Myanmar might not have the same reputation as some more common destinations, but it isn’t for lack of amazing things to see and do. Myanmar tourism is robust, whether by land, air or sea: you can soar over Bagan in a hot air balloon, hit the water to see floating gardens and leg-rowing fishermen, or simply walk around enjoying the golden temples and open-air market. When you travel to Myanmar, all of the experiences you have share just one thing in common: they are unlike anything you will be able to see anywhere else in the world.
Soar over Bagan in a hot air balloon
There is no better place than Bagan than to see the splendor of Myanmar temples. In fact, the only issue is that there are so many, on such a massive scale - more than 3,000 in all - that it is impossible to fully appreciate all of them on foot. The only way to truly take it all in is floating in the air, and indeed the image of a hot air balloon floating over the temples of Bagan has become one of the most enduring and iconic images of Myanmar travel.
The hot air balloon season runs from from the middle of October through the middle of March, peaking around New Year’s Day. During this period, the winds are calmer and the air is cooler, making the journey safe, pleasant and memorable. The balloons generally take off around sunrise, meaning that you can enjoy hours seeing the light creep up over the horizon as you gaze out over thousands of temples, and be back in time for breakfast at your hotel.
Cruise along the Ayeyarwady
The Ayeyarwady River, also known as the Irrawaddy River, the longest river in Myanmar and its most important commercial waterway. For hundreds of years, it has been an important method of transport as well as an enabler of trade and a source of irrigation. Even beyond its logistical importance, the river is naturally intertwined with the cultural heritage of the region, and its cycles have found their way into many of Myanmar’s spiritual practices.
Cruises allow visitors to experience the Ayeyarwady in person. Both relaxing and informative, setting sail down this river provides a chance to not only see some of the most beautiful vistas the country has to offer, but to also learn a little bit about what makes this body of water so unique among all of the rivers in Myanmar.
Spot leg-rowers on Inle Lake
Life on Myanmar’s Inle Lake is unlike anything you have experienced before. Not only are there no sidewalks, there aren’t even any roads to speak of. Instead, the locals navigate this 13.5 mile freshwater lake in one person wooden boats equipped with outboard propellers. It is a sight as captivating as it is charming - those who fish the waters get around using a leg-powered technique that has to be seen to be believed.
Visitors who are interested in going a step further can hop in a watercraft as well, visiting mesmerizing local villages by water. The settlements on the lake are built over the water itself, and consist of single and two-story houses perched high on stilts. There are even hotels, restaurants and shops in the area, all built vertically to account for the presence of the lake.
Cycle through Mandalay
For a more active Myanmar tour, head over to Mandalay and hop on a bicycle. A river valley landscape surrounded by mountain plains and rice paddy fields, Mandalay was immortalized in the poetry of Rudyard Kipling, who once wrote:
I've a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land!
On the road to Mandalay . . .
Learn more about his experience when you cycle through the valley, meeting up with the friendly, engaging locals and taking the the beautiful vistas. With an expert guide to help, you can learn about the traditions and practices of the area, eat native foods and experience incredible Mandalay village life.
Explore Yangon’s night market
When the day is almost over and the sun is makings its retreat over the horizon, the market in Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is just beginning to wake up. The Yangon night market is one of the most unique experiences in the country, an unforgettable opportunity to sample locals wares and see the hustle and bustle up close. Shoppers can buy everything from fish, to fruit to bright and fragrant flowers, and the fact that it’s all a little bit difficult to see just makes the whole endeavor that much more exciting. If you believe that fun doesn’t have to go away when the sun does, look no further than Yangon, Myanmar.
A passport that is valid for at least one month after the end of your trip is required for both U.S. and Canadian citizens to enter and depart the country. Please ensure that the name on your passport matches all travel documents we have issued. If this is not the case, please contact us immediately.
Please make a photocopy of your passport’s identification page and keep it separate from your original. It’s also a good idea to leave a digital copy with someone at home. This may speed up the replacement process should you lose your passport.
Both Canadian and American citizens need a visa to enter Myanmar and need to be arranged before travel. Canadians and American passport holders can apply for an e-visa at http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/ or through the Myanmar embassy. Due to international sanctions against Myanmar's government, there are no flights between Western countries and Myanmar, most travelers will route through Bangkok or Singapore.
For more visa information please visit:
Cancelation and Medical Insurance is highly recommended as it can safeguard against the expenses associated with in-country medical emergencies, lost or delayed baggage and emergency cancelation or interruption of your trip. Please ensure your policy will provide you with upfront medical coverage so that you are not responsible for a hefty doctor’s bill while away. Insurance can be purchased through us.
No vaccinations are currently required to enter Myanmar, although it is strongly recommended to vaccinate against Malaria if visiting rural areas.
It is advised to consult a travel doctor 4-6 weeks before departure in regards to the recommended vaccinations below:
DiphtheriaHepatitis A & BMalariaRabiesTetanusTyphoid
For all vaccinations and health requirements, you can also refer to the recommendations from:
World Health Organization (WHO): http://www.who.int and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://wwwnc.cdc.gov.
If there are any medical items essential to your health, such as prescription drugs or corrective eye wear, bring duplicates and divide them between your checked bags and hand luggage . It is also advised to take iodine tablets to purify water if bottled water is not available. It is also strongly advised to take over-the-counter diarrhea medication. While non-prescription drugs such as aspirin are generally available, it is difficult to replace prescription items.
Other recommended Items:
With a tropical monsoon climate Myanmar has three distinctive seasons, hot (March – May), rainy (June – October) and cool (November – February). The best time to travel is during the cool season, but even the rainy season isn’t viewed as a deterrent as not much precipitation occurs in Bagan or Mandalay. Temperatures in mountain regions are generally lower than in others. Regardless of the high rate of rainfall the country still receives a considerable amount of sunshine. We recommend bringing a sweater or wind breaker during the cool months, as Bagan and Inle Lake can be chilly in the morning.
For up-to-date forecasts, check www.weather.com.
Light weight clothes with waterproofs are recommended all year round. In higher altitudes however it is best to take slightly warmer clothes, but nothing too heavy.
As a rule shoulders and knees should be covered when entering religious sites.
FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS: Video camera, camera with zoom lens in a dust-resistant case, sufficient memory cards, a spare camera battery and charger. Photography is not allowed in certain religious buildings, especially temples. So be sure to ask permission before you take a photo.
Electricity: 220-240volts AC, 50Hz. Three different plug types are used: C – Europlug, E/F European Schuko and D – Indian, all with circular pronged sockets.
It is important that you bring sufficient cash into Myanmar to sustain you throughout your trip, as credit cards are not widely accepted in Myanmar, and ATMs are few and far between. We recommend that you bring crisp, clean $50 and $100 USD notes (no marks or tears, 2006 series or later) to exchange for the local currency. Travelers checks are not accepted. Generally speaking, we advise bringing US$50-100 per day, per person, for spending money. Be sure to bring lots of small bills for porters, wait staff and housekeeping (not obligatory and based on your satisfaction). The Kyat (MMK) is the official currency in Myanmar. The kyat consists of coins 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 kyat and banknotes from 50pya, 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 5000 kyat.
Visa and MasterCard are beginning to be accepted in larger tourist shops and restaurants. Many hotels will not be able to exchange USD but your guide can bring you to a bank or currency exchange office. Bills with small tears or ink spots cannot be exchanged in Myanmar.
Currency: Kyat (MMK)
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +6.5
Calling North America: 001
Emergency numbers in Myanmar: Police 110, Fire 113, Ambulance 199, Fire 19118