Long isolated from the outside world, Myanmar is something of a throwback to what all of Southeast Asia used to be like. It’s another, older world. The countryside is dotted with tiny villages and pagodas while cities host crumbling colonial buildings next glittering temples. Amongst all this history are hasty developments, particularly in Yangon and Mandalay but it’s still a world away from the likes of Bangkok.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN MYANMAR
- Watch the sunrise over the temples of Bagan
- Take the train over the Gokteik Viaduct
- Explore beautiful Inle Lake
- Marvel at the stunning Shwedagon Paya in Yangon
- Hot air balloon over old Bagan
CENTRAL LOOP (TOURIST TRIANGLE)
Tourists are carefully kept within the Tourist Triangle in the centre of the country. Much of Myanmar is still shut off to visitors. Along the boarders to the north in particular are no go zones and it’s recommended that you fly in and out of the country rather than attempting to cross any boarders.
The largest city in Myanmar
Explore the many thousands of temples
Walk from this tiny to Inle Lake
What to Wear
It’s hot and dry in Myanmar so the temptation is to wear as little as possible, but this is a deeply conservative country. Locals dress modestly with shoulders and knees covered. Dressing modestly is strictly observed in temples and you will not be allowed to enter if you’re showing too much skin. Buddhist Temple Etiquette. It is recommended that you dress modestly all the time, not just for visiting temples to respect local customs. Keeping covered will protect you from sunburn in the day and insect bites at night.
Head & Feet
The head is considered the most sacred part of the body in Buddhism and the feet the most impure. It’s therefore considered to be extremely improper to touch someones head. Likewise, pointing at things with your feet, putting your feet on furniture or pointing towards people with feet are rude gestures. You shouldn’t be surprised or offended if shop owners ask you to remove your shoes before entering and this is required when visiting a temple.
FOOD & DRINK
This fermented tea leaf salad doesn’t sound all that appealing but it’s actually delicious. It’s the perfect mix of flavors and textures: soft pickled tea leaves, crisp roasted peanuts, toasted sesame seeds and crunchy beans fried in garlic.
Tea is a big deal in Myanmar. It’s black, Indian style normally served with sweetened condensed milk.
Flights are cheapest in and out of Yangon but you can also get international flights to Mandalay.
I was really surprised how easy it is to get around. Buses are frequent to the main towns and are great quality. Internal flights are expensive and distances are manageable to do on overnight buses.
Travel by rail is painfully slow and it’s recommended to get the bus to travel between cities. There are some scenic rail journeys which are exactly that – scenic. It’s about the journey rather than the destination.
You don’t need to bring USD with you because there are ATMs all over the main cities. I was able to take out a maximum of 300,000 kyats. The currency is still closed so you’ll need to change up any left over cash before you leave.
Little Amy Tours @littleamytours