Myanmar is a mysteriously beautiful country. From stunning temple landscapes to unspoiled waters of Mergui Archipelago, the country is more visible in the tourism radar of Asia thanks to its unique charm.
This ultimate travel tips features the most comprehensive information for a perfect holiday to this mesmerizing country:
To start planning your trip to Myanmar, this guide provides some of the most practical information you should know:
Myanmar government have been stepping forward to improve their visa service. Visitors now can apply for visa through embassies which presents in many countries in the world. The ordinary visa procedure takes about 1 week.
Evisa is available for both air travel and border crossing. The fast service allows you to get visa as fast as 1 working day. Evisa is applicable online and costs from $50/ person for a normal one.
Travel Tips for visa : apply for visa at least 2 weeks before your actual departure.
Price Guide & Money issue
Compare to its neighbor countries like Thailand or Laos, Myanmar is expensive. There is a tendency that travel expense will become cheaper as there are more hotels, services supplier and higher competition in tourism industry.
In general, budget travelers now can travel with $40/ day including food, accommodation and transportation. Luxury Hotels starts from $150/ night for 4 star while there are some top experience like balloon ride at $300/ person.
Basically, ATMs are now available in many cities and tourist sites yet the commission you have to pay to withdraw money is still high. It can be as much as 6% including local fee and your native bank fee. Therefore, carrying cash seems a good solution since local tour operators also prefer cash than credit.
Myanmar Travel Tips for money: bring as much cash as possible to cut the cost of exchanging.
For years Myanmar has been witnessed the participation of many foreign communication companies which arrived and provide internet, telephone service. This mean, the quality is improving.
Up to 2018, the country still provides low internet speed. If you are a blogger, it is not easy to travel and update your blog since the connection is not so stable.
It is advisable to buy a prepaid sim card if you want to receive phone calls from overseas.
Best time to go
The answer for when you should visit Myanmar depends on your travel sense. Majority of visitor plan their holiday to Myanmar in sunny, dry season which lasts from November to April.
For those who want to benefit the best value for money, they tend to travel in summer with lots of promotion yet this is the rainy season from May to October.
According to a local travel expert, the shoulder seasons April – May and Oct – November have both advantages for price and weather.
Traveling from Europe, US and Australia to Myanmar is long.
The most popular international airport that receives many flights to Myanmar per day is Yangon. Expect a transit flight via Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore.
Border crossing is a perfect alternative. Recently, border checkpoints between Myanmar and Thailand, India and China are accepting visa on arrival that means you can get visa through online system then travel on land. The most popular boder are Myawaddy and Maesot.
Independent Travel vs Tour Packages
undoubtedly, the invasion of technology and online booking have helped travelers very much in organizing the trips in Myanmar. Visitors meet no difficulty to travel amongst the famous destinations like Yangon, Bagan or Inle Lake.
Using local tour operator is also very ethical. Beside the fact that you will contribute to the sustainable development, you will enjoy the expert knowledge to craft a special itinerary. For themed adventure to Putao, Chin state you will need to obtain visiting permit and only local tour operator can archive it.
Top Myanmar Travel Experiences
From mesmerizing Bagan Balloon to fabulous Irrawaddy River cruise, here are 10 of the most rewarding travel experiences to be had in Myanmar :
Tour the appetizing streets of Yangon
Yangon is a melting port of culture where Indian, Chinese and Burmese live harmony. Thus, the streets of Yangon downtown are abundant of different delicacies.
For foodie, Yangon is really tempting. From mouth washing salad to tasteful curry, from cracking snack to smoky BBQ in China town, you will be quickly lost with flavors and smells of Yangon. The most recommended dishes are Shan noodle, shrimp curry, tofu salad. Do not miss the sweet mango that Myanmar is really famous for.
Yangon’s real draw is probably Shwedagon which can be compared as Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Believed to be built about 2,500 Shwedagon is the biggest pagoda in the country. It is adorned with numerous Budda statues.
For first timer, the pagoda really attracts your curiosity as it can be viewed mostly from everywhere in the city while in the evening it dominates the skyline by glorious golden flash reflected from gold, diamond and sapphires perched on its 110 high dome.
