A 2015 Travel Guide to Myanmar (Burma)

There are many blog posts floating around the web about travel in Myanmar, and nearly all of them are outdated.   The information is outdated because things are rapidly evolving in Myanmar, as the country has widely opened its borders to tourism with lenient visa restrictions.

I spent almost 3 weeks exploring Myanmar in January, 2015 and I had an incredible experience. In this Travel Guide to Myanmar, you’ll find the most up-to-date travel information as of January 2017. I’ll provide you with everything you need to know such as exclusive travel tips, what to expect from Burmese culture, things to do, what to eat, where to sleep, where to party and more. I will also give you mini-guides to the 3 major cities of Yangon, Bagan and Inle Lake.  

I encourage you to comment on this post if you have more advice to share about Myanmar, or if you’re looking to meet up with fellow travelers!!  Also, a great way to give back is by booking your hotels in Myanmar on this link — it’s an affiliate link, meaning I make a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Your booking helps to keep my website running 🙂 

General Thoughts & Reactions

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is unquestionably my favorite country in South East Asia (and quite possibly in the world). I spent 2-and-a-half-weeks exploring around the country in early 2015.  My trip to Burma has made the biggest influence on my life out of any previous trips I’ve taken around the world to 100+ countries.

I’m just so excited to share my Myanmar experiences with you that my fingers are typing at robot speeds right now. Seriously!

From the moment I got off the plane in Yangon (the largest city), I was in utter shock.  It was my first time back in South East Asia in nearly 6 months, but what I was experiencing was noticeably different than the rest.  Culture shock was real.

After traveling to some 25 countries in Asia, I found Myanmar to be the most authentic, untouched and special of them all.  But don’t get too excited, because that is going to change VERY soon.

The reason why Burma is exploding in popularity is because tourists may now enter freely after acquiring a visa online and picking it up on arrival. In 2012, only 1 million tourists visited in Myanmar, but a projected 5.1 million are expected to visit in 2016. That’s a 400% increase!

So, my advice to you is to go NOW before the country turns into the next Thailand, where foreigners will begin to settle and the country will become too commercialized.  When I was in Myanmar, I didn’t recognize a single name brand other than Coca Cola.  I mean, even McDonald’s hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon yet (but I heard it’s already in the works…)

Before my trip, I read many blogs and news sources online which repeatedly said ATM machines aren’t available in Myanmar. Well, that is completely false now.  I saw hundreds of ATM machines throughout the major cities. It is true that nobody accepts credit cards, so you must have cash readily available at all times (I recommending bringing lots of $US Cash). I never had issues pulling out money from an ATM, and all machines thankfully gave me small bills (5,000 Kyat notes or $5USD).

Wifi does exist in most hotels, but it’s terribly slow. Do you remember dial-up internet from the 1990s? Yeah, the wifi in Myanmar is about the same as that…  I repeat, the wifi in Myanmar is the same speed as dial-up internet from the 1990s. However, the nicer your hotel is, the better chance that they’ve paid more for a better wifi signal.

For bloggers and digital nomads who depend on wifi like myself, it was kind of a nightmare to get anything done because it was nearly impossible to upload photos and blog posts. In places like Bagan and Inle lake, most hotels will “claim” that they have wifi, but it simply won’t work. I once waited 50 minutes for one email to send.  For one email!

And if the weather is rainy or overcast, then all of the wifi signals will completely shut down in the city (it happened to me in Bagan). It was frustrating, but having no wifi did make me appreciate the beauty of the country without worrying about updating my Instagram.  That being said, the wifi availability will likely become better in the near future.

Myanmar is a very cheap country to travel in, aside from hotel prices which are unusually high. Taxi rides are no more than $2-3 to get across town (they don’t use meters — so you must negotiate prices beforehand). Water bottles are $0.20 cents. A one-hour Burmese massage was $3.50. I bought a legit pair of sandals for $1.15.  Food is dirt cheap as well. If you avoid the touristy restaurants, then you can eat some delicious Shan noodles for $0.80 cents (photo below).


A Word about Hotels:

Hotel rooms are openly available everywhere, and yes, they are a bit expensive because of the lack of rooms to accommodate the influx of tourists.  It’s not totally necessary to book all hotels in advance, but I would highly recommend it to avoid frustration when you arrive.  And trust me, the hotels fill up fast (especially during peak season from Nov – Mar).

I recommend finding your hotels on TripAdvisor.com — they always have the best rates and a lot of options for big cities in Myanmar.

To find the best deals on hotels in Yangon, click here.
For hotels in Bagan, click here.
For hotels in Mandalay, click here.
For hotels in Inle Lake, click here.
For hotels in Ngapali Beach, click here.

Public Transportation is immaculate and generally reliable. There are buses EVERYWHERE that connect all the major cities.  But don’t try to book a bus on your own or attempt to find the bus station.  Your guesthouse will gladly book your ticket in advance, and arrange a pick up service from your hotel. There are “VIP” buses, which are a bit more expensive (around $15-20 for a 12 hour ride), but they’re absolutely worth it.  The VIP buses have comfortable reclining chairs, TVs, blankets, air conditioning, and dinner is provided!

I didn’t take any local trains because I heard horror stories about them… Like my buddy, Rodrigo, who told me that his train compartment was separated off the tracks, and he landed in the middle of the forest by himself with nobody around.  That is not a made-up story. If you are an adventurous traveler, then go for it, but for others who want a better chance of staying alive, go for the bus.

The weather is always hot in Myanmar – especially in Yangon. The “peak season” to visit with the best weather is from November to February. If you visit in other months, then it will likely be scorching hot (110F/45C in Yangon) or you’ll hit rainy season which goes from May to October.  Regardless of when you visit Myanmar, make sure to bring mosquito repellent, because you will probably get bitten. One morning, I counted 45 mosquito bites on my body.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 6.11.53 PMThe Burmese language is really cool looking, but my ears couldn’t make sense of anything when I listened to it being spoken.   It looks like a bunch of “C’s” and “O’s” and squiggly lines put together. I suggest learning the basic words like “Ming-la-ba” which means “Hello,” and “Je-su-ba” which means “Thank you.”

Alright, now it’s time for some quick facts about Myanmar!

Quick Facts

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 6.13.15 PMCurrency: Myanmar Kyat ($1USD = 1,000 kyats)
Language: Burmese (official)
Population: 51.5 million (in 2014)
Capital City: Naypyidaw (although it was Yangon before 2006)
Area:  676,578 sq km (slightly smaller than Texas)
– 68% of the population are ethnic Burmese
– Burma is known as “The Golden Land,” due to the amazing golden pagodas everywhere
– Myanmar gained independence from Britain in 1948
– 90% of local people are Buddhist
– Myanmar is one of 3 countries who don’t use the metric system (along with U.S.A and Liberia)
– Rice and Green Tea are typically served with every meal
– Myanmar has over 135 ethnic tribes, each speaking their own unique dialect
– Wine-making is a popular industry with the Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Late Wine and Inle Valley White Wineries being the most famous
– Betel Nut mixed with Tobacco is very common, and men will chew it and spit it all day long (eww)

Burmese Food


Burmese food is plentiful, flavorful and delicious!

I ate myself overly full the entire time I was there. All local dishes are very, very cheap. I was spending anywhere from .80 cents to $3 USD for decently sized portions.

The cuisine is a mixture between Thai, Chinese and Indian food, which makes sense because Myanmar is physically sandwiched in between these three countries..

Common dishes include curries, steamed vegetables, seasoned onions and (fried) rice & noodles. Most things are flavored with local spices, garlic, ginger and chili peppers.  If you’re like me and you like extra spicy, then add as many chili peppers as you want!

Traditional Burmese dishes include Mohinga (rice noodles with fish soup and orange sauce, the taste of which varies from sweet to spicy), Onnokauswe (noodles cooked in coconut milk with chicken or pork), and Shan Noodles (rice noodles stir-fried with chicken in bean sauce, topped with chopped roasted peanut, bean sprouts, cabbage, scallions and chili flakes).  My favorite dish was Shan Noodles– and I ate it everyday!

Also, markets and street vendors sell a large variety of tropical fruits and hand picked vegetables.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 10.28.14 PM

The service inside restaurants is very good and quick. They will literally bring the food to you within a few minutes after ordering. My favorite part about a Burmese restaurant is the way in which you get the attention of the getting the waiter/waitress.  You must make a kissing sound with your lips! Ladies, don’t think that creepy guys are hitting on you when you hear this sound. In all of my travels around the world, Yangon is the only place that I’ve seen a kissing sound to grab attention of someone in a restaurant!

Due to Myanmar being a tropical country, the fruit is as fresh as it gets. Everyday, I ate a combination of watermelon, avocados, bananas, papayas, and oranges. I recommend ordering fruit juice from a street vendor for just .20 cents!  My favorite fruits were papaya and watermelon.


For a complete guide of Myanmar Foods, check out my friend Juan’s ebook called Delicious Myanmar!  His book is very detailed about Myanmar cuisine & culture, and I personally recommend it.

The People

Just like elsewhere in South East Asia, the locals are extremely heart warming, welcoming and friendly. But I found Burmese people to be the kindest of them all.

Everyone will greet you with a giant smile. I made local friends who showed me around the entire time I was there. Every Burmese person that I met literally went out of their way to make sure that I was having a good time.


The majority of men wear a longyi, which is a Burmese sarong. They look like long, colorful skirts that go from their waist to their ankles. It is derived from the Buddhist religion, which has strong roots in Myanmar. You will also see a large amount of monks walking on the streets and around the Pagodas. They are very humble and friendly. If you say hello to them, they’ll kindly wave and smile back at you.

Most men (especially taxi drivers) are constantly chewing this mixture of red tobacco and betel nut in their mouth, which stains their teeth a bloody color of red.  Don’t get freaked out when you see it.  But I can warn you to avoid the red splatter marks on the ground, because that is spit from their mouths. It’s literally everywhere and it’s disgusting.


Burmese women wear a special face paint- called thanaka– which is yellowish-white in color. It is a distinct feature of the Burmese people and the tradition has been kept for over 2,000 years. Women use it for make-up, blocking the sun, and it’s apparently healthy for their skin.

All people, both men and women of all ages, dress very casual and they always wear flip flops. Apparently it’s also a tradition in Myanmar to wear flip flops, because you are required to take off your shoes when entering households, pagodas and some restaurants.

Omg I almost forgot to mention how ADORABLE the kids are! I just couldn’t get enough of them.  Like this precious little girl below.



Yangon is the former capital and largest city in Myanmar, with a population of about 6 million people. The city is located in the southern part of the country, with Thailand to the East and the Bay of Bengal to the West. If you are arriving in Myanmar by plane, then you’ll most likely be arriving at Yangon International Airport.

My first impressions of Yangon were chaotic, dirty, and impoverished.  I was overwhelmed, to say the least. The infrastructure was very poor. Sidewalks had giant holes in them. There were stray dogs and cats are running around on the streets. The streets were overloaded with traffic jams and honking horns from impatient drivers. Every other car on the road seemed to be a taxi driver, who provided cheap rides around the city for $1-3 USD.  It kind of reminded me of a mini-version of Bangkok. There was always a lot happening at once, but everything just seemed to work just fine.

However, I quickly adjusted to the culture and I began to fall in love with this place.


In nearly every direction you look, there will be a sparking golden pagoda, with the most famous one being the Shwedagon Pagoda. If you search for Myanmar on Google Images, then this is the shiny gold pagoda that you’ll see. And holy crap, it’s amazing!

In fact, I think the Shwedagon Pagoda is the most underrated building in the world. All other epic buildings around the world get recognized (Colosseum, Parthenon, Great Wall, Taj Mahal, Opera House, Hagia Sophia, Eiffel Tower, etc.), but the Shwedagon doesn’t get nearly as much credit as it deserves.

