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Myanmar Travel Guide

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Once a closed-off nation for decades, Myanmar is an intriguing country where people’s unique ways of life and traditional culture are still intactly preserved. With legendary history, diverse culture and tradition, and ubiquitous temples, the country is increasingly popular among worldwide travelers. A trip to Myanmar will reward you with phenomenal temples and monuments, glittering jewel-encrusted pagodas, untouched beaches, breathtaking landscapes, welcoming local people, as well as authentic cultural experiences.

Planning a trip to Myanmar? Check out our Myanmar travel guide to learn more about Myanmar – top experiences, travel tips, the best time to go, top places to visit, how to get there, and more.

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

Quick Information about Myanmar

  • Capital: Naypyidaw
  • Top tourist cities/destinations: Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake
  • Official language: Burmese
  • Official currency: Myanmar Kyat (MMK)
  • Population: over 55million
  • Visa: Passport holders of Singapore can get a Myanmar visa exemption valid for 30 days, and most other ASEAN countries can get an exception valid for 14 days. Passport holders fromover 100 countries can apply for a Myanmar tourist eVisa through the government website. Usually, the eVisa can be processed in 1-7 work days, with a validity of 28 days.
  • Electricity: 230 V / 50 Hz. Plugsocket: European socket (two round prongs), and socket D with 3 round prongs, you’d better prepare a Universal Travel Adaptor in case.
  • Safety: Myanmar is generally a safe county to travel to, most people are Buddhists who are welcoming and peaceful. Violence or petty crime are rare to see in Myanmar.

To learn more basic information about Myanmar, please read Basic Facts about Myanmar.

Best Time to Visit Myanmar

Myanmar is good to visit all year round except September when it is the wettest month of the year. The dry season from October to May is the best time of year to visit most areas of Myanmar when the country sees little rain, and the temperatures are comfortable, ranging from 72°F to 100°F.

Most areas of Myanmar enjoy a tropical monsoon climate that can be divided into three seasons: the summer season (March to mid-May), the rainy season (mid-May to October), and the winter season (November to February).

Better informed about Myanmar weather and best visiting times on Best Time to Visit Myanmar.

Important festivals in Myanmar include Thingyan (the Burmese New Year), Taunggyi Balloon Festival, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival, and Elephant Dance Festival. Most of these festivals are based on the Myanmar lunar calendar, so for tourists who want to experience local festival events and celebrations, you’d better check the exact date of the festivals.

Mandalay Palace Myanmar
Mandalay Palace

Best Places to Visit in Myanmar

Myanmar is a country where you can meet thousands of ancient and well-preserved temples, and enjoy otherworldly pristine beaches, charming floating villages, time-honored monuments, and much more. See below the best places to visit in Myanmar.

Shwedagon Pagoda

An iconic landmark and pride for the Myanmar people. Its main building is over 100 meters high, coated with hundreds of gold plates, and decorated with 5448 diamonds and 3217 rubies, with a 76-carat diamond on the very top.

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

Golden Rock

It is a gold-leaf-covered rock towering over the edge of a cliff, with a 2,500-year-old pagoda on its top. The position of the rock itself is eye-catching enough, not to mention the breathtaking panoramic view it offers.

Golden Rock Myanmar

Thousands of temples scattered on Bagan Plain

From the 11th to 13th centuries, over 10,000 temples were built in the Bagan Plain, and over 2,000 of them are still well-preserved to this day. It’ll be a lifetime experience to see so many temples scattered in a tiny area.

Ancient pagodas scattered on the plains in Bagan

Inle Lake

Nestled among mountains, Inle Lake is home to over 30 villages where you can enjoy the picturesque scenery and experience the local’s unique lifestyle. You can hop on a long-tail wooden boat to explore the floating villages and see local fishermen’s unique leg-rowing technique.

The leg rowing fishermen on Inle Lake

Ngapali Beach

It is the most vibrant beach destination in Myanmar highlighting the untouched coastline. A visit to the beach will reward you with intriguing beaches and islands, thrilling water activities, bustling fishing life in the local fishing village, and many more memorable experiences.

Beautiful sunset of Ngapali Beach

For more inspiring ideas, please read Top 10 Things to Do in Myanmar, and Top 10 Attractions in Myanmar.

Myanmar Food: What to Eat in Myanmar

Burmese food has a lot of influence from its neighboring countries, especially Thailand. Most meals are dominated by fish products, noodles, seafood, and rice. The main flavors of Myanmar cuisine are acidic, spicy, and non-greasy.

Myanmar Food - Tea Leaf Salad

Below are some recommended Burmese dishes that you should try on your Myanmar tour:

Tea Leaf Salad (Laphet Thohk) – a traditional appetizer that is made from tea leaves, nuts and peas, shredded raw cabbage, and tomatoes, and usually with spicy pepper and garlic added for flavor.

