|Currency: Kyat (MMK)||Eco-Lodges|
|Size: 676,578 km² / 261,227 mi²||Favorite Restaurants|
|Landscape: rainforest, beaches, mountains, highlands, coastal lowlands, rivers||Eco-Tour Operators|
|Activities: exploring ancient temples, hiking, diving, snorkeling, swimming|
Myanmar is one of those few remaining places where you can experience old world culture before the modern world invades and destroys. The people here are still kind, warm and friendly to outsiders, and many of the villages and much of the village life is relatively unchanged. Even the places that tourism has already found, such as Inle Lake and Bagan, are well worth checking out. But the real mysteries are found in the less popular destinations like Mrauk U.
TOPS SPOTS IN MYANMAR
With 2,200 temples and stupas that seem to reach to the horizon, Bagan was one of the first places in Myanmar to be discovered by modern tourism. As such, this ancient city on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River can get a little crowded, especially at the more popular temples. That being said, with so many to choose from, it is easy to find your own private stupa. Highly recommended are visiting the temples at sunrise and sunset and taking a balloon ride over the main temple field.
Inle Lake is one of the largest lakes in Myanmar (44.9 sq mi/116 sq km), and one of the highest (2,900 ft/880 m). Another of Myanmar’s top tourist destinations, Inle Lake sees a lot of visitors each year. However, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Inle away from the crowds. We recommend visiting the less popular markets, especially early in the morning, as much of the action happens around dawn. We also enjoyed a boat trip up one of rivers on the western bank of the lake to Indein Village. It’s a popular spot, but there are so many stupas hidden in the jungle here, you’ll enjoy many private moments.
If you are in search of “real” Myanmar, you’ll find it at Mrauk U. Like Bagan, it is a village strewn with ancient temples and stupas, but unlike Bagan, it sees few visitors. This is likely because it is a bit out of the way and hard to get to. Still, it is well worth the journey. Foreigners are still a novelty here and this sleepy village is nothing less than magical. Whether you stop on the side of the road and enjoy some time with local food vendors, tour the hundreds of temples and stupas with monks and villagers going to worship, or just ride around on a bike and take it all in, you’ll love it here.
This group of 800 deserted islands, surrounded by white sand beaches lined with palm trees and dense jungle is one of the most remote and unspoilt places in Myanmar. Think swimming in azure water amongst colorful reef fish, spotting corals, and collecting seashells. Even though they are just across the Thai border in southern Myanmar, the islands are sparsely populated and hardly visited. Explore the underwater world here while diving or snorkeling, sail the island’s countless hidden bays and harbors, visit the ethnic minority group of sea-gypsies that live off the ocean or simply laze on the countless beaches and enjoy the beauty around you.