I’ve fallen in love with Myanmar,
With the children and women who paint their faces with Thanaka,
With the innocent giggles from children who rarely see foreigners,
And with the piercing blue waves that crash into charcoal black rock on a deserted coast.
I’ve fallen in love with the golden sand,
With the skinny coconut trees with lime green leaves and gray bark,
And with the smiles from strangers who stare at you with wide-eyed curiosity.
I’ve fallen in love with the ancient, crumbling temples,
With the sunsets,
The sunrises and the sky, dotted with the silhouettes of hot air balloons,
And with the children that say “bye bye!” instead of “hello!”
I’ve fallen in love with the Burmese curries and Lahpet Thoke,
With the lush landscapes and undiscovered land,
And the excruciatingly long bus and train rides through winding mountains and villages, where locals sell Coca-Cola and fried delicacies.
I’ve fallen in love with the promises of adventure to hidden lagoons,
With the Indiana Jones-esque exploration to abandoned temples,
And the beauty that is Myanmar.
Don’t hesitate to visit this beautiful country before it’s tainted from tourism. It’s one of the only countries left in Southeast Asia where you won’t be bombarded with tourist traps and the promise of new hotels, Western food and accommodation. You’ll still get to experience Asia as it was years ago.
My Ultimate Guide to Backpacking in Myanmar is coming soon, so stay tuned!
Obtain an eVisa online before arriving to Myanmar on their official government website. It costs $50 and takes a few days to process.
Getting to Myanmar
AirAsia flights to Yangon and Mandalay from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok are pretty cheap, you can usually find flights from $30-70.
Costs in Myanmar
Myanmar is more expensive than other countries in Southeast Asia, mainly due to the fact that it’s off the tourist radar. Accommodation will set you back $20-40 for a hotel room. I found it’s better to travel in Myanmar with at least one other person to split the cost of hotel rooms. There aren’t many available dorm options in Myanmar. I used Agoda and Booking.com to book hotels, they have great deals, and some of the hotels I found were 50%+ off!
Food is relatively inexpensive, and typically consists of fried rice, fried noodles, or Burmese curries. Beer will set you back around $1.50-$2… I have a newfound love for Myanmar beer.
Getting Around Myanmar
Traveling around Myanmar is also quite expensive, a 17 hour bus ride will set you back around $20. Some of the buses are quite new and comfortable, while others are not. Prepare yourself for excruciatingly long bus journeys in Myanmar, a lot of the roads here are bumpy and unpaved, especially in the west.
Train travel is very inexpensive, a 7 hour journey in first class will set you back around $3. The trains take even longer (7 hours to travel 100 kilometers) since they’re quite old. I found them to be a lot more comfortable and less nauseating than the buses! Check out train times and routes using seat61.
When to Visit
It’s recommended you visit during dry season, from October to May, with peak season running from November to February. Wet season is from June to October. The hottest part of the year is from March until June, temperatures can sore to 40 degrees Celsius.
Have you been to Myanmar?