Myanmar is one of those places which is not yet touched by mass tourism. For those who want to experience an authentic culture and explore off the beaten path destinations, Myanmar is the perfect choice. Be prepared to find some of the kindest people and some of the most impressive sights in the entire South East Asia. If you’re planning to spend 7 days in Myanmar, I have the perfect Myanmar itinerary for you.
Having spent one month backpacking Myanmar recently, I instantly fell in love with the country. Follow my Myanmar travel itinerary below and you will discover thriving traditions, lush rice paddies and some jaw-dropping temples. Expect the unexpected!
NOTE: Some travellers and experts still believe it’s not ethical to travel to Myanmar, but you can read all about the pros and cons here and maybe decide for yourself.
Thanks to Aurelia from Daily Travel Pill for putting together this amazing guest post and Myanmar travel tips post. You can find her full Author bio and social links at the end of this article.
7 Day Myanmar Itinerary and Travel Tips
Before getting into further details, let’s take a moment and talk about the dress code in Myanmar.
What to wear in Myanmar
Myanmar is a conservative country and people still wear their traditional clothes. Both women and men wear t-shirts and a cylindrical skirt called longyi. This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to wear the same attire as the local people but I would definitely avoid really short skirts or extremely revealing tops (you can find more general Myanmar travel tips here). Apart from this, you can wear pretty much anything you like.
Another thing you have to take into consideration is the fact that the Burmese people are extremely spiritual and there is a special dress code when it comes to visiting temples. Whenever you’ll visit temples in Myanmar, make sure to follow these rules:
- take your shoes off when entering the courtyard of any temple. I recommend bringing some flip-flops
- wear blouses that are covering your shoulders (this applies to both men and women)
- wear skirts or pants that cover your knees (this applies to both men and women)
Good to know: If you want to wear short pants I would recommend having a scarf with you at all times. When entering a temple, you can tie it around your waist in order to cover your knees.
7 Day Myanmar itinerary
This 7 days Myanmar itinerary will take you through some of the most incredible, off the beaten path places around the country. Our trip will start in the Yangon concrete jungle.
Then, we will continue to make our way to the beautiful Hpa An where we will experience the local, authentic life and we will visit the biggest reclining Buddha in the world. On our way back, we will stop at the famous Golden Rock and learn more about the Burmese culture.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
Day 1 – Arriving in Yangon
Where to stay in Yangon
If you are on a budget, I recommend the Backpacker Hostel. It’s right in the city center, it’s very clean and the staff is wonderful. You can also book bus tickets to all the destinations around Myanmar right from the reception. If you want something more luxurious, I recommend the Pan Pacific Yangon. It has an excellent infinity pool, great views and excellent staff.
After you’ve checked in, it’s time to explore this fascinating city. Depending on how much time you have left, I recommend visiting the Sule Pagoda and/ or the Bogyoke Aung San Market.
This golden pagoda is 44 meter tall and is situated right in the heart of the city. It is one of the landmarks of Yangon and one of the most important temples in the city. If you want, you can also enter inside this pagoda and admire its beauty.
Bogyoke Aung San Market
You can’t leave Myanmar without visiting one of the local markets. Hosting more than 2000 shops, Bogyoke Aung San Market is the perfect place to shop for some souvenirs and gifts for the loved ones back home. Here you’ll find jewelry, clothes, accessories and local handicrafts. If you’re hungry, don’t hesitate to try the local food!
Day 2 – Explore more of Yangon
Be prepared to really experience the local culture. Take the train around the city and be a part of the local community. After that, get ready to be amazed by the incredible Shwedagon Pagoda and Tooth Relic Pagoda.
Yangon Circular Train
There is no better way to really feel Yangon’s vibe than taking a train ride around the city. For three and a half hours you’ll be a part of the local community. You’ll see children going to school, locals doing their groceries and people going to work. The Yangon Circular Train passes through local neighborhoods and it even stops in a local market where people will get off the train to buy fruits & vegetables.
This train ride is a truly unique experience and it only costs $0,13.
Take a step inside the Shwedagon Pagoda and you’ll fall in love with it instantly. This is the pearl of Myanmar’s temples and for good reasons.
