Myanmar is a land of sacred pagodas, deep-rooted traditions, and mile after mile of spectacular landscapes and friendly, hospitable people. Few places in the world offer such a remarkable selection of natural and cultural wonders.
Myanmar overview Map
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Overview

One could spend a lifetime exploring Myanmar and still not see all that it has to offer. First-time visitors usually stick to the ‘big four’ destinations: Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake. These sites offer an array of experiences for travelers and showcase the diversity of Myanmar’s landscapes.

Yangon

Shwedagon pagoda
Yangon's Shwedagon pagoda lit up at night

Yangon is the logical starting point for most travelers, thanks to its ever-expanding list of international flight options. The city boasts an intoxicating mix of cultures — a walk through downtown unveils Chinese, Indian and Myanmar neighborhoods, as well as a diverse mix of religious and historic sites. See fading colonial buildings, a reminder of the era of British rule and modern structures, a sign of the country’s recent ‘opening up’. Of course, no visit to Yangon would be complete without a visit to Shwedagon pagoda, the country’s holiest site.

Bagan

Bagan
Taking a hot-air balloon is one of the best ways to experience Bagan

Next up is Bagan, one of Asia’s most impressive archeological sites. Be awestruck by the two-thousand ancient monuments that dot the town’s arid plains. Visitors can explore by car, bike, horse cart or hot-air balloon, each offering a unique perspective of the remarkable structures. Bagan stands on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, Myanmar’s largest and most important waterway, and a sunset boat trip is the perfect way to cap off a day of temple touring.

Mandalay

Mandalay Hill
Looking out from Mandalay Hill over the city

Myanmar’s second largest city, Mandalay, is located just north of Bagan. Despite its close proximity, the two destinations feel worlds apart. Mandalay is a thriving trade centre, thanks to its positioning between China and India, and the city is a hive of marketplaces and businesses. At its centre stands the Royal Palace, an imposing relic from Mandalay’s past life as the royal capital. Surrounding the city like Inwa and Amarapura, two charming former capitals, and Sagaing and Mingun, sleepy riverside towns filled with religious buildings and historic monuments.

Inle Lake

Inle Lake
Fisherman on Inle Lake are famous for their unique fishing technique involving their feet

Having experienced Myanmar’s spiritual and historic side, Inle Lake serves up a healthy dose of relaxation and nature. Nestled in the Shan Hills, this natural lake boasts spectacular scenery and showcases the remarkable culture of the Inthar people, the lake’s indigenous group.

If that’s not enough, Myanmar offers plenty of other options for the intrepid traveler. There are mountains galore for trekkers, over 130 distinct ethnic groups for the culturally-curious, and tropical beaches those seeking relaxation.

Recent Trip Reviews

Related trips planned by kimkim specialists

Myanmar’s 'big four' destinations, Myanmar - Dec 30 - Jan 2, 2019

Traveler: Thao T. - Local specialist: Anne Cruickshanks

Anne was incredible! She’s prompt, responsive and professional. I want Anne to plan every one of our trip if possible! Thank you Anne for a wonderful trip!

Myanmar’s 'big four' destinations, Myanmar - Nov 27 - Dec 3, 2018

Traveler: Stephen M. - Local specialist: Linn Linn

We had a fantastic time in Myanmar; it's a magical place. Our itinerary: One day, Yangon, two days in Bagan, two days in Mandalay, one day in Heho.

We took four internal flights, and we found the domestic airlines to be excellent. I felt more safe than on some US airlines. All we're prop planes.

The whole tour was great and the guides we're wonderful. They all had different strengths
Our guide in Yangon, Ong, was extremely knowledgeable. We called him as a nickname Google. And his... read more

We had a fantastic time in Myanmar; it's a magical place. Our itinerary: One day, Yangon, two days in Bagan, two days in Mandalay, one day in Heho.

We took four internal flights, and we found the domestic airlines to be excellent. I felt more safe than on some US airlines. All we're prop planes.

The whole tour was great and the guides we're wonderful. They all had different strengths
Our guide in Yangon, Ong, was extremely knowledgeable. We called him as a nickname Google. And his English was fantastic. Our guide and Bagan, Tin, was enthusiastic. He was very much concerned with us understanding Buddhism and the cultural practices surrounding the religion. He was thorough and seemed to really enjoy his job. Our guide in Mandalay, Ben, was more on the personal and caring side. He was quick to assure us when our children were running around not to worry about it that Burmese children do that as well in temples. Our final guide, a young lady in Inle was really sweet. We we're with her only for a short time and we were on the boat all day so there was a little less interaction. She actually gave her shoes to a woman who list hers in a temple. Talk about a good deed; ring the bell in a temple. Very kind. Of course my wife gave her her shoes at the end of the day.