I was awe-struck by how much gold and detail the pagoda had.  Walking around the pagoda felt like I was on a different planet- or it felt like Las Vegas on steroids in the year 2050.  Keep an eye out for this temple to become the “next place to visit” in coming years, as millions of newcomers will be flocking to Myanmar.


Other things to do in Yangon
– Visit the local markets
– Get an awesome massage for $3.50!
– Spend a long time admiring the Shwedagon pagoda
– Visit the Sule Pagoda
– Walk through Chinatown
– Visit the Bogyoke Aung San Market
– Take the circular train to the outskirts of town
– Have a beer by the lake
– Eat some street food

Yangon Nightlife

Most of the nightlife in Myanmar occurs in Yangon. There are several districts with bars and clubs which are open until the wee hours of the morning. Local booze consists of Mandalay Rum (only $3 for a bottle and it’s damn good) and Myanmar Beer (an award winning Lager that is less than $1 per bottle).


My Burmese friends took me out to a club in Yangon and it was a crazy experience!  Girls dress sexy, drinks are insanely cheap, and they party all night long. Almost all clubs in Yangon play awesome EDM music too! No matter what night of the week it is, there will be people out having fun. I went to the club on a Tuesday and it was a wild time!

Click here to read about my bizarre experience at a club in Yangon.

Where to Stay in Yangon?

The following hotels are my top recommendations in Yangon.  For a more comprehensive list, please check out Trip Advisor and book your stay today!

1) For budget travelers – 20th Street Hostel (Book online now)
*rates – $9/night for an 8 bed dorm

2) For mid-price – Taw Win Garden Hotel (Book online now)
*rates – $81/night for a deluxe room with breakfast

3) For luxury – Shangri-la (Book online now)
*rates – $219/night for a deluxe room with breakfast


The city of Bagan is one of the coolest and most historic places that I’ve ever been.   It’s located about 290 kilometers south of Mandalay and 700 kilometers north of Yangon, in the central part of the country.   You cannot visit Myanmar without a stop in Bagan!


The biggest draw to Bagan are the 3,000+ world-renowned Buddhist temples that span across the landscape. They were built between the 11th – 13th Centuries and they are absolutely stunning to see. You can take a hot air balloon over Bagan during sunrise, and get a breathtaking view of the landscape.  The Balloons are seasonal, and do not operate in rainy season.

The most reputable hot air balloon company since 1999 is called Balloons Over Bagan.  But to be completely honest with you, I was a bit underwhelmed by the experience, especially for a whopping price of $380 USD.  I wrote an honest review about my experience with Balloons Over Bagan that I encourage you to check out before booking your ticket.  I personally wouldn’t recommend it and I’d tell you to save your money, because $380 can be your entire budget for 6 weeks of travel in Myanmar.

However, what you should definitely do in Bagan is rent an electric motorbike for $5USD per day to go exploring around the temples on your own time. It’s incredibly peaceful and unforgettable to be surrounded by hundreds of temples with no one in sight.  In my opinion, the temples of Bagan are much more tranquil than those of Angkor Wat, because you have the freedom to explore on your own without running into anyone.


(This photo was taken by my friend Sam.  He sells loads of incredible photos from Myanmar and around the world, so email him if you’re interested at sammycloud37@gmail.com)

Let me warn you that Bagan is very touristy which makes it the most expensive city that I visited in Burma. Hotels are not cheap, and beware if you try to stay at “budget places” (for $15USD per night), then expect them to be of poor quality. In other words, you get what you pay for. I stayed at a place called Mya Thida hotel for $15/night, and the workers were absolutely clueless and unhelpful. Also, all wifi signals all over Bagan are extremely poor, and when the weather is cloudy or rainy, the wifi is completely blocked out around the city.


I recommend spending 2-3 days in Bagan.  That should be enough to see everything and get a nice feel for the temples.

Where to Stay in Bagan?

The following hotels are my top recommendations in Bagan.  For a more comprehensive list, please check out Trip Advisor and book your stay today!

1) For budget travelers – Royal Bagan Hotel (Book online now)
*rates – $33/night for a superior room with breakfast

2) For mid-price – Blue Bird Hotel (Book online now)
*rates – $125/night for a deluxe twin bed room with breakfast

3) For luxury – Bagan Lodge Hotel (Book online now)
*rates – $151/night for a beautiful villa with breakfast

Inle Lake

Every traveler coming through Myanmar must stop at Inle Lake.

If you have a few extra days to spare, I highly recommend doing the 3-day trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake. You can hire a private tour guide for just $12 per day which includes all meals and accommodation. The trek was the best travel experience of my life!

Read all about my experience on the trek right here.

The 25 kilometer lake is surrounded by about 500 villages.  I advise you to book your hotel in the northern village called Nyaung Shwe.   It’s a really cool area to explore and it has the best selection of cheap hotels.   Almost all backpackers stay in Nyaung Shwe.


I highly recommend to take the day boat tour around the lake for just $2 per person (if you have a group of 6 people), and you can see the floating market, hand-weaving silk, long neck ladies, Buddhist temples, stilt house neighborhoods on the water, and one-legged fisherman on the lake. It’s a great half-day to spend on the lake!

Or if you prefer to explore by land, then you can rent a bike for $1 a day and ride freely along the lake path. Make a visit to one of the many hot springs and get tipsy at the famous Red Mountain winery (I got pretty drunk for a few dollars).  During my 2 day trip to Inle Lake, I spent the first day exploring by bike, and the next day on the boat tour.  If you do this, then 2 days is plenty to spend there.

Inle Lake was one of the highlights of my trip to Myanmar. You can’t miss out on this place!

Where to Stay in Inle Lake?

The following hotels are my top recommendations in Inle Lake.  For a more comprehensive list, please check out Trip Advisor and book your stay today!


Here are some other notable places to visit in Myanmar:
– The Golden Rock
– Mandalay
– Ngapali Beach
– Kyaing Tong
– The Irrawaddy River

Give Back 🙂

I have put in countless hours to make sure that the content in this post is both accurate and up-to-date.  And over the last few months, this post has blown up to be one of the most viewed on my travel blog.

So, as a way to give back, I would appreciate if you can book your hotels here.   This is an affiliate link, meaning that if you book a hotel from this link, then I make a small commission at no additional cost to you. The money will go directly into making this website better.

Also, I am more than happy to help plan your trip! 

I would love to help you get things sorted out for your trip.  I have gained significant knowledge about Myanmar and how to make the most of a short vacation to this magical place.

Due to high demand and the hundreds of daily emails I am receiving, I charge $100 to plan your trip from start to finish.  If interested, please email me and tell me how many days you have to spend and which activities you are interested in doing —  and I will put something fun together.  I will find you the best route to take, recommend places to stay, tell you things to do and more.

Final Checklist for your trip to Myanmar:
– Fill out your visa online and print it out to show at the airport
– Have a basic itinerary planned out of your destinations
– Bring brand new, crisp and unmarked $US bills
– Call your debit card company and tell them that you’re going to Myanmar to avoid any issues pulling out money from ATMs
– Bring copies of your passport and write down your visa number because all hostels will ask you for it
– Check Air Asia for the cheapest flights (especially from Bangkok)

More Information on Myanmar

If you want to go on a tailored tour of Myanmar, check out My Way Travel‘s tours on Myanmar.  They have some great options!  Also for more information about Myanmar, check out my friend Juan’s blog called Myanmar Travel Essentials. It is the bible for things to do in Myanmar!

The website Go-myanmar.com is one of the most comprehensive databases for all information on Myanmar (things to do, accommodation, tips, etc) — check it out!

Thanks for reading, and as always, contact me if you have any questions about Myanmar or if you need help planning your trip!

379 thoughts on “A 2015 Travel Guide to Myanmar (Burma)

  1. Oh, thanks for updated information concerning Myanmar. This country owns a load of pristine islands, it seems that people just talk about Bagan or Inle lake, not beaches or islands. Honestly, Myanmar can be considered as the only hidden gem which is remnant in SEA.

  2. Drew, I loved your reflections on the Burmese people! I had the same impressions. It was confusing to think that being under horrible military rule for so long also helped them keep a way of life going that is much better in so many ways than what we have in the West. But as you said, it won’t last long.

  3. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I will definitely hit the food joints mentioned by you the next time I’m visiting Myanmar. I also got a lot of useful info from this blog. Looking forward to read about your next adventure.

  4. Do not forget to bargain: Like any other country in Southeast Asia, tourists should bargain when shopping. When buying anything at the local market or at the roadside, the sellers will offer higher prices than usual, especially to foreign tourists. You should bargain to buy things at 30-50 percent lower than the offered prices. However, certain goods are sold at fixed prices in the shopping center.
    Be careful not to buy fake goods: There may be chances that you buy fake goods in Myanmar. Therefore, to avoid fake goods, you should go to licensed stores.
    Be careful when buying gemstones and antiques: You should go to licensed stores for better quality of the goods and remember to keep the bills. If you want to buy handicrafts which look like antiques, ask the sellers for a guarantee paper that the goods are not antiques, otherwise you will be stopped by the custom officers.

  5. As being the country of Buddhism, Myanmar has excess uniqueness in terms of traditional aspects. Among them, the traditional clothes named Longyi is claimed to be one of what to see in Myanmar. This distinctive costume is a wraparound skirt worn that is an integral part of the Myanmar national dress is worn by men as well as the fairer sex. Men tie theirs in the front and women fold the cloth over and secure it at the side. The garment for men is called “pasoe” and “htamein” for women to further differentiate between men and women’s wear. Daily garments are usually made of cotton and those for formal occasion would be weaved from silk. satin or the better quality synthetic fabrics. The masculine patterns are typically checks or squares or occasionally vertical stripes or horizontal circular bands. Tourists can easily come across the image of Burmese wearing Longyi walking on the street because nowaday they still keep the habit of wearing traditional costume everyday. The Myanmar Longyi is also catching on as fashionable wear for foreigners so tourists of both sexes can be effortlessly seen in Longyis on the streets.

  6. Yangon is regarded as the city possesses the largest number of building in South East Asia in the colonial area. Most of them were constructed under the domination of English (1824-1948). In every corner of Yangon, you can easily see those kinds of vestige with their own stories.
    The city hall, supreme court and Strand Hotel are among the buildings that attract customers most. Some other places to see in Myanmar are the residential building under the regime of English colony, where some leaders of imperialist revolution in the late 1940 were assassinated.
    However, this building has been abandoned for ages and some other buildings are at risk of degradation due to the costly in maintenance and reconstruction. The Cultural Heritage Conservation Association of Yangon is making every effort to ensure the existence of those buildings in order to retain them as the national heritages

  7. Mystérieuse, fascinante, merveilleuse… La Birmanie inspire les superlatifs en nombre. Ouverte depuis peu au tourisme, elle fait probablement partie des destinations les plus prisées des voyageurs des quatre coins du monde. Découvrez tous ces lieux incontournables en Birmanie et ces sites incroyables qui font de la Birmanie l’une des destinations les plus prisées de toute la planète.
    Paya Shwedagon
    Un voyageur se doit d’assister au coucher du soleil au-dessus de l’extraordinaire paya Shwedagon, l’un des monuments religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde. Son stupa doré s’élève à 98 m au-dessus de sa base et peut être vu à des kilomètres à la ronde. Il est recouvert de 60 tonnes d’or pur.
    Lac Inde
    La vie bat son plein autour de ce lac d’une grande richesse. Louez un bateau et admirez la dextérité des pêcheurs qui rament avec une jambe, visitez des maisons sur pilotis et observez les cultivateurs qui s’occupent de leurs potagers flottants.
    Les temples éparpillés sur cette vaste plaine sont si nombreux qu’il est impossible de rendre justice à chacun d’eux en seulement 1 ou 2 jours.