With thousands of golden, pointy rooftops, shrines and an incredible golden stupa covered in gold, 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies, the Shwedagon Pagoda is an impressive sight. While visiting it, make sure to walk clockwise around the main stupa.
Tooth Relic Pagoda
This important spiritual place for the Burmese people enshrines a sacred Buddha tooth relic and impresses through its beautiful symmetry. Definitely one of the most beautiful temples in Yagon, the Tooth Relic Pagoda should be on your itinerary.
Day 3 – Next stop: Hpa An
Where to stay in Hpa An
It’s time to head to our next destination, Hpa An. If you are on a budget, I recommend staying at Little Hpa An Boutique. The rooms are clean, the breakfast is good and this hotel is situated right in the heart of the city. If you decide to spoil yourself, then Hpa An Lodge is a great choice. Even though it’s not situated right in the city center, this place is an oasis of tranquility.
I recommend taking the bus from Yangon to Hpa An. The ride should take around five hours. After checking in to your hotel, I recommend exploring the city a bit. Also, make sure to arrange a tuk tuk driver for the next day (you can ask at your hotel’s reception).
Visit the Clock Tower
The heart of Hpa An is the Clock Tower. This is the city center and a great place to really experience the Burmese local life. Go take a walk, do some shopping, buy some fruits and notice everything that’s happening around you.
Shwe Yin Hyaw Pagoda
This pagoda is the perfect place to watch the sunset. Overlooked by tourists and visited only by locals, the Shwe Yin Hyaw Pagoda is situated right on the banks of the Thanlyin River. Wait for the sun to set and admire its pink reflection in the river.
Day 4 – Explore Hpa An by tuk tuk
Most of the Hpa An tourist attractions are situated far from one another so the best way to explore them is by renting a tuk tuk with a driver for one day. It’s convenient, cheap and a great way to discover all the hidden gems around Hpa An.
Most of the tuk tuk tours are standard. However, I would recommend talking to the driver before the tour starts. Make sure to visit the temple caves (Saddan Cave, Kawgun Cave and Kawtka Taung Cave), the 1000 Buddha images and the Kyauk Kalat Pagoda.
While exploring all these incredible places, you will pass by beautiful rice fields, incredible limestone mountains and local fishermen. Hpa An is a true delight for those who want to experience the authentic Burmese culture.
Day 5 – Day trip to the biggest reclining Buddha in the world
Take the bus from the Clock Tower in Hpa An to Mawlamyine bus station. From the Mawlamyine bus station take a tuk tuk to the biggest reclining Buddha in the world – Win Sein Taw Ya.
Nothing can prepare you for the sights you’re about to see. Right before arriving to the Win Sein Taw Ya monastery, you will be welcomed by 500 real-sized stone monks, walking towards the impressive 180 meters long and 30 meters tall reclining Buddha.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can visit the inside of the statue. Here you’ll find many statues and a few shrines. You won’t find that many tourists at Win Sein Taw Ya but this is what makes this place so special and fascinating.
Day 6 – Visit the Golden Rock
It’s time to head to one of the most important Buddhist sites in Myanmar, the Golden Rock. In order to get to the Golden Rock, you’ll have to take the bus from Hpa An. Once you get to Kin Pun Sakhan, the city at the base of the Golden Rock, I recommend staying at the Eternity Resort Hotel.
After checking in to your hotel, go to the bus station and take the truck to the top of the mountain where the Golden Rock is situated. Be prepared for a bumpy ride.
The Golden Rock is famous among tourists due to its position. It seems to defy gravity and the legend says that it’s perched on a strand of Buddha’s hair. No matter if the legend is true or not, the Golden Rock is definitely an unusual sight.
Day 7 – Back to Yangon
It’s time to get back to Yangon and head to your next adventure. I hope that you’ve found this one week itinerary helpful. There are plenty of other amazing places around Myanmar such as Bagan, Inle Lake or Mandalay but visiting all of them would take at least one month.
I am sure that you’ll fall in love with Myanmar so don’t hesitate to plan another trip to the land of thousands of temples and visit the other incredible places around the country!
This guest post was written by Aura from Daily Travel Pill. Aura is a travel addict who decided to leave everything behind and step into the unknown, leaving her advertising career in pursuit of a meaningful life, full of adventure and travel. You can follow her adventures in Instagram (see example below!) or Facebook.