Myanmar

The perfect 2 weeks in Myanmar itinerary

Looking for the ultimate 2 weeks in Myanmar itinerary? We will help you figure out the perfect 2-week itinerary with the best of Myanmar, also offering you some amazing detours if you decide to spend more time. Myanmar should be on top of your bucketlist.

It is often mentioned as a destination you should visit before it is too late. Before it is flooded with tourists, they mean. The country has only been open to travelers for a relatively short time and since then more and more tourists have been traveling to Myanmar for its beautiful nature, impressive temples and unique culture. Yet, it is still a country where you can visit impressive places without crowds of tourists. So it is time for you to book a new trip! I love to help you to make the perfect 2 weeks in Myanmar itinerary with all major highlights, the charming countryside and off the beaten track destinations.

De ideale reisroute voor Myanmar | The perfect itinerary for Myanmar | The Orange Backpack
Bagan | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack
Hpa-An | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack
Hpa-An | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack
Mandalay | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack

How much travel time do you need?

Myanmar is a big country with many beautiful places to visit. You can easily travel around for a month, but in two weeks you already have the chance to see the important highlights and visit the countryside and an off the beaten track destination as well. Do you have more time? Lucky you! Then you can spend more time at the destinations or add some extra spots to your route. In the itinerary in this blog, I will give the best tips on how you can best extend my two weeks itinerary for Myanmar!

I also advise you to leave the country from a different place than where you entered it. Myanmar is an elongated country and you do not want to waste travel time on travelling back to your starting point. The country has two international airports. So I flew on Mandalay and left Yangon in the south again.

Bagan | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack
Mandalay | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack
Bagan | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack

Travel preparations for Myanmar

The new tourism and the prejudices with which the old Burma is faced, require some preparation. For example, it is good to know that you shouldn’t book a flight to the capital of Myanmar, that not all parts of the country are open for tourists and that you have to arrange a visa and perhaps even certain permits well in advance. I wrote this blog with 10 things you need to know before you visited Myanmar. A blog about how to arrange your visa and how to get in the country the easiest, will be online as well soon!

Mandalay | Inwa | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack
Hpa-An | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack
Mandalay | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack

Getting around Myanmar: local transport

Travelling around the country is no punishment at all! There are not only many ways to cross this large country, but some of them offer a unique experience. How about a train ride on one of the highest railway bridges in the world? Or a boat trip? Or a bike tour?

Besides the two international airports in Mandalay and Yangon, there are many other airports for domestic flights around the country. At almost every destination on your route, you will find an airport closeby. You can also travel by bus to pretty much all tourist destinations in Myanmar. Night buses are often used for long distances, so you don’t have to spend the long journey awake. I chose to explore the country by bus, but on a next trip I would love to add a train ride to my itinerary!

The train rides appear to be very uncomfortable and overcrowded and the travel time is often much longer than, for example, the bus. But what an experience it is said to be! Just look online for pictures of the Goteik Bridge in the north of Myanmar and you’ll want to buy your train ticket straigth away. The boat is also a lovely way to travel from A to B. There are boat connections between a number of coastal destinations, but a boat trip on the Ayeyarwady River is also possible between, for example, Bagan and Mandalay.

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When you have arrived at your destination, a bike or motorbike is the best way to explore the city and its surroundings! I cycled through Mandalay and visited the royal cities in the area on a motorbike. An e-bike allows you to see most of the temples in Bagan. And from Hpa-An you can visit the coolest caves and temples with a motorbike on a day trip.

Do you want to rent a car to be able to travel through the country by yourself? Make preperations well in advance, as you will need a special permit for that.

Bagan | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack
Mandalay | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack
Kalaw hike Inle Lake | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack

The best travel time to visit Myanmar

The perfect time is now! It might be a bit exaggerated to say that you have to visit Myanmar ‘before it is too late’, so before it gets as overwhelmed with tourists as many other countries in Southeast Asia. But it is certainly true that you can now visit the impressive temples of Bagan without the crowds you might know from the temple complex Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Other than that, the rainy season in Myanmar is from May to September. During the monsoon rains in these months, Myanmar is not such a great travel destination. In March-April it is drier, but temperatures are high. It can be over 40 C! September-October is also drier, but the country is still very soggy from the rainy season. The high season in Myanmar is therefore from December to February. There is only a small chance of rain and the temperatures are not too bad then.

