Do you know?
Myanmar, or Burma (Republic of the Union of Myanmar), is a country located in South East Asia. This mysterious land is the roof of the brilliant golden temples, the majestic hills and is the place where time stops.
This place attracts a large number of visitors every year because of its beautiful scenery, delicious food, and thousands of famous temples and pagodas. Although Myanmar experienced the ups and downs of time and the great wars, this country has retained its peace. Perhaps being away from the modern world has helped this country to remains the exotic charm.
Traveling to Myanmar can give you an exceptional experience that you cannot find in any other country. This wonderful land is richly endowed with valuable cultures and inspiring historical sites to explore. Surprisingly, Myanmar is one of the countries which celebrate the most exciting festivals all over the world. Some of them are Thingyan festival or Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival.
Besides, this country is renowned for a variety of outstanding tourist attractions that can surprise every tourist on the first visit, such as Mandalay, Inle Lake, or Boulder Island. This Myanmar Travel’s Guide is specifically designed to help you explore all the the most exciting things about every single aspect of this incredible country.
Location & Population
Myanmar is located in the northwestern of Southeast Asia with an area of 676,578 km2, which makes this country the largest nation in this region. It has the longest border with Tibet and Yunnan of China in the northeast with a total length of 2,185 km (1,358 mi).
Myanmar borders with Laos and Thailand in the southeast. Myanmar has a 1,930 km coastline along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea in the southwest and south, occupying a third of the total borderline.
Myanmar’s population is more than 51 million (according to 2014 statistics). This country is very diverse regarding ethnicity. There are 135 recognized ethnicities with the Bamar occupy about 68% of the population. The people of Myanmar are highly influenced by Buddhist culture.
Thus, the Burmese are one of the most peaceful and extremely friendly peoples in the region. They will welcome you with a smile and will be happy to help you when in trouble.
Language & Currency
Burmese, the official language of Myanmar, is linguistically associated with Tibetan and Chinese. It is derived from the Mon letter, including circles and half circles. Aside from Myanmar (Burmese) and its dialects, the hundred or so languages of Myanmar include Shan (Tai, spoken by 3.2 million), Karen language (spoken by 2.6 million), Kachin (spoken by 900,000), Chin languages (spoken by 780,000), and Mon (Mon–Khmer, spoken by 750,000) ( according to Wikimedia).
Today, Burmese still is the primary language, and English is the second language in Myanmar.
The currency of Myanmar is kyat. In Myanmar, credit cards and checks are not widely used, so you should also bring cash when traveling to this country. You can exchange cash at the local shops or in the supermarket. But it is much more convenient to do that at a hotel or travel agency, but the exchange rate is not as high as other places.
Myanmar cuisine is influenced by the Indian, Chinese, Thai cuisine, and culinary cultures of other ethnic minorities. The most popular dish in Myanmar is Mohinga, Shan Noddle and Onnokauswe (coconut noodles). Also, this country is famous for tropical fruits.
The main ingredient in Myanmar dished is rice. Pasta and bread are also quite common. Myanmar people usually use shrimp, fish, fish paste, pork and lamb in their meal. Beef is considered as a banned food. Curries, like masala and dried peppers, are also served as favorite dishes.
Mohinga, which is Myanmar national dish, consists of broth with curry fish and green peas, vermicelli and fish sauce. Tropical fruits are often used as desserts. Myanmar people eat two meals a day at 9 am and 5 pm. It is interesting to know that Myanmar people do not use chopsticks. Before each meal, they must wash their hands thoroughly, then eat with their bare hands.
The Environment & Climate
Myanmar’s climate is characterized by Asian monsoons. The average rainfall is different from areas. The temperature changes from north to south. While the northern regions carry a rather cool climate, with an average temperature of 21 degrees Celsius, the coastal and delta regions are about 32 degrees Celsius.
As influenced by monsoons, Myanmar has three distinctive seasons. From March to June is the hottest period. In these months, Myanmar has little or no rain. Meanwhile, the rainy season is from July to September. This time in Yangon, it rains all day and night, while in Bagan and Mandalay it doesn’t rain a lot. It is also recognized as the low tourist season for Myanmar. From October to February next year is the preferred time for tourism in Myanmar due to comfortable weather.
The transportation system in Myanmar doesn’t develop as in other countries. The vehicles are mostly old trucks and cars. Also, the government has banned motorbikes in the inner city to prevent congestion since 2009. This is the reason why public transport is always crowded, especially at peak hours.
For Myanmar visitors, a bus is the most common means of transportation because it is the easiest and most cost-effective way to get around. There are more interesting options for choosing transport in Myanmar, such as riding tuk-tuk, getting a trishaw ride from a local, or even hiring a motorbike to discover every single corner of this country.
Passport and entry visa is the mandatory requirement for all visitors. A foreigner who wants to enter Myanmar must apply for a visa unless he or she is the citizen of the eligible visa exempt countries, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.
A valid tourist visa is in Myanmar within 28 days and is extended for 14 days. The basic price for VISA travel is 50-80 USD, varying from different countries. Myanmar E-visa has been put online into use since 2011. The process of taking an online application for E-visa is 1 to 3 days.
