Exploring Myanmar in a week

Closed off from the world until recently, Myanmar is a land of unique beauty. This is our guide to spend seven days of your journey in this South East Asian country.

Day 1 and 2: Yangon

Yangon was the capital of Myanmar until 2005, and is still the commercial and cultural hub of the country. Cut off from the global economy for 50 years, Yangon is a city frozen in time. In downtown Yangon, British colonial architecture looks exactly as it might have been a century ago. At the same time, Yangon is beginning to shown signs of globalisation. Billboards for foreign brands are sprouting up, and new imported cars are appearing on the roadways.

shwedagon pagoda myanmar

Yangon is a city of striking diversity, with Buddhist shrines, Hindhu temples, and Muslim mosques existing side by side.

After walking around and exploring the city, treat yourself to an afternoon snack at one of Myanmar’s famous tea houses. Tea houses are for more than just tea. You can order a variety of snacks and cold salads to go with your tea. Be sure to try mohinga, a soup of thin rice noodles and thick fish broth seasoned with lemongrass.

As the day winds down, it’s time to visit Shwedagon Pagoda, the centrepiece of Yangon, and one of the most famous sights in the country. Shwedagon is a sprawling religious fairground with dozens fo structures to explore. At its centre is the three-hundred-foot tall golden spire, whose diamond tip reflects a brilliant rainbow on the ground at sunset. The complex is also stunning at night, when the golden spires give off an other-worldly glow.

Summer is the monsoon season in Yangon, so be sure to pack your umbrella, or your boat. If you find yourself caught in a rainstorm, it might be a good idea to spend your second day in Myanmar to partake of an indoor activity. Bogyoke Aung San Market is a vast market with over two thousand vendors. This is an ideal place to stock up on souvenirs, with everything from lacquerware to jewellery to antiques, and don’t be afraid to haggle for a good deal.

Day 3 and 4: Bagan

Bagan, land of two thousand temples, each one is unique. Some could almost be mistaken for European cathedrals. Others look like termite mounds on African plains. The city of Bagan was built around the twelfth century, and was once the capital of a flourishing empire. At its height, it consisted of over ten thousand structures, and was a centre of culture and learning.

Bagan 

You will need at least two days to explore all of its wonders. On the first day, it is a good idea to get the lay of the land by taking the ride in a horse-cart. Or, if you are there in the cooler months of the year, a hot air balloon ride is a breathtaking way to soak in the scenery. Take note of your favourite temples to come back to later and explore. On your second day in Bagan, rent a bike at your hotel, and set off on an adventure. You can park your bike outside and explore the temples on foot. Each temple holds unique wonders, from towering Buddhist statues, to eight hundred-year-old frescoes, to hidden staircases and lookout points. Be forewarned: it is Burmese custom to remove your shoes before entering the temple grounds, so simple footwear is recommended. Bagan is also famous for lacquerware, a traditional handcraft made by applying multiple layers of sap to a bamboo frame. As your second day winds down, find a lookout point on one of the temples, and take in the magical sunset over the ancient plains of Bagan.

Day 5: Mandalay

Mandalay in central Myanmar was the last royal capital of Burma. Its main site is a cheap replica of the Royal Palace which was destroyed by bombing during World War II. Shwenandaw Monastery is the only surviving structure from the original palace. King Thibaw relocated the building to a monastery down the road where it remained unscathed from the bombing. It is made entirely in teak wood, and covered in elaborate carvings.

mandalay hill

Spend the rest of your day at Mandalay Hill. The winding staircase up the hill is lined with monasteries, temples, and vendors. Panoramic views of the city from the top make the climb well worth it.

Day 6 and 7:

Lake Inle On day six, you will arrive at Nyaung Shwe, a tiny village that serves as a staging ground for trips to Lake Inle. Here, you can make arrangements for your boat trip on the lake.

Lake Inle, the Venice of Myanmar. Here, you will see some of the most unique sights in the world. Fishermen who paddle with their legs, villages built on stilts above the water, gardens that float on the surface of the lake; the inhabitants of Lake Inle have made living on the lake a way of life. For an extra romantic experience, stay overnight at one of the hotels that sit atop the lake.

inle lake

Every fifth day, a floating market is held on the lake. This is where locals come to do their shopping and tourists go to find local handicrafts.

Lake Inle is also home to the famous Jumping Cat Monastery. The cats that inhabit this monastery have been trained to jump through hoops and perform several times a day.

From the golden pagodas of Yangon to floating gardens of Lake Inle, you’ve just covered four regions in seven days. But that is just the beginning. Myanmar is a vast country. With time permitting, there’s so much more to explore.

Wish you safe and happy travels.

HUONG VIET TRAVEL has been established since 2002 at Hanoi Capital of Vietnam & known as one of the most outstanding travel agents not only in Vietnam but South East Asia. With tour of all kinds: Sightseeing Tours in MyanmarMyanmar Adventure Tours ...

More info: http://huongviettravel.com/myanmar-tour/

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