Myanmar is a hidden gem brimming with natural beauty, a deep spiritual history, and never-ending adventure. This Southeast Asian country, formerly known as Burma, should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Whether you wish to lounge on a secluded beach, explore hidden temples, or visit bustling markets, there’s something for everyone. Keep reading to find out the best things to do in Myanmar!
Soar over Bagan
Fly over the temples of Bagan for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. The city is home to thousands of Buddhist temples built between the 11th and 13th centuries, and there’s no better way to see them than from the sky. Hot air balloon rides take off at all hours of the day, but a sunrise or sunset ride offers breathtaking views that can’t be beat. After your balloon ride, tour the temples by motorbike or foot for some exploration up close.
Dive in the Myeik Archipelago
The Myeik Archipelago (also known as Mergui), is a group of hundreds of islands resting off the southern coast. Sail from the mainland to explore the magnificent islands, which hold a heavenly natural beauty you’ll need to see to believe. The dazzling turquoise waters are home to colorful corals and diverse sea life. Join an island hopping expedition, snorkel through the vibrant reefs, dive to the depths of the ocean, and lounge on soft, sandy beaches.
Ride Over the Gokteik Viaduct
The Gokteik Viaduct is not for the faint of heart! This railway bridge is the highest bridge in the country and connects the towns of Lashio and Pyin Oo Lwin. Hop on the train and take a deep breath as you look out at the world below. You’ll slowly travel the 2,260 feet across the bridge, giving you plenty of time to take spectacular photos of this unbelievable route. Even if the journey makes your heart skip a beat, the experience is well worth it.
Trek in Kalaw
The hill station town of Kalaw is a favorite location for beginner and avid hikers alike. With sprawling hillsides to explore, you can sign up for a trekking expedition lasting anywhere from two days to a week. Many local tour groups set up homestays, which give tourists the chance to get to know the inhabitants and learn about their way of life. It’s a meaningful opportunity that allows visitors to discover the region’s history and culture all while spending time surrounded by enormous beauty.
Lounge on Ngapali Beach
Ngapali is a dreamy beach escape on the coast of Myanmar. Towering palm trees line long stretches of sandy beach, looking out on the crystal-clear waters of the Bay of Bengal. Relax on the glistening, white sand, swim in the peaceful sea, and dine on the best seafood in the country, all while taking in the picturesque setting.
Wander through Saddan Cave
Myanmar is known for its caves full of pagodas and Buddha sculptures. You can find the iconic Saddan Cave in the laid-back town of Hpa An, close to the Thailand border. The karst mountains are similar to those found in Vietnam’s Halong Bay, but Myanmar’s can be enjoyed without the large crowd. Saddan Cave takes you under a mountain, through passageways lined with intricate Buddhas. Walk through the winding paths to reach the end, and sail back through the verdant paddy fields.
Sail Alongside the Leg Rowers of Inle Lake
Inle Lake rests in the Shan Hills of Myanmar and is known for its ecological diversity, unique culture, and countless sights to take in. The lake is famous for the leg rowing fishermen. You’ll be mesmerized as you watch them sail down the river using a one-leg rowing system. It’s an unforgettable scene specific to Inle Lake. While there, gaze upon the stilted houses, nearby pagodas, and peaceful daily life of the residents.
Marvel at Stunning Waterfalls
Myanmar’s natural beauty sets it apart. From mountains to lakes to beaches, splendor is everywhere. Nature lovers should set aside some time to discover the country’s striking waterfalls. From massive, roaring falls to tranquil pools of serenity, Myanmar has it all. Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall is a dramatic sight, with steep cliffs covered in lush greenery and a small golden pagoda at the base. Other top falls include Kyone Htaw, Nam Hu New, and the bright blue waters of Dee Dote.
Tour Shwedagon Pagoda
Shwedagon Pagoda, in the capital city of Yangon, is one of the most famous pagodas in the world. This renowned golden temple is a source of pride for the locals and a main attraction for many visitors. Walk through the glimmering halls lined with massive statues. After touring Shwedagon, explore Yangon’s other temples, and learn about the city’s history, culture, and architecture.
Hike to Golden Rock
Golden Rock, a nickname for Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, is a sight to behold. This popular pilgrimage site holds great spiritual significance. Journey to the top of a hill where a giant boulder is covered in gold leaf, with a pagoda resting atop it. The peak also has a temple complex to explore and unrivaled panoramas. A trip to Golden Rock at dusk or dawn is a life-changing experience. Dusty hues at sunrise and vibrant shades at sunset paint the sky and dance off the shining boulder.
Cross the U Bein Bridge
The U Bein Bridge is a must-visit destination in the historic city of Mandalay. Constructed in 1850, it’s the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. Although it can feel a bit rickety, the bridge stands firm and is crossed by countless travelers each day. Walk the path over Taungthaman Lake at sunset for a mind-blowing vista. Those sunset views are no secret, so the bridge can get a bit crowded. For a less crowded but equally awe-inspiring option, visit at sunrise.