonze Pagoda – Explore this sprawling pagoda and experience the beauty that surrounds this pagoda inside and out.
Don't be a stick in the mud, haha! The Best Myanmar

Don’t be a stick in the mud, haha!

EAT

  • Mr. Bar B Q – Don’t let the name fool you! While they do offer a bar b q buffet, there is an assortment of things on the menu to suit every taste.
  • If you decide to stay at Four Rivers B&B, make sure to check out the restaurant next door to it. It has a great assortment of rice and noodle dishes that are to die for!

TIPS

  • If arriving by air, get a shared bus from the airport direct to your hotel for 4,000 kyat/person ($3). A direct taxi costs 12,000 kyat ($9).
  • To visit certain sites, you will need to pay a Mandalay Historical Site Fee which costs 10,000 kyat ($7.50).

 

MONYWA

Enjoy the magic of the Pho Win Taung Caves! The Best Myanmar

Enjoy the magic of the Pho Win Taung Caves!

 

STAY

  • Hotel Chidwin – Expensive for what it is, but Chidwin still offers the most affordable option in town. It’s clean and in a central location, so don’t hesitate to check it out and call it home for the night.

PLAY

  • Pho Win Taung Caves – If you haven’t heard of these caves, you should! With thousands of Buddha figures spread throughout the caves, it is definitely worth the trip and the 2,500 kyat/person ($2). P.S. you will need a motorbike to get there.
They may look sweet, but beware of the monkey's! The Best Myanmar

They may look sweet, but beware of the monkey’s!

 

EAT

  • Zwe Mann Myanmar Food – Just a short stroll from the Chidwin Hotel, enjoy a traditional Myanmar buffet lunch for only 3,000 kyat ($2.50). You will not leave hungry and will get the opportunity to try a wide range of local cuisine.

TIPS

  • Sites are relatively spread out, so you can’t do it all in one day; even though distances make things seem close, the road conditions makes it take longer.
  • If visiting Pho Win Taung Caves, make sure to get a guide once on site. It costs 3-4,000 kyat ($2.50-3) and is well worth the price.

 

BAGAN

Beautiful Bagan sunrise! The Bet Myanmar

Beautiful Bagan sunrise!

STAY

  • Shwe Na Di Guesthouse – Located in Nyaung U, this central location puts you in walking distance to everything you need including great restaurants & local temples. With great on site amenities, including dorm & private room options, free breakfast, and bicycles and e-bikes available for hire, you don’t need to look anywhere else!

PLAY

  • Explore Pagodas & Temples – Let’s face it, you wouldn’t be in Bagan if this wasn’t on your agenda! Certain temples are popular for sunrise and sunset – just ask once you arrive and take your pick. To be honest, some of our best glimpses of sunrises and sunsets were away from the crowds; impromptu stops wherever we were. Grab a map and just go with the flow. Stop at any temples that strike your fancy, stay as long as you want, and just take in the beauty of it all along the way!
  • eBike/Bicycle Rental – There are multiple companies (and most hotels) renting bikes. We paid 6,000 kyat ($5) for an e-bike & 1,500 kyat ($1) for a regular bicycle. Be sure to check the headlight as you may be heading out early in the morning!
  • Sunset Boat Tours – Contact either Bagan Boat Trips (our top pick!) 4,000 kyat/person ($3) for a 1-hour sunset cruise or Cruise de Bagan to secure your spot on a boat. Otherwise, just show up to the jetty and arrange with the boatmen on site.
  • Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Tours – There are currently 3 companies offering tours – Oriental Ballooning,  Balloons Over BaganGolden Eagle. Whilst we didn’t make the investment in the trip, we’ve heard multiple accounts of how brilliant it is. If you’d go, we’d love to hear your story!
So many temples & pagodas to explore! The Best Myanmar

So many temples & pagodas to explore!

 

EAT

  • Moe Pyae Son – Some of the best and cheapest vegetarian food in town…nom, nom, nom! Not to be missed!
  • San Kabar – Specializing in Italian food, the restaurant also offers Chinese and Myanmar food menus – be sure to check it out for yourself!
  • A Little Bit of Bagan – Choose from a selection of Indian, Thai, Chinese and traditional Burmese food – you can’t go wrong!
  • The Moon – With a Tagline of “Be Kind to Animals,” don’t expect to find any meat at this vegetarian restaurant. Fall in love with the setting and the food in one of its two convenient locations!

TIPS

  •  Make the effort to get up for sunrise. Yes, it’s an early morning, but it’s worth it. Plus, how often do you get a chance to see sunrise in Bagan?
  • Get yourself settled for sunrise/set early, to avoid the rush and set yourself up to get that perfect picture.
  • Be respectful of Burmese traditions; do not climb pagodas with signs advising you not to. (We experienced this with some obnoxious tourists)

 

INLE LAKE

Explore Inle! The best Myanmar

Explore Inle!

