Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a country in Southeast Asia that is quickly becoming a popular destination for travelers. One of the best ways to experience Myanmar's natural beauty, rich culture, and diverse landscape is by taking a road trip. Whether you're driving along the coastline, through the mountains, or exploring the countryside, there are many reasons why a road trip in Myanmar should be on your travel itinerary.
Firstly, Myanmar is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in Southeast Asia. From the rolling hills of Shan State to the golden plains of Bagan and the pristine beaches of Ngapali, there's no shortage of natural beauty to discover. A road trip allows you to take in the scenery at your own pace, with opportunities to stop and explore along the way.
Secondly, a road trip in Myanmar is a unique way to experience the country's rich culture and history. Myanmar has a long and complex history that is reflected in its many temples, pagodas, and historic sites. Driving through the countryside, you'll encounter many small villages and towns where you can interact with locals, sample traditional food, and learn about Myanmar's customs and traditions.
Lastly, a road trip in Myanmar offers the chance to get off the beaten path and explore some of the country's lesser-known destinations. While the popular tourist destinations like Yangon and Mandalay are certainly worth a visit, some of the most memorable experiences in Myanmar can be found in the lesser-known areas. A road trip allows you to discover hidden gems that you might not find on a typical guided tour.
Overall, a road trip in Myanmar is a great way to experience the country's diverse landscape, rich culture, and unique history. With so much to see and do, a road trip is the perfect way to explore Myanmar at your own pace and on your own terms. Whether you're traveling solo or with a group, a road trip in Myanmar is sure to be an adventure you'll never forget.
A must-see attraction during your journey around Myanmar is its old capital - Yangon, an economic and a cultural hub. Its greatest attractions include the Holy Trinity Cathedral, multiple pagodas, and Bogyoke Aung San Market that will charm you with colonial architecture and cobbled streets. While sauntering around the city, you should definitely visit some of its museums, especially the National Museum as well as the Myanmar Gems Museum.
Yangon is not the only urban jewel of South Myanmar. The same title can be given to Taungoo, where you can find historical mansions, and Pyay, which made a name for itself owing to one of the most important pilgrimage places in the country - Shwesandaw Pagoda. After a tour around the southern recesses of the country, it's worth moving west to Demoso, a tiny scenic town.
Central Myanmar is a true treasure trove of attractions. For example, you'll find there a dormant volcano Mount Poppa that is located at an altitude of 1518 metres above sea level. On top, you can spot the Buddhist monastery Taung Kalat considered one of the most beautifully located buildings of this type in the world. While travelling around the central part of the country, you can't miss the scenic Lake Inle and the nearby towns: Nyaung Shwe and Kalaw.
If you still feel unsatisfied, you should definitely direct your steps to such cities as Magwe, Bagan, and Mandalay. Here, you'll be enthralled by top-notch ambiance and imposing buildings. Among the most interesting edifices, you'll find the Mahamuni Buddha Temple, Royal Palace, and Shwenandaw Monastery. The Yadanabon Zoological Gardens and Mandalay Hill are also worth mentioning. From the hill, you'll admire a breathtaking view of the city and its surroundings.
Myanmar is a beautiful and diverse country in Southeast Asia, offering road trippers a wide range of experiences. Here are three of the best road trips to take in Myanmar:
Yangon to Mandalay: This road trip takes you through the heart of Myanmar and showcases the country's natural beauty and rich culture. The journey starts in the bustling city of Yangon and takes you through the historic town of Bagan, where you can explore thousands of ancient temples and pagodas. From there, you'll head to the charming city of Mandalay, famous for its teakwood buildings and traditional handicrafts.
Mandalay to Hsipaw: This road trip takes you through the scenic Shan State and offers a glimpse into the lives of Myanmar's diverse ethnic groups. The journey starts in Mandalay and takes you through the picturesque town of Pyin Oo Lwin, known for its colonial architecture and beautiful botanical gardens. From there, you'll head to the charming town of Hsipaw, where you can explore local markets, hike to hilltop villages, and learn about the traditions of the Shan people.
Inle Lake to Kyaiktiyo: This road trip takes you through some of Myanmar's most stunning landscapes and cultural sites. The journey starts at Inle Lake, where you can take a boat tour to see the famous floating gardens and stilted villages. From there, you'll head to the historic town of Bago, where you can explore ancient temples and pagodas. Finally, you'll make your way to Kyaiktiyo, home to the famous Golden Rock, a massive boulder covered in gold leaf and perched on the edge of a cliff.
These road trips offer a variety of experiences, from exploring ancient temples and pagodas to hiking through hilltop villages and taking in the natural beauty of Myanmar's landscapes. No matter which road trip you choose, you're sure to be rewarded with unforgettable sights and experiences.
Myanmar offers residents and tourists a variety of affordable means of public transport, including trains and buses. Unfortunately, they are considered really slow and inconvenient; therefore, many tourists decide to rent a vehicle, often with a personal driver. In order to drive a car in Myanmar, you need to have a local driving licence or obtain a special permit, which is rather a daunting challenge.
When planning a car trip, be prepared for extreme conditions - most roads in the country are unpaved and have damaged surface. Despite the fact that Myanmar follows right-hand traffic, most cars have steering wheel on the right side. Up until 1970, Myanmar had followed left-hand traffic.
