Myanmar? Burma? To start off, let's get the country name straight. Myanmar is the official name of this country, however Burma is the name given by the British to this land. Although Burma is not the official name of the country, the national language is called Burmese.

Myanmar is relatively big spanning around 680,000 square kilometres, so naturally, you can expect that many must-see spots are a bit further apart from each other. Keep in mind that travelling by land isn't that fast either.

Enjoy this Myanmar Itinerary in 2 Weeks!

First rule in coming up with any Myanmar itinerary is: Do not overplan!

With that in mind, here is my Myanmar travel itinerary. If this is your first time to the country, you will get to see many different places but with enough breathing space in between. Here we go.

How Long To Spend In Myanmar?

The major destinations in Myanmar that you have to visit are:

  • Yangon
  • Bagan
  • Inle Lake
  • Kalaw
  • and Mandalay.

Looking at a map, this forms a rough triangle for your Myanmar itinerary route. To avoid circling back, I suggest that you fly into Yangon, and exit through Mandalay airport.

Of course you can cover all of these places in a matter of one short week but to savour each moment, you should mark off two weeks in your travel calendar for this Myanmar itinerary.

how many days in myanmar

How Many Places Can You Visit In Myanmar?

A lot! On this Myanmar travel itinerary, you’ll be spending:

  • 2 days in Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar with its British colonial architecture, high-rises and golden pagodas
  • 3 days in Bagan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a highlight of anyone's trip to Myanmar
  • 2 days in Mandalay, the former royal capital on the Irrawaddy River with its stunning Mandalay Hill views
  • 1 day in Kalaw, not far from Inle Lake, this is heaven for trekking in Myanmar
  • 2 days in Inle Lake, see the famous one-legged rowing fishermen on the endless lake waters
  • 1 day in Hpa-an, a small off the beat town in the southern part of Myanmar
  • 1 day in Mawlamyine, famous for the largest reclining Buddha in the country
  • And 2 days in Ngwe Saung, one of the few beach resorts in Myanmar, if you fancy going to the beach

Is Myanmar Expensive?

Before we get planning, let's talk about travel expenses.

Air tickets to and from Myanmar are usually more pricey to other destinations in Southeast Asia, so book your flight as early as possible.

The same goes with inland flights as well as accommodation. You'll see that hotels are costing more here than in neighbouring Southeast Asian countries.

So if you prefer to stay on a budget, book in advance so there is still a variety of cheaper accommodation to choose from. Inexpensive restaurants are also available throughout the country.

What's The Dress Code In Myanmar?

There is a big difference on the manner of dressing here in Myanmar compared to what you might have seen in neighbouring countries such as Thailand.

Shorts, singlets and even skinny jeans are a rare sight here. People, young and old, still tend to wear traditional longyis which are made out of colourful fabric, wrapped around the waist and then knotted around 3 inches across.

Note that Myanmar is a tropical country, so you'll be out in the sun most of the day. Avoid flip-flops and opt for light and comfortable walking shoes or sandals when you're out and about. I recommend darker colors as streets are not always as clean as you'd expect them back home.

Make sure you bring some light cotton trousers, and cotton shirts. Don't forget your shades and a good sun hat.

myanmar travel itinerary


Day 1

After landing at Yangon, head to your hotel and leave your bags there.

A few top-rated accommodation choices in Yangon are:

Your first stop on this Myanmar backpacking itinerary is at Kandawgyi Lake, also called the Royal Lake.

It is a 5-mile walk around the lake. Parks are all over the lake's edges and very good for a walk, a picnic or relaxation since it's never too crowded.

Wooden boardwalks are also found over the lake. It is best to walk around when the sun's not shining too hot, so in the early morning or late afternoon, all depending on what time you arrive into Yangon.

Fo lunchtime or an afternoon snack, stroll through the centre of Yangon down to the historic Bogyoke Aung San Market and get a snack or shop for artisanal Burmese handicrafts, colourful longyis, and whatever else you need before you head off on your trip. Remember that Yangon is the biggest city in Myanmar and if you need to buy anything before taking off, your best bet is here.

Around downtown there are also many little restaurants where you can try Mohingya, Myanmar's national dish containing rice noodle and fish soup.

If you want to get a real foodie experience, book yourself a food tour right here. I learned so much about the variety of food in Myanmar and really got to try different things that otherwise I probably would’ve never dared to taste, if I never took this food tour!

things to do Myanmar
myanmar trip itinerary
Myanmar first timers itinerary

When in Yangon, you will have to spend at least half a day visiting Myanmar's top destination, the majestic Shwedagon Pagoda. It is an absolute highlight of Yangon! As a vast temple complex gleaming in gold hues, it is a place of worship (you have to leave your shoes outside) but also a community center where people can get together and enjoy each others company.

