Where to go in your First-time trip to Myanmar?
Planning the first trip to anywhere is never a piece of cake. In fact, it could become more challenging and even time-consuming if it is a lesser-known region. Certainly the Internet is always available for everything, it could overwhelm you sometimes with tons of information, though. To help you save the time, below are 4 major destinations that you should include in your first trip to Myanmar in Asia without the worry of weather restriction all time of the year.
Out of all other places, Yangon is the largest as well as most developed city in Myanmar. Not many tourists think there is not much to see in this urbanized city except for the international airport which often makes it a start point of the journey. But Yangon has some incredible gems that deserve your exploration such as the most sacred Buddhist pagoda of Shwedagon, the reputable Sule Pagoda, the colorful Bogyoke market, the vibrant Chinatown or the large number of precious colonial-era buildings that go well together for a nice sense of the unique mixture. 2 days should be enough for all highlights the city has to offer.
Extensible day trip options from Yangon: Dahla & Twante, Bago & Kyaikhtiyo
Located right in the central Burma, Bagan is likely to be the easiest and most popular next destination after Yangon with plenty of connecting flight options available every day. As it is widely-known as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Bagan bears spectacular testimony to the peak of Bagan civilization (11th -13th centuries CE) during its golden era with amazing number of more than 2000 well-preserved temples and pagodas scattering over a verdant 26 square-mile plain. Each temple owns different style and architecture representing the cultural, religious and historic influence back to the ancient time.
For all visits between October and March, there is occasional chance to enjoy the captivating sunrise hot-air balloon flight with panoramic views of entire temple valley magically coming out from the mist as the sun rises up. It’s a must-visit place for all photographers. 2 days is a must and 3 days would be better to explore Bagan and its surroundings comprehensively.
Founded at the foot of Mandalay Hill in 1857 by King Mindon, Mandalay is known as the last royal capital as well as the second largest city in Myanmar by now. As Bagan to Mandalay is not a huge distance, it is relatively easy to reach the city by airplane, car or even a scenic cruise upstream Irrawaddy river. Mandalay boasts its own charm with serial splendid beauty spots from the iconic U Bein bridge, the photogenic Royal Palace, Sagaing Hills, Wooden mnasteries to the unfinished Mingun pagoda. It’s also a major center for studying Buddhism which houses the world’s biggest book of Kuthodaw pagoda. It is recommendable to spend at least 2 days for comprehensive exploration of Mandalay.
Extensible day trip options from Mandalay: Pyin Oo Lwin & Monywa
4. Inle Lake
30 minutes flying away from either Bagan or Mandalay is a vast and serene Inle Lake surrounded by massive mountains of Shan state. The enormous lake is decorated by floating villages, garden and markets, characterized by the unique lifestyles of Intha people. A boat trip around the lake is always the most popular way to experience a definitely different world on water. Take the chance to visit traditional villages of black-smith, lotus weaving, watch the renown on-leg rowing fishmen, 5-day rotated market and the most important religious site of floating Phaung Daw Oo pagoda. It’s a perfect escape and relaxing time to stay afloat on the fresh water and feel at home in the nature.