See Bagan from Above
Bagan treasures the richest archaeological wonder of Myanmar with over 2,500 pagodas and temples. This spectacular plain is also home to the most scenic part where Irrawaddy River flows by.
While exploring the area by car provides you just a slide of this heritage site, beholding the area`s from a balloon is a fabulous experience. You will fly high enough to put all the shimmering stupas in your camera lens. The ride lasts for 3 hours during the sunrise and offering precious photogenic chances you should not miss.
Related : Top 10 Places to see in Myanmar
When it comes for the idea of exploring the main waterways of Myanmar, enigmatic Irrawaddy River is just ripe to do so. A three days journey up river from Bagan to Mandalay reveals more than just the spectacular scenery. Each day you will enjoy exclusive shore excursion, filled with visits to fascinating historic sites, authentic local interaction as well a new experience either face-to-face to traditional workshops or typical arts.
The sailing option varies from superior stand with only $350/ 2 nights to high end luxurious cruise from $800.
Enchanting Hike through Shan Mountain
When the tourist crowds flock into Kalaw for a trek to Inle, Hsipaw is a hidden gem for adventure seeker. This stunning hike takes you by boat then on foot into the wilderness of Shan mountains. There you will experience cascading waterfalls, dense forest and awe-inspiring valleys. It is not mentioned about the opportunity to meet the friendly Shan hill tribes who always welcome you with smiles.
Admire Inle Lake’s uniqueness
Stretching over 22km of water, Inle is home to floating gardens, stilt villages and numerous Buddhist architects including the sacred Phang Daw Oo pagoda. The best way to appreciate the site is to embark on a wooden boat weaving through its winding canals, get closer to the life of Pa daung and Pa- O tribe.
Inle isn’t short of unique experiences for those who want to do something different. The very first thing you should immerse in a photography trip with Inthar fisherman who controls their boat by only one leg.
Another thing you should not miss is a visit to the sunken Sankar stupas in southern bank of the lake. Here, you will discover the life of Pa – O in the most orginal way. If you have not heard about the only winery in Myanmar then make your way to Inle and spend your sunset sipping the finest way viewing the mountain at Red Mountain Estate.
Beach hopping in Ngapali
So far, this is the only world class beach in Myanmar. Ngapali is located in Rakhine State, exposing 17km of powdery, white sand. The wide array of mid-range to high-end resorts gives you more choices for a comfortable stay whether it is for honeymoon or family trip.
Ngapali does not have real nightlife but you will feel happy with the activities available: diving excursion, beach biking to Pearl Island, cultural tour to Thandwe town.
A luxury island escape
Tucked in southern edge of the country, Mergui Archipelago overlooks Andaman Sea with some 800 island, mostly uninhabited. This is a wonderful seascape for travelers who seek for sea, sand and sun without the crowds.
The area is still less touched by tourists which means you will need to charter a luxury cruise to set sail along the azure water. Your experience is entirely rewarding with private beach, unrivaled diving spots, hidden waterfalls and friendly Gypsy encounters.
Authentic Asia Tours, a local tour operator has designed some interesting voyage combining the highlights of Southern destinations like Hpa An, Golden Rock with high-end yacht trip. View more about their offer for Myanmar Luxury Holiday
Waterfall hopping in Lashio
Tucked away in the remote mountain near China, Lashio promise some sort of life time adventure. It is filled by mirror-like lake, white waterfalls as high as 30m, pristine forest.
From 2017, a social enterprise called Myanmar Adventure outfitter have created some incredible travel products that give visitors chances to swim in the natural pool of Hidden Tiger falls, having fun with local family in their farm work and ride on the dirt trail until you reach the famous Burma Road. Lashio have been gaining enormous positive reviews on travel forum like Tripadvisor.
Get more inspiration with Top Myanmar Adventures
What else you can do ?
After decades of isolation, Myanmar is now revealing more and more its treasures to the world. In the north, Putao is becoming a hotspot for adventures while Chin State is really calling for photographers.
Tropical paradise is remarkably pointed at Dawei peninsula. It is now the time to uncover Myanmar`s hidden gems before it turns touristic.