Entrance fee is at 10,000 Kyat or USD 10 and another USD 1 for the woman who looks after your shoes.

For an amazing dinner afterward, make your way to 19th street in Chinatown where seafood BBQs can be experienced at cheap prices.

Alternatively, try Alex's Gastro Bar at The Loft and delight on their French-Asian fusion.

Day 2

Your second day in Yangon will start with a walking tour dedicated to the east downtown and the secretariat route, which will cover architectural sights of historical value. Contact Yangon Heritage Trust to book a walking tour.

If you prefer to ride the train rather than walk, take the circular train to see some interesting activities as Yangon people begin their day. This trip is also filled with picture-perfect scenery, so bring your camera!

Have a filling lunch at Sharky's Yangon. The owner highly recommends that you have the dry-aged tenderloin. They also offer the finest cheese in the country, along with homemade bread and pizza.

Laze off the rest of the day at Chinatown. Take a stroll through the colourful stalls and spend time looking for souvenirs.

Pack up your bags and make your way to the bus station for the night bus to Bagan.

I liked the JJ Express, however note that most buses don't depart from Yangon Central, but from Aung Mingalar station, which is roughly one hour from Yangon Downtown by taxi. So be sure to book your bus tickets beforehand since you don’t want to get stuck at the bus station if you don’t get a seat on the bus. This is especially the case in high season!

Powered by 12Go Asia system

BAGAN (Day 3-5)

Day 3

You'll be dropped in Bagan in the early hours of the morning.

Head straight to your accommodation to put down your baggage and have a nap if you didn't rest well on the bus ride.

Hotel choices would differ depending on what part of Bagan you're planning to stay at.

Some accommodation recommendations in Bagan are:

Did you know that there are over 2,000 pagodas and chedis in Bagan? Incredible, right?

Spend your first day on a temple run. You can book a group or private tour or opt to hire a knowledgeable driver to take you around. The taxi fare for the whole tour costs starts at around USD 35.

Alternatively, hire an electro bike and ride around the site without a guide.

Definitely include the following temples on your tour:

  • Schwezigan
  • Dhammayangyi
  • Sulamani
  • and Gubyaukgyi

Take a break and have your lunch at a nearby restaurant, there are many little joints scattered around.

Try out the well-reviewed (although curiously named) Be Kind to Animals also known as The Moon, which is a delicious vegetarian restaurant.

Then, back again to your temple exploration. Discover the beauty of Ananda temple, Nan Paya, and Shwesandaw Paya where you can catch a breathtaking view of the sunset with countless temple peaks scattered all over the plains.

It's a sunset view like no other and highly recommended!

Splurge on a decent dinner at 7 Sisters. Try out the fried vegetables and squid curry stew. Perhaps, a drink to end a perfect day of exploring this magical place.

Head to your hotel afterwards and get a good night's sleep because of tomorrow's early call time.

Day 4

If there is any place in the world where you must go on a dawn hot air balloon ride, that place would definitely be Bagan.

It is an investment worth saving for. The hot air balloon trip happens in the early hours of the day and takes about 45 minutes.

The sprawling temples glowing in the early light of the day down below are a magnificent sight. This is the embodiment of a once in a lifetime experience. Don't miss out. Book the balloon ride at least a month or more before the date as otherwise it does book out fast!

Also note that the balloons are a seasonal thing and can only be booked between October to April each year. The rest of the year, they are not flying.

itinerary myanmar bagan temples
hot air balloon ride Bagan temples Myanmar

Stop for lunch at Weather Spoons Restaurant in Nyang U.

Then explore Bagan at your own pace through a self-directed bike tour. Most hotels rent out electro bicycles. Do a bike tour from New Bagan, Old Bagan, Nyaung U, and back.

End your trip in Bagan with a scenic sunset river cruise. Then it’s off to dinner at Aroma 2 Restaurant on Yar Kinn Thar Hotel Road in Bagan.

Day 5

Consider spending your last day with a full day tour of Mount Popa and local villages in Old Bagan.

Mount Popa is an extinct volcano with a temple perched on top. It takes exactly 777 steps to get to the top. The locals believe Mount Popa to be inhabited by animist spirits of nats.

The Nat Shrine can be found at the foot of the mountain, where 37 figures of nats are displayed and worshipped.

Lunch will be served at Mount Popa Resort on this tour.

On your descent, you can stop by and witness the locals as they work in the palm tree plantation. Next stop is the village of Zee O where the villagers tend to a 16-hectare sacred forest including a threatened tree species called the Ingyinn.

Then it’s back to the hotel to rest and be ready for the night bus to Mandalay.