Yangon is the largest city in Myanmar and was the capital of the country until 2006. The town is the main gateway connecting international visitors to places like Bagan or Mandalay.When arriving in Yangon, visitors will feel the pace is gradually changing due to international integration. Rapid development with a series of restaurants, bars, and hotels deliver a modern coat to Yangon. But somewhere in this city, the traditional Myanmar lifestyle is unchanged.
The beauty of Yangon is a natural mixture of the Asian and classic Western architecture. In local neighborhoods, vintage English-style buildings and apartments remain perfectly. Ramping the streets are old vehicles and street food vendors serving Myanmar specialties.
known as the roof of the Buddhist symbol, Shwedagon Pagoda. The majesty of the pagoda is a testament to the spiritual life that has flourished in Myanmar.
If there is anywhere in the world that gives us a sense of peace and tranquility, that is Mandalay. This is a place where time stands still.
Mandalay does not exist any signs of the 21st century. Not bustling nor hasty. The atmosphere in this city is light and slow. What you can find in Mandalay are not amusement parks or night markets, but tremendous and mighty temples.
Even if you are a traveler who is not very knowledgeable about Buddhism, you will have to express the admiration when watching these works. Most visitors come here to visit Shwenandaw Monastery, Kuthodaw Pagoda and Mandalay Palace. Among favorite activities, trips to the rural area is a highlight.
As the capital of the Myanmar tourism industry, Bagan has an enormous appeal. The most impressive experience is perhaps seeing the vision of the hundreds of hot air balloon in the golden sky. Or, together with your loved ones, watch the sunset over the majestic towers.
Bagan has more temples than other cities. A total of 13,000 temples have been built and have become an essential part of the local population. Choose for yourself a few temples like Ananda temple, Thatbyinnyu or Shwezigon to immerse yourself in the world of Buddha on your bare feet.
The former Bagan area relies on the water resource from the Irrawaddy River flowing through it. Guests can rent a boat and enjoy the scenic view of the river. If you are lucky, you may encounter the rare animal of the river, the Irrawaddy Dolphin.
With an area of nearly 250 square kilometers, Lake Inle is the second largest freshwater lake in Myanmar, but the most beautiful one. Surrounding the lake, there are various mountains & small villages. There are houses on stilts above water, monasteries, beautiful temples and countless tomato floating gardens.
Inle Lake is home to the Inthar. This people only live on this lake surface. When you come here, you can experience the daily life of the Inthar people as well as take a boat out to watch the glowing sunset.
The lake is a new leisure destination with many resorts and hotels built on the water. Enjoying the immense space along with the local cuisine on the lake is a real ecstasy.
Balloon Over Bagan
Bagan has something special that is the charm of the sky, the scene in the golden dawn. Many will try to climb the top of ancient temples to have a better view. But in Bagan, try to be like a bird and extend your sights. The hot air balloon in Bagan is something that will help you touch the sky.
Not only will you enjoy the gift of the sky, but the balloon will also help you admire Bagan from above. Now, you can witness the giant temples most clearly. The beauty of Burmese Buddhism appears like a watercolor painting that is shiny and mighty.
Cruising on Inle Lake
Inle Lake (or Inlay Lake) is a tourist symbol of Myanmar. The boats on the Inle Lake will bring you closer to the culture, people and the daily life of the Inthar.
Day trips to Inle Lake usually begin with visiting villages and local markets. In addition to meeting the villagers, visitors also enjoy local food and learn how to make fine art and handicrafts. After a long trip, Inle treats you with a beautiful natural spectacle. Sunset falls, reflecting the glittering light on the lake turns this place into a spectacular landscape.
Enjoy Sunset at Ubein Bridge
Located on the outskirts of Mandalay, Myanmar, Ubein is the longest wooden bridge in the world connecting the banks of the Taungthamna River. The bridge is a popular spot for locals and Buddhists to watch the sunset.
The sunset view from the bridge is considered to be the most beautiful sunset setting in the world. Only about 15 minutes from Mandalay, you can reach Ubein. Every day there are hundreds of people standing on the bridge or renting a boat to experience the golden light emanating from the sky. Ubein is also an excellent place to enjoy the rustic charm of rural Burma.
Relax on the Coast
Unlike Thailand or Vietnam, beaches in Myanmar are undiscovered and not exploited much for tourism. Because of this, these beaches have become tourist attractions with their untouched enchantment.
long the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, you can visit some beautiful beaches. Napali, Ngwe Saung is a bright pearl. During your stay, the feeling of being separated from the outside world makes us feel extremely comfortable.
Or you can also visit some of the nearby islands such as Bird Island or Lover’s Island for exciting water sports. Snorkeling is also a popular and fascinating activity in the coastal areas of Myanmar.
Explore the History of Yangon
Yangon is an exotic land with its unique culture and friendly attitude that is appealing to all kind of visitors. There are many cultural and historical classes representing here. Guests will be thrilled to discover the mix of baroque buildings built under British colonialism and the pagoda architecture.To learn more about Yangon Buddhism, you can go to Shwedagon Pagoda at the top of Singuttara Hill. The temple dates back to the 6th century BC and holds many valuable remains. Travelers who are curious about Myanmar culture can visit the Bogyoke Aung San Museum. This colonial-style building was recognized as Yangon City Heritage and is home to the memories of the past.