What was once known as Burma for many years, Myanmar is an Asian country ridden with conflict and religious history. Today the Rohingya people that live there are being persecuted and are part of a massive genocide. So should you visit? Is it ethical? That’s for you to decide.
If you decide to travel here, you should do plenty of research into the current political situation and make sure that you are aware of what’s going on. Below I will tell you more about the best places to visit in Myanmar.
Despite these political issues, the country has beautiful people and many hidden gems. I was lucky to travel here a few years ago, after the borders opened to tourists. This was my first solo trip and nothing will ever compare. I felt incredibly safe because the people were incredibly friendly, warm, and hospitable. People took me in and showed me around, they asked to take pictures with me, and they made me feel comfortable on my own.
Myanmar has been completely isolated for half a century, which means places feel as if they have been untouched by the outside world. I loved learning about the history and the wonderful people that live in this country. It’s truly a beautiful place and I hope one day that there can be peace. On my trip I saw unbelievably beautiful places, ate flavorful food, and learned about the political history there.
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Places to Visit in Myanmar
With a wonderful mix of colonial architecture, stunning religious sites, and a modern city vibe, it’s a treat to explore Yangon. Spend your time in this city trying the delicious Burmese food, walking around the lakes, or visiting the major historical sights. I only had one day in the city, and a taxi driver was kind enough to take me around all day long!
If you only have time to see one thing there then you must visit Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the most famous and sacred Buddhist temples in the world. The shrines are covered in Gold and the stupa sits high above the city, so you can spot it from a distance. Walk through the temple and notice all of the intricate details carved into the shrines.
Things to Do in Yangon:
- Admire the Shwedagon Pagoda
- Visit the Sule Pagoda
- See the Reclining Buddha at Chaukhtatgyi Buddha temple
- Feed catfish at Inya Lake
- Shop at Bogyoke Aung San Market
- Try Mohinga- a signature Burmese dish
As I watched the sunrise over the Ancient temples in Bagan, it felt as if I was on a different planet. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of my favorite places I have ever been. Many years ago, there were over 10,000 temples throughout the area, but now there are still 2,000 temples remaining from the Ancient times.
I booked a day tour to learn more about the history of the area and the temples. However, I think the day long tour is unnecessary and that there is plenty to see on your own.
Instead you can explore the temples by bicycle or view them on a hot air balloon. Make sure to watch the sunrise and sunsets from the pagodas during the day. Then try the mouthwatering food or visit a local market. You will be stunned by Bagan and it’s crazy out-of-this world landscape.
Boating through the adorable houses and shops on stilts in Inle Lake is an unforgettable experience! It’s seriously one of the best places to visit in Myanmar. The surface of the lake almost looks silver as the sky reflects off of its vast area.
There are plenty of wildlife and people that call this serene lake their home. When you’re there make sure to take a boat tour around the lake to see all of the wonderful things it has to offer. In order to take a boat, you can easily book a tour from a hostel or hotel.
The boats will take you to the Buddhist pagodas, the specialized artisans (like jewelry makers and lotus scarf knitters), the floating flower garden, and the stilted neighborhoods. If you want to see the famous fishermen catch fish with their feet then you’ll need to head out to the lake for an early morning boat. Spend some time on land and explore the wine area of Inle Lake. It’s amazing to see all of the life that prospers on the lake!
There is so much controversy over whether you should travel to Myanmar or not. The brutality and oppression that are currently occurring in the country is so heartbreaking. I hope that one day there will be peace and everyone will feel excited about traveling to this beautiful country.