I decided to travel to Myanmar while I was living in Thailand. It’s only a few hour flight from Chiang Mai, so I made it a weekend trip. Surprisingly, many people haven’t heard of Myanmar and many people who have, wouldn’t think of even going there. Formally known as Burma, Myanmar is a beautiful country but one of the most underdeveloped countries
I have been to so far.
I want to be honest in my experience… but I also don’t want to scare you away from visiting Myanmar. I believe that we should travel to all different kinds of countries… so that we can understand and appreciate how others live… their culture, their livelihood, etc.
First, the plane from Chiang Mai to Bagan was the smallest plane I have ever been on. When we landed, the airport was tiny and wasn’t busy at all, like most airports are. No hustle and bustle.
The people were all very friendly. The roads are all dirt roads… I didn’t see any proper street lights on the roads in Bagan. Bagan is less developed than the city Mandalay. But Bagan is a must… if you want to see all of the beautiful temples and pagodas!
My hotel in Bagan was in the middle of some dirt roads, which made it a little hard to find at night! The power went out one day for about 8 hours… NO hot water, no electricity, NO AC! (Myanmar is very hot and humid) But I survived… I welcome these experiences because it makes for a great story! HA. But also… (as cheesy as this sounds…) made me appreciate my life and everything that we take for granted, especially in the US.
Be prepared to say “no” A LOT. There are vendors everywhere and many times… women, children and even men run up to you to try to sell you everything from umbrellas, snacks to jewelry. If you buy one thing from one person… you’ll have 10 more people running up to you. I wanted to buy everything because I felt so bad but that would be impossible.
There is absolutely no shortage of beautiful temples in Myanmar. Tip: climb on top of one of the many temples in Bagan and wait for sunset. One of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever experienced in my life.
You can easily rent a motor bike to get around or you can also hire a driver, if you feel less confident riding a motor bike or just want to get around more comfortably.
Myanmar is very cheap. You can get a decent hotel for less than $20 a night and meals cost around $1-2!… and they are so DELICIOUS!
Some places you must visit:
- Atumashi Monastery – located in Mandalay.
- U Bein Bridge – (Mandalay) you can catch an amazing sunset here as well.
- Hsinbyume Pagoda – (Mandalay)
- Sagaing – (Mandalay) – the views here were AMAZING. You can see all of the beautiful greenery and temples that Myanmar has to offer.
- Mandalay Royal Palace – (Mandalay) A MUST!
- Kuthodaw Pagoda – (Mandalay) – beautiful white structures make for a beautiful place to capture some photos.
I hope this opens up your mind to experience or at least give it a thought to visit other countries… some that are less developed and put yourself out of your comfort zone.