The Two Week Myanmar Itinerary
Updated April 2020, The Two Week Myanmar Itinerary was originally written in August 2018
To really take in the best of Myanmar, 2 weeks is the perfect amount of time to get a good mixture of the natural beauty and culture the country has to offer. For those wanting to delve a little deeper into Myanmar’s charm, you’ll, of course, need more time. But if two weeks is all you have, you’re in the right place. In this guide, you’ll find the best the country has to offer, top sites to see, and where to sleep. I visited Myanmar with my friend Treva, and this Myanmar guide is based on what we did. For this 2 week Myanmar itinerary I suggest you spend your time in the following locations:
TWO WEEK MYANMAR ITINERARY
Myanmar has remained relatively untouched by the western world until the last few years. Tourism is beginning to take hold, which can be a good and bad thing. Getting around to most the major draws is fairly easy to do and the country remains relatively cheap in regards to food, accommodation, and activities.
Quick Myanmar Info
- Currency: Burmese Kyat (pronounced chat). As of April 2020 the current exchange rate is: $1 USD = 1,425 MMK
- Language: Burmese is the official language of Myanmar. Myanmar is a very multi-ethnic country. There are many other languages spoken throughout the country including Shan, Rakhine, Kachin, Mon, Karen, Chin, Kayah, and more.
- Religion: Buddhism is the predominant religion of the country, however, there are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and other practitioners throughout the country.
- Visas: Most visitors to Myanmar require a visa. Many countries are eligible for an e-visa which is quick and simple. Refer to the map below for the visa policy of Myanmar.
- What To Wear: I highly recommend purchasing a longyi on arrival. A longyi is a 2 meter long piece of fabric wrapped around the waist like a skirt. Pair with your favorite t-shirt and you’ve got yourself one of the comfiest travel outfits around. Men and women will tie their longyis differently and locals are usually happy to give you instructions. When visiting religious sites such as pagodas, stupas, and temples knees must be covered and shoulders should be covered as well. Although if you go in in shorts locals won’t say anything (but will likely stare), it’s offensive, especially with knees exposed.
- Best Time To Visit: Weather-speaking, the best time to visit Myanmar is between November and March with cooler temps and drier weather. It’s recommended to avoid monsoon season that lasts from July through September as heavy rains are more likely to happen. With that said I visited in the latter half of September and we generally had decent weather.
- How To Get To Myanmar: Flying into Yangon or Mandalay is the easiest way to visit Myanmar. With that said, you can cross overland from Thailand as there are several border crossings. It is possible to cross from China and India but special permits and guides are necessary. Although Myanmar shares borders with both Bangladesh and Laos it is not possible to travel across the borders.
- Transportation: You will likely get around the country by VIP buses, typically overnight. Myanmar is also home to the Goteik Viaduct, which makes the train journey between Pwin Oo Lwin and Hsipaw one of the must-do train trips of the world. Within towns, it’s easy to rent scooters or e-bikes to zip around.
Two Week Myanmar Itinerary
Day 1: Yangon
Spend your first day taking in the the sights and sounds of Yangon. Yangon is a bustling city of 5.2 million.
Here’s what to do in Yangon on day 1
- Purchase a longyi
- Visit Shwedegon Pagoda (entrance 10,000 MMK)
- Try Burmese food
- Purchase any items you may have forgotten at home
In the morning grab an early bus from Yangon to Hpa An. They leave from Aung Min Ga Lar High Way Bus Station and you can have your accommodation to book a ticket for you. If you don’t want to spend the night in Yangon, you can take an evening bus to Hpa An that arrives in the middle of the night. The bus trip is about 6 hours.
Days 2-3: Hpa An & Mawlamyine
Truth be told Hpa An ended up being our absolute favorite place in Myanmar. It has a very relaxed atmosphere and plenty of interesting things to see around the town.
In Hpa An make sure to
- Hike up to Mt. Zwegabin Monastery (donations accepted)
- Visit Saddan Cave & take the boat trip (boat 2,000 MMK per person)
- Cruise around on motorbikes (4,000 MMK per day)
- Shop in the traditional Hpa An Market
- See the Buddha statues at Kaw Ka Taung Cave
- See thousands of bats at the Yatae Pyan Cave
- Take a boat to Mawlamyine (8,000 MMK per person)
We didn’t enjoy Mawlamyine quite as much as Hpa An, but with that said have nothing bad to say about it. Mawlamyine has a small town feel to it, but is the capital of the Mon State. Don’t miss the sunset at Kyaik Tan Lan Pagoda.
What to do in Mawlamyine
- Kyaik Tan Lan Pagoda
- Mawlamyine Night Market
- Nwa Le Bo Pagoda
- Pa Auk Taw Ya Monastery
- Yadarbon Myint Monastery
Where To Sleep In Hpa An: We stayed at Golden Sky Guesthouse (we walked in and booked and I cannot find a website), which has great views of the river from the balcony. Other accommodations that come recommended include Thanlwin Pyar Guesthouse ( Booking.com | Agoda.com ) and for those looking for lux try Keinnara Hpa An ( Booking.com | Hotels.com ).
Take the bus back to Hpa An from Mawlamyine for 1,000 MMK. They leave all throughout the day, with several buses in the morning. You can spend the remainder of the day exploring Hpa An some more. At 7 pm take the night bus to Inle Lake from Hpa An for 22,000 MMK.