  8. Le temple d’Ananda est une destination remarquable lors du long circuit pour voyage découverte birmanie. Le temple d’Ananda est un des plus beaux monuments bouddhiques de Bagan, dans la steppe centrale de la Birmanie.
    Selon la légende, le temple d’Ananda est construit sur la base de la description des huit moines sur les temples-cavernes des légendaires montagnes Nandamula de l’Himalaya. Après la construction terminée, en raison de la préservation de l’originalité du temple, le roi a fait mourir les moines qui l’avaient construit pour que l’aucun architecture similaire n’ait constitué.

  9. Being one of the best places to go in Myanmar, Ngapali Beach is also well-known as the most pristine and attractive destination on the Bay of Bengal, with 7km coastline of white sand, crystal clear water and palm trees. But what makes Ngapali Beach become a favorite site in Myanmar? It’s definitely the delicious seafood meals made by the top seafood-chefs of Myanmar cuisine. Besides, Ngapali Beach maintains a laid-back fishing village vibe where the friendly locals live. The visitors can ride a bicycle and enjoy the local life and fishing market, fishing villages along the beach. Peak season is from November to March. Ngapali should be can-not-missed destination when travelling Myanmar, especially to whom prefers the quiet in a romantic scene.

  10. Découvrir la Birmanie lors des voyages Bagan – forêt des temples

    Faites attention de visiter Bagan car son charme à tomber par terre va vous donner envie d’y rester pour toujours. Il s’git d’un paradis en sursis pour les amoureux de la nature qui veulent découvrir la Birmanie.
    Situé sur la rive droite du fleuve légendaire Irrawaddy, Bagan a connu un grand essor au cours deux siècles sous le règne des royaumes birmans. Dans cette grande plaine, nous trouvons aujourd’hui environs 2000 temples et pagodes, qui ont été construits entre le XIe et le XIIIe siècle. Classé au patrimoine de l’humanité (UNESCO), Bagan est à ne pas douter l’une des plus grandes merveilles qui évoquent la richesse en culture de la Birmanie lors des voyages Bagan!

  11. Bagan travel 3 days allows you to experience flying over Bagan in a hot air balloon. That is such a magical moment to float through the air and enjoy the fascinating landscapes of Bagan. Then return to your hotel and stay overnight there. On the next day, head to Myinkaba village, which is renowned for its traditional art of lacquarware and wood carvings- symbolic handicrafts of the Golden Land. It is possible to attend some workshops and talk with the skillful artisans to know more about their culture. Afterwards, make a stop at Gubyaukgyi Temple where you will step into another world of mural paintings and well-preserved sculpture. You can visit some more nearby temples such as Manuha, Nan Paya, or the highest temple Thatbyinyu. Unfortunately, this will bring you to the end of our tour in an iconic spot in Myanmar.

  12. Myanmar has become a new destination for tourists over the world and Myanmar tour 1 week is the best choice to discover all this holy country. Within 1 week, you can contemplate the home of thousands of temples Bagan, the old capital of Burmese Mandalay, Inle Lake where fishing by foot and planting on water… The distance among this places is quite near so you can get there by train, bus, plane or boat. Trekking or hiking in Myanmar is also a good idea if you are adventurous one. In general, come to Myanmar and enjoy a week in this peaceful country, I’m sure you will not be disappointed.

  13. Great info about Myanmar. Any update on the condition of internet in the country? I am using Astrill and I am curious if I can use it there without any issues.

  14. Yeah! I also have one backpacking trip in Myanmar and visit all places in post. That’s a unforgettable memories! I love the life, scenery, air and everything here includes the river, mountain, locals…I’ve just write a trip quite clearly about this lands!

  15. Interesting article, I really like travelling and these tips are going to help me a lot, I want to appreciate you for sharing 🙂 can you please also tell me about transportation services that I can hire there ?

  16. Great post, thank Drew 🙂
    Guys, I will be going to Burma for 2 weeks end Nov/beginning of Dec if someone is around! My friends will stay in Thailand, but I just have to see Burma, it has been my dream for a looooong while now 🙂 Cheers, Kasia

  17. Hi Drew, Thank you for sharing your amazing experience! I’m thinking of visiting Myanmar for two weeks December 2016. I like backpacking, sleeping in budget hostels and meeting other people to have dinner together, go for a drink or do some sightseeing. I was wondering how easy it is to meet other travellers and do things together?
    Thank you for your answer!

    1. Hey Linda! I have just seen your message and decided to contact you, I hope you don’t mind 🙂 I am in a process of booking my tickets for BKK: end Nov/beginning Dec – a total of 2,5 weeks with 2 weeks in Burma, however no big plans done yet. If you would like to join forces (I don’t know how flexible with the timing you are), let me know here 🙂

  18. I’m going in Sep and this post is an excellent post for me to start planning my trip! Thank you for this!

  19. Hi Drew!

    My name is Romy, I’m from Holland and I just recently discovered your blog and I’m completely hooked by your stories! I love travelling and would like nothing more than to travel for a long period. However I only have 3 weeks a year, and this year my destination will be Myanmar 🙂 Me and my boyfriend will leave in august and I came up with the following itinerary:

    1. Bangok -> Mandalay
    2. Mandalay
    3. Mandalay
    4. Mandalay
    5. Mandalay -> Bagan
    6. Bagan
    7. Bagan
    8. Bagan
    9. Bagan -> Inle (still in doubt about going to Kalaw and hiking to Inle, although I’m not a fan of not knowing where I will sleep)
    10. Inle
    11. Inle
    12. Inle
    13. Inle -> Yangon
    14. Yangon
    15. Yangon
    16. Yangon
    17. Yangon -> Bangkok

    What do you think? I like to take my time at my destinations, to explorer and discover everything.
    I would like to travel from Inle to Yangon by plane, Asian Wings seems like a good option (no incidents reported), do you know anything about air safety in Myanmar? The other trips I will be taking the buss, would you recommend booking busstickets online?

    One more question: did you take any malaria medication? I’m still not sure what to do…

    Thanks for your answers!

    1. Hi Romy,
      In January 2016 I visited Myanmar as well and it was awesome! I was staying there for four weeks, probably I can answer your questions:
      – I also love to take my time at my destinations that you can really expore a city or town. In my opinion your itinerary is easygoing, I would even stay one or two nights less in Mandalay and Yangon, because the big cities are not that exciting in my opinion – I prefer places where it’s more adventurously and where you can more feel the culture and get in touch with the people. If you like that too, I recommend to do something like this after Bagan:
      Bagan -> visit the vulcano Mt. Popa (one hour from Bagan). Afterwards you can directly go to Yenangyaung, one hour further by bus (there is a wonderful guesthouse with the best myanmar food ever. In additon to that, it supports half-orphans and other kids from poor families in Myanmar, because the earnings are reinvested in a High School which is next to the guesthouse and you can also visit). After Yenangyaung, you could directly go to Thazi by bus (4 hours) and from there by train to Kalaw (5 hours, this train ride is also very exciting!).
      – Once I read a study about air safety. Planes in Myanmar are not as safe as in the Netherlands for example, but still safer than in Indonesia. If you take the bus, it’s a long ride to Yangon. And I would buy the tickets somewhere at the Inle, there are lots of possibilities!
      – The danger for Malaria in Myanmar is similar to Brasil or the north of Thailand. I would never take it in advance (nowhere on the world), but if you like feeling more safe you can bring it to Myanmar. Nevertheless, you won’t need it 😉

      ENJOY and CHEERS!

  20. Thank you for such a wonderful guide, Myanmar is most likely going to be my next destination and it is extremely helpful.

    I also read that here are plenty of areas in Myanmar for which you need special permissions to visit. Have you gone to any of those? Is it difficult to get the permissions?

    1. Hello Anastasia — thanks for the comment! To my knowledge, there are no areas where you need special permits to visit. Hope you have a fun trip!

  21. hey , great blog . So happy i stumbled across it . My husband and i are wanting to pack up and jet off to see the world again starting in Myanmar.. we also are really looking for a place to start a business there… could you give us some advice on keeping it cheap as possible..also , i read a article on the issue with land mines throughout the country… this has kind of turned me off setting up shop there .. do yu know anything about this..any advice would be highly appreciated..

  22. Easily the best blog post I’ve found on Myanmar yet, it has me so excited to explore this country. Thank for you the information, the links for hostels/hotels are gold, I’ll be coming back when I book!

  23. halo Drew…
    i already had my plane ticket going to Myanmar.. but im going to travel alone for the first time outside the country…and i will be spending my 6 days vacation in myanmar…and i guess i only have $200..and uponn reading your blog, its frustrating that credit cards are not accepted..Is my $200 enough for my 6 days stay, from Yangon to Bagan to Mandalay and Inle lake???
    hope to hear from you…

    1. Hello — $200 is not enough if you aren’t including accomodations.. It’s enough for food and transportation.



  24. Hi Drew! Thank you so much for the incredibly informative blog post! My friend and I are traveling to Myanmar next week. We read your post about the trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake and are so inspired to do it! However, we know that the weather around this time is unpredictable/rainy… Would you still advise that we give it a shot? Thanks!

  25. Hi there , Are there any bar areas ? Ladyboys ? Bangkok is far too commercial now so looking for some new untouched areas.

  26. Hi Drew,
    Traveling to Yangon next week. Trying to figure out the dress code? Some advice says that as a female you must cover knees and shoulders but others say it’s relaxed. Can I wear what I would in Bali/Thailand or is it best to be conservative? I understand covering up in temples and places of worship, but for traveling around, I’d like to be cool and comfortable. Thanks

    1. Hey Casey — if you are just walking around, then you can wear whatever you want (like Bali and Thailand) — only cover up in Temples. Enjoy!

  27. Hi Drew!! This post is amazing and has inspired me into traveling to Burma; however, I am a college student and can only travel in the summer. After reading about the rainy season and monsoons, I’m nervous the weather will make it hard to travel around. Would you advise against going in the summer and saving this trip for another time of year?

    1. Thank you for the kind words! Yes, the weather might make it hard to travel… I would honestly recommend to wait until you can visit during the dry season (Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar) and it’ll be better!

  28. Hi…. This post is really amazing. While reading, I experienced it like I am there in Burma and traveling along with you.

    Thank you for such a lively post. 🙂

  29. Hi – we are off to Myanmar end of march 2016 and were keen to catch the train from yangon to bagan. Your friend rodrigo was he travelling from Yangon to bagan or somewhere else?

  30. Very helpful post! I’m looking at getting bus tickets in advanced and I’m not sure if they have online transactions and if these will be recognized. Do you think it’s necessary for me to pre-book? I saw this website but i’m not sure if it’s legit ://myanmarbusticket.com. Thanks!

    1. I would like to suggest to buy the bust ticket at the down town, near Sule Pagoda, there is a small ticket station. Price is cheap then others and they have variety of bus and destination.
      In Myanmar, the online transactions is not really good yet. But will be fine in near future.

  31. Thanks a lot Drew, me and my girfriend Lidka are just back from an amazing 2-week trip to Myanmar. We benefited a lot from your blog, so we would like to add some info that other travellers can find useful:

    – money: Euros are accepted pretty much as US dollars (yes, bring some cash, we had problems having the credit card accepted. ATM are actually very easy to find anyway)

    – travel: we had some problems in finding accommodation in Ngapali beach (so, yes, book in advance if you can). We had great time in the area near the airport (we were at the hotel “at the Rocks”) where you can really find a basically empty beach! we took a flight from Heho (Inle lake) to Thwande (Ngapali beach) with KBZ.

    – travelling in Myanmar is really safe. We never felt in danger.

    – we definetely would like to go back!

