Myanmar is relatively unpopular compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, but its mysterious atmosphere and more primitive environment are more attractive to travelers to explore local areas.
Why so? Although Myanmar is open for sightseeing, but there are limited areas under the control from the government. The Burmese government regulates many areas and prohibits visitors from entering or having to apply for a permit to travel. The restricted areas are usually around the border areas such as Chin State, Kachin State, Kayah State, Kayin State and Shan State. The reason is that the local resistance forces have long fought against the Burmese government in the past. According to the saying, the border area has the most beautiful natural scenery in Myanmar, but unfortunately hard to access.
Usually, there are only a few cities or villages open to tourists. Because of the small number of tourists, there is a lack of fine accommodation options and transportation facilities. If you desire to plan your memorable customized tour to Myanmar, keep in mind to arrange the travel destinations in your Myanmar itinerary that are not restricted.
Nowadays, if you want to visit Myanmar, main sightseeing spots are convenient and modern, with paved roads and many accommodation options. The cities have convenient transportation, low prices and friendly people which surely welcome tourists to visit. It is convinced that it will become a popular tourist attraction in a few years. We suggest that you could seize the opportunity to visit this country full of history before someday Myanmar is over-developed.
Must-visit travel destinations in Myanmar
Here, there is Bagan, where there are Buddha statues in less than two blocks. There is a so-called “floating village” called Inle Lake. To get a perfect seat to watch beautiful sunset, don’t miss out Ubuntu Bridge, in the ancient kingdom of Mandalay.
In this article we will tell you how to travel perfectly first time to Myanmar with complete instructions of transportation, attractions, food and so on.
USD 1.00 =MMK 1,518
The currency of Myanmar is called Kyats and is also abbreviated as MMK or K internationally. During the trip, in addition to hotel room fees, tickets in few areas, and long-distance tickets are available for US dollars, most of the daily consumption is still based on Kyats, so exchange of money is a problem that can’t be avoided in Myanmar. Therefore, better check out the detailed instruction of currency exchange before departure.
Yangon is the most important city in Myanmar. It retains many old Victorian buildings and visitors can feel the ancient simplicity. There are many authentic markets in Yangon. Visitors can enjoy authentic local cuisine with Burmese specialties and local special accessories.
If you like to wander in the city, Yangon must be a good choice of Myanmar. As one of the few mature cities in Myanmar, Yangon has large shopping malls, high-end restaurants and leisure venues all over the city. The sights that must be checked in are the Yangon Shwedagon Pagoda, which has been known as one of the three miracles of Southeast Asia.
Things to do on a rainy day in Yangon
6 Ways to Smartly Navigate Yangon Myanmar in One Day
Look up at the Great Pyramid from the bottom, you may be able to feel the Burmese devout heart to Buddha. Yangon not only has traditional Burmese architecture, but also has the most pre-colonial buildings in Southeast Asia. British buildings like British government buildings, the Central Bank, the Customs, Yangon Station, Post and Telecommunications Building are pretty much worth seeing.
Mandalay is another Myanmar city worth visiting after Yangon. Compared to Yangon, Mandalay is more modern. Mandalay is home to people of all ethnicities, where you can experience a mix of cultures from several Southeast Asian countries.
Named by the location next to the Mandalay Hill, Mandalay means “City of huge treasures”. It is located in the northern part of central Myanmar, and is one of the political, economic and cultural centers of Myanmar. Although it is a modern city, Mandalay is a city with a modern atmosphere combined with Buddhist architecture and ancient dynasty city.
In Mandalay, the most not to be missed is the Ubuntu Bridge, which possesses one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. It is also a good trip to the Mandalay Mountain pilgrimage like the Burmese. The mountain is full of stupas and white towers.
Bagan is a historical city and Buddhist cultural site in Myanmar. It is said that Bagan has more than 10,000 pagodas in its heyday. The city preserves many Buddhist pagodas and Buddhist temples built in various historical periods in Myanmar. These pagodas and Buddhist temples in Bagan are the epitome of Myanmar’s architectural art, reflecting the wisdom and creativity of the working people of Myanmar.
