Best of Burma in 10 Days
Burma has been long over looked for its Southeast Asian neighbours, Thailand and Vietnam. So, we have put this 10-day guide to share with you the best of this beautiful country. Read this 10-day itinerary and you'll be booking Burma in no time.
DAY 1 - YANGON
Singapore Airlines flies into Yangon daily and arrives late afternoon, which gives you the chance to have a rest at your hotel before venturing out in the evening. One of Yangon's most famous landmarks, and the most sacred of all Buddhist sites in the country, is the Shwedagon Pagoda. Visible from almost everywhere in the city, it is one of Southeast Asia's most stunning religious monuments. The best time to visit is at sunset, when the bright golden stupa turns crimson orange and the large diamond at the tip of the spire casts shards of light across the grounds of the temple. You can easily while away a magical hour or two here before grabbing some local food and heading back for an early night - you'll need it as you've got an early flight tomorrow.
Where to stay: Kandawgyi Palace Hotel is constructed from local golden teak and boasts traditional Myanmar architecture. Situated right on the shores of the Kandawgyi (Royal) Lake, you're in for a crackling room view.
DAY 2 - BAGAN
Catch an early flight from Yangon domestic airport to the ancient city of Bagan. Just over an hour's flight, there are several good local airlines operating this route. Bagan is one of Myanmar's top attractions and a must do on any itinerary. Slap bang in the centre of the country, the city can get very hot from March to May before the rainy season begins and runs from June to September. The area is known as an Archaeological Zone and all foreign visitors must pay around USD$15 on entry, and you can soon see why.
The incredible plains contain thousands of temples dating back to the 11th century, and the views from the sky are awe-inspiring. With so many temples, it's best to focus on visiting just a few; the most impressive include the Shwezigon Pagoda (one of the oldest temples, dating back to 1090), the Wetkyi-in Gubyakgyi (famous for its frescoes and rare ancient paintings) and the Ananda (one of the best preserved). A popular spot to head to at the end of the day is the Shwesandaw Pagoda. Here you can climb to the top and experience a magical sunset sinking behind the mystical surrounding landscape.
Where to stay: Located in the heart of Old Bargon on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River, the Aye Yar River View Resort offers traditional-style rooms and a gorgeous swimming pool hidden among the tropical gardens.
DAY 3 - MOUNT POPA
Journey southeast of Bagan to Mount Popa. Occupying an elevated position and surrounded by lush forests, temperatures are cooler here than in Bagan. Mount Popa itself is an extinct volcano rising 4,980 feet and the monastrey at the very top is said to be home to the country's infamous 'nat spirits'. From the base you can choose to climb the 777 steps to the summit where you will find a labyrinth of shrines to explore as well as a 360 panorama of the surrounding plains.
Where to stay: Popa Mountain Resort has incredible far-reaching views over the surrounding countryside. The resort has an infinity pool and restaurant overlooking Mount Popa itself, and you get to stay in your own teak villa. Bonus.
DAY 4 - MANDALAY
Leaving Mount Popa, Mandalay is around a three-hour drive northeast and is known for being the religious centre of the country. Mentioned by both George Orwell and Rudyard Kipling, it is also noted for being a place of great importance during Britain's colonial reign. Must-see places include the Mandalay Palace, which was the residence of the last Burmese monarchy and the Mahamuni Pagoda. A great way to end the day is to ascend Mandalay Hill to see the sun set over the city.
Where to stay: The Mandalay Hill Resort near the centre of the city offers a large swimming pool with swim-up bar as well as spa facilities if you fancy a pampering.
DAY 5 - PYIN OO LWIN
Pyin Oo Lwin was designed by a British soldier and became the summer capital to escape the heat of nearby Mandalay. The town therefore has a very British feel about it, and the elevated position means temperatures are far cooler. Just a couple of hours from Mandalay, a stop on the way is highly recommended at the local flower market where people from the surrounding villages come every day to buy and sell huge bundles of brightly coloured carnations to take to nearby temples as offerings. Wander around the beautiful botanical gardens and stop at some of the many colonial buildings and churches dotted around the local area.
Where to stay: The bungalow-style rooms at Aureum Palace are set in lovely grounds with resident swans. Romance on a stick.
DAY 6 - AMARAPURA
Leaving Pyin Oo Lwin, stop in Amarapura to see the U-Bein bridge, credited with being the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. Next, continue back to Mandalay, taking a short boat ride to the town of Ava where you can enjoy a horse and cart journey to the impressive Bargayar Monastery famous for its intricate wood carvings and teak pillars. In the afternoon, a great excursion is to sail across the majestic Ayeyarwaddy River to the town of Mingun where you can walk around the site of the colossus MingunPayagyi, which Mingun late afternoon means you can experience a beautiful sunset across the river on your return trip to Mandalay. We do love theses Burmese sunsets.
Where to stay: Catch another night at the Mandalay Hill Resort why not?
DAY 7 - HEHO
Take a morning flight from Mandalay to Heho, which is the gateway to the stunning Inle Lake. Located in the heart of the Shan Plateau, the lake is home to the indigenous Intha people, known for their traditional method of leg-rowing which you can still see them doing today - these skilled fishermen make stand-up paddle boarding yoga look easy. Powered long boats will take you from the mainland across the lake stopping at various villages where you can check out the local produce including silk, handicrafts and vegetables. There are options to eat at local restaurants on the lake after nightfall so you'll need to grab dinner back at your hotel.
Where to stay: The Amata Garden Resort offers great facilities and a prime lake front position with far-reaching views over the waters and surrounding mountain range.
DAY 8 - INLE LAKE AND THE INDEIN VILLAGES
Enjoy a full day in Inle Lake so you can tour around the Indein villages on the mainland. Passing the fascinating floating gardens, you can explore the stilted houses, numerous pagodas and bamboo forests in the local area.
Where to stay: Why move when the Amata Garden Resort has all you need?
DAY 9 – YANGON SCOTT MARKET
Returning to Heho you can catch a short direct flight back to Yangon in the morning to allow you a full day to see the city. Recommended stops include buildings within the city centre, the Botataung Pagoda and the 70-year-old Bogyoke Aung San Market. Designed in British colonial times, the market is still known today by its old name, Scott Market. It's the largest in the city and contains more than 2,000 shops - the perfect place to pick up some last-minute souvenirs before leaving the country.
Where to stay: It was good enough for you the first time, so why not spend your last night where you started at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel.
DAY 10 - NGWESAUNG
Add a beach stay on day ten in NgweSaung, which is around four hours from Yangon.
Where to stay: Grand Ngwe Saung Resort