Opened to the rest of the world almost a decade, Myanmar had first branded up its name to many bespoke travelers; and soon becoming the world’s top 10 must go destinations in 2013. Since then, still, some political conflicts between the army and the democratic Aung San Suu Kyi or some scattered fighting at India borders; plus the least develop of infrastructure hasn’t yet brought Myanmar travel industry to its fullest play.
At the same time, dramatically changes from the internet invasion, the flooding in of mass tourism from neighboring Asia has made the young tourism of Myanmar derailed here and there. Some of the travel sites that were beautifully heard 10 years ago have been now becoming very popular and touristy destination. Travel to Myanmar today can’t bring you enough emotions as of 10 years ago if you are a kind of traveler who is looking for more authentic, local touched experience.
Don’t know where to plan and start your most memorable Myanmar tours? No worry, the top 7 places and activities below should be triggered at your plan and highly recommended to follow. Let’s do it soon and sooner before the country making its change very fast, along with the surge coming of internet to this once sleepy and exotic destination.
Sunrise in Bagan, how to get it?
Located in the central of Myanmar and dotted itself with over 2000 ancient temples, Bagan is a really special travel attraction. When Bagan welcomes its new day, you will have the chance to see 2000 temples which are gradually and slowly appeared as the sun rising. Though, according to the new regulation since 2015, travelers are not allowed to climb up any temple for the lookout as before but some regulated areas are still, generally a hilly mount of land to offer the vantage point for sunrise moment.
Another costing but life time experience way is to book your balloon flight in advance. The reliable Balloon operator as www.balloonsoverbagan.com is now offering 2 packages to any traveler; flight only and combo flight & breakfast at the cost of US$350 and US$400 respectively. If you are a loyal customer to a powerful Myanmar travel agency, it is best to check from them for a possible discount price package. It is often that a detailed table of sunrise hours is shown at your hotel or guesthouse for your reference from the night before, to pick the best time for the best sunrise moment.
>> Click here for Bagan sunrise tour: Highlights Of Myanmar 8 Days
Is this worth visiting the Nyaung U market?
Known as the biggest market in Bagan, Nyaung U market preserves its aged old custom of an outdoor buy & sell area like many others in Asia. All kind of live stocks, fruits, food, vegetables and necessities were brought here for people to trade. Every corner inside and outside the market can be the highlight of the visit; where you will enjoy the way people place their products; the way they scale (weight) it; the way the women go shopping and bring stuffs home.
The crowded ambiance plus the fresh smell of the market will easily make you feel like a photographer and memory recorder. Depend on how you interact with the visit, it generally takes 1.5 to 2 hours to absorb the charm and the discovery of this market to the best possible.
>> Suggested Bagan tour: A day venture ot at Bagan
Why Sittwe Myanmar and its most fascinating fish market?
Sittwe hasn’t yet a well-known place of travel in Myanmar travel map. This township belongs to Rakhine State; and lies to the West of Myanmar while bordering with India & Sri Lanka by the Bay of Bengal.
When traveling to Sittwe, most people consider it as a buffer zone for one night stay before getting to the remote Mrauk U. But some people rarely know that this coastal town will reward the stay a lot, generally the charm of this small town feel with its interesting fish market. At the market outdoor area, the seller, who come right from the bank of water will dock all his fishes on the floor and shout out loud like an auction sales. Who bid higher will get the deal. Inside the market, there are huge piles of dried shrimps, dried fish hanging next to the old-fashioned scale; making the exhibitions of the product so tempting and interesting to look at. The smell of fish, both from fresh stock and drying ground will make the market hours unforgettable.
Exploring the ancient temples in Mrauk U
Update in 2020: Due to civil unrest and armed conflicts, Mrauk U is now closed permanently.
Known as the capital and trading port town of Rakhine State in the 15 and 16th century, Mrauk U boasts a selection of untouched temples and pagodas. Beside a larger ruined area that made Mrauk U known as an archeological site, remind the today world travelers the gone glorious days of the Rakhine State.
Highlighted Mrauk U temples to see are the Koethaoung and Sitthaoung; which located in the lower lands and surrounded by the dense vegetation. The town is not stretching too far. A day venturing around will enhance your understanding of the once powerful Rakhine state; and why the local people took their pride in their olden days. For the best added value to your visit of these sacred temples, let arrange the visit during the monsoon season to get the best appearance; when the beauty of these ancient temples are found in their green cover.
How to get boat from Sittwe to Mrauk U
Daily local boat departs the Sittwe habour at 14 pm; and it takes roughly 5 hours to get there. Price is US$ 20 and can be varied a bit due to the local Kyat exchange. Morning public boat can be on daily basis or every two days, based on the season. Let’s check out more from your hostel or hotel. Another option is local bus, expected a bit bumpy ride, at the cost of US$25. It’s best to do the first ride by boat and the return one by bus, to gain a comprehensive travel experience of yours.
Discovering the hidden Chin Village
From Mrauk U, a 40 minute pumping drive will get you to a boat pier; then you will be transferred in a 2 hours boat ride along the Lay Mio River to access to the Chin Village, the unique village where some of the old women to be found with tattoo on their face. It’s said that the Chin girls were forced with facial tattoo at their childhood; so they will look less appealing or charming to the men who invading their territory. Along with the opening to the rest of the world, the practice has recently no longer existed. The facial tattoo ladies you found at the village might be the last generation of this custom.
The trip is enriched with some daily activities of the locals who live by the bank of the Lay Mio River, as well as chances to witness some traditional games played by the villages’ children along the village walk. A car or tuk tuk should be booked for your travel from town to the boat pier. Car is recommended though it might not be a decent and comfy one. Remember, you are at the very poor and remote area of Myanmar.
Taking a boat ride on Inle lake
Also locating in the central area of Myanmar, Inle Lake is 45 minute drive from Heho Airport, surrounded by the rugged mountain of Southwestern Shan State. The lake is huge and serene most of the time; and will be very scenic in a clear day with blue sky, moderate sun, dotted with villages on stills and floating gardens. This is the homeland, occupied by the majority of Intha people and other minority of Pa-o people who lived upon tending the floating garden and fishing with single-leg rowing technique.
Generally, you can arrange your boat time by mid-afternoon (roughly 3pm) to have more chances for daily activities of the local people when they are finishing their day from the garden or on the way home. Sunset moment to be likely happened, promising ton of photos to be taken. Beside the beauty of the Lake and its surrounding, interacting with Intha fishermen on the lake is really a highlight during your Burma travel.
Meditating by the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda
Known as a collection of fainted houses and history – stained streets that once under the colonialism of the Bristish, Yangon has a lot to show in a day or two with some famous sites. You might hear from some as Sule Temple, the Parliament House, Chinese town, Scot Marke, etc. But above those, the famed Shwedagon Pagoda, which is located right in the central of Yangon, can’t be missed. Its large and stretching construction scales has made it the main and crowded relic sight to locals and popular tour spot for foreign travelers. The Pagoda is said to be constructed more than 2500 years ago and under the most serious preservation work by the Burmese people and its government.
Once check in and after a nice walk around, the sacred and belief-driven ambiance, the splendid setting of the pagoda plus its spacious area will easily inspire you to sit down at a corner and do a short meditation. Regardless other visitors or prayers who are walking by, just close your eyes, enjoy the evening breeze and fall deep into your meditation at the most impressive pagoda in Myanmar. It can for sure enrich your lifetime experiences in this part of the world. Isn’t it special?
Other suggestions for Myanmar tours
Tim Lee – Travel Specialist