Bagan has experienced vicissitudes, historical changes and geological disasters, but today there are still 2,000 pagodas and Buddhist relics. In the ancient city of Bagan, you can see the pagodas of different sizes, enjoy the sunset in the pagoda, visit the stupa by horse carriage or hot air balloon to overlook the thousand stupas.
It is recommended to rent an electric bicycle, look for the proper location in the temple where you expect to see the sunrise/sunset. Be sure to pay attention to safety.
Recommended places to watch sunrise and sunset:
Sunrise: Shwe-leik-too & Sule Gone Phaya
Sunset: Golden Rock Kyaikhtiyo, Inle Lake
4. Inle Lake
Inle Lake is one of the travel destinations in Myanmar, and almost every visitor to Myanmar will not miss it! Different from the Buddhist travel destinations in Myanmar, the Inle Lake shows the life scene of the local people.
Located in the Shan State of northeastern Myanmar, Inle Lake is 22 kilometers long and 10 kilometers wide. The lake covers an area of 158 square kilometers and is a freshwater lake formed by the rivers from surrounding mountains. As surrounded by mountains, the water of Inle Lake is clear and picturesque. Especially in the early morning hours, the lake is filled with mist, and the fisherman stands on the bow for a hundred years to fish.
The scene is quiet and beautiful, very dreamy. Fishermen on boats, floating villages and islands, the 5-day Myanmar’s largest water market are the three wonders of Inle Lake.
The best way to experience Inle Lake is by charter. The classic all-day cruise includes a visit to a range of handicraft shops & Inthein villages and temples. The five-day market made up of ethnic minorities in the surrounding mountains is also recommended to explore the local life culture by visiting. Finally, the Lake District has many great accommodation options to see the sunrise and sunset of Inle Lake from the hotel’s balcony or public areas.
Recommended One-day Tour Itinerary in Yangon
- Shwedagon Pagoda
- Bogyoke Aung San Market
- Kandawgyi Lake
- Tayoke Tan-China Town
At the first stop in Yangon, you must visit the most representative travel destination of Yangon, Shwedagon Pagoda!
Please be noted that in Myanmar you can’t wear shoes when you go to the temple to worship. It is recommended to arrive in the morning or at dusk. Try to avoid visiting at noon to avoid the floor being too hot for you to go through the whole place and miss the great parts.
Bogyoke Aung San Market
After visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda, you can shop and have lunch at the Aung San Market. The Aung San market is famous for mainly selling jewelry, fabrics and handicrafts. There are also stalls selling clothing, seafood, and home appliances. It can be said that it is a shopping paradise for foreign tourists. There are also a lot of cheap local food in the market for you to discover.
After having a great meal, you can continue to visit the Kandawgyi Lake. The Kandawgyi Lake is located on the east side of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. The lake is beautiful and is a great place to take a walk. It is recommended to come at dusk to enjoy the beautiful sunset of Yangon.
On the Kandawgyi Lake, you can see Myanmar’s most distinctive royal barge, also known as the Karaweik Palace. It looks magnificent during the day and the night is bright and shining. It is one of the most famous travel destinations in Yangon.
Tayoke Tan (Yangon Chinatown)
There are around 150,000 Chinese people in Chinatown in Yangon. Chinese people from all over China
have gold shops, grocery stores, herbal medicine pharmacy, and handicraft shops
on both sides of the road, showing a strong Chinese atmosphere.
There are many Chinese restaurants in Chinatown with various specialties of cities in China. In the evening, Chinatown is bright with many stalls selling fruits, barbecues and special snacks in the bustling streets. Come here to experience the hospitality of local Chinese!
If you are an ancient culture lover, and are simultaneously fond of Asian history, visiting Myanmar would be an unforgettable experience for you.
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