It seems that Myanmar is the place to be at the moment. Decades after being closed off to the world, this once inward looking country known as Burma is opening up to foreign investment and tourist dollars, now that The Lady, Aung San Suu Kyi has officially sanctioned visitors. There is plenty to see and do in Myanmar – a week in the Golden Land will barely scratch the surface. This itinerary squeezes in Yangon, Bagan and Inle Lake within one week in Myanmar.
Days 1-3: Yangon
Most international visitors will arrive in Myanmar via Yangon, the nation’s capital city. The city may seem chaotic at first, but visitors who spend a few days here reap the reward of slowly getting to know Yangon’s streets and secrets, layer by layer. Three days in Yangon is sufficient to take in the main sights, such as Shwedagon Pagoda, Scott’s Market, Sule Pagoda, Chinatown, and the city’s main sights.
Days 4-5: Bagan
Two days won’t do the temples of Bagan any justice, but even if you spent a full week in Bagan, there will still be more to see. The plains here are dotted with hundreds of stupas and pagodas, some dating from the 10th century. The sunrises and sunsets here can be spectacular, depending on the time of year you visit, and the dawn hot air balloon rides are a magical experience.
Days 6-7: Inle Lake
Mirror like and calm, Inle Lake is one of Myanmar’s top 5 sights. A visit here yields glimpses of local life such as the one-legged fishermen who row across the lake’s placid surface with a unique one-legged stroke. There are stilt houses, floating gardens, traditional workshops making cigars, silver jewelry and paper, and on the mainland, more temples and pagodas, the most important of which is Shwe Inn Thein Paya, located at the top of Inle Lake.
With just one week in Myanmar, this itinerary does not attempt to take in Mandalay, Myanmar’s cultural heartland. With an additional 3 days, it should be possible to visit Mandalay; however it should be noted that such a short period of time in the country necessitates the use of plane travel to get from place to place. When planning to visit Myanmar, ensure that you book accommodation and transport in advance, as the lack of infrastructure coupled with the high demand means that choices are few, and costly. It’s also imperative to reconfirm bookings before you travel there – if you are an apprehensive traveller, use a local tour agent. We booked through Seven Stars Tour Agency, who proved responsive and reliable.