    1. Hello, It is better pay with EUR or USD? IF the exchage rate is 1EUR =1USD it is better usd 🙂 Can you help me :)? Many thanks

  32. Dear DREW!
    Please allow me to put this comment in your blog.This is the only way to have clients for me.

      1. Hey Drew, thanks for sharing all this brilliant & useful information. I’m going to Yangon in 3 days and I was wondering if you could help me with some transport related questions. How did you manage to travel from Bagan to Mandalay & Mandalay to Inle Lake? Is the only option to travel by bus? About how long do these trips take? We looked at flying but couldn’t manage to find any flights. Is bus the best form of transport? Thanks!

        1. You’re welcome! You can take buses everywhere (as explained in my blog post). Each bus takes about 10 hours., and flights are about 1 hour. Have fun!

  33. Hello Drew, very helpful post. I’m in the middle of planning a trip to Yangon and was hoping you could help me with a specific query on the nightlife. It’s nice to know there’s an EDM scene present but we were looking specifically for deep house music (mainstream stuff, nothing too esoteric). I don’t know if you came across any of this in Yangon? If yes, I’d incredibly grateful for some pointers.

  34. Thanks for sharing all this information, really helped a lot. Just landed in Myanmar today and we already see so much that you have talked about in this post. Learned tons of new information!

  35. Myanmar is the prettiest gem of Southeast Asia indeed. I spent one month traveling around this spiritual country and totally loved it. I would definitely recommend to visit Myanmar to everybody, as it is an unforgettable experience.

    It is incomparable with traveling to Thailand or Cambodia. Myanmar is more about spiritual journey than typical get wasted-backpacking-culture. It is the most religious Buddhist country in the world and monks wearing the typical orange robes are everywhere!

    Traveling here is an unique experience and I would recommend to hurry up because it is not going to be like this forever.

      1. Thanks, Drew. Great blog! Going to Myanmar later this year and as I hate buses and love trains, read ‘The man in seat 61. (www. seat 61/ myanmar ) Was thrilled to be given a totally different picture to everything I had read
        up til then. One traveller described his journey onthe ‘slow train ‘ as the highlight of his trip to Myanmar. Photos of the interior of the long haul trains showing first class and sleepers were all that I could hope for. Please don’t cross train travel off your list before visiting this site.
        I will report back after my trip in which I will travel on every train possible, as I always do .

  36. Hey bro,
    Great stuff… However, couple of things, greatly appreciate any answers; leaving in a week… I noticed vaccinations seem to be important – true or not? Did you get a bunch previous to your visit? Also, maybe rhetorical, but I guess a basic phrasebook is a necessity? Cheers.

  37. Very informative blog, thank you! I have a question regarding the VIP bus. I arrive in Yangon airport at 4pm, would it be possible for me to reach the bus station where the VIP bus at 8pm? Is that enough time? I plan to buy the ticket online so I already have it ready before I get to Myanmar.

    1. My pleasure, Natalie! Yes that is way more than enough time!!! It won’t take more than an hour to get there. You don’t have to buy the ticket in advance, you’ll be just fine. Have fun!

  38. Hi Drew! Very impressive post and I admire your courage in traveling the world. I want to be a full time travel blogger too and I want to travel to Myanmar this year and other countries near. Thanks for this and enjoy your travels!

  39. Hi, Drew! I’m now currently living in Myanmar. Well, in Yangon, for exactly. The way you wrote this one was really great and funny. I can say that you’re pretty much good at finding some cheap and good things in Myanmar within a very short period. Honestly, it took a year for me to figure out everything in Myanmar. I really hope that you could visit Ngapali beach next time. Warning: ridiculously expensive. But it’s worth it, anyway. I am absolutely Lmao when I read the fact you wrote about the Wi-Fi, which is seriously true. It shocked me when the 2 minutes video played with 15 minutes time. Anyway, I believed that you truthfully enjoy your times in Myanmar.

  40. Hey drew quick question how do u get from bagan to napapali beach and what would u recommend inle lake and trek or home stay at hsipaw? Many thanks Ryan

  41. Hi Drew,
    Big thank you!!! Being English as my second language and I hate reading, I usually just browse pics or check point of interest but I end up reading every single words on your post. Yes, kept me interesting to read it all. Awesome post and very helpful especially since we are finalizing our Myanmar trip plan. Have you by any chance visited Nagapoli beach? If you have been to Nagapoli beach then, we will most appreciate if you can kindly recommend for how many days to stay and if it worse going there (in sometimes late Feb to early March)? We are heading to Krabi Thailand either before or after Myanmar trip, and also travelled many of beautiful beach destinations include almost all of south east asia and many parts of the world, so not sure if it is worse for us to go there or perhaps skip on this trip? Thanks!!

  42. Hey Drew,
    Awesome blog I am avid follower! I am travelling to Yangon from Bangkok early February. From Yangon, I cant decide between going by train to Bagan and onto Kalaw for the infamous trek to Inle Lake – Hsipaw – Pyin Oo Lwin – Mandalay – OUT, or going from Yangon directly to Kalaw – Inle Lake – THEN to Bagan – Mandalay – Hsipaw – Pyin oo Lwin – mandalay OUT. Any thoughts on what makes the most sense? 3 weeks is probably my total time

      1. I am doing it the oposite 3 days Yangon planning on overnight train and bus to Inle then Bagan possibly Mongwa fi misting in Mandalay. I had read trains are good. 20 days total 7 in Bagan. Is that too much? Leaving from Bangkok tomorrow.Nice blog.

    1. Hi Pat,

      If you have time and are willing to go all places, I would suggest to follow this route: YGN-KALAW-INLE-HSIPAW-PYIN OO LWIN- MDY-BAGAN-YGN.

  43. Hi Drew,
    I will travel to Myanmar next Feb, and I would like to stay in temple one or two nights to feel the atmosphere there, please could you advise how to register to stay in temple. Thanks so much Drew


    1. Hi Flora – thanks for the comment. I didn’t stay in a temple, and I’m not quite sure how the process goes. I am sure that you can ask your hotel or hostel or a travel agency 🙂

    2. Hi Drew,

      I will be traveling to Myanmar in a few days and I was wondering how many days you recommend staying in Yangon?

      Thanks Drew!

    3. Hi Flora,

      Which part of Myanmar are you going? Not a lot of temples accept female guests unless you join retreat; I do not believe you have that much of time. For the temple stay, Sagaing Hill is the best place and you might have a better chance there as there are more temples run by nuns.

  44. Hi Drew, love the post! I’m a solo traveller and heading to Myanmar in a week for two weeks, I’m very excited as this will be my first experience in Asia. Can’t wait to check out some of your recommendations (especially the trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake), thanks! 🙂

  45. Great info, ……… just what I was looking for. I’m in Thailand and heading to Myanmar, in a week or so. 1 question on money’s, you state that atm’s are everywhere but in your checklist state to bring crisp US cash? Can you pay for everything in Kyat or better to have US? Do atm’s dispense only Kyat? Word is you can only take out 20,000 Kyat and fee’s can be as high as 20% maybe better to take us cash? Sorry for so many questions, thanks

    1. You do not need USD, withdraw your money from ATM which are everywhere…you may get asked or charged in USD but say you are paying in kyat, it is not a problem 🙂

    2. I would have both just to be safe. I would bring U.S. Cash and exchange it for kyats.. that’s probably your best bet. But you can also use ATMS as well. Have fun!

  46. Great info, ……… just what I was looking for. I’m in Thailand and heading to Myanmar, in a week or so. 1 question on money, you state that atm’s are everywhere but in your checklist state to bring crisp US cash? Can you pay for everything in Kyat or better to have US? Do atm’s dispense only Kyat? Word is you can only take out 20,000 Kyat and fee’s can be as high as 20% maybe better to take us cash? Sorry for so many questions, thanks

      1. Awesome post! I am immediately planning to go to Myanmar. When did you go, btw? Which month? It sounds horrible to be in 45 celcius between March – Oct. I think I will contact you soon to have assistance in the itinerary. Thank you!

  47. Hey Drew, thanks so much for your post. Its very hard to find such good and updated info.
    I’ll be travelling to Myanmar in on January 31th, flying to Yangon. Is the end of a long time in Asia, but I didn’t wanna skip Myanmar. I don’t have much time, just 3 days in the country. Do you think it would be possible to arrive in Yangon 31th morning, catch a night bus to Bagan spend the day there and head to Mandalay in the same night to catch a flight to Bangkok on the 2nd? I know it sounds a little bit crazy, but is my only chance. I would like to hear your advice , if you think it is impossible I will probably just stay around Yangon.. Thank you very much!

  48. Dear all traveller
    My name is Moonlight,from inle lake.I’m a tour guide from travel company but i become fed up with
    this job.So I’ve decided to make own business as a small local travel agent in Nyaung Shwe.I aim to offer the tour for traveller who wants to travel with their budged.So I can organise the tour that is very few cost like …..described.Want to have fix price just do inquire email.

  49. Hi Drew. Do u think its possible to go through Burma from Thailand and then further to india/nepal with bus/train. I want to do my travel on a plane as low as possible.

  50. Hey Drew! A friend and I are off to Myanmar in Jan 2016. Would you be able to help me with:
    1. Vegetarian food….is it easy to find?
    2. Is it safe for girls to go back packing?
    3. Any recommended place in Bagan for lacquer…where we arent ripped off?
    Thanks 🙂

  51. [Sorry for posting comment at the wrong place before]
    Thanks for your great information Drew! Did you buy any sim card? Since I would like to use GPS during the trip, or still hard to connect using sim card?

      1. Jelly use a app called Maps.me you do not need a SIM card works off line, I have used this app in many country’s to plot distances, locate atm’s everything and it’s free!

  52. Thanks a bunch Drew, me and my friend are coming to Burma this Sunday so your blog post is of great help for us!

    Just 1 question: Are popular social networks (fb, viber) and gmail blocked in Burma?

    Thank you!

    1. Thanks for your great information Drew! Did you buy any sim card? Since I would like to use GPS during the trip, or still hard to connect using sim card?

    2. I can help! Got from go-myanmar.com :
      Previous government internet restrictions have now been lifted, so people are free to access most websites and services – including Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and so on.

  53. Hey Drew, thanks for the informative post. I will be going for a 10-day meditation course in Yangon in January and thought why not spend a bit more time and explore the rest of Myanmar pre/post the course. I will be travelling as a solo female and was wondering if you have any words of caution or advice? I was also wondering if you are aware of any start-up scene in Yangon? It would be great if you have any contacts you could put me in touch with (not just in the start-up space but just in general too). Thank you and extremely excited about this trip!

  54. Great info here Drew.. I will be heading there in March, so looking forward to it 🙂 I shall be sure to take the bus and not the train!

  55. Hey Drew! Thanks for the gold mine worth of information, really helpful in order to plan my 20 days in Myanmar next Jan/Feb. Just wanted to know -as google seems out dated on the subject- if there are still restricted zones to tourists? I didn’t read anything about it on your blog. Have you been forbidden to access some places?
    And what about the North of Myanmar? I’ve seen no one blog about it I’m guessing it’s not touristy or not worth going to?
    Thanks again!
    I also have a personal blog but on my current student exchange in China, you might wanna check it out:
    All the best!

    1. Hey Adrien! Thanks for the kind words. I haven’t heard about any restricted areas, and likewise, I don’t know anything about the North. But I am can imagine that i’s purely untouched and worth visiting!


  56. Hi Drew!!
    Love your blog— mixing partying and culture is the best way to live! I’m taken some great advice from your posts while planning my upcoming round the world trip – which begins this January (starting in Eastern Africa). I have begun putting together a rough itinerary for Southeast Asia, which puts me in Myanmar around mid-March. I fly from BKK to Mandalay, heading onwards to Kalaw, and doing a 3 day trek to Inle Lake. Finally my question ;)…. Do you think Bagan is the next logical destination on my way down to Yangon? Or is there any other point of interest you suggest when I leave Nyaung Shwe? I have about 3 weeks to work with for my Myanmar adventure. Thank you for any help you can offer! Happy Travels! Maybe we’ll meet up on the road someday 🙂

    1. Hey, I’m will also be travelling in Myanmar during March. I guess it will be better to travel to Bagan before heading down to Inle Lake.

      my plans are: Mandalay – Bagan – Kalaw (trek to inle) – Yangon.