Monhinga Soup – It is a kind of tasty rice noodle soup that is served as breakfast for most Myanmar people. The soup is made from slender rice noodles with crispy fried fritters, boiled eggs, fish sauce, and onions.

Nan Gyi Thote – A kind of noodle salad made with thick round noodles, and seasoned with chicken curry and other sauces. The noodle salad is usually served with a slice of boiled egg.

Burmese Tempura – With onion, potato, peas, bananas, shrimp, etc. deeply fried and served together with a special dip, Burmese Tempura is one of the local people’s favorite breakfasts.    

Shan Noodles – One of Myanmar’s most famous food combining thick noodles and marinated chicken or pork, Shan Noodles can be enjoyed either as a soup or a salad. The noodle is often seasoned with juicy tomatoes, toasted sesame, and garlic oil.

Rough Travel Budget to Myanmar

Overall, Myanmar is a very affordable country to travel around. On average, a street food meal will cost 1-3 USD, a restaurant meal is about 3-5 USD, and gourmet meals are also available which will cost about 15-20 USD. A bottle of beer is about 0.8-1.5 USD.

The cost for an overnight stay in a basic mid-range hotel is about 35-50 USD, for more luxury accommodation, the cost will be over 60 USD.

Regarding the cost of transportation, usually, domestic flights will cost 50-150 USD, depending on the distance. The train ticket is about 10-25 USD for sleeper class or upper-class seats. The tickets for long bus rides range from 7 USD to 30 USD, depending on the distance.

What to Pack for a Myanmar Tour: Myanmar Packing List

Myanmar is warm all year round thanks to its tropical monsoon climate, visitors just need to bring several lightweight and quick-dry clothing. Just keep in mind that over 89% of the Burmese population are Buddhists who are relatively conservative, so please make sure to bring clothes that can cover your knees and shoulders, and adhere to the dress code when visiting places of worship.

Below is our detailed Myanmar packing list guide, aiming to help you gain a more detailed account of what to pack for a Myanmar tour.

  1. Myanmar Visa and other personal documents
  2. Offline maps and travel guidebooks/research just in case the internet is absent or volatile.
  3. Universal Travel Adaptor: European socket with two round prongs is most common in Myanmar hotels, a Universal Travel Adaptor that can cover all travel is advisable.
  4. US Dollars: visitors will need to pay for some activities in Myanmar in US dollars.
  5. A warm top to help keep warm at night or in air-conditioned public places.
  6. Hand sanitizer and wet wipers, since running water is not always available during the trip.
  7. Flip flops: people are required to remove shoes when entering worship places, flip flops are good choices to avoid frequently tying or untying laces.
  8. Sunscreen and sunhat
  9. Shirts and pants that can cover shoulders and knees. Most temples and pagodas enforce a strict dress code.
  10. Insect spray: there are abundant bugs and mosquitoes in outdoor places.

Myanmar Transportation: How to Get to and Get around

How to Get to Myanmar

As overland border crossings from neighboring countries are tightly controlled currently, most international traveler arrives in Myanmar by air. There are also a few international cruises that arrive in Myanmar at Yangon Thilawa Port.

Yangon International Airport Myanmar

By air

Yangon International Airport and Mandalay International Airport are two important Myanmar airports where most overseas flights flying into Myanmar arrive.

Yangon International Airport is the most important airport in Myanmar, offering frequent direct flights to/from Bangkok and Singapore. Other cities offering direct international flights to/from Yang International Airport include Kuala Lumpur, Chiang Mai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Kunming, and Kolkata.

There are taxis from Yangon International Airport to the Yangon downtown area available, usually, the ride will take about 45 minutes.

Mandalay International Airport is the second airport in Myanmar that offers direct flights to/from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Singapore, and Kunming.

From the airport to Mandalay downtown, it will take about 1 hour by taxi.

Arrive in Myanmar overland

Visitors holding a valid Myanmar eVisa can enter overland from China, Thailand, and India, making it possible to travel to Myanmar from these countries.

How to Get around Myanmar

Planes and buses are the two most popular ways to get around Myanmar. Boats and cruises are the more romantic ways to travel around Myanmar, rewarding visitors with leisurely scenic sightseeing.

Traveling between cities in Myanmar by air is very convenient and cheap, the flight from Yangon to Mandalay will take about only 2 hours, and cost about 110 USD.

Taking a bus is the cheapest way to travel around Myanmar, and it is also faster than trains. A bus ride from Yangon to Bagan or Mandalay will take about 9 hours, and the ride from Yangon to Inle Lake will take about 11 hours. Since most bus seats in Myanmar are not uncomfortable, we suggest taking planes if the bus ride will take more than 8 hours.

Trains are the least recommended way to travel around Myanmar since it is very uncomfortable and time-consuming.

For short-distance transfers within cities, you can take taxis (no meters, usually cost less than 5 USD for a short distance), tuk-tuks, or private cars.

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