Myanmar is a country that leaves everyone who visits there completely in love. For all these reasons :the beauty, the friendliness of its people, and for the possibility of living genuine experiences in a country that has just opened its doors to tourism.
It may be that you have never heard of this country, and perhaps it is because its name is relatively new. Myanmar was the former Burma., a colony of England that became independent in 1948 and was only renamed in 1989 – Myanmar.
Commanded by a military junta, the country remained closed to tourism for a long time, opening two doors only in 2012, and now everyone is in the race to get to know this “new” country.
Places to visit in Myanmar.
The main cities visited in Myanmar are Yangon (capital), Bagan (city of temples), Mandalay, and Inle Lake.
I was unable to visit Mandalay and Inle Lake on this trip. As I only spent 4 days in Myanmar, I split those days between Yangon and Bagan. The main objective was to get to know Bagan, the beautiful city of a thousand temples. Yangon was more out of necessity as Bagan does not receive international flights, so it was necessary to land in Yangon.
How to get to Myanmar?
I took an Air Asia flight from Kuala Lumpur to Yangon, arriving in the morning. I spent the day sight seeing the city. Then at night boarded a night bus to Bagan. I had already read several reports from people who made this journey, and I liked the fact that the bus arrives just before dawn. This being an ideal time for starting the day in Bagan watching the sunrise from atop a temple.
You can choose to do the local travel by plane. Some airlines are Asian Wings, Air Bagan, Air KBZ, and Air Mandalay.
How to get around.
In Yangon, the best way was to take a taxi, as public transport is very precarious. In Bagan, I recommend renting an e-bike, which is effortless to drive, and the traffic is hushed and very nice.
When to go?
Like most countries in Southeast Asia, Myanmar has two seasons: the dry season, which runs from October to May, and the rainy, famous monsoon season, which runs from May to October. I went there in December, and it was really sunny and warm.
Myanmar’s currency is KYAT, and the quote is 1 USD = 1000 KYAT
Take the US dollar or withdraw the money at ATMs.
They are pretty tired of dollar bills! Keep in mind they don’t accept bills with marks, tears, or wrinkles; the bill has to be perfect.
Avoid using credit cards as they charge a 2 to 5% surcharge.
Where to stay?
In Bagan, I chose the Ostello Bello hostel, and it was an excellent choice. Well-structured, comfortable hostel with many activities for guests, tours, and a delicious restaurant. They also have branches in Mandalay and Inle Lake.
What to wear?
To enter the temples, remember to have your shoulders and knees covered. It is also mandatory to take off your shoes, so try to go with some easy shoes to remove and put back on.
I confess that taking off my shoes bothered me a little because I don’t like going barefoot even in my house, secondly the floor was dirty, especially in Yangon.
So now you know. To recap:
It is very common to ask someone who has taken a trip to Southeast Asia which one was most interesting ? And the answer is that Myanmar was one of the countries that made the most impression. This is because Myanmar is a country that has recently opened its doors to tourism. Thus making the experiences much more authentic than its neighbors who have already been taken by mass tourism.