      Hope it helps!


  57. Great blog, feel like back home. I am originally from Myanmar but I haven’t back since 2006, really miss the the country, but I am trying to go back soon.
    Yeahh, Shan noodles!!!!My favorite. 😛

    1. Hi! Loved reading this ! I am heading to Myanmar from Aussie on dec 16th for 3 weeks with a tour. I will be spending 30th Dec till 2nd Jan in Yangon in Chinatown and would love to catch up with others in Yangon during that time 🙂
      Send me an email: bulletonfire@hotmail.com

      Thanks! Naomi

  58. Hi Drew,

    Amazing Blog!!! congrats!

    I am planning to go to Myanmar with my girlfriend next February. It is going to be 9 days trip and we are planning to visit, Yangon, Bagan, mandalay and Inle lake. We were reading about the buses and internal flights. But what about renting a car and drive by ourselves? do you think is possible and would you recommend it? bear in mind that we have already drive in countries as Sri Lanka, Indonesia…

    Thank in advance


    1. Hey Carlos!

      Definitely don’t rent a car. The roads are not in good shape, and you don’t want to risk something happening to the car or your own lives. I would fly everywhere, it’s so much easier and more faster.

      Have a nice trip!


  59. Hundreds of ATM’s ? Well my count is somewhat more modest. And I have not met one that supplied me, or others for that matter, with cash. Sofar they seem to be more like technological decoration.

    1. Really? You’re the first person to say that, I had no issues taking out cash. And there are ATM’s all over the cities. You might want to call your bank and tell them you’re traveling in Burma.

  60. G’day Drew, Im flying into Yangon December 4 and plan to book my domestic flights from Yangon to Heho (inlay lake) and mandalay back to yangon at the end of my trip my question is “are there many travel agents in yangon that can help me book my domestic flights while im there and pay cash or am i better off booking online?”

    1. Hey Harry — it’s better to book it online. It’s easier, and it will save you from paying commission to a booking agent in Yangon.

      Have fun!


    2. Hi Harry, in case this is still helpful, we used Kyaw Khaing, kyawkhaing.myanmar@googlemail.com. His company is called One Stop Myanmar. Very responsive. It was cheaper than booking online with the foreigner price. Kyaw also kept track and rebooked our flights for us (very common for departure times to change or a layover to be added). We paid on average $110/flight.

  61. Hi Drew,
    I have difficulty in booking domestic flights from Bagan to Heho and Heho to Yangon. Also, I want to book a night bus from Yangon – Bagan. Can you please give me some advices? I tried to emails some agents in the last few days but no one replied me.

    1. Hi Hin, Which airlines did you try to book on? Did you check Air Bagan, Air Mandalay and Asian Wings?

      Also, you can’t book the buses in advance. You have to arrange them the day(s) prior to your departure. Your hotel will arrange it for you.


  62. Hi Drew, thanks for the incredible blog, I’m heading there in January for 3 weeks with my boyfriend. Ideally we will just book our first 2 nights in Yangon and then book accommodation as we go. We are planning to go to Kyaiktiyo, Bagan, Kalaw to Inle Lake trek, Mandalay and Ngapali but are open to changes. I’m curious about travelling by busses everywhere over night. It seems like we’ll be spending a fair amount of time just getting to a place. Are there any locations that you would recommend flying into rather than taking another bus? I much prefer the price of the busses but some of them seem excruciatingly long.

    1. hey Melissa!

      Since you have 3 weeks, you can take buses no problem. You route looks nice, I wouldn’t change anything. The buses will take about 12 hours to get to each place, and they best ones are overnight. The quality of the buses are really nice, but the roads can be bumpy at times. Flying will be about $100 each way, and buses about $30.

      Let me know if you have any more questions!


  63. Thanks for the information about Myammar, Drew. A group of of us plan to visit Myammar next year in November. We plan to fly in Mandalay and fly out through Yangon. Will 8 days 7 nights enough to cover Mandalay, Bagan , Lake Inte and Yangon? We plan to take 1 local flight from Bagan to Yangon. The rest by boat or bus. Please advise.

    1. Hello — I don’t think you have enough time to visit 4 places in just 6 days. Especially considering that it takes 12 hours overnight bus to get from place to place. If you want to do all of those cities, then you have to fly everywhere. If you’d like, I can plan your entire journey as stated at the end of my blog post. Please email me for more 🙂

  64. Hi Drew, thanks for the info.
    I’m heading over in a few days, just wondering if the current political situation with the elections will cause any problems upon arrival.
    If anyone has gone recently any info pertaining to that would be appreciated.


  65. Hi Drew
    Love your blog and cant wait for my own trip to Burma in a few weeks. Any chance I could pick your brains and show you my itinerary and whether this is is feasible?
    Would love to get your feedback 🙂 Alright here it goes..

    Holiday plan

    1. Yangon
    2. Kyaiktiyo
    3. Hpa-An
    4. Mandalay
    5. Kalaw àzNyaungshwe (Inle Lake, 3-day trek)
    6. Old Bagan
    a. Ngapali (Beach)?
    7. Yangon

    Arrival in Yangon: Saturday 26 December 2015, 5:00AM
    1. 27 December: Take bus (5h from Yangon) to stop at Kyaikhto (15km transfer to Kyaiktiyo, then 4h trip up the mountain); continue with bus (4h from Kyaikhto to Hpa-An)
    2. 28 December: Take Tuk-tuk to Mount Zwegabin (10km from Hpa-An) & half-day hike up the mountain. Spend night in monastery on top
    3. 29 December: Return to Hpa-An, take bus over night to Mandalay (15h)
    4. 30 December: Spend day in Mandalay
    5. 31 December: Take bus to Kalaw (6-8h), spend night in Kalaw
    6. 1 January: 3-day trek to Nyaungshwe (Inle Lake), spend a night
    7. 4 January: visit countryside by bike, take bus over night to Bagan (9h)
    8. 5 January: Explore temples in Bagan, stay for 2 nights
    9. 7 January: Explore temples in Bagan, take bus to Yangon during night (10h)
    Departure from Yangon: Sunday 10 Januar 2016, 7:55AM

    1. Hey Natalie – I couldn’t have put together a better plan myself! It looks great. I am really happy that you added the trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake on there — that was my best experience in Myanmar.

      Please don’t hesitate to contact me (by email) if you have any more questions about Myanmar! And have a fun trip!

    2. Hi Natalie,
      I just started to plan trip to Burma and came across Drew’s blog. It just so happen that my dates coincides with yours. Since you have already done your research, I am wondering if you could share details i.e timings on when to catch buses, accomodations etc. I will be in Phillipines on a family reunion vacation Dec 20-27 so arriving in Yangoon on Dec 27 could work perfectly. I live in SF and please feel to get in touch. It is always nice to pick other people’s brains or simply to join in. I will be traveling by myself.

  66. Hey Drew! Your Myanmar post is the most helpful I could find, thanks for that 🙂 Can’t wait to go there, 17 days packed with fun, adventure and sore legs (booked the trekking tour with Toe Toe 🙂 )
    Take care and safe travels

  67. Hi Drew!! Great post. I’m travelling to Myanmar on the 7th of January 2016 and am thinking of staying for around 2 weeks. I’m 20, and am travelling alone at this stage. Will it be safe for me to do this alone, or do you recommend a tour? Because your trip sounds great, I was more concerned with travelling between cities alone.

    1. Hey Lisa — sounds like a fun trip! Yes, you will be just fine traveling alone. Myanmar is safe. Just use common sense, like you would anywhere else 🙂

      Have fun!


  68. Hello all,

    first thanks for the gr8 blog 🙂
    q- should I have flying ticket out from myanmar when entering the country?

    Im planing on getting to Yangon around the 20th of November, backpacking style, solo, if anyone wants to meet, Ill be happy to, plz write to me naama.nae@gmail.com

    thanks again 🙂

    1. Naama, (sent you an email as well)– I will also be in Yangon soon after you (22nd I leave from Melbourne, Aus)–also traveling around solo/bp-style. I have absolutely no plans thus far, so if you fancy meeting up at all–definitely up for it :).

      Drew–that was an absolutely fantastic blog–you’ve actually made me more excited than I was initially. I have been wanting to go to Burma/Myanmar for years (since I first worked/went to school with many Burmese people in my hometown in Indiana). It was a very ‘last minute, cheap ticket, get me out of Oz’ move– so I have absolutely no plans. Your blog has been very helpful and appreciated.

      Quickly to clarify though– you mentioned you had no issue with atms and withdrawing cash in major cities, correct? I know most sites had warned ‘taking the cash you need’ and not to rely on atms being available/working with overseas cards….?

      1. Hey Petrea! I hope you get to meet up with Naama! And thanks for the kind words about my post – I have put in a lot of effort into it 🙂

        I would bring US cash just to be extra safe, but you should have no problems with the ATMs there.

        HAve fun!

  69. Hey Drew, great blog! I went to Myanmar in May 2012 and I am now going back Dec 26 2015. It sounds like quite a lot has changed. I’ll report back with any further changes I notice.

    Also, judging by your post, even during peak season, I don’t need to reserve hotel room(s)? You’re right, other blogs/write ups made me think I would have to. When I went last time, we just showed up and a room was always available, but I understand it has gotten more touristy since then. So please let me know your opinion. We’ll stay with my wife’s mom in Yangon, but we’ll also be visiting (and needing rooms) in Bagan (again), Inle, and Taunggyi.

    Thanks! And safe journeys!

  70. hey dude, interesting blog u got there, i prolly need some advices from you, im travelling to myammar for 1 week. my plan is yangon->bagan->mandalay->inle->yangon. i need advices on the transportation, point of interest and is there street touring booth that we could hire or something. lastly whats the weather like? thanks. ur help is appreciated

    1. Hi diana,
      I did a similar trip like urs in oct last year. Could recommend u some hotels and bus companies if u like! Too bad i didnt have time to go inle as i went to Golden Rock 🙂 email me at ace_angel9@hotmail.com if ur interested for some tips

  71. Would you be able to tell me what weather temperatures I can expect from Pathein to Hspiaw around the end of Dec to end of Jan?

  72. Hi Drew,
    …been reading your blogs with a lot of interest ! Lots of details and nicely put together.
    I am planning to drive through Myanmar in mu own car,entering from Thailand (Mae Sot/Myawaddy) and exiting Tamu/Moreh, India. do you have any advise about who should i be speaking with as this will require tourism officials and escort ? May be Sai can point me in the right direction?


    1. Hi Simar – thanks for the comment. You don’t need escorts, just make sure that you have the proper visa before entering the countries.

      Best of luck!

  73. This was awesome, thanks Drew!
    I am heading to Yangon on Wednesday or Thursday (just waiting for visa to come through) solo and was wondering if anyone else is going to be there at that time to maybe meet up for some rum?

    1. Hi Sasha,

      There’s an overnight train leaving Yangon at 16:00 daily and arriving Bagan at 09:30 . The cost for sleeper class is 16500 MMK (about 13 USD)


      1. Hi Sai! We are going to Burma with my family of 4, 2 adults and 2 children! 🙂 Children are 7 and 10 years old, we have been with them already in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand. We will be in Burma from 10th of January until 31st. As far as I see as a local you help a lot with information. I am just putting together our itinerary. If I could email with you and ask for some info I would be very grateful! My email: varjas.gabriella@gmail.com

  74. Hi Drew
    My husband and are going to Myanmar early January for just 10 days. We have planned 5 days in Bagan and then 2 days in either Inle Lake or Mandalay. We can’t do both but would like to know which one is the best experience. I see alot of history in Mandalay but alot of Cultural experiences at In Le Lake. We will be leaving from Yangon so will spend last 2 or 3 days there. Please give us any advice.

