Magical Myanmar offers so many choices when it comes to narrowing down an itinerary. Whether you have only a few days in the country or more weeks to really explore, there is no shortage of places to visit in Myanmar
To help you decide on your dream Myanmar Itinerary, here are some of our favourites, the 5 best Myanmar Itineraries.
Loikaw and surrounds (5 days)
Myanmar is home to many fascinating cultures, as there are many different groups each with their own customs and traditions. To learn more about them and to take in the great hiking in Myanmar, we recommend five days around Loikaw as one of the best itineraries in Myanmar.
Note: As this itinerary focuses heavily on discovering the culture of the people who live around Loikaw, we highly recommend visiting with a guide. A guide will help you have the best experience possible, helping to bridge the language and culture gap, and making your visit wonderful for both you and the communities you visit.
The easiest way to reach Loikaw is to fly from Yangon, as the drive is very long and sometimes the roads can be impassable. Once you arrive in Loikaw, there are numerous villages nearby. One is the Pan Pet Village, with its colourful market. From here, you can trek out to visit people including the Kayah and long-necked Padaung.
Back in Loikaw, there is an excellent museum where you can learn more about the history and culture of the groups in the area. Loikaw is also an excellent base to spend a couple of days exploring villages including Hta Nee La Lah, Hte Kho and Ra A Pra.
Loikaw is not far from Phe Khone, the gateway to Inle Lake. One great thing to do here is to take a boat ride on the lake. It’s sure to end your time around Loikaw in a wonderful and relaxing way, before you return to Yangon or continue your journey.
Love this itinerary? We recommend “Explore Loikaw and its Uniqueness”
Mainmahla Island (5 days)
Although Myanmar is perhaps most famous for its temples and hiking, it is also a paradise for animal lovers. Off the coast of the mainland, you can find many intriguing islands that are populated by interesting animals, such as one of our favourites, Mainmahla Island.
If arriving in Yangon, you’ll need to travel south to Bogale, the departure point for the two-hour boat journey to Mainmahla Island. As soon as you step off of the boat, breathe in the fresh air and listen for the sounds of animal life.
It’s an undiscovered paradise!
We recommend leaving at least 3 days to enjoy the many amazing sights on the island and also to visit neighbouring Byonemwe Island.
The most famous animals on the islands are crocodiles and birds, and with a little luck, you can easily spot both. The crocodiles are most active at night, and a local guide knows all the best places to safely spot these prehistoric reptiles. During the day, you can also spot more than 100 species of birds, and there’s even a turtle hatchery as well.
Apart from relaxing, trekking and wildlife-watching, the island also offers the chance to see the traditional fishing villages. Here, the way of life has remained largely the same for hundreds of years.
After exploring the islands, it’s time to return back to Yangon or continue to your onward journey.
Love this tour? We recommend “Wildlife Adventure of Mainmahla Island at the Ayerwaddy Delta”
Adventure Trekking in Shan State (7 days)
Myanmar offers some of the best hiking anywhere on the planet – adventure through untouched wilderness and admire the jaw-dropping views. While there are a number of great places for hiking in Myanmar, some of the very best treks are found in Shan state.
From Yangon (well worth exploring in itself), we recommend flying to Heho and then travelling onwards to Pindaya, the ideal base for trekking in Myanmar. Pindaya offers many interesting sights, so be sure to stop and see the caves as well as meet some local artisans.
From Pindaya, there are many excellent hikes to nearby villages. These hikes will take you through absolutely beautiful scenery, while also introducing you to the traditional culture of the area. Along the way, you can stay in warm and welcoming monasteries to rest your tired legs, and get a good night’s’ sleep!
Most of the best treks in the area are multi-day adventures, and we highly recommend doing them in the company of an experienced guide. It is very dangerous to attempt them alone, and you’ll also likely miss out on the full experience of learning about local life!
As well as treks from Pindaya to local villages, it is also well-located for the Inle Lake. Not only is life very peaceful and picturesque on the lake, but you can be introduced to a number of communities who have lived traditional lives on or around the lake.