STAY

  • Friday Inn – Situated in Nyaung Shwe, Friday Inn was undergoing renovations when we visited late 2016. But it was nice when we stayed and can only get better, so go pay the guys a visit!

PLAY

  • Inle Lake Boat Tour – Visit the highlights around the lake including Nga Hpe Chaung (formerly the Jumping Cat Monastery), Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, Ywama Floating Market, In Paw Khone Floating Villages, and an array of local handicrafts, including woodcarving, hand weaving, silversmith and cigar making. Negotiate your price, but expect to pay around 15,000 kyat ($11) depending how hard you negotiate.
  • Red Hill Winery – Don’t miss one of only two wineries in Myanmar. Try a selection of locally grown wines while taking in a beautiful sunset. Wine tasting 5,000 kyat ($4).
Cheers! The Best Myanmar

Cheers!

 

EAT

  • Pub Asiatico – Great place to drop in for a drink or two. We didn’t get a chance to try the food, but the menu had a wide variety. Note, it opens at 4pm, so don’t plan on  enjoying lunch here.
  • Sunflower Restaurant – A simple, yet delicious venue. Our top pick in the area! Go try for yourself and let us know what you think!
  • Red Hill Winery – Whilst enjoying a glass of wine, go ahead and check out the food menu too. Some tasty dishes on offer!

TIPS

  •  Arrange your boat trip ahead of time (a day ahead) for the best likelihood of being able to share a boat.
  • The winery is a bit out of town, and taxi options there and back are a bit pricey. Hire a bike and take a ride to and from instead…you’ll probably want to burn off the calories from the wine anyways.
  • Inle Lake is facing some environmental threats. Check out our tips on how to have a sustainable trip to the area.

 

YANGON

Enjoy interacting with the locals! The Best Myanmar

Enjoy interacting with the locals!

STAY

  •  Nice Day Hotel – This is a comfortable hotel located close to the Hlaing Thar Yar Bus Terminal, perfect for early morning bus trips to Chaung Tha
  •  Agga Guest House – This small hostel is located in downtown Yangon and is within walking distance to bars, restaurants and other attractions in the area. The street surrounding the property has a great local feel

PLAY

  • Shwedagon Pagoda – Unfortunately we ran out of time and were only able to see this Pagoda from a distance. If you have time it should definitely be one of the stops on your itinerary.

EAT:

  • Le Planteur – If you are looking for a fantastic place to eat when in Yangon, then look no further. The food and atmosphere are wonderful and it offers an experience to remember. The prices are expensive so if you are used to eating street food, be prepared to blow the budget.

TIPS

  •  If you’re planning to visit either Chaung Tha or Ngwe Saung beach, you’re best off to go early in the morning. Think about staying on the outskirts of Yangon (Nice Day Hotel) the night before to make the trip a bite easier.

 

CHAUNG THA BEACH

Make sure to wear your sunscreen - The Best Myanmar

Make sure to wear your sunscreen

STAY

  • Hill Garden Hotel – If you want to escape completely, this is the place for you. Set back a short 5-minute walk to the beach, this is your perfect retreat to kick back and completely relax! The team will pick you up from the bus station and take you back when your holiday has come to an end. They have motorbikes for hire on site, offer beautiful buffet and a la carte selections, along with a full service bar.
  • Shwe Hin Tha – If you want to be a bit closer to the action, look no further than Shwe Hin Tha. Situated directly on the beach and at the bus drop off and pick up point, it couldn’t be more convenient.

PLAY

  • Relax on the White Sand Beach – A short ride from Chaung Tha beach, this stunning stretch of beach is perfect to set up in a chair, grab a coconut and relax.
  • Enjoy Sunset – I always love a good sunset and Chaung Tha does not disappoint. Grab a seat, a drink, and settle in to watch the sun do its thing.
  • Check out the Twin Pagodas – While these are highlighted as a top attraction in the area, you won’t be missing much if you don’t get a chance to check them out. Old and rundown, they leave a lot to desire, but as they have a long history and are prominently featured in various paintings in the area, it won’t hurt to take a stroll down the beach to check them out.
  • Rent a Scooter – Since you will be quite remote, if you do want to get out and explore, you will need to hire a scooter. Luckily, most of the hotels have them available on site to rent at affordable rates.
  • Visit Ngwe Saung Beach – Getting from Chaung Tha to Ngwe Saung can be a bit tricky, so ensure you follow our guidelines for a smooth trip.
Always take the time to make friends with puppies! The Best Myanmar

Always take the time to make friends with puppies!

