For us Myanmar was a unique experience. It is a country that opened its doors to tourism a few years ago and since then the Burmese never tire of giving a smile to every traveller they meet. It is a land of pagodas, spirituality and incredible landscapes! For us, it is the hidden gem of Southeast Asia. Many travellers don't include it in their itinerary, which makes it even more spectacular, it is not yet overrun by tourists like its neighbour Thailand. In this post we provide you with some information about the country and a 15-day travel guide to Myanmar.
Visa for Myanmar
There is no visa on arrival in Myanmar. You need to get one in advance. It allows you to stay in the country for 28 days. There are two ways to get it:
- Visa in Embassy: You can do this at a Myanmar embassy. The price depends on how fast you want it but it varies between 50-80 USD. This way of getting a visa was very common when the E-VISA was not yet available.
- e-Visa: The easiest way to do it. You can get it from the official immigration website: https://evisa.moip.gov.mm/. It costs 50 USD and takes about 3 working days to get it. To apply, you will have to enter the border you plan to enter, upload a passport photo to the system (it can be a photo you take with your mobile phone on a white background) and pay. Remember to print it out as they will ask for it at immigration.
The e-Visa is valid for entry through the three international airports, and the following land crossings:
- Mae Sot / Myawaddy (Thailand)
- Mae Soi / Tachilik(Thailand)
- Ranong / Kawathaung (Thailand)
- Moreh / Tamu (India)
- Zokhawthar / Rih khaw dar (India)
How to get around Myanmar?
Train It's a very cheap way to get around (about 3 USD) but we've heard it's a nightmare to get around by train, they take much longer than a bus, and they tend to be very dirty.
Bus: This is the best way in terms of price/quality. They are long distances and the roads are not in the best condition so it takes quite a long time! For example, once to do 250km it took us about 5-6 hours but we found it to be the best way to get around. Depending on the distances and the type of bus you choose (VIP - SLEEPING BUS) the price is between 6 and 20 USD per leg.
Plane: If you're short on time, the best option is probably to fly. However, flights are not very cheap.
We travelled for 11 days and in total we spent an average of 22USD per day each, not counting the visa fee of 50USD. We'll tell you a bit more about our backpacker budget.
Meals: In local restaurants a plate of food is between 1 and 2 USD, in a more touristy place it is around 4-6 USD. A beer is around 1 USD, soda 0.5 USD and water 0.2 USD.
Accommodation: Between 6 and 10 USD per person per night.
Long-distance bus: It costs approximately 1 USD per hour. If the journey takes 10 hours, the price is probably 10 USD. We spent about 32 USD each on long-distance transport.
Taxi: Tuk tuk rides are between 1.5 and 3 USD and a longer taxi ride to the airport or bus station is between 6 and 8 USD.
Bus stations are often far from the city centre. The best thing to do is to use a grab as taxis try to take advantage of tourists and charge exorbitant prices. It happened to us when we arrived in Yangon at about 3 in the morning when we were super tired and we asked a taxi driver how much he would charge us and he told us 30USD which seemed crazy to us! So we looked on Grab and the real price was 8 USD!!!! Be careful with this, always check the price on Grab, so you know how much you can negotiate.
Rura 15 days in Myanmar
- Day 1. On the way from Thailand to Myanmar
- Day 2 and 3 Hpa An
- Day 4 and 5 Yangon
- Day 6 Transfer from Yangon to Bagan
- Day 7, 8 and 9 Bagan
- Day 10 and 11 Mandalay
- Day 12 & 13 Kalaw to Inle Lake
- Day 14 Inle Lake
- Day 15 Return
Day 1. Thailand to Myanmar
We crossed the border into Myanmar overland from Thailand. We used the Mae Sot / Myawaddy border crossing.
Once at the border we took a taxi to Hpa An, where we spent our first night in Myanmar.
You can see how the border crossing by land went. here.
Day 2 and 3. Hpa An
Our first stop in Myanmar was this amazing village of Hpa An, a perfect fit on our route from Thailand.
This destination is not usually on the typical Myanmar route and that's a shame. It's a place full of limestone mountains that you can climb to see the sunrise, surrounded by rice paddies and incredible temples inside caves to discover. It is a little hidden treasure of Myanmar.
We spent two full days there. What to do in Hpa An?
Day 4 and 5. Yangon
The former capital of Myanmar is one of the largest cities in the country. It has some incredible pagodas, among them - Shwedagon Pagoda - which is 2600 years old, its entire stupa is covered in gold and is one of the most important temples in Asia.
We stayed 2 days, and it was perfect for exploring the different parts of the city and enjoying its gastronomy.
If you are flying to Myanmar, Yangon is one of the cheapest airports to fly to!
Day 6. Yangon to Bagan
We spent this day travelling from Yangon to Bagan by bus. All the buses we took were run by the company JJ express, recommended to us by several travellers and you can buy tickets online at their website. website.
We decided to do this section during the day as it was a long road and we didn't really enjoy walking all night on the road.
Day 7, 8 and 9. Bagan
Bagan is one of those places that leaves you speechless. Capital of the Burmese Empire from the 9th to the 13th century, it is the place with the highest density of Buddhist temples in the world.
A place to enjoy sunrises watching hot air balloons fly over thousands of temples, admire incredible sunsets and walk through pagodas that are hundreds of years old. Definitely our favourite place in Myanmar.
We stayed two and a half days. We were able to visit almost everything and enjoy it without rushing around. With a more flexible itinerary you can stay more days!
Day 10 and 11. Mandalay
We spent two days touring Myanmar's second largest city. It has some amazing temples such as Kuthodaw Pagoda (considered the largest book in the world) and Hsinbyume Pagoda!
Two days were enough time to explore the city and its surroundings.
On the 12th we took a flight from Mandalay to Bangkok. If you have more days, below we suggest how to continue your journey through this wonderful country!
Day 12 and 13. Kalaw to Inle Lake
One of the activities you can't miss in Myanmar (we regretted not doing it) is the famous trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake.
To get to Kalaw you can take an overnight bus from Mandalay which takes 5-6 hours. The trekking can be arranged through an agency once you arrive in Kalaw, the price is between 20 and 30 USD. You can do it for 3 days and 2 nights or 2 days and 1 night.
They say the scenery along the way is incredible, you get into the real rural Myanmar!
Day 14. Inle Lake
You can spend this day touring the Inle Lake, take a tour of the famous fishing boats and rest after all that walking.