Myanmar Travel Guide. Backpacking Myanmar on a Schedule!

Myanmar
The Best Myanmar Sights and Travel Route
Hello, this is Alex.
Key Points
Myanmar is a country in Southeast Asia, officially called Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
It is located west of Thailand, east of Bangladesh and south of China.
With a size of 670 thousand square kilometres its larger than Japan.
Myanmar used to be named Burma.
It’s possible you have heard about the State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and her years spent in confinement.

Safety Information
When travelling through Myanmar we didn’t feel like we were in danger at any point.
After some research we have found some information suggesting that money scams often occur in urban areas and to take the appropriate caution.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces the safety level to be dangerous in some areas.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs UK Homepage: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/myanmar
VISA Information
Entry requirements to Myanmar depends on your nationality.
Japanese nationals are exempt from a visa and are permitted to enter Myanmar without a visa for 30 days. This visa exemption is determined until 30 September 2020.
UK citizens are required to obtain a visa, and will be denied boarding at the airport without one. It is possible to apply at the Embassy or Consulate or online for an e-Visa. If you wish to apply for a Tourist Express visa because you were unaware a visa was required and need one as soon as possible, (maybe speaking from experience…) the website states Tourist Express visas are processed within 24 hours. My visa was approved in 3 hours.
The e-Visa costs are as follows: Tourist Visa 50USD, Tourist Express Visa 56USD, Business Visa 70USD (at the time of 13 March 2020).
Reference link: https://evisa-myanmar.net/page/myanmar-visa-for-uk-citizens
Currency & Cost of Living
The cost of living is cheap in comparison to other Asian countries.
There are hostels available from around 3USD in the former capital Yangon.
Eating in local eateries can put you back 2USD.
The currency used in Myanmar is the Kyat, as of March 2020 1 Kyat = 0.00072USD.
In areas with many tourists it may be possible to pay in dollars.
Recommended Route and Sights
For a short trip we recommend flying into the former capital Yangon, take a bus to Bagan, the city of archeological ruins, take another bus to Mandalay, and fly out from Mandalay to your next destination.

We found that buses in Myanmar are the cheapest way to travel and traveling by planes is expensive. When taking into account the time needed to transfer from airport to cities we decided to travel by bus.
Mandalay airport is a large airport with many flights so can be used as an entry or departure point.
At our time of travel, we had a tight schedule so we did not travel by land to any nearby country (we wanted to go to Laos next).
How to travel from Yangon to Bagan by bus
How to travel from Bagan to Mandalay by bus

Best Sights to See in Myanmar
1. The Golden Tower of Yangon, Shwedagon Pagoda

 

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A huge golden Pagoda, or temple located in Yangon. As it is very close to the centre of town it is easy to access by taxi or on foot.
For more information on Yangon

2. Bagan Ancient Ruins

 

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A group of archeological sites located about 8 hours north of Yangon by night bus. The ruins are a spectacular sight especially during sunset or sunrise.
Sunset and Sunrise Spots in Bagan

3. Hsinbyume Pagoda

 

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Hsinbyume Pagoda is a beautiful white pagoda with a unique wave-like architecture. The legend is that it was built for a queen who passed away. It has recently become famous on Instagram due to its photogenic appeal. It’s possible to travel from Yangon by boat.
How to Get to Hsinbyume Pagoda

4. U Bein Bridge

 

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This is an ancient bridge in Yangon. It is popular to visit during the evening to see the sunset from on top of the bridge.
U Bein Bridge

Great Food to Try in Myanmar
1. Mohinga

This noodle dish is made with catfish broth and has no fishy odor. Catfish are easily available in Southeast Asia and are eaten quite often.
2. Shan Khao Swé

Shan is the name of the region it originated from and Khao Swé means “noodles”. We recommend 999 Shan Noodle Shop in Yangon!
For more Yangon sights and restaurants3. Street Food

Street food, a popular dish in South East Asia. The street food we saw in Yangon were skewers ready to be dipped into the pot and eaten.

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