2 Weeks in Myanmar

Myanmar

Myanmar is one of my new favorite countries in Southeast Asia. It has an untouched, beautiful vibe to it that many of the other more touristy countries in Southeast Asia are lacking.

Unfortunately, I was only able to spend two weeks in Myanmar, but I hope to go back and explore more in the future. However, I was able to fit a lot into my two weeks, and I would really recommend my route for people who have just a short amount of time but would like to see as much of the country as they can without feeling overwhelmed.

Mandalay

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Time Spent- 2 days, 3 nights

I decided to fly into Mandalay from Bangkok, and spend my time in this region of the country rather than the more typical route of flying into Yangon and out of Mandalay. I do want to go back and see Yangon and the surrounding areas at another time, but did not feel that it was the most expedient route for the length of my stay.

I spent one day in Mandalay walking around and exploring. This was a really fun city to explore. The first day I don’t think I saw any other tourists, as I wasn’t at any of the main sights and was just aimlessly wandering. People were so friendly, coming up to talk to me and practice their English. Everywhere I went, locals  smiled and waved.

On the second day, I did a standard tour- seeing the Ancient cities surrounding Mandalay and ending with sunset on U-Bein Bridge.

Bagan

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Time Spent- 3 days, 4 nights

From Mandalay, you can take a bus or take the slow boat. I opted for the bus. It said it would take about 5 hours, but ended up taking closer to eight. (As I found with most transportation in Myanmar). If I had more time, I would have taken the train up to Hsipaw or stopped in Monywa, breaking up the journey. Hopefully next time.

Bagan is obviously a must-do if you are in Myanmar, but it was honestly my least favorite part of the trip. Here there are the most concentrated groups of tourists. Although the temples were stunning, they got a bit repetitive after a while, and for me it wasn’t necessary to spend a longer time in Bagan.

Kalaw

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Time Spent- 3 days, 4 nights

Kalaw was probably my favorite place in Myanmar, and it makes me so eager to go back and see more rural areas of the country. It’s much colder there than other areas, and the air is crisp and fresh. I stayed at the Thitaw Lay House, and it was one of my favorite guesthouses ever. The homemade breakfast is to die for, and the owner gave us some local trail guides that led to rural villages and temples. I loved Kalaw and could have spent a much longer time there.

Inle Lake

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Time Spent- 2 days, 3 nights

From Kalaw, it’s a very short bus ride to the town of Nyaung Shwe. You can also hike to do a 3-day trek. There isn’t a whole lot to do here, but the boat ride one Inle Lake was magical and probably one of the most photographically rewarding experiences of my trip.

From Nyaung Shwe, I flew back to Mandalay and then back to Bangkok.

What are your favorite places in Myanmar? Let me know in the comments below. Hopefully I will be able to spend more time in this beautiful country in the future.

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12 thoughts

  1. Myanmar is definitely on my to-do list, it looks incredible! I’m really looking forward to seeing the temples in Bagan, it’s a shame that sometimes the most beautiful places are very touristy. The other places you mentioned in this post sound amazing too though! Thanks for the ideas 🙂

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  2. Ahh I loved Bagan but we went when it was quiet (bit hot though!). Part of it was probably because we rented rather unreliable e-bikes, we loved the sense of freedom to explore and managed to get quite a few temples to ourselves. It rained a lot in Mandalay, flooding everywhere – did you get caught out there or did you have better luck? 🙂

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  3. I love Myanmar. It is just about still off the tourist trail (sort of), but that will go in the next 5 years. Yangon is an awesome city, but very fast-paced, yet Bagan for me was the opposite – very laid-back. Mandalay was alright, but I wouldn’t go back (despite enjoying it there). I want to learn Burmese, that looks a really cool language.

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  4. This has really whetted my appetite for my upcoming trip to Myanmar in November. Do you happen to know if the guy that runs the guest house in Kalaw can help organise the 2/3 day treks to Inle Lake?

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