My first visit to Myanmar left me in awe of this alluring yet rugged country. Being that it was so new to tourism, there was much of it that was left to discover giving me the feeling that I’ve only really scratched the tip of the surface. Eagerly awaiting my next visit, I’ve compiled this list featuring some of the best adventurous things to do in Myanmar. From stunning caves, beautiful low key seaside destinations, to mountain treks, Myanmar is an adventure powerhouse waiting to be discovered.
Jungle Trek in Ngapali
If you want to catch a glimpse of Myanmar’s lush jungles, you can embark on a 3-hour trek to the top of a mountain to give you stunning views of Ngapali Bay. Known as one of Myanmar’s most popular beaches, this short trek will take you through rice fields and small villages all while you see some of the jungle’s vibrant wildlife. The hiking path is quite clear although guided tours are also easily available.
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Hike Up Mt. Zwe Ka Bin
If you fancy mixing in a bit of culture and adventure, why not try your luck climbing the famous Zwe Ka Bin Mountain? The trek takes 2-3 hours long depending on your fitness level and takes you through a Buddha forest with a sweeping viewpoint overlooking Myanmar with a few cheeky monkeys to make the viewpoint more interesting. Most travelers that venture here are usually based in Hpa An. Previously, travelers had the chance to sleep in the monastery at the top which added to the allure of the entire trip but reports have said that this is no longer permitted so make sure you double check with the locals to get confirmation if your plans include an overnight trip.
Bike Tour in Bagan
As previously mentioned in our other articles, exploring Bagan by bike is one of our favorite methods of transport. You can either DIY or opt to join one of the many tried and tested tours from companies like Flymya. One of their most popular tours, for example, take you through remote villages and rice paddies by Nga Tha Yauk, Thein Ywar, Bo Cho village, Mya Kan Thar Lake, and Set Set Yo village.
Experience the Goteik Viaduct
Although this doesn’t technically count an adventure, riding the train across the Goteik Viaduct is an experience worth doing. Featured in the popular Paul Theroux novel, The Great Railway Bazaar, this viaduct takes you through sweeping landscapes of Myanmar. With views similar to the popular train journeys in Sri Lanka, you can ride the train from Mandalay to Lashio or vice versa.
Go Scuba Diving
When you say scuba diving in Asia, most people immediately think of the Philippines or Thailand. However, what most people don’t know is that Myanmar features some pretty spectacular untouched reefs by Ngapali Beach and in the Myeik (Mergui) archipelago. However, unlike Thailand or the Philippines, expect the cost of diving in these remote areas (especially Mergui) to be a lot more expensive due to their location.
Being one of my favorite experiences in the country, I cannot stop raving about the trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake. Walking through these low key villages and sleeping in local homestays allowed me to see the real rugged beauty of Myanmar which is often ruined by commercial tourism. In the absence of fancy hotels and bars, we got to see the kindness and hospitality of local hosts as we got a glimpse of their everyday life.
Apart from this particular trek, other trekking areas worth checking out are:
- Nyaung Shwe
Do note that although there are many trekking trails waiting to be discovered, most foreigners must still stay in registered accommodations so most of the hikes are single day ones unless you go with licensed guides. Camping is illegal so make sure you plan accordingly.
Go on a Hot Air Balloon
If you want to get the full Bagan experience, seeing it from up in the sky is a must. In fact, compared to other countries in the world, the price of riding a hot air balloon while in Bagan is pretty reasonable. Plus, how often can you say that you were soaring up in the sky floating above ancient pagodas? If this experience is something that interests you, check out our full Bagan Hotair balloon review.
Go Island Hopping
The beaches in Myanmar, although not well-known feature a few islands which you can cruise around in. These island hopping tours take you through untouched destinations where you can snorkel and swim around pretty pristine reefs. Popular island hopping destinations include Cocks Comb Island, Harris Island, and Smart Island.
To be perfectly honest, I could go on and on about this topic as there are simply so many things to explore, see, and do. Hopefully, this list has inspired you to seek out more adventure experiences while in Myanmar. Meanwhile, for more information about traveling the country, take a look at our Myanmar Travel tips and articles.