3-week Myanmar Route Guide – Temples to Beaches

3-week Myanmar Route Guide – Temples to Beaches

3-week Myanmar Route Guide – Temples to Beaches

Myanmar (Burma) has opened its borders in 2012 and revealed an Asian country in its purest form. Every single local gives his/her best smile. There is no other country you will feel more welcome than in Myanmar. The country is huge, bigger than Thailand, and it is a little harder to get around, so it is recommended to at least take 2 weeks to see all the highlights.  This is a 3-week Myanmar Travel Guide to see all the highlights in the country.

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myanmar travel guide route map

Myanmar Travel Route, 3 weeks

There are so many things to do in Myanmar that a 3-week trip would be the ideal amount of days to fully experience the country. Myanmar is full of highlights like the temple filled called Bagan, floating villages at Inle Lake to one of Asia’s most beautiful beaches.

Please keep in mind traveling in through Myanmar is good but slow. This Myanmar Travel Guide includes some extra time which is meant as travel days.

Day 1 – 2: Experience Yangon (Rangoon)

Myanmar’s largest city, most developed and former capital Yangon is the perfect place to start your trip. Flying here is the cheapest option. Visit one of the city’s highlights named Shwedagon Pagoda or have a great local food experience at one of the many great restaurants. Find a sightseeing tour in Yangon.

Order your Visa for Myanmar online

Myanmar travel guide Yangon Pagoda

Day 3 – 6: Limestone Mountains and Rice fields in Hpa An

Hpa An is off the usual Myanmar travel guide and sadly enough often skipped by travelers. Do a hike to the top of a limestone mountain, explore caves or the beautiful lush rice paddies. Getting from Yangon to Hpa An takes about 8-hours (with Mi Ba Gone Express) but it is a 100% worth the trip.

Read about: Hpa-An, little-hidden Treasure of Myanmar

Day 7 – 10: Hot Air Balloons & endless Pagodas in Bagan

Bagan is one of those places that will make your travel heart pound faster. Get up in the early morning to experience one the best sunrises in your life and look over the 2200+ temples while the hot air balloons are floating in between them. These are the best temples in Bagan to visit.

ReadUltimate Travel Guide to Bagan

Getting from Hpa An to Bagan takes about 10 hours. (again, a 100% worth the ride) The roads are new and by using the JJ Express Bus from Yangon to Bagan it is as comfortable as it can be. Flying is also possible but will make a dent in your Myanmar budget as a 1-hour flight is about $100.

➳ Find: bus/flight tickets online

Day 11 – 12: Beautiful Temples in Mandalay

From Bagan, move to Mandalay to visit the second largest city of Myanmar. This city is all about sightseeing, some beautiful temples are located around Mandalay! Bagan to Mandalay is a 4-hour drive. This is the city where there is a visible difference in wealth, just outside of Mandalay are villages of people living in their bamboo huts between the garbage.

➳ Find: bus/flight tickets online

Garbage in Myanmar is a big problem. The majority of the people throws everything on the street simply because they don’t know better. Kids are getting educated about this problem but this is going to take a generation or two ..

Read about: Things to do in Mandalay

Day 13 – 15: Back in time on Inle Lake

Villages on the lake completely made of wood and/or bamboo. See how the local people work in the floating gardens or on their fishing boats. Besides the lake, it is also great to bike in and around the nearby ‘backpack-ish’ town. Mandalay to Inle Lake is a 6-hour drive. Find: bus/flight tickets online

Read about: Things to do at Inle Lake

Myanmar Travel guide Inle Lake Fisherman

Day 16 – 19: Relax at Ngapali

From Inle Lake, take the airplane (~$100 USD) from Heho Airport to one of the most beautiful beaches in Asia, Ngapali Beach. Fully relax at the beach from all the traveling of the last two weeks. Find flights here.
The route would have been easier to fly from Bagan but direct flights from Bagan to Ngapali aren’t available at the time of writing this.

Read about: Ngapali Beach, One of Asia’s Most Beautiful Beaches

Day 20 – 21: Yangon (Rangoon)

On the day before leaving, fly back to Yangon and treat yourself a little with a fine dinner at LinkAge Restaurant or Rangoon Tea House.

