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Best of 10 Must-try Activities in Myanmar

January 18, 2024 - 643 views

Myanmar is always a dreamy destination for Buddhists and people who are keen on laid-back destinations. Here are the best 10 things to give you the mesmerizing moments in Myanmar.

No matter from which country you fly to Myanmar, you will definitely fall in love with its beauty from the beginning. From skillful fisherman of Inle Lake to the elegant Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, or the hustle and bustle Mandalay and Bagan, it is always an amazing adventure. There is much to do and see in Myanmar and below are the top 10 must-try activities we recommend you to do when you are here.

1. Explore the Buddhist temples

No visit to Myanmar is complete without a visit to temples. Bagan has over 2,000 temples remaining, down from 10,000-plus in its glory days. The majority of Bagan's temples can be found within the Bagan Archaeological Zone; a ticket costing MMK 25,000 (US$15.67) must be purchased before entering the Zone. If you are pressed for time, you can choose to visit some of them such as Shwezigon Temple, Htilominlo Temple, Ananda Temple, Dhammayangyi Temple, and Shwesandaw Temple. A visit here is absolutely a must & you will be surprised with incredible artistry and architecture.

Don't miss out the chance to visit Buddhist temples in Bagan

Don't miss out on the chance to visit Buddhist temples in Bagan

2. Ride a balloon over Bagan

Bagan is a gorgeous area of Myanmar and riding a balloon over Bagan is one of the most unique ways to see the beauty of this city. The feeling when you are in an elegant balloon ride where you will soar into the sky and glide gracefully over the complex offers you a completely different vantage point where you can look down on the glorious temples here is incredible. A ride is normally forty-five minutes & you float over Bagan. Below you are over 2,000 Buddhist and Hindu temples, farms of cotton and peanuts, as well as hundreds of palm trees. 

The balloon ride season starts from October to April next year, with the peak season between December and January. A ride of balloons over Bagan offers two balloon flight options – classic and premium. The classic package costs US$ 340 USD per person, while the premium package is US$ 450 per person.

3. Ride a circle train in Yangon

Another attractive way to explore Myanmar, see how the locals of Yangon get about their daily lives is using a circle train. It is 3 hours on an old, uncomfortable, un-air-conditioned train along the 49 km track stopping at 39 stations, but it can be one of the most fascinating & non-touristic adventures you may have. Three hours on the train, you see children playing (on the tracks!), women balancing goods on their heads, men working on the rail lines; the landscapes changed from city to country; the houses turned from concrete to huts and also the flooding of fields, damaged housing and floating rubbish… The ticket is less than US$ 1, which is definitely the cheapest way to experience the daily life of the people living in Myanmar.

Experience the cicular train in Yangon

Experience the circular train in Yangon

4. Shop at Bogyoke Aung San Market

Bogyoke Aung San Market, also known as Scott Market is the place where you can buy almost everything. Its opening hours are from 9 am to 5 pm. Visiting this Burmese market, visitors will see its colonial architecture as well as inner cobblestone streets surrounded by antique, Burmese handicraft and jewelry shops, art galleries, and clothing stores. A number of stores for local shoppers, selling medicine, foodstuffs, garments, and foreign goods are available here.

The Bogyoke Market Yangon is also known for its black market money changers. The jewelry merchants can change the largest notes at the best rates at this market & food lovers can find the best-fried noodles and vermicelli dishes in Myanmar in this market. For adventurers, you can even try the flavor of boiled and fried pig organs (intestines, tongue, ears, etc.) and then tossed in fiery chili sauce. Travel to Burma is more memorable with something to be bought as a gift from the trip. Choose some among these in the market for your beloved family members at home.

5. Wander around the Chinatown

It’s one of the busiest and most vibrant packed areas of town, especially in the evening when the sides of the streets teem with food vendors selling everything from fresh produce to ready-made things to eat. Chinatown usually refers to the area of 24th through 18th street, west of the Sule Pagoda in downtown Yangon. The 20th street is known for its Chinese food like rice congee and grilled pork skewers while 19th Street is known as the barbecue street, a side road that’s lined with Chinese restaurants that have glass cabinets full of all things skewered, ready to be chosen and barbecued up. Just grab a table at one of the restaurants, choose the skewers you want, and relax as your food is cooked. The best time to go to Chinatown is in the evening, from 5 pm.

6. Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda

Without a doubt, the Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most important religious sites in Yangon and all of Myanmar. The golden chedi of the pagoda, which reaches a height of 99 meters, is visible throughout the city, and it shimmers in the sun with its incredibly golden surface. You could hardly even look at the pagoda without squinting your eyes, there is so much gold! The Shwedagon Pagoda is known as a well-preserved heritage monument and a sacred religious pilgrimage site for many Buddhist followers in Myanmar. When you’re there, you’ll see people performing a series of rituals according to the day they were born, and people will also walk circumferences around the base of the pagoda.

