Myanmar is a beautiful country with the ability to provide an unmatched travel experience for tourists interested in seeing this part of SE Asia.
While you will get the best possible travel experience in Myanmar with a two week or longer stay, it is still possible to see the country's must-see sights and highlights in one week.
Let's take a look at what can be packed into a seven day Myanmar holiday:
Yangon – Day 1 & 2
A great place to start the Myanmar travel is the country’s former capital Yangon, which is seen as the economic hub. Yangon has a population of nearly 5 million people and the largest city in Myanmar that blends several cultures, including local Burmese, Chinese, Indian and British culture.
Even though visitors to Myanmar will notice the country is one of the least developed in the region, the major cities like Yangon do have the grand and luxury hotels, as well as the mid-range and budget accommodation to match the needs of every traveller.
Yangon is rich in interesting attractions and sights, from some of the most impressive Buddhist pagodas in the world to the pretty colonial buildings. One of the major temples to visit on the first full day in the country is the incredible Shwedagon Pagoda.
At a height of 99 metres, the Shwedagon Pagoda is a very visible structure on the city skyline. It is one of the oldest pagodas in the country and believed to be in the region of 2,600 years old. A further attractive Buddhist pagoda to visit is the Sule Pagoda which is centrally located in Yangon.
For the tourists looking to relax after sightseeing, there are several large lakes in the local area, including the man-made Kandawgyi Lake which is found close to the Shwedagon Pagoda. Also, Inya Lake is in the north of Yangon which is a further man-made lake and particularly popular with the local people.
Bagan – Day 3 & 4
Bagan is a must-visit destination on itinerary organised by the Myanmar tour operator. It is centrally located in Myanmar and an incredible ancient city that is rich is Buddhist temples. There are literally thousands of temples to see that date back to the 11th and 12th centuries, but there are also many parts that are in a state of ruin.
Bagan is easily reached by air with several local airlines flying the route from Nyaung U which is the closest airport, and travel time is in the region of 1 hour 20 minutes.
Once you arrive in Bagan, you will need to buy an entrance pass to the Bagan Archaeological Zone, which gives access to the huge expanse of temples. The entry fee is in the region of $20 and is a one-time payment to see as many of the temples, monasteries, and stupas as you wish. There is the option to book a temple tour and explore the region with a guide or simply hire a bike for a day or two and travel independently in the park. With such a vast area to explore it is worth investing in a map and highlighting the most interesting temples to explore. A two day stay in Bagan will give an opportunity to see some of the most striking and fascinated temples in the region.
Mandalay - Day 5
After two days of sightseeing in Bagan, it is time to move to the next destination which is the interesting city of Mandalay. This city is easy to reach by air from Nyaung U to Mandalay with a direct flying time of about 30 minutes.
Mandalay has plenty of things to see and do including the top historical, cultural and religious sites, as well as nearby attractions like the world-famous U Bein Bridge. A fast and flexible way to get around in Mandalay is to hire a scooter for the day. Traffic is relatively manageable in this city and gives easy access to day trip destinations like Sagaing, Inwa and Amarapura.
Inle Lake - Day 6
The next destination after seeing the top attractions in Mandalay is Inle Lake which is easy to reach by air to Heho Airport or travelling by bus. Also, for the tourists on the Myanmar travel packages that wish to spend more time at Inle Lake it is possible to bypass Mandalay and simply travel direct from Nyaung U Airport to Heho Airport (Inle Lake).
Similar to the entrance fee in Bagan, foreign travellers will have to pay a fee to enter the Inle Lake region which amounts to $10. This freshwater lake is located in the centre of Myanmar and a biological wonder that is home to many thousands of local people. The majority of the people live on the lake itself in fishing villages. Also, this freshwater lake is a vital migration and breeding site for hundreds of bird species.
Inle Lake is best explored on a boat tour which can range from the private and group tours, with the price starting at about $15 per person. This gives a complete tour of the lake's most interesting markets and sites and will last for the entire day (8 hours).
Also, Inle Lake has a varied range of accommodation to stay for a few nights, which ranges from the budget to luxury hotels near the lake.
Back to Yangon – Day 7
On the last day of the Myanmar travel it is time to start packing up and heading back to the original destination of Yangon. There are plenty of daily flights that travel from Heho Airport to Yangon. The journey time is in the region of just over 60 minutes. For travellers that leave on an early flight there will often be enough time for a few hours of sightseeing after arriving in Yangon before starting the next leg of your journey or heading home.