Home Myanmar Travel GuideTop 8 Things to Do in Myanmar

Top 8 Things to Do in Myanmar

Myanmar(Burma), a little-explored country with fascinating cultural gems open to discovery, keeps enticing visitors. Most of the recommended activities below would be best experienced during the peak tourist season from November to February.

It takes at least 9 days to discover the enchantment of Myanmar on a classic tour covering Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake. To extend your trip and relax for another two or three days, Ngapali Beach would be a nice option.

Stand in Front of the Most Sacred Glittering Pagoda

Yangon — Recommended time: two or three hours at sunset

Walking around the surrounding terrace leading to the principal monument, you can explore a forest of elaborately decorated subsidiary shrines. A stream of pilgrims comes here to worship every day, proceeding in a clockwise direction and making offerings along the way. Some devotees just kneel at the terrace and pray facing the pagoda. At dusk the atmosphere is especially intense.

A knowledgeable local guide will provide an insider’s view, revealing stories behind this work of art. Bring your camera for some good photographs.

Take a Hot Air Balloon to See Thousands of Temples

Bagan — Recommended time: one hour on a scheduled morning flight

Operated by experienced ballooning companies, these magical flights run in the early mornings, when the weather conditions are more reliable and the scenery is beautiful. The flights provide visitors a unique experience flying over the Bagan complex, enjoying the panoramic view from an unrivaled perspective. Accompanied by a professional pilot, you will be inspired by a new horizon of discovery, while drifting serenely across the skyline. Take a hot-air balloon now.

Watch a Sunset from the Longest Wooden Teak Bridge in the World

Amarapura — Recommended time: two or three hours at sunset

The bridge is the U Bein Bridge, a 1.2-kilometer teakwood structure said to be the longest and oldest of its type in the world. It remains a central part of the community, as every day red-robed monks stride across and villagers wearing straw hats cycle across. Walk along the bridge and touch the teak planks or just rest there, watching the people pass by. If you are looking for an opportunity for good photos, take a boat trip on the lake.

Explore the World’s Largest Unfinished Stupa

Mingun — Recommended time: half a day

In front of the south façade of the great stupa lies a whitewashed pagoda, the Settawya Pagoda, which is said to house a marble footprint of the Buddha. Along with the pagoda sits the second largest ringing bell in the world, known as the Mingun Bell and weighing 90 tons. Meanwhile, an hour-long boat trip upriver from Mandalay to Mingun provides insight into life along the Irrawaddy River.

Cruise the Irrawaddy River

Mandalay to Bagan — Recommended time: three to four days

Bhamo, a city at the northernmost stretch of the river, is where visitors catch ferries south all the way to Yangon. The cruise from Bhamo to Mandalay reveals stunning Upper Irrawaddy scenery. The cruise from Mandalay to Bagan usually lasts two or three days. It is the most popular and classic excursion, filled with wonders. Enjoy your life on board, as your boat sails the most scenic stretches of the river.

See Floating Gardens and Fishermen Standing in the Leg-Rowing Position

Inle Lake — Recommended time: one day

Situated in a valley and surrounded by the Shan Hills, the Inle Lake region is quite different from the rest of Myanmar. The unique living conditions and lifestyle of the local ethnic group have made the lake one of the most popular attractions.

Take a boat trip to start your day skimming across Inle’s glassy surface. Watch villagers cultivate their vegetables, which are fixed to the lake bed by long poles in the unusual floating gardens. Visit two or three local villages and see cheroot factories, bustling markets and weaving workshops, including an opportunity to see how fine silk spun from lotus stalks is made into vibrant costumes. If you’re looking for souvenirs, traditional handicrafts might be just the job.

Observe the Gravity-Defying Golden Rock

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (the Golden Rock) — Recommended time: one day

A lower terrace has been built around the base for female visitors to admire the golden rock from a distance; while male visitors are allowed to stand next to the rock and fix gold leaves onto it. There are a few observation decks nearby, from which you can gain an amazing panoramic view of the surrounding forested valley. The summit can be crowded during the peak season, when pilgrims from all over the country come here to worship.

Relax on the White Sand of Ngapali Beach

Ngapali — Recommended time: two or three days

As for accommodation, the area has some chic resorts, providing good service and amenities, such as beach chairs under grass umbrellas for enjoying the stunning coastal views. One of the special local treats is to taste the fresh seafood. Most resorts own a beach view restaurant offering a wide variety of drinks and a menu of both local and western food. The peak season for the beach is from November to March.

See our guide on Plan a First-Time Trip to Myanmar

Visit Myanmar with Asia Highlights

We provide tailor-made tours to Myanmar. Tours typically start or end in Yangon or Mandalay and last approximately 9 days; visiting Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake.

You might like:

9-Day Myanmar Highlights Tour

14-Day Myanmar and Thailand Essence Tour

16-Day Myanmar Tour in Depth

You might like to read

Plan a First-Time Trip to Myanmar

How to Plan a Trip to Myanmar

Top 8 Reasons to Visit Myanmar

How to Plan a Trek in Myanmar