Myanmar is one of those places that I urge everyone to visit sooner rather than later. When its borders first opened, it was a place that was pure magic. It was real, raw, and untouched. Although it is still a fantastic place to visit, the number of tourists that visit every year is on the rise. Myanmar is a country with amazing people, a strong and vibrant culture, with a landscape that is so varied and diverse. While planning a trip here can get overwhelming, here is our ultimate Myanmar bucket list guide to make sure you don’t miss out on anything while in this up and coming travel destination.
Editor’s Note: Download our free Myanmar Bucket List Guide Checklist at the bottom of this post!
Bucket List: Things to do in Bagan
For anyone heading to Myanmar, a trip to Bagan is a must! Between the larger than life experience of watching the sun rise over the many pagodas, or the incredible amount of history and culture that you get to experience, it is one of our favorite places in Southeast Asia. For those with a little extra cash to spare, we highly recommend you indulge yourself and splurge on the hot air balloon experience it is truly one of a kind.
- Ride a hot air balloon during sunrise
- Visit the many ancient pagodas and stupas
- Watch the sunrise while wandering amongst the ancient ruins
- Rent bicycles and explore New Bagan, Old Bagan, and Nyaung Oo
- Pay a visit to Mount Popa
- Do a self-guided walking tour of the temples of Bagan
- Go on a sunset boat trip down the Ayeyarwady River
- Go to the Must not miss temples: Ananda, Gawdawpalin, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani
Resources for Bagan
Bucket List: Things to do in Yangon
Formerly known as Rangoon, Yangon is the busy city ushering Myanmar to the 21st century with its posh hotels, beautiful art galleries, and vibrant historic culture. There is an incredible amount of things to see and do in Yangon while you can easily explore most of it yourself, I recommend getting a guide for experiencing things like the circular train so you can get an inside glimpse of how most people in Myanmar live and get around. We recommend availing of the many guided tours that companies like Flymya offer. The insight given by local guides can be priceless.
- Pay a visit and relax in Kandawagu Nature Park
- Take the circular train and go people watching
- Wander around Yangon’s many art galleries
- Visit the Sule Pagoda
- Marvel at the Shwedagon Pagoda
- Walk around the Bogyoke Aung San Market
- Visit and try the exotic food around China Town
Resources for Yangon
Bucket List: Things to do in Mandalay
While Mandalay looks like a busy city, spending a day or two exploring it is still worth it in our books as after all, Mandalay is home to a few of the most iconic places in Myanmar. From the famous U-bein bridge all the way to Mandalay Hill, here are a few of our must do’s while in Mandalay.
- Climb Mandalay Hill (a must for its views)
- Visit the world’s largest book in the Kuthodaw Pagoda
- Watch the sunset by U-bein bridge as you admire the Taungthaman Lake
- Visit the Shwenandaw Kyaung (teak temple)
- Adventure to the clear waters of Dee Doke Waterfalls
- Explore a few famous attractions like Atumashi Kyanugdawgi and Schwenandaw Kyaung
Resources for Mandalay
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Bucket List: Things to do in Inle Lake
Both my partner Tom and I prefer being surrounded by nature rather than cities- which is why it is no surprise that Inle Lake is high up on our books. One of the most unforgettable things that my partner enjoyed doing was the trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake. If you enjoy local life and off-the-beaten-path adventures, we highly recommend that you include this on your list! It allowed us to see the real and rugged parts of Myanmar as we weaved our way through local villages and homestays.
- Photograph and marvel at the traditional fishing methods of the locals
- Go trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake (or vice versa)
- Visit the Htat Eian Temple Cave by bike
- Go on a boat tour as you visit places like Phaungdawoo Pagoda and the Jumping Cat Monastery
- Ride a hot air balloon and enjoy the beautiful views of the lake
- Pay a visit to the Pagodas in In Dein Village
Resources for Inle Lake
While I could easily go on and on about the many must see and do things in Myanmar, the bits I listed above the main highlights. However, I would like to stress that although Myanmar is a place that has many beautiful things to see, the real highlight for me was the local interaction. Although the language was a barrier from being able to truly interact with a lot of the locals, we found them to be welcoming, hospitable, and always ready to give a beaming smile. Hopefully, this bucket list will help you narrow down on what to see and do in this beautiful country. Happy travels!
Interested to read more articles on Myanmar? Here are a few of our top posts
- Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Dream Trip to Myanmar
- 20 Stunning Photos of Myanmar
- Reasons Why Not to Visit Myanmar
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