EAT

  • Hill Garden Hotel – With an extensive breakfast buffet and a la carte lunch and dinner options, you’re sure to be satisfied with the selection and value.
  • Shwe Hin Tha – Dine in the restaurant or in the bar area overlooking the beach. If you need wifi, the restaurant is your best bet. If you can get away from your devices, head to the beachfront and soak up the atmosphere, which yes, does include some hawkers.
  • Head to Town – Take a walk (30 minutes one way from Hill Garden Hotel) or ride a scooter (7 minutes each way) to town to explore the variety of restaurants and shops lining the beach.
  • Fisherman’s Bar – Located at Bay of Bengal Resort in Ngwe Saung, this is a great place to drop by and watch the world go by. Sit in the shaded verandas and stay cool with the ceiling fans while enjoying a beautiful meal with some refreshing beverages.

TIPS

  • Bring along some playing cards. It’s a great way to spend some quality time together.
  • Mosquito repellent is crucial!
  • This is the perfect place to get stuck into your favorite book.

 

EATING & DRINKING IN MYANMAR

  • Traditional Dishes: Enjoy a Traditional Burmese Lunch, BBQ, and a number of the Chinese, Indian and Malaysian inspired dishes.
  • Beers: Ranging from Mandalay, Myanmar and Dagon , let us know which is your favorite!
Check out the cheroot cigarettes, errr…cigars…puff, puff, give! The Best Myanmar

Check out the cheroot cigarettes, errr…cigars…puff, puff, give!

 

MYANMAR BUDGET

We budgeted for $71.63 USD/day (for 2 people). Actual was $57.66/day x 18 days = $1,038 total.

Breakdown below:

  • Accommodation – $394
  • Beverages – $38
  • Food – $195
  • Transport – $151 *
  • Entertainment – $224
  • Miscellaneous – $36 **

 

*excludes flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Mandalay, Myanmar & flights from Yangon, Myanmar to Bangkok, Thailand

**includes bank fees, bug spray, laundry & ATM fees

Experience sunset from U Bain Bridge! The Best Myanmar

Experience sunset from U Bain Bridge!

 

OUR MYANMAR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visiting the ancient cities around Mandalay
  • Witnessing over 1,000 monks receiving alms
  • Meeting a group making the trip from London to Sydney overland
  • Touring the Pho Win Taung Caves in Monywa
  • Exploring Bagan’s numerous pagodas
  • Watching the hot air balloons rise over Bagan
  • Visiting the floating villages on Inle Lake
  • Smoking a cheroot hand rolled cigarette
  • Wine tasting at Red Hill Winery
  • Making the journey from Chaung Tha to Ngwe Saung beach
  • Enjoying the sunsets across Myanmar

 

MYANMAR TIPS

Enjoy everything Myanmar has to offer! The Best Myanmar

Enjoy everything Myanmar has to offer!

 

  • If arriving by air to Mandalay, get a shared bus from the airport direct to your hotel for 4,000 kyat/person ($3). A direct taxi costs 12,000 kyat ($9).
  • To visit specific sites in certain cities (ie. Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake), you will need to pay a Historical Site Fee which costs 10,000 kyat ($7.50).
  • Sites throughout Myanmar are relatively spread out, so you can’t do it all in one day; even though distances make things seem close, the road conditions makes it take longer.
  • If visiting Pho Win Taung Caves, make sure to get a guide once on site. It costs 3-4,000 kyat ($2.50-3) and is well worth the price.
  • Make the effort to get up for sunrise in Bagan. Yes, it’s an early morning, but it’s worth it.
  • In Bagan, be sure to get yourself settled for sunrise/set early, to avoid the rush and set yourself up to get that perfect picture.
  • Be respectful of Burmese traditions; do not climb pagodas with signs advising you not to.
  • Don’t miss Inle Lake – it was our personal favorite!
  • While at Inle Lake, make sure you arrange your boat trip ahead of time (a day ahead) for the best likelihood of being able to share a boat.
  • The Red Hill Winery in the Inle Lake region is a bit out of town, and taxi options there and back are a bit pricey. Hire a bike and take a ride to and from instead…you’ll probably want to burn off the calories from the wine anyway.
  • Inle Lake is facing some environmental threats. Check out our tips on how to have a sustainable trip to the area.
  • When visiting the the Myanmar beaches, make sure to bring along some playing cards, mosquito repellent, and your favorite book!

About the Author Rob & KIm

Simply Travelled is a travel blog dedicated to helping people like YOU break the mold. We want to inspire you to question the status quo and get the most out of life! In short, Simply Travelled encourages people to take a LEAP! – an adult gap year, career break, sabbatical – call it what you will. We’re leading by example and want to motivate you to take 6-months or 1-year out of your daily routine to travel the world and really experience life!

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