One of the most interesting things to dream about is that on the top of the pagoda, within the little golden umbrella-looking thing called a "hti", is gold, jewels, and thousands of diamonds. Though there are some binoculars on one side of the pagoda, unfortunately, it’s still hard to see the beauty of the top umbrella. A visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the best things you must do in Yangon.

Opening hours: 4 am – 10 pm daily (closed on certain holidays)

Ticket price: 8,000 Kyats (US$ 8.11)

Visit Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

Visit Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

7. Take a boat cruise on Inle Lake

You cannot visit Inle Lake without this activity: taking a boat cruise on Inle Lake. Most boat tours begin from the town of Nyaung Shwe to the North of the lake, but if you are staying in a hotel around the lake, they can organize a boat to pick you up directly. All boating on the lake uses traditional, slender, long-tail wooden boats, which makes the experience even more unique. Cruising on the boat, you will be able to get a glimpse of what the houses and buildings around us looked like, see all the fishermen at work. Some of them will pose for pictures while balancing on top of their boat on one leg. Your boat operator also led you through canals to see local Burmese dwellings built on stilts over the lake, and sail slowly across the lake surrounded by beautiful lush green floating gardens in such a peaceful atmosphere.

You can make several stops at different workshops to observe Bur-mese locals working on their craft, and perhaps, pick up a few souvenirs, watch the Bur-mese melt silver into jewelry, turn logs into boats, weave colorful garments and bags, build umbrellas from scratch, and even roll tobacco into cigars… The highlight of the ride is Danyingon Station, which is almost in the middle of the route, where there is a huge market filled with fresh vegetables waiting to be transported. Therefore, don’t forget to take your camera with you!

Behold the captivating scenery on Inle Lake

Behold the captivating scenery on Inle Lake

8. Go cycling around Inle Lake

Another interesting thing to do in Inle Lake is renting a bike to explore this city. You can easily rent a bike at a local shop for a fairly easy ride around the lake and nearby rural villages. Roads are paved and mostly flat and it can be a nice way to get a glimpse of the local life at some of the 20 villages surrounding the lake. Located at Eastbound out of Nyaungshwe, you will also find the Htat Eian Temple Cave which boasts a series of dark passages within the cave, some of which contain a few buddhas and temple offerings. Other areas worth visiting are the Maing Thauk village, a random art gallery, and the Red Mountain Estate Winery. Along the way you may also get caught up in a water buffalo created traffic jam!

9. Visit the World's Largest Book at Kuthodaw Pagoda

The Kuthodaw Pagoda, a must-see place in Mandalay, comprises a gilded pagoda, hundreds of shrines housing inscribed marble slabs, and several pavilions. The pagoda is also called “the world’s largest book”, named after the 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings. Known as the Maha Lawka Marazein Paya in Burmese, the Kuthodaw is located at the foot of Mandalay Hill. The large grounds offer good views upwards of Mandalay Hill with its many temples and pagodas. At the foot of Mandalay Hill lies the Kuthodaw Pagoda. The central golden pagoda is surrounded by 729 smaller white pagodas, each containing a marble tablet inscribed with text. These texts reflect Buddhist doctrine and are often referred as the largest book in the world. If they were printed on paper, the texts would fill more than 15,000 pages.

Opening hours: 8 am – 8 pm

Entrance fee: US$ 5 per person

10. Walk across U Bein Bridge

One of the main attractions to visit in Mandalay is the U-Bein Bridge. The 1200-meter-long wooden footbridge is known as the longest in the world. It is quite rickety and a trip across is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t fancy walking across, then you can also rent a fishing boat here and drive underneath the bridge to see it from a completely different angle. For those looking to capture the beauty of this place, I suggest you come during the sunset. The reflection in the lake is stunningly captivating and the locals usually are out and about making it an enjoyable experience where you can watch them go about their everyday lives. If you’re looking for a fun activity, you can also do a sunset bike tour which goes to the U-Bein Bridge.

The most worthwhile moment is breathtaking sunset at U-Bein Bridge

The most worthwhile moment is the breathtaking sunset at U-Bein Bridge

Above are the top 10 must-try activities while traveling to Myanmar. Let’s pack your suitcase and find your best tour of Myanmar at BestPrice Travel, which can arrange these activities for you. Click here for more details of Myanmar tours.

Jenny Tran

(Image source: Internet)

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