Out of all of the countries in Southeast Asia which I have pretty much been through all, would be the most different. It surly is one of the least traveled in as of now because it just opened up to easy tourist access but it is booming at alarming rates. The country holds limited government and is getting stronger which could turn for the worse or better but as for now it seems its heading in great directions. With brand new road systems and super old railways, airports scattered all around, traveling is pretty easy to get around. Most people fly to Yangon for the cheapest costs and bus or train around to other destinations. Even though most places are banned to go to for tourists, please do some homework before you go, in this blog I will fill in the gaps of not copying and paste like every other blog seems to be out there but I will let you know the best to see and do.
Burma now known as Myanmar has a vast history and a lot of people still fighting the government here. Even though I didn’t see anything drastic besides going to the pioneer club dancing to much and getting beat up by 20 bounces in Yangon, so please do not go there. Besides that this country is full of peace and should be called the land of smiles. Hospitality isn’t so much as other countries as people here fear the government and tourism is fairly new still. But one great thing is so many speaks English which makes travels so much better and the service is great as they want to improve so much more also. It is by far one of the cheapest countries, even though camping is illegal you still find amazing deals. Agoda.com is always the cheapest you can find on the internet for super deals on where to stay.
I came here during the rain season in September 2019 and for me it still was very beautiful. Great cool weather where many almost all the people wear their famous no pocket dresses, while painting their faces with a plant for the purpose of beauty, sunblock, and keeping their culture alive. A country between two different worlds of Thai culture to India culture, they surly hold a different perspective from life. I guess most dress like India civilization and some of the foods can be related to India but very few it anything like Thai foods. Spicy is definitely not a trend here besides Mandalay but they love oil, a lot of oil and while every city is quite different in foods, you could easily eat ten different plates for less than $10. In some areas in the country you can get around like 8 plates of a variety of food for around $5, maybe cheaper maybe more expensive but you for sure will be full.
One thing I like a lot about this country is they are not up to par with price gouging the tourists and I hope it stays like that. Taxis are the cheapest ever and even the taxis don’t even price gouge but still make sure you always ask about the price as even in the restaurants most do not put a price on the menu. From clean cities, to clean buses, beautiful men and women, smiles, thousands of dogs (by the way, almost all are not starving), mountains, villages, easy access to India or Thailand by land, this country will become a booming tourist destination for the future. I see it as a Thailand 20 years ago and will become a super tourist destination. This country has a lot of potentials from vast amounts of beaches, islands and reefs to high mountains, great treks and even a glacier near the China border and by far the most amazing waterfall I have ever seen. Most places are closed off and some places are super expensive to go to especially the islands. You can always talk to the local tourism building and get the best rates from bus tickets to exploring regions.
If you are searching for a party country you might as well skip this one. You can find lots of parties in Yangon and famous Bagon but that’s about it, at least for now. I am sure the future will change, but with few hookers, bed time around 10 pm, it surely is a different country than all of the others in Asia. Immigration is tough here so you don’t see but maybe a few foreigners get with the locals here, but if you are looking for the beautiful people, the singles are pretty easy to spot out as they are all absolutely amazing beautiful. As to when they get married here their body isn’t the same. But I guess that goes for the majority of the world hahaha. Seems that all the young tight bodies are the ones that are single. At night time even in the cities you will find peace and quiet and in the smaller towns everything is pretty much closed by 9pm with maybe a few exceptions. You basically have about five main destinations in this whole country as far as the country will let you travel while still being on a budget. The four is Yangon, Bagon, Mandalay, Kalaw and Inle lake. Of course their is many other places you can stay at but many do not offer hostels and it is forbidden to stay in peoples homes, camp, or sleep anywhere but a registered facility, so in these places that would just leave hotels and sometimes they range from $20 on up.
So I will talk about this five locations. Yangon is at one time the capital as many places here have been a capital city. They even have a new capital which is really cheap but nothing much is there at all in the city of Naypyitaw. As to almost every City in this country has been a capital at one point in time Mandalay and Yangon is still the richest. This might have to do with so many precious gem stones coming from the mountains around the city and Yangon is a booming city. Bagon is by far the most touristy and Kalaw too Inle lake has the most trekking done for about $30 for a three day trek. Bagon is famous for all the Buddhist of the people worshipping the buildings filled with Buddha which I personally believe where homes as well as grave sites back in the day and while Inle lake is full of them also, really the whole country has so many pagodas it’s insane. Most will find cheap flights in Yangon so most travelers start there and go to the other cities I have mentioned. Busses are everywhere and once you get to the official bus station in Yangon you will possibly see the biggest bus station in your lifetime, because I have been traveling half my life and I have never seen something bigger, literally thousands of buses around. If looking to go on a slow, rocking experience take the train, it’s beyond cheap. If looking to find the best information on trains check out this website, free
This site says the best scenic route in Myanmar is from Inle lake to Thazi or other way around which takes about 14 hours. That’s a long time on a slow train so I cut the time by taking the train from Inle lake to Kalaw where many people trek and then took a bus to Bagon. The train ride was definitely unique especially having a fugitive locked up in the same train cart as me. The train is slow, rocks you to sleep and is ok comfy. The view sites where ok as it was raining, but the ride was fabulous from the smell of the old engines to the smell of the jungle when the train ran through all the branches making the aroma unforgettable. If you have time and do not mind the slow ride then I’d definitely recommend you go to Thazi as the bus ride from Kalaw to Bagon was intense, high mountains, ridges and the Beaty of nature all around. The bus cuts directly through the mountains passes as though the train goes way off course at least from what I seen in the map. So cutting a 14 hour journey to only go half the distance on the train to a 8 hour journey by bus to go the whole way I just choose the bus. Of course if I had time and Haven’t been through mountains you should definitely take the train ride. Though with me I have traveled for long long time so it’s nothing new for me but it’s still amazing views either way. Reminds me a lot of Vietnam.
