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A friend of mine, D, recently went on a trip to Myanmar. I watched her updates from home and was insanely jealous. I asked her to put together some highlights of her time in this little known, little traveled country. Take it away D!
Whenever I told anyone I was going to Myanmar, the reaction I got was, ‘Where’s that?’ Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is located between Bangladesh and Thailand.
Why travel to Myanmar? Why not! It’s a country where a couple of years ago tourism really began to take off. In planning this trip I spent hours upon hours reading travel forums, blogs, and trip reports, to gain a sense of what to expect. In all, the trip took us to Central, Eastern, Western, and Southern Myanmar over a span of 21 days. We booked everything ourselves and only used a local travel agent while in Myanmar to book domestic flights (as you cannot do this independently).
The temples of Bagan are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Myanmar. Despite having this designation, the sights were not crowded. It’s very possible to be alone while exploring the temples. In addition to the larger temples, there are many smaller stupas dotting the landscape. The entire site is well restored and there are few ruins to see. High season is generally November to February. We went in October, and the heat did limit how much exploring we could do.
Inle Lake is a wide shallow lake nestled in the mountains of Shan state in Eastern Myanmar. Due to its location, the weather is much milder. One of the defining features of Inle Lake are the ‘floating’ villages, complete with floating gardens. Boat tours are the most popular tourist activity, and they are well worth it. The highlights of the boat tour was the local market and the ruins of Indein.
Mrauk U (pronounced mraw-oo) is located in Western Myanmar and is the site of an ancient Rakhine kingdom. The draw here are the many temples and stupas remaining from the once prosperous city. The temples here are built in a different style from those found in Bagan or elsewhere in the country. Additionally, the remote location means that the traditional village life is truly preserved. It’s not uncommon to see kids playing and climbing on the stupas.
Maungmakan Beach is located in Southern Myanmar. We wanted to relax at the beach for our final destination. Myanmar had other more developed and well known beach destinations, and that is exactly why we avoided them and headed south. Maungmakan is a locals beach destination. The highlights include a long swimming-friendly beach and many delicious huts to eat fresh seafood from. You can also use it as a jumping off point to explore other beaches nearby.
Thanks D! Have you been to Myanmar? What were some of your highlights?
D likes to visit places less traveled and is slowly trying to see the world. She has traveled to Myanmar, Taiwan, India, Nepal, China, Mexico, and Cuba. Her next goal is to set foot in South America. She lives in British Columbia, Canada, and truly believes that it is the best place on earth. Follow along on her adventures on her blog.