Powered by 12Go Asia system

MANDALAY (Day 6-7)

Day 6

You’ll be arriving in the town of Mandalay in the early morning. Relax a bit at your hotel before getting out and about.

Some great accommodation choices in Mandalay are:

During you stay in Mandalay, you will again be seeing a lot of beautiful temples and shrines. 

Start off with Sandamuni Pagoda southwest of Mandalay Hill. And then head to Golden Palace or Schwenandaw Kyaung, where you will stand in awe of the Buddhist myths depicted in gorgeous teak carvings.

There are many great tours to see all of Mandalay has to offer. Book the best Mandalay tours here.

Have a sumptuous lunch at Mandalay Hill Resort’s Ming Restaurant. It’s a Myanmar holiday on a plate!

Then, head over to Kuthodaw Pagoda which is actually dubbed as the world’s largest book. How could a temple be a book?

Here’s how: There are 729 stupas and each contains a marble slab inscription from the Buddhist scriptures, Tipitaka. They say it takes a year to read everything even if you spend 8 hours each day to read the inscriptions. Amazing!

Then, it’s back to your hotel for a short rest.

If you feel like it, book yourself this private evening tour. It starts at 3.30pm and includes pick-up, drop-off, entrance fees, and dinner.

You’ll be seeing the fish market by the Ayerwaddy River, the flower market, night market, and monastery. Dinner will be barbecue-style with a cold beer of course. Cap off the night with a laugh as you witness the famous comedy show starring the Moustache Brothers.

Off to your hotel for a good night’s sleep.

myanmar travel blog
yangon how many days
itinerary for first timers in Myanmar

Day 7

Another thing not to miss in Mandalay is the sunrise scene at the famous wooden U Bein Bridge. This bridge dates back to 1895 and is the world’s longest teakwood bridge, with a length of 1.2 kilometres. This magnificent structure makes a beautiful silhouette as the sun rises it looks like a page out of a storybook. It’s truly worth the early wake-up call.

Alternatively, if you're not an early riser and don't want to make your way to the bridge by yourself, I recommend booking this sunset tour to U Bein Bridge. It's equally spectacular!

Next up is another must-do, a visit to the lavish Mandalay Palace. Then, lunch at Min Thiha tea shop.

Discover the grandeur of the second holiest places in the country, Mahamuni Pagoda or Maha Myat Muni Pagoda.

Then it’s one last meal in Mandalay before you had back to your hotel to pack up your bags for another overnight bus trip to Kalaw.

Powered by 12Go Asia system

KALAW (Day 8)

Settle down at your chosen accommodation.

Kalaw is the jumping board of avid trekkers aiming to go to Inle Lake.

If you wish to trek all the way to Inle, you have to allow for two additional days on your Myanmar travel itinerary.

The typical trek is a 2 day 1 night and I recommend you book ahead so you don't arrive and have a wait around Kalaw.

Check trekking availability for an all-inclusive 2-day tour here.

myanmar tour itinerary

Kalaw is known for its trekking and outdoor activities and I only recommend coming here if you are an outdoor person.

Otherwise, skip Kalaw and go straight to Inle Lake from Mandalay and spend some extra days there.

INLE LAKE (Day 9-10)

Day 9

There is a USD 15 entrance fee to Inle Lake for foreigners, but it’s surely worth every penny.

Settle down at your hotel. Most people stay at Nyaung Shwe with is township closest to Inle Lake and the gateway to many tours and activities. 

A few recommendations, where to stay around here are:

Do note this fun fact: There is more water around Inle Lake than roads so you’ll be getting on a boat to see all the sights.

To start off the day, rent a bike in Nyaungshwe for about 1,500 Kyat and just explore the area. Paddle your way to Htat Eian Cave where you’ll see a multitude of Buddha statues.

Another good place to head to is Red Mountain Winery where they offer a serene session of taste-testing Burmese wine.

The area is also an awesome place to catch the ever awe-striking Myanmar sunset. Who knew Myanmar produced wine? Admittedly, it’s not world-class but I was actually quite surprised.

Go cowboy style for dinner and just have a roadside meal at one of the barbecue stalls situated nearby the night market.

Day 10

Though Inle Lake attracts a growing percentage of the travellers in the country, it's still not too crowded and commercialised and taking the novelty of visiting a place for the first time.

To avoid disappointment, book a private day tour to get off the beaten track by boat. Hop on!

Have your boat guide lead you to the middle of the lake where fishermen are practicing their trade. What’s unique about them is that they are masters of the one-legged fishing style where one foot remains on board and the other is wrapped around the oar to aid in rowing.

These fishermen are quite photogenic. You’ll see!

myanmar itinerary 14 days
burma travel itinerary

Inle Lake is also famous for their floating villages and houses on stilts.

