Days 1-3: Yangon
Yangon was the start of our 3 Weeks in Myanmar. If it was a culture shock I was looking for then arriving in Yangon was exactly what I needed. The look of the city, the people, the smell, the food. It’s all so different to everywhere else you will visit in South East Asia. This may sound a little odd but one thing that immediately shocked me about this country was the number of wild dogs. They are everywhere, and they are ginormous.
Yangon is hectic, dirty, crazy and unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. Not my favourite city I’ve ever been to (to say the least). But if there’s one things that you absolutely cannot miss in Myanmar it’s the Shwedagon pagoda. Of all the temples, and all the pagodas you can see, this is the one that will take your breath away. Of course, it’s a shoe’s off policy and plenty of steps until you reach the actual monument, but its so worth it.
Days 4-9: Bagan
Bagan was my favourite place from my 3 weeks in Myanmar. We stayed in Nyuang U which was a small but friendly area filled with a few fantastic restaurants catering to every taste you could imagine. Bagan is so much fun to explore on the electric bikes. As we were travelling in low seasons there was numerous occasions where we had entire temples to ourselves. You can read a full post about Bagan here.
Days 10-13: Mandalay
I’m not going to lie, I hated Mandalay. I had pre-booked 3 days in the city and did manage to stick them out – wanting to give the place a decent amount of time before I casted my judgements. We arrived late afternoon and relaxed in our hotel for a few hours before heading out for some food. There is not a great amount of choice when it comes to food in Mandalay but there is a few decent Chinese restaurants.
After dinner we went to see the moustache brothers. If you’ve read about the city you’ve probably come across the stand-up comedy performance which takes place every night in a front room in Mandalay. They were featured on a BBC documentary and now consider themselves a somewhat celebrity status. The Moustache brothers formally consisted of 2 brothers and a cousin. Sadly, one of the brothers has now passed away and the cousin features very little in the performance. Meaning that Zu Law runs the show, cracking the least funny jokes you will every hear in your life. You will spend the hour wishing you were literally anywhere else. He spends the majority of the hour reciting English colloquial terms he’s learned over the years. I was laughing out of sheer awkwardness. It was so, so awkward.
There are some interesting things to see in Mandalay. The teak bridge is lovely to take a walk over, there are some wonderful pagodas and buildings. In addition, the view from the top of Mandalay hill is brilliant; especially at sunset.
Days 14-16: Inle Lake (Nyuang Shwe)
Nyuang Shwe is a lovely town filled with plenty of accommodation, restaurants, bars and spas. After a decent night sleep we set off on our half day trip around Inle Lake. For 15,000 Kyatt we set off around 8am and spent 7 hours exploring the lake. We were taken around the lake by a quiet yet friendly guide and spent the day in awe at the ease of which he glided us around the lake.
The lake is so vast and diverse it feels like you are in a whole different universe. We spent our day watching people make silver and bronze jewellery, lotus weaving and watching to process of cigars being crafted by hand. We drifted through the villages and watching people going about their daily lives in this huge floating village was truly incredible. After a stroll through the markets, we ate lunch at a fantastic little café, on the lake.
The following day we had a slow sleepy morning and explored the town in the afternoon. In the evening, we did a cooking class at Bamboo Delights cooking school which I couldn’t recommend more. Lesley and his team were helpful and informative and between the two of us we cooked up six authentic Burmese dishes. 2 curries, 2 salads and 2 side dishes.
Days 17–19: Hpa An
Hpa-An is a 15-hour bus journey from Inle Lake. The first few hours of the bus ride are downright torturous. I honestly don’t know what was worse, the twists and turns of the road or the crazy Burmese TV show blasting out on top volume. If I’m going to be perfectly honest, 1 full day in Hpa-An is perfectly enough. You can read about my favourite day in Hpa-An in this post.
Day 20: Kinpun & The Golden Rock
A 4 hour bus journey from Hpa-An sits the golden rock. One of the most sacred religious sights in the entirety of south east Asia – it felt quite an honour to get the opportunity to make this journey. A full post detailing transportation and where to stay can be found here.
Day 21: Yangon
My final day in Myanmar was spent back in the crazy city of Yangon. We spent the day walking around the city taking a final look at the Independence monument and of course the Shwedagon pagoda. Although not my favourite city – Yangon really was the perfect place to start and finish a crazy 3 weeks in Myanmar.
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