Find flight tickets to Yangon

myanmar travel guide food yangon

By @rangoonteahouse

Myanmar Travel Guide: Off the beaten path

If you are a fast traveler or just have more time available, there are more places to add to your trip.

Kalaw (3-day hike to Inle Lake)
Mrauk-u (mini Bagan)
Hsipaw (famous for the train ride crossing Gokteik Viaduct)

Is Myanmar Safe?

Yes, Myanmar is safe to travel. The question is, is it ok to travel in a country with such a bad human rights history? The answer is probably no, but why do we travel to countries where this history goes a little further (and probably forgotten) like China or Israel.

Our personal feeling is that we have to support the local people who benefit from our visit. Try to spend your money with the locals so those people will stay positive and can live their normal daily lives. We haven’t felt unsafe for a single second! We shouldn’t forget that the locals and government are not the same people.

Recommendation: Check with your local authorities about the latest developments.

myanmar travel guide locals

Best time to visit Myanmar

Myanmar’s (Burma) best time to visit in their winter, which is from November until February. The nights can get quite cool, 10 degrees where the daytime is dry and a comfortable 28 degrees.

Myanmar Visa

You need a Myanmar visa to be allowed into the country. Visa on Arrival is not available in Myanmar but getting a Visa Online is not difficult at all. Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months.

Online Visa Myanmar

Your only option is applying for a Myanmar visa online. Apply at least three days before your arrival. Usually, the application is approved within a few hours and you will receive your ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) in your email. A 28-day visa will cost you $50 and can only be paid by credit card.

Order your Visa for Myanmar online

myanmar travel guide landscapes

Myanmar Travel Guide: Costs of Traveling

The Myanmar currency is Kyat. One dollar is about 1350 Kyat. You have to budget about $1000 for this 3-week Myanmar Route. Balloon flight in Bagan not included. ;-)

  • Daily budget: $40 – $60
  • Accommodation: $10 – $35 (budget accommodation)
  • Food: ~ $2.50 for lunch + drink
Myanmar travel guide food

Costs of transportation

Getting around in Myanmar is well arranged but it takes quite a few long rides to get to your destination. A luxury 9-hour bus ‘JJ Express’ ride (620 km) costs $12.

Flying the same distance cost about $110 per flight.

Sim card in Myanmar

Most of the restaurants in Myanmar don’t have WiFi, also most of the hotels and guesthouses lack good WiFi. If you want to stay connected, we recommend you to get a Telenor Sim Card. The card costs $1 and a top up of 2.5GB is $3.

17/07/2019 https://www.saltinourhair.com/myanmar/myanmar-travel-guide/
Blog comments (30)

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  • Hi! Very insightful guide! I’m traveling to Myanmar for 18 days this year and was wondering if I need to buy my bus tickets in advanced. Do you recommend purchasing them online with the link you have provided ahead of time? Same with plane tickets to Ngapali? Thank you!

    • Salt in our Hair

      Hi Jessica! Thanks, happy to read that. You can order most tickets a few days in advance via that website. However, if you don’t want to struggle during your trip you might want to book everything now. Enjoy!

  • Micah BOWEN

    Well in Myanmar 2019 travel is definetely not slow.. I can be almost anywhere in the country by an extremely nice night bus for $20.. Even day buses move fairly fast

    • Salt in our Hair

      Hi Micah, that’s good to know! These guides were based on our experience in Myanmar at the time but i’m sure travel is always advancing. We hope to come back soon :)

  • Love this blog post too! So informative :)

    With this itinerary, I wanted to add the train ride in. Does it make more sense to fly in/out of Yangon or fly into Yangon and fly out of Mandalay?

    • Salt in our Hair

      Hi Kimberly! It depends on where your onward destination is as Yangon is well connected to other destinations, whereas Mandalay has more limited options. Enjoy your trip :)

  • Hi guys, awesome blog! When you say your budget was about $1000 was that per person? We are planning a 6 month trip around Southeast Asia and are looking to do as much as we can for as little as possible.
    Thanks :)

    • Salt in our Hair

      Hi Puja,
      This budget is per person for 3 weeks- so $2000 dollars in total but you could probably do it for less :) Have amazing travels!