Nampan is a big cluster of fishers’ homes. This place tends to be very colourful with hanging clothes by the windows, children swimming about, and the women on their laundry chores, and the like.

If Nampan is for fishermen, Phaw Khone is for weavers. The village specialises in weaving using silk, cotton, and lotus root. Water villages, of course, are devoid of soil and so, to grow crops, they have invented bamboo-supported floating gardens which are a meter deep. You can even walk on them but it is like walking on jelly.

Take a break and grab your lunch at the nearby floating markets.

Next up is a famous tourist destination and a unique one at that. This is the Nga Hpe Kyuang or better remembered as the Jumping Cat Monastery, which got its name from the cats living at the monastery who have been trained by the local monks to jump through little hoops.

Then it’s back to Nyaung Shwe and to the last stop of the day, Maing Tauk. This is a village with an interesting split: It is 50% on water and 50% on land.

You’ll dock by the bridge and then you get to walk around the town to see daily routines of the locals such as students coming home, women carrying firewood on their head, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have the right timing of seeing the fishers haul their catch, and it’s a bonus point when the sun is setting in the background.

Additional Off The Beaten Path Destinations In Myanmar

In the South

HPA-AN (Day 11)

Hpa-an is a small town but very rich in picturesque vistas.

The looming mountains beyond the fields of green make it a perfect background to your one day in Hpa-an.

Visit the hustle and bustle of the morning market, the solemn grandeur of Shweyinhmyaw Pagoda, and walk around Kan Thar Yar Lake.

travel myanmar itinerary

Your next destination which is Mawlamyine is a short bus trip or a scenic boat ride away.

I'd opt for the boat ride if you are an adventurer at heart like me. But the bus ride is definitely the more comfortable option.

Powered by 12Go Asia system


Formerly Moulmein, Mawlamyine is now the fourth largest city in Myanmar.

It is a seaside town and its’ waters are as action-filled as its local markets.

Popular attractions include:

  • Bilu Island (sometimes dubbed as Ogre Island) and the size roughly of Singapore
  • Win Sein Taw Ya Giant Buddha
  • Thanbyuzayat with its Death Railway Museum
  • Setse Beach (yes, there really are pretty beaches here in southern Myanmar!)
  • as well as Kyaikkami and Yele Pagoda.

Where To Stay In Mawlamyine

Is there a beach in Myanmar?

NGWE SAUNG (Day 13-14)

If you’re looking for a place to unwind after some eventful days of travelling around Myanmar, the beach resort town of Ngwe Saung is the place to go.

With no traffic, you can reach Ngwe Saung from Yangon in roughly 5 hours. Be sure to book your bus return trip ahead as you don't want to get stuck!

Powered by 12Go Asia system

This charming place is made for rest and relaxation. No pressure as to where to go because you’ll only be a few steps away from the beach.

Ngwe Saung Village hosts a number of seafood restaurants that you must try as well as a handful of other little cafes serving Burmese, Thai and other Asian cuisine.

Along the beach, you'll find a fire dance show at night. Ngwe Saung is a well-deserved break to enjoy swimming at the beach, working on your tan and even snorkelling.

Note that the beaches on the western shores of Myanmar operate seasonally and some might shut down completely in the off-season.

There are some great places to stay at here too:

  • Check out Eskala Hotels and Resorts, which is one of the top picks in town with clean rooms, great location and a wonderful outdoor pool
  • Ngwe Saung Yacht Club & Resort, located beach front with air-con, WiFi and all other creature comforts for a perfect beach holiday
  • Opt for a room or bungalow at Emerald Sea Resort, for absolute tranquility and only footsteps to the sea, all while being 20-minute away from Ngwe Saung City Centre
NGWE SAUNG Hilton Ngapali Myanmar

What an action-filled 14 days in Myanmar. Hopefully, you love this Myanmar itinerary as much as I did travelling around the country.

With its countless pagodas and temple, hot air balloon sunrises, interesting culture and religion, photogenic fishermen, and friendly faces, Myanmar is truly one for the books. Don’t miss it!

Love this? Pin to save on Pinterest.

Don’t Go Without Travel Insurance

Why buy travel medical insurance from SafetyWing?

  1. Get insured, even if you already left your home country
  2. Covers visits to your home country if you’re travelling long-term
  3. Buy one-off or choose a start date and let your insurance extend every 28 days like a subscription until you cancel (no more paying upfront for long trips or open-ended adventures)
  4. COVID-19 cover is included

Please note, this post may contain affiliate links, which means that – at absolutely no cost to you – we earn a small commission on sales generated through this website. We only recommend sites we actually use and thank you for your support!