Magnificent Myanmar is a destination jam packed with so much cultural and natural wonder, it is difficult to know where to start when it comes to planning a vacation there. Asia expert, Blanche, compiles a shortlist of things to do and see on a trip to Myanmar.
- Balloons over Bagan
While this experience is bordering on being cliché, there is a very good reason as to why it’s so popular. It might warrant an early start, but waking up to watch the sun rise over Bagan’s 2,200 monuments from a hot air balloon is simply breathtaking and completely unforgettable. It couldn’t be more worth paying up for.
- Walk to Myin Ma Hti Cave
Located to the east of the old British hill station of Kalaw, Myin Ma Hti Cave is a natural limestone cave that has existed for thousands of years. According to archaeological research, some of the statues and pagodas were built earlier than 17 AD. After trekking for 3-4 hours through a number of villages, pine forests, mountain rice paddies and vegetable plantations, exploring the naturally cool cave feels especially refreshing!
- Satay on 19th Street
You might have experienced satay before, but a visit to Yangon’s Chinatown will open your eyes to a whole new world of satay. Even if you aren’t feeling adventurous enough to taste them, the variety of meats, vegetables and seafood you can find on skewers is worth a picture at the very least. 19th Street is a popular post-work drinks spot for the city’s locals, so it will also give you an insight into real life in Yangon.
- Sunset cruise on the Irrawaddy
Flowing through the country from north to south, the Irrawaddy River is the Myanmar’s largest river, and most important commercial waterway. Taking a sunset cruise along the river is a relaxing way to get close up with daily life in Myanmar.
- Dine on salads made with Inle Lake tomatoes
The floating farms of Inle Lake are quite something to behold, and the taste of the various varieties of tomatoes they produce are unlike any other you will have ever had. Even though Myanmar is not as well known for its cuisine as compared to some of its neighbors, the fresh tomato salads are definitely one of the country’s culinary highlights.
- High Tea at The Strand
Built in 1901, The Strand in Yangon remains one of Asia’s most well-known Colonial landmarks. The hotel still remains true to its architectural roots, with teak and marble floors, and pieces of antique mahogany furniture. The delightful high tea here is sure to transport you to another time. (Look out for the personalized table markers for the regulars!)
- Join evening prayers in a Monastery
Buddhism is practiced by almost 90% of the Myanmar population. Every Buddhist boy between the age of seven and thirteen is expected to enter a monastery as a novice monk for a few weeks, after which he can choose return to life outside the monastery, or stay on as a monk. Outsiders are invited to join evening prayers by special arrangement, making it a very special experience to be a part of.