Myanmar is the country that has only been accessible to tourists since 2011. Before that time the borders were closed and the country suffered under a military coup for more than 50 years. The established junta raised all democratic governing bodies and means, including the constitution. Today Aung San Suu Kyi leads the countries from the shadows. Although the country is still suffering, infrastructure is still lacking and travel can be challenging, Myanmar is totally worth it.
Myanmar is, still on this day, promoted as ‘what Southeast Asia used to be’, and in a certain way this is true, but the country has developed to a more touristy hotspot in recent years. It’s expected that in 10 years’ time this will be the new Thailand. So go now, before everybody else does. And they will.
There is a standard route which most tourist follow in Myanmar. This is likely because there are still many places out of bounds for foreigners, especially in the north. However, this route is already incredible in itself as you will encounter the most incredible sights and friendly and warm locals along the way.
“ It is better to travel well than to arrive.” @Buddha.
Myanmar in itself is a very cheap country to travel through. The most common transport for tourist to use is the bus, which are most of the time very luxurious. But also by plane, if you have a long distance to cover, is a good and cheap option. Food and drinks are also very affordable. The only thing which is more expensive than most of Asia is accommodation. This is due to the lack of enough hotels, hostels, etc compared to the tourists that are visiting the country every year.
We are travellers that like to experience everything a country has to offer. In every country we visit there are also a few basics we value and that is comfortable sleeping and good food. Of course this has to fit within our budget, which isn't a backpacker budget, but we also don't have unlimited financial resources.
What we usually strive for:
Local food which is cheap and most of the time the best food you ever had.
Value for money accommodation where we focus on cleanliness and a comfortable bed.
A mix of must sees which are almost for nothing as it is a hard to reach place or yet unknown and must sees which are pricy as it is very touristy.
To travel through Myanmar you can use the numbers below to set up your daily budget.
FOOD & DRINKS
EUR 35,13 per day per person
on the basis of 22 days and excl. fly ticket
You’ll need a visa, which is easy to get online. To get one, go to the official e-Visa website. You’ll need to upload a passport photo and pay a fee of $50. Your e-Visa letter is valid for 90- days from the date of issue and allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar.
By land Tachileik land border crossing, Myawaddy land border crossing, Kawthaung land border crossing which all are connected with Thailand.
Myanmar has a lot to offer. But before you go you need to know what the hotspots of the country are. Beneath, we have selected a few of our finest moments. Of course there is much more to explore and if you want to see more, please click on the button below. You will not only find our highlights, but also from fellow travellers. Are you also one of these travellers that takes the unbeaten path, leave us a message.
GETTIN' HUNGRY or THIRSTY
Little India is a somewhat unidentified neighbourhood in downtown Yangon. It is spread out over several streets and received the name during the British occupation, when many Indians and Bangladeshi Muslims migrated to Yangon.
Ever-popular, long-running, convivial Nepali restaurant that serves up tasty curry spreads, complete with a good selection of side dishes.
Chinatown is an area teaming with food and for many the best starting point for exploration is 19th street where you'll find vendor after vendor of charcoal grills, cooking all sorts of meats, veg and marinades from shop house barbecue restaurants.
Recharge at this contemporary-styled cafe serving excellent coffee, iced tea and Dutch beer along with tasty but pricey snacks and pastries.
A trip to Bagan, Myanmar would not be complete without a morning watching the sun peak over the mountains and dye the sky a rainbow of colors. After watching a magical sunrise, a good sunset is also a must!
We had been longing to go trekking again for a long while, so when we learned that there is the possibility to do a multi-day trek from a small town called Kalaw to Inle Lake, we were very excited. There are different options for trekking in the area, from short day hikes to two or three day long treks. Aside from getting to explore the countryside, there is also a cultural aspect to the trekking as you get to sleep in locals’ homes in remote villages. #Everysmile #3 days trekking #backtobasic
Located in New Bagan this hotel includes free buffet breakfast and free parking. All 60 rooms feature free WiFi, balconies, and flat-screen TVs.
Well-placed in the culture, sightseeing, shopping area of Yangon city, Scott@31st Street provides a 3 storied budget accommodation.
