How Many Days Should You Spend in Myanmar?

Two weeks is the perfect amount of time to explore Myanmar. If you have less time, you can still have a great experience but it requires careful planning. At a minimum, five days is enough to give you a taste of the country’s history and culture by visiting two of Myanmar’s “Big Four” destinations.

Myanmar in less than 5 days

Famous U Bein Bridge on the outskirts of Mandalay

The wonderful thing about Myanmar is that even in the big cities you can easily escape the tourist crowds and connect with the culture, traditions, and people. With less than 5 days, it is best to base yourself in Yangon or Mandalay, which have international airports and immerse yourself in the cities and their surroundings.

In addition to Yangon's famous pagodas and colonial heritage buildings, the city has an amazing arts scene, great culinary experiences and charming rural villages accessible by a short boat trip. Mandalay's outskirts boast ancient capitals with atmospheric ruins, lush hills for trekking and cycling and a former British hill station located less than 2 hours away, ideal for a day trip or overnight visit.

Bagan, just 3.5 hours from Mandalay's International Airport, is another option for an overnight trip and well worth the effort if you are interested in architecture and Buddhism.

Myanmar in 5 days

Hot air balloons over the temple-scattered plains of Bagan

Even on a short holiday, you can experience culture and heritage by combining two neighboring destinations accessible by road. If flying into Mandalay, Bagan is the obvious choice as it is just a 4-hour drive between these two former capitals. If your international arrival is into Yangon, then an overland trip to scenic Hpa An or historic Mawlamyine are good options. They are located less than 6 hours from Yangon and their quiet villages and lush landscapes stand in stark contrast to the buzz of Myanmar’s largest city. For those interested in Buddhism, an overnight trip to the Golden Rock, Myanmar’s holiest site, is a great addition to a Yangon tour.

A few trip ideas for 5 days:

Myanmar in 6-8 days

Explore Inle Lake by boat
Explore Inle Lake by boat

A week in Myanmar is perfect for a quick but insightful introduction to the country. Rather than trying to cram in the four destinations, it is recommended to focus on two or three regions. If you are interested in history, Mandalay should be at the top of your list. Bagan is ideal for those curious about Myanmar’s spiritual side and incredible architecture. Nature lovers should head to the Inle Lake region, where endless trekking routes and bike trails can be found as well as a diverse mix of ethnic groups. Staying two nights in three different destinations or 3-4 nights in two areas will result in a relaxing yet immersive holiday.

A few trip ideas for 6-8 days:

Myanmar in 9-12 days

Pindaya Caves

Nine days is (just barely!) enough to take in all of the ‘Big Four’ sites. It will be a fast trip but you will at least get a full day of exploring in each destination. With a few more days, you can slow down the pace in these key destinations or add in an overland trip to a lesser-known site such as Pindaya, Pyin Oo Lwin or Mt Popa.

A few trip ideas for 9-12 days:

Myanmar in 13 days or more

Sadan Sin Min Cave in Hpa-An
Sadan Sin Min Cave in Hpa-An

Lucky you! Two weeks is the perfect time to enjoy a mix of sites and experiences without rushing. Linger in the big four and take some overland journey or a full-day cruise between Mandalay and Bagan. Or add an extension to scenic Hpa An and Mawlamyine in the south, the northern Shan hills for trekking adventures near Pyin Oo Lwin and Kyauk Me, fly to the ancient ruins of Mrauk U or wrap up your trip with a beach break. Whatever your interest, Myanmar has just what you are looking for.

A few trip ideas for 13 days or more: