EN|Travel Guide: Myanmar

We had a great time in Myanmar! Without any idea what to expect from this country, we booked two flight tickets. After having read a lot about the country we made an itinerary for the 9 days we had in Myanmar. Yes, 9 days, far too little, but just enough to see a small part of the country! Curious about our route and other useful tips? Here you will find our itinerary for Myanmar and Singapore.

Myanmar is a country where tourism is just about to arrive, there is not much to find yet, and often the information available is a bit outdated. Just like Cuba, Myanmar is a place “you have to visit before it’s too late”. People are afraid of mass tourism like in Bali or Thailand. And indeed, Myanmar still offers that (awful hipster-word) authentic experience. You have to realize though that at the moment Myanmar has internal conflicts going on. With internal conflicts I refer to the ethnic conflict which can be seen as the longest civil war going on. I will not go into depth about this in this article but just a warning: it’s harder and more dangerous to go off the beaten track.

This however does not mean that people we encountered aren’t incredibly sweet and amazing to meet. Nature is overwhelmingly beautiful, the food delicious (if you have a strong stomach) and the beautiful culture, everywhere visible! Myanmar is a must visit in my opinion! Below you will find my tips for a wonderful time in this great country!

Yangon 1a
Typical market in Yangon

To eat

The food is Myanmar is delicious, lots of fruit and vegetables, lots of flavor and great versatility. Unfortunately, the hygiene is not always from a high standerd, we became ill a couple of times. But to be very honest, this might be just our problem (foodpoison has a way of always hitting us hard). Here are some restaurants that you really shouldn’t miss!

  • 999 Shan Noodle Shop (Yangon). These are definitely the best noodles we have ever had!
  • Rangoon Tea House (Yangon). Secretly we are a bit ashamed for admitting we went to this hipster restaurant in a city where all kinds of delicious local food is sold. BUT … we had been foodpoisonned to many times and were craving some food prepared in a real kitchen. Next to this, the food was to die for! So fancy, so tasty and soooo good. I would recommend to go here if you want to eat at a fancy place or if you are a big hipster and want to share food pictures on Instagram!
  • The Moon- Be kind to Animals (Bagan). This is a delicious vegetarian restaurant in the middle of Bagan. Food is tasty and the atmosphere very nice!
  • Inle Heritage (Inle Lake). This restaurant is our biggest tip! The food was super delicious, the view amazing and the people so incredibly sweet. I wouldn’t mind eating here every day. This place is located outside the village of Inle Lake and can be perfectly combined with a visit to the vineyards around Inle Lake. Next to being a restaurant, this place is also a homestay and you can do a cooking class.
  • Unfortunately we do not have any food tips for Kalaw. Or actually we do have one, don’t go for dinner to the Red House bar & Restaurant. The kitchen is supposed to be Italian, but to be honest, the food was a big disappointment.
Kalaw
The amazing view from our homestay in Kalaw

To Sleep

There are not many hotels in Myanmar, most hotels owned by the government and are priced very high. Home-stays such as Airbnb are not allowed. Below are three good hotels where we stayed.

Lotus Bed & Breakfast (Yangon) €
Super nice and small hostel. The wifi worked well, it had air conditioning, it was clean and the breakfast was good! The employees of the hotel are actually all trained which are getting experience, very cute! We paid € 33 per night (2people).

My Bagan Residence by Amata (Bagan) €€
This was our ‘luxury’ hotel during Myanmar, and wow it was wonderful! It is located  between old and new Bagan. Whats very special about this place, is that it’s surrounded by small pagodas. So beautiful! In addition to the location, the breakfast is delicious! We slept here for € 75 a night (2people).

Unique bed & breakfast (Kalaw) €
Sweet little homestay just outside Kalaw. The breakfast was delicious and the people so incredibly sweet. Oh and the view, is really that great! Only € 30 per night (2people).

yangon 2a
Young Monks at the Shwedagon Temple

To Do

A long list of cool things to do in this cool country. In case you have any questions, leave a comment!

  • Wander around in Yangon. Yangon, one of the largest cities in Myanmar, is a crazy mix of colonial British and ancient Asia. The city is a bit run down and also quite dirty, but between all the crowds you will see beautiful buildings and streets. Just wondering around will be both amazing and overwhelming! While walking you will encounter beautiful (golden) Pagodas and food markets located literally in the middle of the street.
  • Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda (Yangon). This immense Pagoda is actually a huge temple complex. We walked through the entire complex with a local guide, and would recommend this to you aswell. This way you will get a better understanding of all the beauty around you. The biggest Pagoda which is complete covered in gold, will torn above you. In the evening the golden glow from the Pagoda is visible from anywhere in the city. Visiting the temple complex? You will have to pay a small fee and do not forget to always dress appropriately. This holds for both men and women, covered shoulders and legs.
Bagan
Beautiful Bagan
  • Sunset on a Pagoda. Bagan contains thousands of beautiful pagodas spread out on a few square kilometers. Small, large, run down or well maintained. I found it really special to drive around in this ares by scooter or bicycle and just absorb the beauty of all these pagoda’s. During sunset we went to a somewhat bigger Pagoda, climbed up and enjoyed the beautiful view. As far as the eye reaches you will see small and big pagoda’s.
  • Want to have an even better perspective of all the Pagoda’s in Bagan? Then a hot air balloon flight during sunset or sunrise might just be your thing. We considered this aswell, but in the end the price (+/- € 350 per person) was a bit to high for us.
  • Burmese massage: there is not a thing in the world which makes me as happy as a massage! In countries such as Thailand or Indonesia, a massage is offered at every corner of the street. This is not the case in Myanmar. Probably this has to do with the lack of masstourism and the more prudent culture. However you will find a few massages in Myanmar, and wow they are really good!
inle lake
Sweet kids during our Trekking between Kalaw and Inle Lake
  • Trekking between Kalaw & Inle Lake: This two-day trek was the highlight of our trip through Myanmar! We had a very nice group and the sweetest guide possible! You can choose to walk for two or three days, and sleep in local villages. We opted for a two day trip, which was perfect. During the trip (about 8 hours of walking per day) the guide will tell you about the environment, the people and the culture and politics of Myanmar. The food during the hike is simply great! There are several small companies that offer trekkings, we can absolutely recommend Ever Smile. Costs are 20 euro per person including a homestay, food and luggage transportation. This is a very small amount, therefore don’t forget to tip your guide!
  • Wine tasting Inle Lake. This will certainly not be the best wine you have ever had. Okay to be honest, you’re going to drink really dirty wine here. But the views you will have during your bad wine tasting is great! And the fact that you have a wine tasting in the middle of Myanmar is also just a fun experience.
  • Cycling around Inle Lake. We would have loved to do this, unfortunately it rained no stop during the two days we visited Inle Lake. But from what the environment looked like, this would be an amazing thing to do here.
Bagan 2
Photography during sunset in Bagan

Do you want to read more?
Here you will find all of my articles on Myanmar (all in Dutch). 

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