The 10 must-dos for first time visitors to Myanmar
“Once a year, go somewhere unknown.”
The wonders of journeying to a new place never cease to delight the mind, body and soul! It
nourishes, creates new perspectives and builds on knowledge and worldview. Certainly, the world is a many splendored places and one must travel to be called a citizen of the world. Myanmar recently opened its doors to travellers and presents amazing travel opportunities, often off the beaten track. To help you plan your trip, we have listed 10 must-do things in Myanmar to include in your itinerary.
# 10. Sip a cup of tea
The taste of a cup of authentic tea in Myanmar is really something else. A concoction of boiling water infusing the tea leaves and sweetened with thick, creamy condensed milk will satisfy any craving. It is yummy, to say the least. And pretty cheap too! One cup will cost you USD0.50. The streets of most Myanmar cities are dotted with tea shops. So don’t hesitate to take many breaks from walking around and enjoy a nice hot cup of tea.
# 9. Read the world’s largest book
Are you a bookworm? Then you have to see this. Kuthodaw Pagoda in Mandalay holds the world’s largest book. It has 1,460 pages. Each page is 107cm wide, 153cm high and 13cm thick. The pagoda itself is beautiful and definitely a spot for some great photos. Isn’t it just marvellous how you can find such unique wonders hidden away?!
#8. Ride on Yangon’s circular railway
Travelling to any place is incomplete without understanding the pulse of the local people. And no activity in Myanmar can give you as much cultural exposure as taking a fun ride with the locals on Yangon’s circular railway. You will enjoy a ride around the city as well as see local vendors moving up and down selling a host of food products. You will be able to meet a variety of fellow travellers – from hawkers to businessmen.
# 7. Gorge on some tasty Ikan Bakar
No, your visit to Myanmar will not be complete unless you have sat down at a roadside eatery and enjoyed some freshly fried steaming hot crunchy fish. Costing about USD3.5, these fish are marinated with a range of spices and fried on the spot, which means you can surely smell the deliciousness from afar!
# 6. Walk on the U-Bein bridge
You cannot come back from Myanmar without walking on the world’s longest wooden bridge – the U-Bein bridge. Head to Amrapura, a small town off Mandalay to enjoy a beautiful view of the lake on which this bridge is built. Visit around sunset to create a bank of photos for your Instagram account!
# 5. Travel across the Goteik Viaduct
Head to Mandalay and take a train ticket to Lashio. You will pass through the amazing Goteik Viaduct, the long picturesque bridge through lush green mountains. The ticket is cheap and it will be a journey you will never forget.
# 4. Marvel at nature’s heart
Nature has actually created its heart in one of the islands in the Myeik Archipelago located in Southern Myanmar. The island name is Cock’s Comb Island and the heart has to be seen to believe. You have to take a boat to the island and then do some light trekking through the jungle to reach the place. It might look like a lot of work, but the journey will be worth it. We promise!
# 3. Go fishing in Inle Lake
Most people visit the Inle lake and take a fast, long boat ride around the lake. But if you want to add some extra oomph to your trip? Speak to a local fisherman and go out for a fishing trip with him. You will be able to see the one-legged rowing technique from close quarters and have some fun fishing. The locals are extremely friendly and would love to accommodate you.
# 2. Bike tour in Bagan
Chances are that you will include Bagan in your itinerary to explore the world archaeological site. While yes, you can hire a private taxi and go for a temple tour, we recommend taking an e-bike instead. They are way better than pre-planned trips. You can choose when and where to stop and take your own time in enjoying this heritage marvel. A full-day tour will cost you around USD8.
# 1. Enjoy Sule and Shwedagon Pagodas
Most itineraries to Myanmar starts with Yangon and includes a visit to Sule and Shwedagon pagodas. They simply cannot be missed. Our pro tip – go at night to see the amazing lighting against the backdrop of the darkened sky.
Now that you’ve got your top 10 down pat, it’s time to pack those bags and go a-wandering!