A Tour of Myanmar with Louis!
I would like to invite you to tour a small corner of my world.
The people, culture, landscape, architecture, pagodas, temples, history, and FOOD is nothing short of absolute wonder. The country is beginning to modernize with the healthy mixture of traditional and modern comforts. It is an absolutely a great time to visit. We will visit a total of 6 diverse cities and numerous photogenic locations. Read on for a detailed plan! (Kyle Wolfe corrected my terrible grammar and sentence structure).
(Of course this is completely made up by me, so it's 100% flexible. This is more of a guideline.)
Day 1-3 - Yangon (the old capital)
Land in Yangon (RGN) International Airport. Transfer to hotel, unpack, and explore the local downtown area.
Visit the major landmarks and locations in Yangon. Shwedagon Pagoda, Kandawagyi, Karawait, Chinatown, Sule Pagoda, Botataung Pagoda, Strand night market, People's Square, Independence Monument, and more!
- Walk around town and explore the local culture.
- EAT! Burmese food is fragrant, flavorful, and quite unique.
- Visit all the local landmarks and set up cameras for golden hour shoots!
- Bike tour to Dala or around town with Uncharted Horizons.
At the end of day 3/ beginning of day 4, take bus/flight to Bagan (Ancient City)
Myanmar New Year Event (Thingyan)
If we should be so lucky to visit Myanmar between April 13-16, we will witness and participate in the Myanmar New Year Water Festival. It is celebrated for four days in mid-April with people dousing water amongst one another. The country and its people gears up to celebrate this event weeks in advance.
It is the hottest time of the year to visit Myanmar, but this is a unique event in the world. Camera gear will get wet so some advance planning is required.
Day 4-6 - Bagan (Ancient City of Myanmar)
An amazingly photogenic ancient city with temples as far as the eyes can see; there are thousands of temples and stupas. We will arrive either very early morning by bus or mid-day by flight. We will spend the next 3 days exploring the culture, temples, architecture, and the people of Bagan.
Temples on the list: Ananda Temple, That Bin Nyu, Gawdaw Palin, Shwe San Daw, Maha Bodhi, Shwegu Gyi, Dammanyan Gyi, Sulammani, A Lo Daw Pyai pagoda.
- Early Morning Hot Air Balloon. (Season for the balloons varies).
- Explore the local temples by car/electric scooter/on foot!
- We will also visit the local villages around the city and get a peek of the local rural life.
- Take an oxcart taxi?, Most of the roads in Bagan is dirt road (it is relatively smooth), giving it a rural feel.
Day 7-9 - Mandalay (The Last Royal Capital of Myanmar), Sagaing
After exploring the ancient city of Bagan, we will take a bus/car ride to Mandalay. It is the last royal capital of Myanmar with a grand palace in the center of town.
- The world's longest wooden bridge built in 1850, U Bein Bridge.
- Mandalay Hill, Temple on top of the Mandalay Hill overlooking the entire city
- Sagaing, City of Sagaing, Sagaing Hill & Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda
- Explore the Royal Palace.
- Walk around the palace moat.
- Hike the Mandalay Hill for the temple and view on top (driving up is ok too).
- Day trip to Sagaing to explore the local culture.
- Walk or bike along the photogenic U Bein (world's longest wooden bridge).
Day 10-12 - Inle Lake, Taunggyi
Inle lake is probably one of the most photogenic and iconic places Myanmar has to offer. It is a very shallow lake with an average depth of 7 feet in the dry seasons and the only mode of transportation available is boat!
- Boat rides around the lake visiting local villages and floating markets.
- If time permits, and if you are feeling adventurous, we can join a Kalaw-Inle trekking tour (one, two, or three day trek).
- Visit interesting local people. There is a interesting group of Kayan people known as the Padaung, they are known for wearing long brass rings around their neck as a sign of beauty.
The hotels are build on top of the water and whole villages are constructed on water. Inle is most commonly known for fishermen using their legs to maneuver their fishing nets. In the months of October, there is a ceremonial Festival known as Hpuang Daw U, a traditional boat racing event. Dozens of leg-rowers compete in this race. Each boat plowing through water manned by fishermen in incredibly photogenic Shan clothing.
Day 13-14 - Travel Back to Yangon
After exploring Inle Lake and Taunggyi, we will head back to Yangon via bus or car. We will spend the night and the next day relaxing in Yangon exploring more of the local people and the night markets.
We will be packing and preparing for Kyaik Htee Yoe Pagoda in the Mon State.
Day 15-16 - Kyaik Htee Yoe Pagoda
After a day of rest in Yangon, we will wake up early and drive to Mon State for the Kyaik Htee Yoe Pagoda. We will spend one night on top of the mountain to enjoy the sunset and sunrise. The golden rock is both absolutely photogenic during sunrise and sunset. (I've never been able to photograph the Golden Rock during sunset or sunrise, I would love to!)
This Pagoda is famous and iconic amongst all the people of Myanmar. It is known for its golden boulder and pagoda balancing precariously over a cliff. This Pagoda is now accessible via car all the way to the top of the mountain. Though a short (2 hour) hike is popular with the locals.
After exploring Kyaik Htee Yoe Pagoda. We will head back to Yangon, rest for a day and fly back home!
If time permits, we can also tour Singapore or Cambodia to get a contrasting view of life in Asia as a bonus! :)
The food is Myanmar is sooooo good that it needs its own section. The cuisine includes an incredibly diverse variety due to contributions by a large number of ethnic groups. Although, burmese cuisine is influenced by Indian, Chinese, and Thai, it evolved to be so unique that the flavors stands out amongst the traditional asian taste.
I have listed some of my personal favorites. There are so much variety in the burmese cuisine that I would need to write a book to go through them all! For me, Amongst all the asian cuisines, Burmese food stands out as the most flavorful and diverse. (I could be biased a bit since it's my home country, but it's soooooo good!!)