TIPS & TRICKS
By air: Yangon International Airport, Mandalay International Airport and Nay Pyi Taw International Airport. Flying to Myanmar can be very cheap, especially from Bangkok. It was even cheaper to take
the bus from Cambodia to Bangkok, have an overnight stay and fly from Bangkok, than to fly directly from Cambodia.
By buses: are affordable with competing companies and a range of luxury levels. One of our favourites was JJ Express.
Most buses travel overnight which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing, but can be very cold due to the aircon. So where comfortable and warm clothes. Keep in mind that busses can arrive at really weird hours, like in the middle of the night. Inform your hostel about this as they can pick you up, if you are lucky. If this isn’t an option think about taking the bus during the day.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few hours for a food and toilet break.
E-Bike: To explore Bagan our advise is to rent an e-bike. It is easy to drive, quick and a cheap option to gettin' lost in this beautiful area.
Pack some ‘temple clothes’ – as a very minimum have knee covering and shoulder covering clothes (and not just a scarf) for visiting temples, of which Myanmar has many.
You can use 2 currencies in Myanmar – dollars and the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’). Kyat banknotes are available in the denominations 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 Kyat and are accepted everywhere even if they are folded a thousand times, thrown in the mud, stamped on….well you understand. But for dollars this is a different story as they need to be crisp and clean and older than 2006.
Although useful sometimes an necessary if you can’t find an ATM on time, it is better to pay in kyat as you will receive a better deal than paying with dollars.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar. A good option is to buy a local SIM. You can get one at most airports when you land or in one of the shops in the street and the shop staff will have you set up in about 5 minutes. The provider Ooredoo gives great coverage and speed.
BEST VIEW BY SUNSET & SUNRISE AT BAGAN
Imagine standing on top of a 1000 year old temple as the stars fade and the sky changes from inky blue to soft yellows and pinks. Watching the red, yellow, and green hot air balloons slowly fill up and lift off, floating across the sky in front of you as the sun breaks over the horizon. That is what its like watching the sunrise in Bagan from a temple. It’s pure magic, and I know if I lived here I would get up every single day to see it happen.
There are several popular places in Bagan to watch the sunrise (around 6:30 a.m.) from one of the pagodas. The most popular are:
- Dhammayangyi temple
- Thitsarwadi Temple: Close up of Ballons over Bagan
- Law Ka Ou Shaung: Stunning Sunrise views
- Shwe San Daw Pagoda, A Well Known Spot (Very touristic, you are not the only one)
There are several popular places in Bagan to watch the sunset (around 5:30/6pm) from one of the pagodas. - Pyathetgyi Pagoda: Popular Sunset Spot (sunset spot)
- North Guni and South Guni pagodas
- Ta Wet Hpaya: The Secret Temple
Because of vandalism, there are many temples closed for sunrise and sunset.
BEST TIME TO GO
Myanmar is a tropical country with three different seasons: winter, summer and monsoons. Winter is the most pleasant season of the three, and runs from November to February. Next comes the summer, which lasts until about May. It can get very hot during the summer in Myanmar. After the summer period Myanmar is hit by the monsoons, between May and October.
Each season has its own attractions and even during the rainy season there are many days with clear blue skies and lush green landscapes. However, winter is considered as high season and this is the best time to visit Myanmar.
Rainfall (mm) Temperature (°C)
The 4th of January Independence Day, 13th-16th of April Thinguan Water Festival, the 6th of December National Day.
Some parts of the country remain closed to foreigners due to conflict between the government and various ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin and Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and Thailand, and far from the major tourist destinations.
Myanmar is an incredibly safe county – most of the population is Buddhist and with a belief in karma, crime levels are exceptionally low.
Formally, vaccinations for a trip to Myanmar are not mandatory, but vaccinations against Hepatitis A and DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and polio) are strongly recommended. A vaccination against yellow fever is mandatory if you travel through a country where it is. In some cases, vaccinations against typhus, tetanus and Japanese encephalitis are also recommended.
You’re unlikely to need malaria pills while in Myanmar but if by change you are able to travel far north and south it is wise to take them with you as a precaution. Do use repellent to avoid dengue fever.
Polluted water is one of the main risks for travellers. Therefore, always drink water from bottles that are sealed.