    1. Hi Shelayne,

      As you got 10 days, you can hit all big 4. Here below is my suggestion:
      Day 1 Yangon arrival
      Day 2 Yangon full day tour
      Day 3 Yangon – Mandalay by morning flight (07:15 – 08:10) Amarapura – Ava – Sagaing full day
      Day 4 Mandalay city tour and evening flight (17:50 -18:20) to Bagan
      Day 5 Bagan full day tour
      Day 6 Bagan full day tour
      Day 7 Bagan – Heho by morning flight (08:35 – 09:15) and full day boat tour in Inle
      Day 8 Inle lake full day boat tour
      Day 9 Inle – Heho – Yangon by flight (09:20 – 10:30 or 15:50 – 17:00)
      Day 10 Yangon departure

      All the flights I mentioned above are direct flights. Hope it helps!


  75. Hey guys,

    Thanks so much for writing this up! Iam heading to Myanmar in December for 4 weeks and this sounds amazing. @Drew: I’ve sent you an email with a few questions, really keen to hear your advise – and again thanks for writing this all up!

    Just a general question for anyone coming from Bangkok by bus (which is what I am doing), whats the best border to pass or does it not matter? I am thinking to go via the midlands first and head to the lake + Mandalay before heading down to end my trip with a more beach experience and head back into Thailand at the Southern border crossing.

    Anyone else done this and if so – is the above manageable / advise ?


    1. Actually just booked my flights to Yangon – read it was very cheap and for 41 quid it was! Any ideas on which beach would be best to check out as a solo backpacker from Yangon regardless of bus duration?


  76. Well done Drew. Thank you for sharing. I was born in Yangon and I’m planning my first trip back home. Reading your blog which is so accurate that I want to leave for Myanmar tomorrow. I can’t wait to go. Keep up the great work!

  77. Hey Drew. Thank you for sharing your experiences. We travel to Myanmar tomorrow and will visit Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake. We look forward to this journey. This will be a great experience!

  78. Hi Drew, fantastic blog, very informative! I’ll be arriving in Myanmar in early December and staying until the end of the year. It looks and sounds like such a wondrous place! I’m particular keen to do the trek that you mentioned.

    If anyone else is here around this time and would like to hang out it’d be great to hear from you. my email is paradise@macdc.co.uk

    Mike 🙂

      1. Many thanks for sharing.. I am wanting to go on the 6 of November to 16 to Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inley Lake.
        Was not aware about the coming elections is on the 8 Nov.
        Should I worry about the political issue / demonstration in the city?
        For female travel solo to go from Yangon to Bagan / Mandalay, is it better by bus or train?
        Any advise is highly appreciated.

        1. Hi Hanna,

          No worries with the election on 08th! Taking bus is the best way to go to Bagan/Mandalay from Yangon.

          Let me know for any info you need!


  79. Thanks for sharing, gave me lots of ideas, heading there the end of Dec for 2.5 weeks. Will definitely contact your mate in Yangon for private to tour.

  80. Hey Drew, this was a great post and very useful! I’m going to Myanmar in December for 28 days! I just have a few questions: Did you meet many backpackers while you were there? Are there any hostels you’ll recommend, as I want to meet other young like minded travellers? Also, in the ATM’s do they dispense Dollars and Kyats or just Kyats? Thank you very much for your help! Love all your posts and snaps!

    1. Hey Kishanth,

      For sure you will see many backpackers while you are traveling. In the ATM’s you will get only Kyats 🙂


    2. Hey! Thanks for the questions — Yes, I met plenty of backpackers. They are everywhere these days. I don’t know the names of hotels, but look on Booking.com! Most ATM’s dispense Kyats, but you can get dollars at the airport (i would bring a lot with you before the trip anyways). Enjoy and thanks for the Snapchat love!

      1. Hi Drew,

        Your blog is amazing! But I am wondering why i should bring lots of dollars with me. Normally I don´t bring anything and take money out of the ATM at the airport.

        And do you recommend flying or go by (night bus).

        1. It’s always a smart idea to have US cash on you. What if you lose your debit card, or what if the ATM machine eats the card? It’s happened to me. I recommend flying – it’s so much easier

    1. Hé Steven,
      I’m heading over to Myanmar in november by myself and would love to meet other travelers.. when are you and your girlfriend going?

    2. Steven – My boyfriend and I will also be going in November (12th-21st). what are you travel dates/itinerary?

      Also, a question for Drew (or anyone else)… I have heard that the bus experience from Inle Lake to Bagan is dreadful. Any comments on this? I have heard horror stories of cramped buses with questionable safety standards, entire buses vomiting and popped tires. I am hoping this has changed, otherwise I will be flying!

      1. Hey Kate,

        That vomiting time is already over 🙂 . No worries with the express buses especially between tourist destinations.


          1. Hey Sai! Sorry for the delay on my end. I would still like to arrange to have you as our guide but we don’t have a phone to call and I can’t find your email. Can you respond with you email so we can arrange something? Thanks!

      2. Yes the bus is pretty long and the roads are bumpy and windy, but it’s not that bad!! You’ll be just fine, and it’s all part of the local expereince 🙂

    3. Hi Steven Waler, Emmi, Viet and Kate! Me and my boyfriend will be in Myanmar November 18-24 (Yangon-Baga-Inle-Yangon), and we’ll love to meet other people.
      We are particularly interested in going to the Hot Baloon Festival in Taunggyi while staying in Inle Lake (21 or 22 November). Anyone interested in joining us? 🙂

  81. Very informative post Drew – thank you for sharing! I will be going to Myanmar this on January and intend to stay there for 12 days. I will be coming from BKK to Mandalay. My initial itinerary is Mandalay – Bagan – Inle lake. Do you have local friends in Mandalay that i can get in touch with? Would really be nice to have local while wandering around 🙂

  82. Hi there,
    Great reading your articles! My friend are I are headed to Burma for the month of November and we’re getting very excited. Not a big question, but an important one for packing. I normally only pack a pair of Teva rugged sandals when I travel (and a pair of rubber flipflops). I notice in your photos of the Inle Lake trek you are wearing closed shoes. Do you think closed shoes are a necessity for A) The Inle Lake trek B) Burma in general? Also my friend had a question about the Inle Lake trek. The short version is: Are you actually walking/hiking all day long, or do you walk for a few hours, visit a village, maybe stop for a bite, etc.? She is dealing with some health issues and an allllll day trek might be too much. Thanks for any help you can give!!
    Oh, while I’m at it, how do you feel about travelling into Burma over land from Bangkok vs. flying into Yangon?

    1. It take around 6 hours of walking trekking to Inlay.
      U will have tea break every 2,3 hours of walking,
      U should wear sneaker!

    2. Yes you will 100% need close toed shoes for the trekking. and I would def fly from Yangon to BKK, it’s cheap and SO much easier and more timely. Enjoy!

  83. Hey Drew!
    Thank you so much for your detailed blog! I really enjoyed reading it. I will actually go to Myanmar for a short trip only on December after Bangkok before I go back to Philippines so I don’t have enough time to explore everything. I didnt actually know that exploring Myanmar would take more time than 5 days as this is the first time I am travelling alone (BKK to RGN). It was actually a big step for me as I have always dreamed to travel on my own so I decided to just book and do the research after, haha. Anyway, I’ll be arriving at Yangon around 1pm (12/1) and planning to go to Bagan, then Inle and then back to Yangon to catch my flight at 11Am on (12/6). Any suggestions on where to stay and the best transpo route I can take? I had researched earlier before I saw your blog and saw that it was a nightmare to take bus routes going from Bagan to Inle. I am really in the dark here. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks in advanced!


    1. Hey Ram! Thanks for the comment 🙂 You can take a bus from Bagan to Inle, but it will take 8-10 hours and you have to do it overnight.. You also have the option of flying (I flew from Yangon to Bagan) and it was great. But kind of expensive like $100 one way.. For accommodations, just to booking.com and check it out, or you can also just find accommodations as you go.. Have fun!

      1. Hi Drew,
        Thanks for a very detailed and informative post! Just one question: which airlines are reliable to travel within Myanmar? Also, any tips on cheap tickets from Europe to Myanmar? thanks a lot!

  84. Hi Drew and Sai, I am flying into Yangon 21 November. Which town should I go to after Yangon? I intend to cover agan Mandalay and Kalaw/Inle Lake. I have a total of 16 days in Myanmar. Thank you.

    1. Hi Shirley,

      As you have 16 days, which totally cover to hit all big 4 (Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake/Kalaw) plus some beach stays or going to the south of Yangon (Mawlamyine, HpaAn etc). Do let me know any further info you need.


  85. Enjoyed your blog – big thanks – heading to Yangon, Bagan, Ngapali very soon.

    I just wanted to share what we believe to be a scam website for online visas – http://www.visasmyanmar.com/visa-tips/apply-myanmar-visa-from-singapore.html
    After not receiving confirmation about our visa after the recommended 9 days, I tried the 24hr online support system and received nothing, then tried the email support address and received nothing! We have now obtained our visas through the embassy here. I felt this was the best place to let people know about this website!
    Looking forward to our travels. Thanks again.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Jan! And have a great time on the trip! I have not heard of this site before, but I appreciate you bringing it to my attention 🙂

  86. Hi Drew
    Just wanted to say I enjoyed this blog very much and agree with your observations. I wouldn’t know about the clubbing scene as I am quite an oldie however I just cracked up reading about the massage in the toilet ! deeply in love with the country and it’s beautiful humble people, that I decided I wanted to do something positive to help with it’s transition .
    Right now I am typing this from my hotel room in Yangon where I am staying for 4 weeks to do a TESOL ( for readers this is the same thing as TELF) to work on a voluntary basis in an orphanage in the north this winter. Yes, there are plenty of these courses available on line but in my humble view ( though I know we all defend which ever course we have taken) it is so much better if you are able to actually attend one. Also because you get practical experience teaching . I could not recommend this course strongly enough, especially as it includes a week’s orientation into Burmese language & culture. At the present time I believe it is the only one running in the country. It is a mix of Western & Burmese students and it is very reasonably priced at about 850 US dollars. ( Full time Celta courses in the UK are about £1300 ) Run by Explore Asia (Xplore Asia) in conjunction with Nelson schools. You are fully supported in every respect and cared for like a family. After the course all students except me will placed in paid teaching jobs throughout the country and the support continues.
    As for the internet here; your comments are spot on. You can do basic stuff and I am managing to audio Skype occasionally , but I tried to download a film when I first arrived and the transmission message said it would take 27 years!!!!! Unless you need fast internet speed to work, it is great way to be reminded that sometimes it is OK to put down these bloody computers & smartphones that have become such an obsessive part of our lives!!

    1. Interesting about the TEFL class! That is quite expensive though to an online class, which can be completed in a few weeks for $500 or less. Hope you’re having a blast in Yangon, and I’m extremely jealous that you’re there right now!

    1. Megan & Mike
      Could not agree more strongly. ( see my post above yours)
      I have never encountered before such genuine people who still manage to smile most of the time despite the horrendous suffering their Government has inflicted upon them. I hope in vain I am sure, but it is my fervent wish that one day the perpetrators of such horrendous crimes against humanity are bought to account.
      This country has affected me like no other & I am pretty widely travelled. I think it is down to two factors:
      1. Since 1962 until very recently, closed from the outside world, so not “corrupted” by the negative aspects of Western life
      2. Buddhism in its purist form. The people really seem to live by it’s principles and not just pay lip service to it for historical reasons.
      I await with bated breath, the outcome of the General Election next month.

  87. I too was in Bagan this January and can honestly say, it had the same impact on me. It truly feels like stepping back into a more gentile time. I would have to differ on the train though. We did a 19 hour train journey from Yangon to Bagan and it was real highlight for me with great countryside views, children chasing the train and the most rickety rails I have ever experienced. There were certainly a few times when I thought it was coming off the tracks. I was rather embarrassed to admit I was British – I thought we were renowned for good railways.

  88. Hi drew,
    Thanks a lot for giving your travel experience of Myanmar. Its really awesome country.
    Hope I will visit Myanmar soon.
    bye ….All the best.

  89. Hi drew, Thanks a lot for giving your travel experience about Myanmar. Really its awesome country . I will visit Myanmar very soon. Bye.

  90. Hi drew, Thanks a lot for giving your travel experience about Myanmar. Really its awesome country . I will visit Myanmar very soon. Bye, Timey.

  91. Hi, I really love your blog! You gave a lot of important explanation and details. Anyhow, I just want to ask why did you said not to buy the bus ticket by yourself? I’m going to travel to Myanmar solo this November and I have a plan to go to Bagan and Mandalay by bus. Thanks! 🙂


      For the bus tickets, you can easily buy once you arrive Myanmar or through http://www.myanmarbusticket.com (which charges a little bit more). Suggestions: Yangon to Mandalay should be by bus, then from Mandalay to Bagan by a boat which takes around 10 hours.


    2. I found it the easiest and best to simply let your guesthouse staff arrange your bus ticket for you. The commission probably comes out to less than $1US, and you can wait until you know exactly when you want to move on to another town, as you might love where you find yourself!

  92. Hi Drew!

    Thank you for your blog! I had fun reading it. I have a question for Sai (who is your friend). Me and my friend, both females, are wanting to go to Yangon this coming November. I heard that there is an election there. Do you know if it will be safe still? Also, we did not have a tour company to contact as we plan to ride taxis or public transports to the Pagoda, is that ok? Thank you in advance 🙂

    1. Kat, I’m sure I can answer this question for you.. You can definitely take taxis everywhere, and you will more than likely be safe during the elections. But you can email Sai just in case you want to hear from a local 🙂

    2. HI Drew– been reading alot of info.. and your blog is great help. i land in myanmmar from 10/23 -11/9– if you can put me in touch with your friend– i did just send him a post and the people who guided you in the inle lake and other spots.. i’d love to connect with them. im open for some assistance driving us to place and guides.Thanks so very much!

    3. Hi Kat,
      For sure it will be definitely safe especially in November. As Drew mentioned in the post, I can help you out to experience Yangon as a local by taking train, taxis, yeah sometimes trishaw 🙂


  93. We are an older couple (70) we are trying to decide between a pre-booked tour, 15 days about 1800 usd, and travelling independently. We have travelled independently in Vietbam And South America but we like our comforts! Worried about availability of reasonable hotels, 3*uk standard if not pre booked.

    1. Hi Greg,

      If you are planning to visit Myanmar between October – March, which we called high season, most of the hotels especially 3-4* are not available to book last minute.

      For the rest such as cars and guides and flights, you can arrange once you arrive Myanmar.
      Let me know for any other info you need.


  94. Hi Drew, thanks so much for this post! I will be travelling solo in Myanmar in few days and still haven’t decided whether to take the bus or train to get to Bagan and Inle Lake. I’ve read about pros and cons of taking the train and I was thinking that I would just give it a try… Nah I’ve changed my mind now 😀
    How long does it take to get to Bagan from Yangon by bus? Do they leave on schedule?
    Again- thank you for your help!

    1. Hi Rima,

      Let me answer you on behalf of Drew while he’s partying in Europe, I am Sai, his local Burmese friend. Normally it takes 10 hrs from Yangon to Bagan by a night bus and it has different schedules leaving Yangon at 07:00Pm and 08:00Pm. Also from Bagan to Inle Lake, the buses leave around 6-8 and you will get to the city named Nyaung Shwe early in the morning around 4-5 Am. Hope this info helps 🙂


  95. would you please to teach me where and how can i find a private guide with 12$/day? i plan to come there in this dec for new year holidays. i asked some agent but they offer 60-80$……

  96. THANK YOU Drew!! You have educated me and most of all reassured me! My husband and I are travelling there next year in Feb/March for about 3 weeks-ish. And I was getting frustrated at reading outdated info that was only 2-3 years old. We would much rather not have to book all our accomm in advance so now that Ive read your blog I feel much better that we don’t actually have too.
    Thanks so much.

    I have a question regarding the food. In one of the photos theres all different plates on the table including what looks like the meats, the greens and the sauces all separate. How do you go about eating it? Are the leaves and greens used to wrap the meat? What’s the local way of eating the food?

    1. Regarding your question, let me answer you on behalf of Drew, I am Sai.

      As you see the picture, we local people used to eat 1-2 main dishes (curry type – such as Chicken and potato curry), 2-3 side dishes (salads, fried vegetables, fried corn/potato) and a soup (bean/lentil) and the yes the green big plate (which are accompaniments – boiled or fresh veges) and the sauce – fish paste sauce (with the small spoon in the picture).

      A handpicked of rice mixed with curry gravy and add more dishes you wish – and enjoy your meal.

      Hope its clear enough 😀


      A handpicked rice

    2. No problem Hayley! Glad that I helped! Yes you wrap the meat in the greens and eat it! That’s the traditional way, but you can eat it however you wish 🙂

  97. Hi Drew,
    I’ve been following your blog and Instagram for a bit now and love it! I am actually leaving for Bangkok tomorrow from LAX and plan to stop in Myanmar after reading this blog post a few months ago.
    My original plan was to arrive in Bangkok and then explore Thailand by traveling north to Chiang Mai and then entering Myanmar. But I just saw on their visa website that you can only enter by air and (maybe) by sea. Do you have any thoughts/advice on this? I was thinking maybe I could just fly from Bangkok to Myanmar and then reenter Thailand to visit Chiang Mai but would I need to pay a reentry fee?

    If you have time-Thanks for your help!


  98. A great guide to spending a week or two in Myanmar!
    I was surprised to see that you can now get visas so easily, I had a right carry on trying to send off to the Burmese embassy for mine last year. It makes me more tempted to return in a few months as a solo traveller!

      1. Hi Drew ! U re traveling a lot.how it feels being free on office and working hours?how do earn ur life?how did u decide for that kind of life?

  99. Hi Drew,
    Thanks for the great blog! I also found it hard to found up to date information about Myanmar and felt a bit hesitant going. I have 12 days leave in August and I am undecided between Myanmar and the Phillipines (living in Perth, West Oz so both is cheap/easy), however, Myanmar looks intriguing and I would probably prefer going there.

    August is rain season, would you still recommend to go? I have travelled a fair bit by myself in south east asia and in my experience its still worth going as it mostly seems to rain just half day.. but i guess you never know.

    Also I am a girl travelling by myself, do you think its safe (genereally speaking). I mostly travel by myself, this time I would have preferred company but since I cant find anyone interested it will just be me.. I already read on your blog that you found it easy to meet other travellers so hopefully it will be the same for me.

    And last but not least, I read on smarttravller that there is civil unrest in parts of Myanmar but I understand it mainly affects the north. Have you noticed anything while you were there or do you think there are places or situations to avoid?

    Many thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Hello Marieke,

      I would def still go, even if it’s the rainy season. There will always be some sunshine!

      And don’t worry about safety isssues traveling as a girl solo. It’s VERY safe in Burma – safer than most other countries in the region.

      Lastly, I haven’t heard anything about that. Don’t worry too much 🙂

      Have fu on your trip, and let me know if you have any more questions!


  100. Hi Drew!
    thank you for your post!
    I was wondering if you had any issues with the eVisa application as they ask for details of the booked accommodation. “Tourist visa only allowed you to stay at registered hotel, motel, inn, guest house and resort.”
    I appreciate your advise 🙂

    1. Hi Drew!
      thanks for your great post 🙂
      I’d like to continue on the question Ana asked. It seems impossible to find any (fresh) information about what to do when you do NOT want to stay at the same hotel the whole time. I’m planning a one-month trip to Myanmar and certainly want to see more than the area around one hotel, so… any advice about that? It seems clear, that a tourist visa alone is not good enough for that. What would be the correct procedure?
      Any input welcome…

      1. Hi Stephane, Anna and Drew!
        I’m planning to go to Myanmar for one month, but i don’t want to plan everything in advance. How can I manage this wish with this kind of Visa?
        Thanks for your help!

  101. I visited Birma in 1977, and was allowed for only a week. With a carton of triple 5 cigarettes and a bottle of Black lable whisky, that I sold ,I was able to cover the expenses for one week. In Rangoon I stayed in the YMCA.
    Coming from Bangkok I was almost trown back in time.
    Next year I will visit again, and will see the difference, with the help of your information.

    1. Wow Willem, thanks for the comment! That is crazy to hear about your experience in 1977. I can’t imagine how different it is now!! Have a blast, and let me know if you have any more questions

  102. Hey man,

    Excellent blog! I am headed to Burma this coming July. I know it is extremely hot and in the rainy season but I will be traveling for 3 weeks in Burma, starting in Yangon. What is the area in Yangon where we should stay that is close to everything. What do you recommend us do that is a must! I know Bagan and the Lake is a must but is there anything you can recommend? We are flying out of Mandalay into Hanoi. Is there anything that you didn’t do that you wish you could? We are pretty adventurous travelers who have been to SE Asia numerous times. Really enjoyed the up-to-date blog!

    1. Hey Matt – Thanks for the comment! Awesome that you’re going to Burma soon! I would stay around 19th Street (Chinatown). That area is really happening and it’s in a good location. I pretty much recommended all of the other things to do in my blog post – Bagan and Inle area a must! I never went to Mandalay, but I heard it’s cool. Let me know if you have any more questions!


  103. This post is a true rarity. You rarely find blog posts so researched and thorough. I went for a month and also got to enter Kayah state, which was closed to tourists until July 2014.
    Some info you might not know. Before July 2014, most of Myanmar was open, but Chin, Myiek and Kayah were only open with special permission from the government. The reason is that there have been conflicts in the past with the local tribes, but that is also the reason to visit.
    Chin State (which my buddy visited in March 2015) is the home of the Chin tattoo women, who tattoo their entire faces. Kayah is home to the Pudang, or Long Neck Women. Most people visit them in north Thailand and come out feeling like it is a human zoo. In fact, the BBC had a post about this on how they are held against their will. Kayah is their home state and you can visit them now freely, but it is not easy. Most bus operators from Inle are not even aware that you can go in without permission and I had to ask around a lot to get someone to sell me a ticket.

    1. Hey Julio – thanks for the kind words and for your helpful insights to Myanmar! I didn’t know any of the stuff that you said! Cheers!

  104. Hello Drew,

    This new excursion in Nyaung U/ Bagan is the best thing that I did in Myanmar. And, more than 60% of travelers who go say the same thing. There were no tourists anywhere around us other than those on our boat, no cars, no noise, no trash along one path that the boys take responsibility for, and we got to interact with the authentic and secluded Burma that I have not experienced elsewhere.

    The excursion leaves by foot just after lunch time from the May Kha Lar Guest House on the Main Road in Nyaung U and returns just before dinner time. 9,000 Kyat for 5.5 hours. You must make arrangements prior. Three boys lead you on a small boat, 12 passengers max, around a farming island that is teaming with wildlife. They stop at their 4 favorite places, a pristine swimming beach, a deep tunnel cave, one of their villages on the opposite bank of the Irrawaddy, and at a tiny sand bar in the middle of the river for sunset beers. It is awesome.

    Below is a more detailed review from another participant. I’m including it because I help the boys when I’m in Burma. She doesn’t, so her impressions may be viewed as more authentic. Please read her experience and next time you are in Bagan go on it. It’s a must do. You will be glad you went. I will be back there November 15 through February 15. If you are there too I will bring you along myself and buy the beer.

    Mr. Steven


  105. Drew,
    Thanks for the post. Exactly the travel info we are looking for. We are a family of four (yes, travelers do meet, fall in love, get married and then have families that they then drag along on wild crazy adventures like this). We have lived in Asia for some time now so we have done most of the surrounding countries but Myanmar is taking priority due to it’s changing nature. We have been to Inle lake via Cambodia (yes! the lake is that BIG!) . My question is: should we go to Inle again (your description includes some things we didn’t see) or would you recommend somewhere else like the coast? Or perhaps just spend our 10 days in the two cities?
    Bagan and Yangoon are certainly on the list. If you are interested my IG feed is @bruinabroad

    1. Hey Lisa! Thanks for the comment, and that is so awesome that you are taking your family on a trip to Myanmar!

      Since you’ve already been to Inle, I would skip it and go to Bagan and Yangon instead. You can also visit some beautiful beaches on the coast that I heard are worth going to!

      Let me know if you have any more questions 🙂


  106. Drew,
    Thanks for the post. Exactly the travel info we are looking for. We are a family of four (yes, travelers do meet, fall in love, get married and then have families that they then drag along on wild crazy adventures like this). We have lived in Asia for some time now so we have done most of the surrounding countries but Myanmar is taking priority due to it’s changing nature. We have been to Inle lake via Cambodia (yes! the lake is that BIG!) . My question is: should we go to Inle again (your description includes some things we didn’t see) or would you recommend somewhere else like the coast? Or perhaps just spend our 10 days in the two cities?
    Bagan and Yangoon are certainly on the list.

    1. I would have spent more time in Bagan, I would have gone to Mandalay and also to the beautiful beaches on the coast! I am super jealous that you have 5 weeks there.. You are going to have a blast!


  107. Are you need Myanmar travel agent 7daystour.com will guide in details of Burmese culture, private Myanmar tours, family holidays packages, luxury Myanmar travel and customs with you.

  108. Hi Drew,

    Would like to check that do you mind to share with me on your itinerary? Reason being, am going Myanmar soon (for 6-7days) and bit clueless how to plan my trip.

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hey! I would do Yangon, Bagan and Inle lake. With 7 days, you may be a little rushed so I would recommend to fly instead of taking the 12 hours buses. You can definitely do it!

      Let me know if you have any more questions 🙂


    2. Hello Lesly,

      Please stop in at the May Kha Lar Guest House on the Main Road in Nyaung U (Bagan). Arrange for Myat Oo, Tattoo, and Polibe to take you out on the Irrawaddy for an afternoon. These 3 boys showed me the most memorable part of Burma. A description of what they do is above in this list of comments.

      Also, If you’re up for it, I would like to send you $15 so that you can treat them to dinner afterwards. …or maybe take them roller-skating at the new rink there. It would be a fun experience for all of you. Please let me know if you would like to do that.

      Safe travels.

  109. Hello Drew,

    When you went did you go alone? If so was it hard to meet other travelers there? I will be going there pretty soon and was wondering if I will be alone most of the time, or is it easy o meet up with other travelers there?


    1. Hey Austin, Yes I went alone and no it was super easy to meet other travelers!! You will be just fine 🙂 Let me know if you have any other questions!


  110. Hi Drew. Thanks for a great post! I will use it when I travel to Myanmar! How would you spend 12-13 days in Myanmar? I will be travelling with my mum and I would also like to have some days just exploring the cities and basic doing nothing 😉

    1. Awesome Tine! I had about the same amount of time in Myanmar, so I would recommend the same schedule that I did. Yangon –> Bagan –> Inle. It’s the best!

      Let me know if you have any more questions 🙂


  111. drew,
    Thanks so much for the article including the interesting event in the night life. I’m leaving in July to teach at one of the international schools in Yangon and it’s refreshing to see and hear about the country from someone that was recently there. Thanks again Drew!

  112. Great information Drew! It will help others traveling to the “Land of Temples.” I must have just missed you in Myanmar, as I returned after 32 years to visit my old haunts in Bagan, Inle Lake and Yangon in January. You can check out my photo blog at http://shoestringtravelsasia.blogspot.com/ . But, I have to disagree with Sandalsand’s comment….it’s not “go before it gets crowded”….it already is very crowded with tourists (you can imagine the difference after 32 years!); it’s “go, even if it is crowded!” However, I’d add, “go and leave no trace of your travels, except what will benefit the people you visit.”
    Plan ahead; have fun; stay safe!

  113. Hello!
    awesome article, very very helpful considering so much information on this country seems to change daily! I am wondering now with the influx in accessible ATM’S within the country for money, what is the need for the US bills? I will be there in either November or December of this year 🙂

    1. Hey Kelsey! You should definitely bring U.S. Bills in case of emergency or in case your ATM card doesn’t work. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Have fun trip 🙂

  114. Hey Drew,

    Enjoyed reading this article, my brother, best friend and I are thinking of traveling to Myanmar in about a month for an extended weekend. Do many people speak english or do you suggest hiring a translator? Also, your thoughts on hiring a driver? My brother and I had a driver in Bali and it was completely worth it, and super cheap. If so, do you have any suggestions or a translator or driver?


  115. Thank you so much for all the details, Drew. I am from Thailand but study in the states. Never been to Myanmar but plan to do it with family this summer.

  116. Drew,

    I love your article! It is the best one I have read on the Internet about Myanmar. My son, Austin, is traveling to Southeast Asia this summer and YOU sold him on traveling there (seriously). I have a question for you. He will be traveling for three months starting May 10th. I see that the average temperature in Yangon in May is 95 degrees. Bali, Indonesia is also in his plans. I see that the average temperature there in May is 85 degrees.

    Would you recommend him going to Bali first and then waiting until August to go to Myanmar? I would appreciate your thoughts.

    Have a great day!

    Tom Williams

    1. Tom, Wow I cannot even tell you how happy this comment made me! I’m glad that I was in inspiration for your son to travel! To answer your question, it won’t make much of a difference. It’s going to be hot and humid in both places.. so 5 or 10 degrees won’t matter too much. If you go to Yangon in August, then you are risking the rainy season which can ruin the entire trip.

      I wish him a good time on the trip! Let me know if you or Austin have any further questions 🙂


      1. Drew,

        Thank you for the response. That is great advice! There was a mistake in my email to you. What I meant to say is that you sold him on “going to Myanmar”. He had already planned to go to Southeast Asia but decided to go to Burma after reading your article.

        Again, thanks for your help and enjoy your travels.


        1. Tom, it still feels good that I sold him on Myanmar! Now, one more person will be able to experience this amazing country.



  117. brilliant blog!!!!

    Asian wings……would you recommend as an airline? Did the flight leave on time? I’m off to Myanmar in a couple of weeks and struggling to get a bus out of Yangon city due to water festival so I’m looking at possible flights.

    1. Thanks Louise!! I flew Asian Wings and it was good. It was a small plane, propeller engine, and the seating was 1 seat and then 2 seats.. It honestly was a little scary but it’s worth it!! Have fun 🙂

  118. Drew! loving your blog. You really give great insight to the places you’ve visited. I’m inspired and definitely gonna see Myanmar in dec/jan. Do you think 10 days Myanmar and 10 days Sri Lanka will b too rushed? Also, would be great if U could give me some contacts of anyone U could recommend to take me around. Gonna be traveling alone as a female. 🙂

    1. Hey Katie! Thanks so much! 10 days in both Myanmar and Sri Lanka will be perfect. You will be able to get a lot accommplished in that amount of time! Yes I can send you some contacts, please send me an email 🙂

  119. Hey! Awesome entry! I’m wondering: 1) When you entered Myanmar, did Immigration require to see your ticket out of the country? (We’ll be flying in from Bangkok in about a month, but would rather not pre-book travel out of the country to give us some flexibility.) 2) Were most hotels/stays around $15US/night? Would it be the same price for two people? (I’m currently in Bali and the homestay price differs if there are one or two people.) Are their homesteads/guesthouses there, or are hotels the way to go? THANKS!

    1. Hey Brette- thanks for the questions!
      1) No they did not ask me, but perhaps they changed the policy
      2) $15 is pretty cheap.. they were $20-30 for decent rooms (yes 2 people)
      3) hotels are the way to go

      Have fun and let me know if you have any more questions!

  120. Thanks so much for this post! There’s so little info about Myanmar out there, so I found this really useful for my trip in a couple of months time. Can’t wait!

  121. This has been one of the most helpful posts I’ve read! I leave for Myanmar March 5th so just a couple of weeks away and I could not be more excited!

  122. Great Article. Possibly one of the best i’ve read about Myanmar. Thanks for all the details and chuckles.
    I’m also staying at the Mya Thida Hotel, is it clean enough? or i’m best of finding an alternative?

    Thanks, Mary

  123. Hey Drew! What a great post, so lovely to read! I live in Bangkok and am going to head over to Myanmar for 10 days. I will definitely do the 3 day hike you mentioned – do you have any other ‘active’ activity suggestions? I would very much like to ride, but so far the bike tours i’ve found are from UK based companies are are about $2000 … that’s like 7 months rent for me!!

    1. Hi Melanie! Thanks so much for the comment! You are going to have such a fun time, and yes, the hike is the #1 thing that I recommend to do. I don’t know too much about the biking tours, but you can rent a bike for 24 hours and explore as far as you want (only for $5). Let me know if you have any more questions, and have a blast!

  124. Awesome post. I really want to visit Myanmar, I wish it had been in the cards on my previous se asia trips. Those noodles look amazing.

    I heard that there’s a real high risk of getting food poisoning there and that you should bring your own eating utensils because a lot of restaurants will only rinse things off and not actually wash anything. Did you find that to be true?

    1. Those noodles are the best! There is definitely no need to bring your own utensils, I never heard of anyone doing that. But yes there is definitely a risk of food poisoning, much like India and other SE Asian countries. I was badly food poisoned in the Philippines and it wasn’t fun. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to bring your own utensils 😉

  125. Hi Drew!

    Just want to ask how did you travel from Yangon to Bagan? You took the bus? Was this the VIP bus that you mentioned?


    1. Hi Alex – thanks for your comment! I actually booked a one-way flight on Asian Wings airlines for abut $100. But most people travel by VIP bus, which is about $15 for the 12 hour journey. Let me know if you have any more questions!

  126. Hi Drew,
    I really like this guide, it’s both informative and entertaining! And it makes me want to pack up and travel to Myanmar asap!
    Cheers from Germany,

  127. Thanks a lot for the update. I fully agree with your conclusion that Myanmar should be visited sooner than later, before it gets more crowded. I would like to comment on a couple of things based on my visit back in August 2013.

    At that time the Wifi speed was not bad, surprisingly good actually and nowhere near the speed I experienced in the 1990s. The connection was not necessarily stable or ultrafast, but still.
    Second, local trains should not be avoided at all. They became my favourite means of transportation and I survived three of them.
    Third, the hot air balloons over Bagan are seasonal, check out when you’re leaving and don’t be disappointed when you get there.
    Fourth, the Inle Lake boat cost me 20 USD a day, not 2. But then I had it all to myself, with a driver and a guide and we visited more places than the ordinary half a dozen stops. 15-20 was the going price at that time for a boat.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I don’t know where you got “still” wifi connections, because I sure didn’t. Did you stay at luxury hotels/resorts? Maybe those have better connection speeds… I said the boat costs $2 per PERSON. We had 6 people in our boat, which was $12 total. I will clarify more in my post.

      Appreciate your feedback, Cheers

  128. Love this! I was last in SE Asia when Myanmar was a ‘no-go’ area and it has been hard to find out much information on it which hasn’t made it look very intimidating! Glad to hear how much you enjoyed it 🙂

  129. Amazing post Drew! Beautiful Myanmar!
    Thanks for sharing all this updated information.
    Totally agree with you, Shan noodles are the best and people really touch your heart with their hospitality and generosity.

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