The drivers in each stop we're attentive and careful.

The highlights of the trip both involved water. The sunset river cruise on the Irrawaddy in Bagan was once in a lifetime. We we're really moved by the experience. And the day on Inle Lake was fascinating. We loved every minute.

We experienced only one low point which was U Bein bridge. I saw it as a crowded tourist trap and we were out of there in 15 minutes. There is really no need to go there.

My only recommendation for future tours has to do with the hotels. Hotel Hazel in Mandalay had essentially no Wi-Fi. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things; however, it's nice to post pictures to Facebook at the end of the day so your friends and family can see what you're up to. Additionally the hotels were a little far from the city centers so in the evening we really couldn't stroll anywhere just to relax and taken some more of the cultural experience.

Our agent Linn did a really nice job; often following up with us.

I highly recommend using Kim Kim, especially if you have children, ours 11 and 5. I would use Kim Kim again. Thinking of Bhutan next!

Mary

Cultural and beach trip of myanmar, Myanmar - Jan 1 - Jan 16, 2018

Traveler: Mary F. - Local specialist: Wai Lin Tun

Myanmar Diaries represented by Wai Lin, our local kimkim specialist for our Myanmar Trip, was exemplary .... Wai Lin was highly professional, helpful, accommodating and informative, we could not have asked for better. All our guides were most respectful with very good English speaking skills and knowledge of their areas, likewise our drivers skilful and very safe, the cars in excellent condition.

Our 16-day Trip was absolutely amazing ... we were very pleasantly surprised at how totally... read more

Myanmar Diaries represented by Wai Lin, our local kimkim specialist for our Myanmar Trip, was exemplary .... Wai Lin was highly professional, helpful, accommodating and informative, we could not have asked for better. All our guides were most respectful with very good English speaking skills and knowledge of their areas, likewise our drivers skilful and very safe, the cars in excellent condition.

Our 16-day Trip was absolutely amazing ... we were very pleasantly surprised at how totally safe we felt at all times given the recent unrest in the Northern area of Rakhine, which is well away from all tourist hot spots such as Bagan, Lake Inle, Ngapali Beach (divine), Mandalay and Yangon ... do not hesitate to visit Myanmar as it is an extremely scenic, culturally fascinating and safe country to visit, the Myanmar people utterly delightful! And incredible value for money as a holiday destination!

Do not hesitate to use Myanmar Dairies as your travel agent, you could not ask for better!

Myanmar’s 'big four' destinations, Myanmar - Dec 10 - Dec 13, 2017

Traveler: dave d. - Local specialist: Anne Cruickshanks

The trip to Myanmar was exceptional.Not knowing what to expect,we were met at the airport by Sai our guide who immediately made us feel relaxed and comfortable.He spoke perfect English and was extremely knowledgeable about all facets of his country both past and present.He took us to areas where we never would of been able to find without him and presented views of all different kinds of people from all walks of life which made the trip very fascinating.The Shwedagon Pagoda is immense and... read more

The trip to Myanmar was exceptional.Not knowing what to expect,we were met at the airport by Sai our guide who immediately made us feel relaxed and comfortable.He spoke perfect English and was extremely knowledgeable about all facets of his country both past and present.He took us to areas where we never would of been able to find without him and presented views of all different kinds of people from all walks of life which made the trip very fascinating.The Shwedagon Pagoda is immense and has a distinct life of its own.The fortune teller was charming and added another dimension to that day.I myself liked the trip across the river and the trishaw ride the best ,seeing the life over there and how it differs from mainstream Yangon.Sai took care of us at every step of the way and the taxi driver was at his beckoned call and stayed with us whenever needed,even the next day to take us to the airport.Anne ,the local travel agent checked in a few times making sure everything was going well.All in all it was a wonderful experience and I would go back in a heartbeat and deal with the same expert travel people. Sincerely,
Dave and Constantine

2017 trip, Myanmar - Apr 16 - Apr 27, 2017

Traveler: jo p. - Local specialist: Wai Lin Tun

Hi Alex and wai Lin. We are currently in Inle lake winding up our trip. We want to thank you for the most amazing experiences. All guides and drivers have been overwhelmingly fabulous with their knowledge and ability to accommodate our requests when we have deviated from plan. This trip has exceeded our expectations. We would not hesitate in recommending your services. Jo and Deb
jo perillo

Wai Lin changed itinerary to meet our needs