Myanmar 3-week Itinerary
There are so many things to do in Myanmar that a 3-week trip would be the ideal amount of time to fully experience the country. Myanmar is full of highlights like the temples in Bagan, the floating villages of Inle Lake, and one of Asia’s most beautiful beaches. Discover all the best things to do in this complete Myanmar travel guide.
Please keep in mind that traveling through Myanmar is incredible but slow. This Myanmar Travel Guide includes some extra time, which is meant for travel days.
Day 1 – 2: Experience Yangon (Rangoon)
Myanmar’s largest city, the 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.
Day 3 – 6: Limestone Mountains and Rice Fields in Hpa An
Hpa An is off the usual Myanmar travel guide and, sadly, 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 is 100% worth the trip.
Where to Stay in Hpa An
Hpa-An is still new to tourism and offers only a small selection of hotels, with most found on Agoda.com.
Day 7 – 10: Hot Air Balloons & Endless Pagodas in Bagan
Bagan is one of those places that will make your travel heart go faster. Get up in the early morning to experience one of the best sunrises in your life, looking out over the 2200+ temples while hot air balloons float in between. These are the best temples in Bagan to visit.
Getting to Bagan from Hpa An
Getting from Hpa An to Bagan takes about 10 hours (again, 100% worth the ride). The roads are new, and if you use the JJ Express Bus from Yangon to Bagan, it’s as comfortable as it can be. Flying is also possible but will take a big scoop out of your Myanmar budget as a 1-hour flight is about 100 USD.
Where to Stay in Bagan
There are 3 main villages in Bagan: Nyaung-U, Old Bagan, and New Bagan. They all surround the temple area, with Old Bagan being the closest, and make a great place to stay for a few nights.
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, with some of the most beautiful temples in the country! Bagan to Mandalay is a 4-hour drive. This is the city where there is a visible difference in wealth; you’ll quickly notice this when you pass the outskirts of Mandalay.
Rubbish in Myanmar is a big problem. The majority of people throw 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.
Where to Stay in Mandalay
Mandalay offers accommodations for every kind of budget, from comfortable hotels in the center of the region to great hostels perfect for meeting other travelers.
Day 13 – 15: Back in time on Inle Lake
Here, villages stand on the lake, completely made of wood and 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 ‘backpacker’ town. Mandalay to Inle Lake is a 6-hour drive.
Where to Stay at Inle Lake
When you are planning a visit to Inle Lake, there are two areas where you can stay. Most of the travelers stay in Nyuang-Shwe town, which is about 5 km from Inle Lake. You can also stay on Inle Lake, which is more expensive than staying in town.
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.
The route would have been easier to fly from Bagan, but direct flights from Bagan to Ngapali weren’t available at the time of writing this.
Where to Stay in Ngapali
As it’s such a beautiful location, hotels and guesthouses in Ngapali are not the cheapest in Myanmar. Guesthouses are anywhere from $15 to $30 per night, and luxury hotels range from $100 to $250 a night.
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.
Myanmar Travel Guide: Off the Beaten Path
If you are a fast traveler or just have more time available, there are a few more places you could 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 at local businesses 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.
Best Time to visit Myanmar
The best time to visit Myanmar (Burma) is during the winter, which runs from November to February. The nights can get quite cool (10 degrees) whereas the daytime is dry and a comfortable 28 degrees.
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 before traveling.
Online Visa Myanmar
Your only option is to apply 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 USD and can only be paid by credit card.
Myanmar Travel Guide: Budget
The Myanmar currency is Kyat. One dollar is about 1350 Kyat. You have to budget about 1000 USD for this 3-week Myanmar Route. A balloon flight in Bagan is not included.
Costs of transportation
Getting around in Myanmar is well-arranged, but it takes quite a long while to get to your destination. A luxury 9-hour bus ‘JJ Express’ ride (620 km) costs about 12 USD.
Flying the same distance costs about 110 USD per flight.
Sim card in Myanmar
Most of the restaurants in Myanmar don’t have WiFi. The same goes for most of the hotels and guesthouses, often lacking good WiFi. If you want to stay connected, we recommend you get a Telenor SIM card. The card costs $1, and a top-up of 2.5GB is only $3.