Don’t miss the Indein Village, with its famous sixteenth-century pagodas!
After spending some amazing days exploring Shan State by foot and by boat, return back to Yangon or continue on for more adventures in amazing Myanmar!
Love this itinerary? We recommend “Adventure Trekking Around Shan State”
Yangon – Bagan – Mandalay (8 Days)
It’s perhaps Myanmar’s most famous itinerary, encompassing three of the country’s most beautiful and historic places: Bagan, Yangon, and Mandalay.
Most visitors to Myanmar arrive in the capital, Yangon, so it is a sensible place to begin your tour of the country. Within the city, there are many beautiful and impressive buildings, from the grand Town Hall (one of the best examples of Burmese architecture) to numerous temples and pagodas including the Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, home to the 66 meters reclining Buddha.
Although Yangon has a lot of history, it is also a modern and bustling city with a plethora of shops, markets, restaurants and cafes to enjoy.
Along the route between Yangon and Bagan, there are a number of interesting historical and cultural stops, where you can get a glimpse of local life in Myanmar. There’s Pyay, near the UNESCO Heritage site of Sri Kestra, and Yenangyaung, where most of Myanmar’s oil and natural gas is produced.
From here, you can then go on to Bagan.
A true jewel of Myanmar, stunning Bagan is a delight for any history lover. It is filled with incredible temples and ruins, and watching the sunrise over them is a truly majestic experience. As well as the numerous beautiful temples, there’s also a bustling and colorful market where you can find some gorgeous souvenirs of your time in the enchanting city.
The drive between Bagan and Mandalay is a pleasant one, and you can stop off at Mount Popa along the way. This hilltop temple mixes the best of natural and manmade beauty, offering a stunning temple that has an amazing view out over the landscape.
Arriving in peaceful Mandalay, there is much to do and see. There are a number of beautiful temples or visit some of the artisans to learn more about traditional arts and crafts in Myanmar. Or, simply enjoy riding a bike or walking around the beautiful streets, soaking in the atmosphere of magical Myanmar.
Love this itinerary? We recommend “Explore Myanmar’s History and Countryside”
Around Myanmar Adventures (12 days)
If you have a little bit longer in beautiful Myanmar, you can add on additional stops to see even more of what this amazing country has to offer. With this Myanmar itinerary, you’ll see some of the country’s most beloved gems, as well as those hidden away secrets as well.
Most visitors to Myanmar arrive in Yangon, making it a sensible place to start your adventure. Yangon is the bustling economic heart of Myanmar, and it’s a fascinating mix of old and new architecture. Here, you can visit many pagodas and temples, or enjoy the plentiful restaurants, bars, markets, shops and museums in the city.
Not far from Yangon lies Bago and the Golden Rock, one of the most significant Buddhist sites in Myanmar and a truly amazing site. Along the road to the Golden Rock, there are a number of possible stops, including discovering local artisans and paying your respects at a war cemetery.
Returning back to Yangon, we recommend flying to Bagan to save time. Beautiful Bagan is a highlight for many visitors to Myanmar, with its multitude of beautiful temples and ruins which give the city an almost magical atmosphere. There are a number of day trips out to the countryside, where you can learn about local life and even sample some local delicacies!
After uncovering the secrets of beautiful Bagan, move on to Mandalay – again, flying is the most efficient option. This laidback city has many beautiful buildings, including the Mandalay Palace and numerous temples and pagodas. Around Mandalay, there are also many artisans so you can learn about different traditional crafts.
From Mandalay, travel onwards to Heho which is close to the beautiful areas of Pindaya and Kalaw, where you can easily spend a few days. Both offer a selection of beautiful buildings as well as stunning natural scenery. Likewise, the nearby Inle Lake is a true delight! Around the lake, there are numerous traditional villages where you can learn more about local life, and perhaps pick up some beautiful souvenirs of your time in Myanmar.
Love this itinerary? We recommend “Myanmar Highlights”