Feeling adventurous? Book this Hpa An combo kayaking, village walk and cave tour
Days 4-5: Inle Lake
The bus from Hpa An arrived at Inle Lake at about 10 am (we had a one hour delay leaving Hpa An due to rain). Buses drop you off a bit before the lake, so you’ll need to take a tuk-tuk the rest of the way into Nyuang Shwe. Most people will stay in Nyuang Shwe and take a boat tour to the floating villages and/or bicycle along the lake’s coast.
In Inle Lake be sure to
- Take a boat tour to the floating villages (15,000 MMK)
- Look out for leg-rowing fisherman- it’s quite an interesting way of angling
- Rent bicycles and cruise the shores of Inle Lake to the smaller villages (2,000 MMK per day)
- Check out the Nyuang Shwe Market
Where To Sleep In Inle Lake: We splurged in Inle Lake. We booked a room at Shwe Inn Tha Floating Resort ( Booking.com | Hotels.com ), and it was so worth it in our opinions. However for those on a lower budget try Sin Yaw Guesthouse ( Booking.com | Agoda.com ) or Exotic Inn ( Booking.com | Agoda.com ). For those looking for luxury try Sanctum Inle Resort ( Booking.com | Hotels.com ).
On the afternoon of day 6, we got an overnight bus to Hsipaw for 16,000 MMK, hotels can arrange tickets for you. We had to arrive at the pick-up location at 2:30 pm and the bus departs at 4 pm.
Days 6-10: Hsipaw Trekking & Goteik Viaduct
The bus from Inle Lake will arrive at about 3 am. If you’ve booked a guesthouse or hotel in advance you can arrange for them to have a tuk-tuk waiting for you at the bus stop. Hsipaw is a great little town to relax for a day on either end of a jungle trek. I recommend taking a 3 day Jungle Hike with Mr. Bike. On the Jungle Trek you will get to experience Shan culture and traditional foods, sleep in a treehouse in the rainforest on the first night and stay with a local family at their homestay the second night. Our local guide Soe was nothing short of amazing.
What To Do In Hsipaw
- Take a Jungle Trekking Tour (70,000 MMK pp for a group of 4, prices decrease as group gets larger)
- Shop at Hsipaw Central Market
- Watch sunset from Five Buddha Hill
- Visit Bawgyo Pagoda (Nine Buddha Hill)
- Nam Hu Nwe Waterfall
- Hsipaw Hot Springs
- Grab coffee or lime juice at Black House and watch boats travel up and down the river (1,000-2,000 MMK)
- Take the train over the Goteik Viaduct between Hsipaw and Pwin Oo Lwin
Read about our experience on the Hsipaw Trek in Shan State
Where To Sleep in Hsipaw: We recommend Lily Guesthouse ( Booking.com | Agoda.com ) from our experience. Lily Guesthouse has a great staff and breakfast. For those looking to splurge try Mr. Charles River Lodge ( Booking.com | Hotels.com ).
Only have one night to spare for a jungle trek? Don’t worry! Book a 2 day, 1 night Hsipaw jungle trek here
On day 10: Get up early and catch the train toward Pwin Oo Lwin and Mandalay. The Goteik Viaduct is the main attraction on this scenic train ride. First/second class tickets between Hsipaw and Mandalay are 4,000 MMK/2,000 MMK, and tickets from Hsipaw to Pwin Oo Lwin are 2,750 MMK/1,200 MMK. The train leaves at 9:30 am and the journey to Pwin Oo Lwin is 7 hours and to Mandalay is 11 hours. The Goteik Viaduct is a large trestle bridge located between the Shan State towns of Lashio and Pwin Oo Lwin. It is the tallest bridge in Myanmar, and at the time of completion was the largest railway trestle in the world. Do expect a breakdown or two en route.
From Pwin Oo Lwin and Mandalay you can either take a bus or taxi to Bagan.
Days 11-13: Bagan
Bagan is the number one tourist draw for most that come to visit Myanmar. It is home to the highest concentration of Buddhist Stupas, Temples, Pagodas, and Ruins in the world. The sheer number (thousands) is mind boggling. Bagan sits on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. Some travelers may find they’ll need much longer than 3 days to explore Bagan while others will be satisfied with a day or two here. If you spend less time in Bagan, I’d recommend adding a day in Mandalay on your way from Hsipaw. Note that there is a 25,000 MMK entrance ticket to Bagan on arrival.
What To see In Bagan
- Rent an e-bike and cruise around from temple to pagodas to stupa (4,000-6,000 MMK per day)
- Explore the temples and pagodas scattered as far as the eye can see
- Try to visit lesser-known temples
- Watch the sunrise from a temple
- Take a hot air balloon ride over Bagan at sunrise ($330 USD per person, note that hot air balloons do not run between July 1 and September 30 and can be cancelled at last minute due to weather)
Where to Sleep in Bagan: We stayed at Oasis Hotel ( Booking.com | Hotels.com ), which was a nice option having a pool to cool down in the afternoon. The staff at Oasis was great as well- we arrived very late in the evening and all restaurants in town, as well as the hotel restaurant, were closed. Without even asking the staff offered to go get the items for simple fried rice and make it for us right there. Another great option is the Amazing Bagan Resort ( Booking.com | Hotels.com ). For those on a budget try Lux Pillow Hostel ( Booking.com | Hotels.com ).
Take an overnight bus from Bagan to Yangon. Accommodations can book bus tickets for you, tickets are 18,500 MMK.
Don’t want to explore on your own? Shop these tours of Bagan
Day 14: Yangon
The bus from Bagan will arrive around 5am. Spend this last day relaxing, sightseeing or shopping for souvenirs before you fly home and wrap up your two weeks in Myanmar.
There are still heaps more places to visit in Myanmar, although some areas are off limits, unfortunately.
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