9 Books on Myanmar That Will Inspire You to Travel

written by local expert Caitlin Fairty

From hiking across Spain to teaching English in Thailand, Caitlin has been a wanderer for most of her adult life. She is an expert in traveling around Southeast Asia and giving out travel tips. Her passions include making music, exploring new places, and eating waffles.

There’s something about traveling that provokes the urge to write. Some of the best books I’ve read have been travel memoirs or novels that take place in foreign places. There is something equally inspiring about reading these books as you’re about to go to a specific destination. Books and movies have the impressive ability to transport us to the places they describe, often inspiring the urge to travel there ourselves.

Myanmar, formerly called Burma, is one of those unique places that has inspired both writers and readers alike. From George Orwell to activist Aung San Suu Kyi, many authors have found their voice in this Southeast Asian nation.

As someone who enjoys reading books about a destination before I start planning a trip (or when I am missing a place), I decided to compile this list of the best books on Burma/ Myanmar. If you’re looking for travel inspiration, look no further! Here’s a list of some of the best books to make you start packing your bags for Myanmar.

On a side note, if you’re looking for tips on planning a trip to Myanmar, you can check out our Myanmar travel tips page or go to Flymya to get information on various trips and tours available in the country.

The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh

This historical novel paints a picture of the British empire in Southeast Asia through the eyes of Rajkumar, a young Indian boy who has come to Burma with his family.

Throughout the boy’s life, as he progresses from poor immigrant to wealthy businessman, the struggles and history of Burma and the surrounding countries are engaged, creating a tale that is as riveting as it is informative. If you’re interested in finding about the history of Myanmar through the eyes of an immigrant, this novel is perfect for you.

✨The 1 Thing We Never Leave Home Without…

Travel Insurance

Coming from someone who has been traveling the world for the last 8 years AND has been in the hospital 2x, travel insurance is something everyone NEEDS to get. Get a quote below!

Burmese Days by George Orwell

George Orwell might be best known for 1984 or Animal Farm, but Burmese Days was his first novel, and the book that set him apart as a writer. It follows the story of John Flory, a British merchant in Burma.

Throughout his character’s adventures, Orwell describes the corruption and bigotry that was present in British Colonialism and is helpful in understanding the country’s development.

Golden Earth: Travels in Burma by Norman Lewis

Originally published in 1952, this nonfiction tale follows Lewis’ personal explorations through Burma, documenting all the characters he met along the way.

His journey was a unique one, persevering through unwelcome conditions, failing transportation, and unexpected circumstances to see the full extent of the country. In the end, it is a love story to the country in which he saw so much beauty and charm.

Psst...Want in on a Secret? 🤫


We've scoured the internet for the best ALL-AROUND travel shoe and Tropicfeel wins by far. We've taken ours through rivers, jungles, and cities and they're still alive and kickin'. Check them out below.

From the Land of Green Ghosts by Pascal Khoo Thwe

From a remote village in Burma to the halls of Cambridge University, this autobiographical tale follows Pascal’s life through tragedy and triumph. A chance encounter with a British professor in Burma alters Pascal’s life forever.

When his home tumbles into chaos, he reaches out to the professor and ultimately ends up as the first Burmese tribesman to attend Cambridge University. His story is one of inspiration, strength, and overwhelming courage. This book is a fantastic read and is definitely very inspiring!

Bones Will Crow: 15 Contemporary Burmese Poets

You probably haven’t read a lot of Burmese poetry, but after getting your hands on this collection, you’re going to wish you had sooner!

The first anthology of Burmese poetry published in the US, it contains works from a wide range of Burmese poets. Their work is moving and evocative, giving the reader a previously unexplored look into what it means to be Burmese. Regardless if poetry is your thing or not, this is collection of poems is an enjoyable read.

Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle

  If you’re not really into reading, we’ve even got a book for you on this list! Burma Chronicles is actually a graphic novel. It portrays the autobiographical story of Delisle’s time in Myanmar with his wife and young son.

The book is a relatable tale of a young Canadian family trying to find their way in a very foreign environment and is illustrated beautifully.

The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason

Set in Burma and British India in the late 1800s, this novel tells the story of a middle-aged piano tuner named Edgar Drake. Uprooted from his quiet life in England, he is sent to Burma to tune a piano for an eccentric army doctor.

The tale follows Drake’s adventures as he sets out into an entirely new world full of intrigue and excitement in a foreign land.

Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan

Tan’s novel tells the story of a group of American tourist traveling to Myanmar and China. Though their trip was carefully planned beforehand, the group inevitably strays from their plans, falling into comedic chaos throughout their trip.

The book is a heartwarming story of perseverance, humanity, and optimism. I found it to be an interesting read despite the various characters.

The Road to Wanting by Wendy Law-Yone

Na Ga is a young woman who lived and worked as an eel-catcher in rural Burma. From the bustle of busy Rangoon to a dirty hotel in the village of Wanting, her journeys have taken her throughout the country in search of a better life.

Her tale unfolds in a tumultuous series of events, proving that a tough spirit can get through anything.

With so many books about or inspired by this beautiful country, you’ll find yourself wanting to plan a trip in no time. But one word of advice–remember as you read, that present-day Myanmar is a far cry from the place many of these authors described in their novels.

You can glean inspiration about the allure of Southeast Asia through these books, but you’ll want to make your own mind up about what the country is like today. It’s certainly much more amenable to tourists these days! Myanmar has long struggled with conflict within its borders, but today it is an ever-increasing tourist destination. Hopefully, after reading more about it you’ll be inspired to take a trip!

Looking for more articles on Myanmar? Take a look at a few of our best ones

Inspired? Pin it!

Myanmar Books | Looking for inspiration for your upcoming trip to Myanmar? Here are a couple of my favorite books and novels about the country. #myanmar #myanmartravel

Share This!

Leave a Comment