If you are planning a road trip in Myanmar, it is important to be aware of some essential information to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Road conditions: Some roads in Myanmar are in poor condition and may be challenging to navigate, especially during the rainy season. It is recommended to stick to main roads and highways and avoid driving at night.
Driving laws: In Myanmar, drivers must drive on the right side of the road. It is also mandatory to wear seat belts, and the use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited. Make sure to have a valid international driver's license and carry necessary vehicle documents.
Weather conditions: The best time to visit Myanmar is during the dry season, which runs from November to February. However, it is important to be prepared for hot and humid weather during the rest of the year.
Cultural sensitivities: Myanmar is a predominantly Buddhist country, and visitors should respect local customs and traditions. When visiting religious sites, dress modestly and remove shoes before entering.
Safety concerns: Some areas of Myanmar are still affected by armed conflict and should be avoided. It is also important to be cautious of petty crime, such as theft and pickpocketing, especially in crowded areas.
Health considerations: Before your trip, make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccinations and consider additional vaccinations such as typhoid and hepatitis A. Be aware of food and water safety to avoid stomach illnesses.
Language barriers: While English is spoken in some tourist areas, it is not widely spoken throughout the country. It is recommended to learn some basic phrases in Burmese or have a translation app available.
By keeping these factors in mind, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable road trip in Myanmar.
The best time to take a road trip in Myanmar is during the cool and dry season, which runs from November to February. During this time, the weather is relatively mild and pleasant, with less rain and lower humidity. It is also the peak tourist season, so popular destinations and attractions may be more crowded and expensive.
However, if you are looking for a more budget-friendly and less crowded option, the shoulder seasons of March to May and September to October can also be good times to visit. During these periods, the weather can be warm and sunny, but there may also be occasional rain showers.
The rainy season, which runs from June to August, is generally not recommended for road trips in Myanmar due to heavy rains and potential flooding, especially in more remote areas. Road conditions can also be more difficult to navigate during this time.
It is important to note that Myanmar has a tropical climate, so temperatures can be quite hot and humid throughout the year, even during the cooler months. It is recommended to pack light, breathable clothing and stay hydrated while on a road trip in Myanmar.
If you are planning a road trip in Myanmar, it's important to pack carefully to ensure you have everything you need for a safe and enjoyable journey. Here are some essential items to pack and bring:
Comfortable clothing: Myanmar has a tropical climate, so lightweight and breathable clothing is essential. Be sure to pack clothing that covers your arms and legs to protect you from the sun and insects.
Good quality shoes: Comfortable and sturdy shoes are important for walking and hiking in Myanmar. Bring a pair of sneakers or hiking shoes that can handle rough terrain.
Sun protection: The sun can be intense in Myanmar, so it's important to pack sun protection such as sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
Insect repellent: Mosquitoes are common in Myanmar, especially during the rainy season. Pack insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases.
First aid kit: Bring a basic first aid kit with items such as band-aids, antiseptic, and pain relievers.
Water bottle: It's important to stay hydrated in Myanmar's hot climate. Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it regularly.
Cash: Credit cards are not widely accepted in Myanmar, so it's important to bring cash for purchases and emergencies. US dollars are accepted in many places, but it's also a good idea to have some local currency (kyat).
Travel adapter: Myanmar uses Type C, D, and F electrical outlets, so bring a travel adapter if necessary.
Maps and guidebooks: Bring maps and guidebooks to help you navigate and plan your route.
Camera: Myanmar is a beautiful country with many scenic spots and cultural sites. Bring a camera to capture memories of your road trip.
Here are some guidebooks and road maps that can be helpful for a road trip in Myanmar:
Lonely Planet Myanmar (Burma) (Travel Guide) - This guidebook by Lonely Planet provides detailed information on various destinations in Myanmar, including recommended routes and itineraries, transportation options, accommodation, and dining options.
Myanmar (Burma) 1:1,100,000 Travel Map - This detailed travel map of Myanmar is perfect for road trippers, as it highlights major highways, scenic routes, and attractions along the way. It also includes information on distances, travel times, and points of interest.
Myanmar (Burma) Marco Polo Pocket Guide - This pocket-sized guidebook offers practical information for travelers, including must-see sights, insider tips, and recommendations for food and drink. It also includes a pull-out map of Myanmar.
Myanmar (Burma) Nelles Map - This foldable map of Myanmar by Nelles is designed for easy use on the road. It includes detailed information on road networks, national parks, and tourist sites, as well as useful tips for travelers.
Myanmar (Burma) Insight Flexi Map - This durable and waterproof map of Myanmar by Insight Guides is perfect for road trippers. It includes detailed road networks, city maps, and a comprehensive index of places of interest.
Myanmar Travel Journal - If you're planning on documenting your road trip, consider bringing a travel journal to record your experiences and memories. This Myanmar-specific travel journal includes prompts for recording your daily activities, as well as space for photos and notes.
Overall, it's important to have reliable maps and guidebooks when embarking on a road trip in Myanmar, as the country's road networks can be confusing and unpredictable. It's also recommended to pack light but essential items such as sunscreen, insect repellent, a first-aid kit, and plenty of water.