In Inle Lake you can get on the boat all day long for around $5. They will try and bring you to all the places where they want you to buy something. But make sure you go down to the famous temples of Inn Dein because the boat ride is amazing. I guess during dry season it is a very long walk. Inle lake is not that much going on, they have a winery you can visit and watch sunsets, also there is a viewpoint east of Maing Thauk up the mountain and rode. Is a long walk or can maybe ask someone for a ride. Very beautiful to overlook the whole lake. Can also check out their longest wooden bridge and if looking for an awesome museum looking bar with fabulous western foods. Check out Pub Asiatico, even if you do not drink or are not hungry at least check this place out, it’s amazing it’s like a huge museum and well worth the look. And if looking for a hostel with a Jacuzzi then look no further because I have never found one in Asia that is a hostel and Baobabed has one. This hostel is also found in all four prime spots in the country.
Bagan is the highlight generally for mostly all the travelers. So I won’t give to much insight on it but I will say this. Should be able to find an electric scooter for around 3,000 all day and should be able to get a car taxi from main bus for around 5,000. Best to book the mini van so they can take you directly to your place of stay. Also will say a place that is a must to try for food is called Bibo it is amazing food. I stayed at Baobabed and it has a pool but be careful because they use bleach and can ruin your clothes. The electric bikes are extremely high around this hostel so wheel and deal with the people if looking to rent for more than one day. They have the boat trip from Mandalay to Bagan and it costs $32 going up stream and takes about 14 hours or coming to Bagan it cost around $45 and takes less time. Lol go figure. The boat doesn’t go everyday either so will have to check for times. Both Bagan and Inle lake you have to pay a $10 entrance fee and it is supposed to be only for a short term like five days. Inle lake doesn’t really care but Bagan you have people asking for tickets at sunsets and sunrises. Be sure to keep your ticket on you. If I was gonna chill at a spot for longer than five days then I will tell you the best spot to be. By far my highlight in the whole country.
Pyin Oo Lwin is the spot to be in Myanmar. Big trees, jungle forest lands, viewpoints, and so many waterfalls, including the best waterfall I have ever venture to in my lifetime. About 40 kilometers north of Pyin Lwin you will run into a dream state of a waterfall called BanBwe Gin. You can look at google reviews to check it out more but I can tell you the pictures just do not do the justice. It’s literally like being in the film of Jurassic Park. If you want to do the full tour you would have to leave around 8:30 am. You can rent a bike from Andrew here is his contacts
We got a really good deal renting from him for 4 days. We paid 26,000 for a manual. We stayed at in an awesome hotel, Thiha Bala with amazing buffet breakfast and even free dinner. This is the path to take to the amazing waterfall. You should download maps.me anyways because it is the best for traveling. Once you arrive you can do three things. Admire the beauty of the waterfall from afar,
You can head to the top and swim overlooking a straight drop off
Or you can take an adventure where a guide will take you down to the bottom where you will think you are risking your life, so if you like the thrill like me this is a definite adventure. The guide will take you around for about 3 hours all through the falls so be prepared for just about anything. It’s literally a feel like it’s your last day on earth. Lol. Can watch my YouTube to understand better.
Part 1 ;
Be careful jumping in from the cliff side because I hit a rock so try aiming right under the swing. Also mosquitoes are a nightmare here so wear long sleeves because mosquito repellent will wash off. I got a virus from being here and it made me weak for two weeks. Not trying to deter you from the best waterfall just trying to prepare you is all. Make sure you fill up your bike with fuel before you leave the city. You can easily spend five days in Pwin checking out all the waterfalls. We paid our guide 5,000 each at Ban Bwe and the guide didn’t even want any money at all. They don’t really have any program going right now as they just opened up the waterfall to tourist a couple years ago. Many of the locals do not even know about it. As for the other waterfalls their is a lot around. Just be careful some so called guides will follow you and you not even ask them as a guide and they will want a lot of money so just tell them no or confirm a price beforehand. Another thing you can do is see the oldest rail road bridge which takes about 3 hours one way. Here is a blog on it.
Part 2 ; best waterfall on this planet
Mandalay was going to build one of the biggest temple but failed after the first level which is massive. So be sure to check that out.
Mingun Pahtodawgyi is not listed and I feel it is a fabulous temple one of the best in Mandalay.
Many people go to India now that the borders are open. You can get a visa pass in Yangon or Mandalay. Mandalay is for sure less crowded. It is quite easy to get just need to fill out paper and the best place is here for very cheap
Once you get visa can head to India they will mark the day you go in. And Americans just get the six month because it is same price for one month or six months. $120
When you take the bus it is a long way over 24 hours to reach border. You will have to get off at Kale but they will put you into another van for 4,000myanmar. Cheap. The bus ride sucked as I got the. Hearst deal at Mansion Hostel and it was not comfortable at all full of mosquitoes. So beware, bring some snacks. Our bus broke down so be prepared for that as well, lol. Once you reach the border they will charge you for $3 overstay and you can exchange money in the border town of India. Because once you go through they will provide a free ride, as I went to exchange money and took me to bus station that leaves twice a day 7am & 1:30pm. Can also see all this on maps.me, be sure to download it. The bus will take another long journey through the mountains and beautiful scenery.