Bagan | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack
Bagan | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack
Bagan | Myanmar | The Orange Backpack

The perfect 2 weeks in Myanmar itinerary

With this itinierary you can see all the beautiful sides of Myanmar in just two weeks. But you can easily spend a month in this country, if you have the time! On the map below I marked the best options to extend your two weeks itinerary. Do you prefer a tropical beach at Ngapali or in the Myeik Archipelago? Do you want to make a dayhike or multi-day hikes in the north at the less visited Hsipaw? Or do you wish to visit even for more temples in Mrauk U or in Bago? I already have a wish list with the most beautiful destinations I would like to visit on my next trip to Myanmar!

De ideale reisroute voor Myanmar | The perfect itinerary for Myanmar | The Orange Backpack

Day 1: Mandalay. Welcome to Myanmar! Start your journey in Mandalay, where you enter the country via the international airport.

Day 2 and 3: Mandalay and around. Explore the city by bike to visit the many temples and see a beautiful sunset from Mandalay Hill. Mandalay is also the perfect base for day trips to the royal cities of Amarapura, Inwa and Sagaing and the special temples of Mingun. Or take the train for a day trip to the colonial mountain village Pyin Oo Lwin.

Do you have more time? Then you can extend this 2 week route at this point with an overnight stay in Pyin Oo Lwin or by continuing north by train over the Goteik Bridge to the less visited Hsipaw.

Read more:  Magical Mandalay

Day 4: travel to Bagan. It is time to travel from Mandalay to the south. You can travel to Bagan by train, boat or bus. The bus and train take about 8 to 9 hours, but the bus is much more comfortable. The boat takes about 10 to 14 hours and costs a bit more. I would therefore recommend the faster and more comfortable bus. You will be arriving in Bagan in time to see your first sunset from one of the temples!

Day 5 and 6: Bagan. Bagan has been the capital of Burma many times. And that has left its mark in the form of hundreds, no, thousands of temples! Take the time to admire these beautiful temples of Bagan. In two days you will obviously not be able see all the sights of Old Bagan, but you can see a lot and will probably be templed out after. You see the most by renting an e-bike. Just drive around without a plan through the temple landscape and see where you’ll end up.

Day 7: Kalaw. On day 6, take the night bus from Bagan to Kalaw, a mountain town in the middle of Myanmar. Apart from the bustling market, there is not much to do here. Use your time to arrange your two, three or even four-day hike to Inle Lake and to recharge before doing this trek. But do you already have energy for 10? You can already start hiking and make a day trip to one of the caves or pagodas in the mountains.

Day 8 and 9: hiking to Inle Lake. You can go on a two, three or even four-day hike from Kalaw to Inle Lake. I opted for a two-day hike, as that worked better with two weeks of travel time in Myanmar. You’ll spend the night in a mountain village with locals and join them for dinner and breakfast. A unique experience! Add to that the beautiful nature you’ll enjoy along the way and you get that would also be an amazing experience to walk here for three or four days.

Day 10: Inle Lake. Enjoy some well-deserved rest at the Inle Lake after your hike or visit one of the many highlights around the lake on day 10. Will you opt for the floating markets, day hikes, floating gardens or the beautiful temples and monasteries around the lake?

Day 11 and 12: Hpa-An and around. On day 10, take the night bus to Hpa-An, where you can explore the area on days 11 and 12. Hpa-An is not one of the well-known highlights of Myanmar and travellers therefore usually skip this town skipped. Such a shame! It is an amazing experience to visit the countryside, climb the Mt. Swallowabin and visit the Buddha caves in the area. Especially the Mahar Sadan cave is worth a visit!

Do you have more than two weeks? Then travel by bus, train or boat to Mawlamyine, visit the golden rock on the Mt Kyaiktiyo or go further south to the most beautiful beaches of Asia in the Myeik Archipelago.

Day 13 and 14: Yangon. Take the (night) bus to Yangon and finish your trip there. But not before you have visited the famous Shwedagon Pagado!