Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is a beautiful country in Southeast Asia full of history, culture, and amazing scenery. While perhaps not as well-known as neighboring Thailand, it has become a growing tourist destination in recent years. It’s home to more than 100 different ethnic groups, which gives it an incredibly diverse culture, full of rich traditions. With so many incredible sites to visit, it’s easy to see why it’s becoming such a popular country to visit.
You can easily visit some of the best-known tourist destinations in Myanmar in just a few days, but for the full experience, I’d recommend giving yourself more time to explore. A two-week trip is the perfect amount of time to explore some of Myanmar’s best sites without feeling too rushed. From trekking and kayaking to bird watching or even hot air ballooning, there’s something for every type of adventurer. This two-week itinerary will have you booking your tickets to Yangon today!
Days 1-3: Yangon
Yangon is the former capital of Myanmar and is still the country’s largest city. Most people find it easiest to start their journey here, as flights to Yangon are often the cheapest. But if you’re able to find cheaper tickets from your departure city, feel free to switch up the order of this itinerary!
Yangon is a beautiful and exciting city, and there’s no shortage of things to do and see. If you can, try to catch the sunset over the Shwedagon Pagoda when you first arrive. The golden temple sparkling in the twilight is not something to miss! Check out Bogyoke Market in town for locally made jewelery, crafts, clothing, and food. There’s plenty to see walking around and exploring the area on your own.
Other activities to do while in Yangon:
- Take in the views at Kandawygi Lake, a beautiful spot to walk around and relax. If you’re not up for much when you first arrive, this can be a great spot to take in some sights without getting too overwhelmed.
- Take a boat over to the village of Twante and check out the local pottery the town is known for.
- An unusual but fun activity–catch a marionette puppet show in town. Definitely a unique experience!
- Visit the Hlawgaw National Park, one of the country’s most popular “eco-tourism” sites.
For a more detailed account, check out our full things to do in Yangon article with heaps on advice on what to see and do.
Resources: Where to Stay in Yangon
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Days 4-7: Bagan
From Yangon, you can take a train or an overnight bus to Bagan. Bagan is a fascinating city. In the height of its power almost 1,000 years ago, there were over 10,000 temples and pagodas there! While many have disappeared over time, there are still around 2,200 in Bagan today. The sight of these temples is truly breathtaking. The best–and most exciting–way to see them is by hot air balloon. As long as you’re not terrified of heights like I am. But either way, drifting over the pagodas at sunset is an experience you won’t forget!
Other sites to visit in Bagan:
- Gather your strength and head up the 777 steps to the top of Mount Popa. I’d recommend taking in the sunset from the top–definitely worth the hike!
- Check out any of the thousands of spectacular temples in the region. You can rent bikes to make visiting multiple temples easy. Or, if you’re feeling lazy, book a day tour and have a driver take you to the best sites in style!
- Take a river cruise to the temple at Kyauk GU U Min to take in some local sights from the river. The cruise stops in the village where you can take a short walk to the temple there.
Because Bagan is one of our favorite places on earth, we created a full guide on how to explore the best temples of Bagan to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the best ones!
Resources: Where to Stay in Bagan
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Day 8-11: Kalaw to Inle Lake
One of the most renowned treks in Myanmar begins in rural Kalaw and finishes at Inle Lake. A bus from Bagan to Kalaw is about 6 hours, with multiple buses leaving daily. If you’re up for a little outdoor adventure, this hike is definitely worth it. You can arrange your trekking in Kalaw, and having an extra day there, (day 8) will allow you to prepare for this expedition.
If you book a trek ahead of time, you can choose from both 3-day and 2-day options. The full trek is around 70 km, but if you pick the 2-day option you will pass through the first section of the trip via tuk-tuk instead of by foot. I’d recommend booking in Kalaw so you’ll be sure to have food, accommodation, and a guide provided throughout your trek. You’ll be passing through some incredible scenery, so be sure to bring a camera (and also a rain jacket, just in case)!
Once you reach Inle Lake, whether you’ve hiked there or taken a bus, there’s plenty to do and see. Kayaking or boating around the lake is popular, with beautiful sights and tranquil scenery. The village of Ywama along the lake features an extensive floating market held every five days and also boasts a beautiful monastery. It’s a great spot to stroll around and grab something to eat.
There are heaps of things to do in Inle Lake so make sure you set aside some time to just chill out and relax.
Resources: Where to Stay in Inle Lake
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Days 12-14: Mandalay
Two weeks will be coming to a close faster than you realized as you arrive in Mandalay for the last leg of your trip. Mandalay is the second-largest city in Myanmar, and it’s easy to get there from Inle Lake via bus. If you’re up for sleeping on the road, I’d recommend the night bus, in order to maximize your time in the city. It’s a huge city, so there’s plenty to keep you busy if you stay there, but you might also check out some day trips and excursions in the nearby area.
Places to see in Mandalay:
- If you’re feeling insane (I mean adventurous) you can take a half-day excursion to the Paleik Snake Monastery. If you don’t have a snake phobia, you can meet the locals who wash pythons there as part of a spiritual ceremony. Definitely not my cup of tea, but be sure to let me know how it is!
- Take a look at the “World’s Largest Book” at Kuthodaw Pagoda. The Pagoda houses 730 slabs of inscribed marble. Difficult to read, but impressive to see!
- Visit Shwenandaw Monastery. Also called the Golden Palace Monastery, it was originally a part of the royal palace. Definitely worth the visit!
For more inspiration on things to do in Mandalay, check out our full article to help you make the most out of your stay.
Resources: Where to stay in Mandalay
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Heading home (or onward!)
Two weeks is really just enough to give you a taste of Myanmar, but this itinerary should be enough to get you started! From Mandalay, you should be able to get to your next destination with ease. Or, if two weeks wasn’t enough, you can continue exploring the country further at your own pace. What are your favorite places in Myanmar?
Looking for more articles on Myanmar? Take a look at some of our guides to help you travel the country
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