  • Jorge Hernandez

    Hola mi nombre es Jorge soy de Mexico y me gustaría hacer “road trip with motorcycle”… I road something like a it’s kind of hard because some roads are close or are private, I wish you can give me your advice
    Thank you
    By the way this blog ate amazing

    • saltinourhair

      Hola Jorge!
      It depends on where you are in the country.
      For example in Bagan, it’s quiet enough to ride a motorbike. And in Ngapali & around Inle Lake it’s also fun to use a bicycle (since those places are quite small) but we wouldn’t recommend these two options in the big busy cities like Yangon & Mandalay. It’s better to use a Taxi there.

      Have fun!

  • Hi,

    Your blog is beautiful… I enjoy reading your stories. My sister and i are planning to go to Myanmar. I have questions regarding photo shoots you have… is it allowed to fly drone in Myanmar, or do we need to apply for some kind of license beforehand?

    • saltinourhair

      Hi, thank you very much!
      So good to hear you and your sister are going to travel through Myanmar!
      Officially it is not allowed to fly a drone. We worked with the tourism board, that’s why we could do it.
      Enjoy Myanmar!

  • Heading to Myanmar from Laos, thank you for your very detailed and beautiful guide!

  • Hi! Perfect blog :) I want to go to Myanmar and I will travel from big region to another by bus. But then from one place when you want to visit very early which transport do you recommend? and do we have to buy bus tickets in advance? best regards

    • saltinourhair

      Hi Karine,

      You don’t have to buy them in advance. Or maximum 1-day :)
      We don’t fully understand your question. If you mean, what transport you should use if you want to be somewhere with sunrise, we either recommend a taxi or to rent a motorbike.

  • Hi, loved reading your blog! It’s definitely help inform my trip planning through Myanmar. I have a question though about something I haven’t been able to find an answer to elsewhere – my understanding is you were able to take a bus from Hpa An to Bagan? Is there a possible night bus for this route? I can’t find any information about this anywhere – it seems you have to take a night bus from Hpa An to Yangon, and then a bus from Yangon to Bagan. Thanks so much!

    • saltinourhair

      Hi! Yes, you can take the night bus from Hpa An to Yangon and a highway bus from there. It’s a long trip so you might want to consider spending the night in Yangon if you have enough time.

  • Hi, just wondering where you stayed in each place?

  • Great post you two! Just wondering if you had any issues entering the country with a drone? I hear Yangon is tough on it but Mandalay not so much?

    • saltinourhair

      Thank you! Hmm, we heard stories yes. However, we worked with the tourism board and I guess they arranged this for our flights. Anyway, when we flew from and to Thailand from Myanmar we didn’t have any trouble.

  • Hi there! You blog posts have really inspired me when planning my next trip. I’m probably gonna go to Myanmar with my boyfriend en of December this year.
    I was wondering if Yangon was really worth it?
    Thanks a lot for being such a great travel inspiration xx

    • saltinourhair

      Hi! Yes, Yangon is a nice difference. It is upcoming and very modern compared to the rest of the country. We loved spending two or three days here at the end of our trip.
      Enjoy your trip!

  • Hi Guys
    do you remember which bus (company) you took from Yangon to Hpa An – how long did it take?

  • Hi. I love to read your experiences and guides – it is well writen and good inspiration.

    I am going to Myanmar in december for three weeks. I was thinking about experience Yangon, Hpa An, Bagan, Mandalay, Hsipaw and maybe Lake Inle (if the time is to it).
    I was wondering how you guys got from Hpa An to Bagan? Did you take Bus or train?

    Thanks for a good blog and good inspiration.

    Best regards

    • saltinourhair

      Hi Thomas, you first need to get back to the same way you got to Hpa An. Hpa An back to Yangon and from there take the express bus to Bagan.

      Thanks and have a great time!

  • Cynthia Navarrete

    Amazing recommendations of Myanmar. I am definitely following this itinerary bc si hace exactly three weeks vacations. Thank you so much for having writing this. Cheers. Cynyhia

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