I chose a Myanmar honeymoon because it was a place that’s thriving with culture, history and plenty of things to do. Myanmar Tourist Spots include temples, pagodas, and markets. Its activities include hot air ballooning and visiting with its fascinating and sometimes curiously different people, but not many people see this place as being a top tourist destination. One reason for that is because it’s often overshadowed by other destinations such as Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand.
That being said, this helps to make it more unique and if you are after that luxurious travel experience then you should certainly give it a go. It’s a completely different way of life and this is reflected in my travel story. It was the start of one of the best weeks of my life. If you’re interested in taking the trip yourself then you can find out some of the top things you should do, listed below.
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Hot Air Balloon Rides
Bagan was once the capital of the ancient kingdom known as the Pagan. It’s now one of the top tourist destinations and visitors from across the world gather there to see the glorious, man-made wonder. More than 10,000 Buddhist pagodas, temples, and monasteries were built in the plain of Bagan alone. To this date, there are well over 2000 of them left and this is an otherworldly view, to say the least.
I was lucky enough to be able to see all of this from a bird’s eye view by simply taking part in one of the hot air balloon launches. This is one of the highlights of my trip. The whole thing lasted around 40 minutes and you are given a talk and guided by a professional team.
I actually arranged the whole thing at the hotel reception desk, but basically you are picked up from your hotel (in our instance, this was just before the sun rose) and you are given a hot drink while you wait for the balloon to be ready. The coffee left something to be desired, but when we got off, we were given some champagne and a croissant (way better). The price for all of this came to more than I thought it would at first, but that being said, the experience was worth every Kyat!
This is the last palace of the famous Burmese monarchy. Coming from England, this was something I was pretty interested in. It’s got a walled fort that is actually surrounded by a moat. As we were guided around the palace, you can easily feel the presence of gold. It was everywhere, in the halls, in each room and it even made up some of the picture frames too.
It’s very easy to see the Burmese culture up close and personal here, with various religious elements that really showcase everything that the palace stands for. I thought the throne room would have been a bit more exquisite or luxurious given the theme of the palace but actually it was tasteful and simple. The main colors were deep red and gold, and the whole complex is faithful to the design when the palace was actually built.
There are some modern elements since the palace has been reconstructed but when we went around, we didn’t feel as though they stood out or even that they were obvious. In fact, they tie in nicely and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The fee when we went was 10,000 Kyat per person, which again we felt as though we got our money’s worth there.
Another place we visited was the Hsinbyume Pagoda. India is known for the Taj Mahal, but Myanmar actually has its own version. It can be found on the western bank of the Irrawaddy River. The pagoda is painted entirely in white and it’s dedicated to Princess Hsinbyume. She actually died in childbirth and the pagoda has been a famous tourist attraction ever since.
When we went to visit this location we couldn’t stop taking photos because the place is so photogenic, especially if you go at the right time of the day. The light hits it in such a way that it makes it truly awe-inspiring so my one bit of advice for you is that you take a quality camera with plenty of battery. You’ll need it.
Take a Walk on U-Bein Bridge
At one point, we felt as though we wanted to be closer to nature. That’s why we decided to take a visit to the U-Bein bridge. This is located just out of Mandalay City and for us, it was a fairly easy location to visit. The bridge is actually the longest bridge in the world that’s made entirely out of teak. It’s around 1300 yards long and it goes across a breath-taking lake.
We decided to visit this location at the end of the day as it seemed like a romantic way to finish the evening. This was a great idea because, at sunset, it’s an incredible sight to see.
We also managed to have a few quick conversations with the locals as well. They live their lives around the lake, so it was great to get their insight on the area and what they do on a day to day basis. This was our first real interaction with the people of Myanmar, and it was certainly a good experience.
The trip from Inle Lake to Yangon is very easy to make. It’s also easily one of the most incredible and stunning lakes in the world. It’s got some incredible scenery and it’s also got fantastic views of the local rustic houses. If you want to see this lake, then you should really take one of the wooden boats. The locals do this, and we really enjoyed it.
The boats are quite slender so make sure that you don’t have too many items with you when you go. We only had a backpack and a camera so it wasn’t too bad for us, but I can imagine why it would be a problem for those who really want to hit the markets. The people who run the boats say that the best time to go would be during the sunset or sunrise, but we got there around lunchtime, so we missed out on that. I do have to say that the best part about taking a boat ride is that you can see the entire local village unfold before your very eyes.
As you go past you may even see some fisherman. They showed us a rowing method that looks more like a magic trick. They maintain perfect balance on the boat while they use one leg to row. They then dip the fishnet into the water to try and make a catch. It’s rather hard to explain but if you see it for yourself then you’ll probably be as mesmerized as I was.
Visit Bogyoke Aung San Market
Another location I’d like to point out is the Bogyoke Aung San market. It’s a touristy location but that didn’t put us off. It’s a major bazaar and it’s located in central Yangon. The cobblestone streets do take their toll on your ankles though so make sure that you take some comfortable footwear with you. If you don’t then you may end up really regretting it. The one thing that I can recommend is shoes that have a good level of ankle support. If you don’t have anything like this then make sure that you buy some because we spent hours here.
There are hundreds of stalls and stores, some of them sold art, clothing items, jewelry, and more. We did see some people advertising black market money exchanges, and people were clearly interested in doing this when we went but it’s probably not the best way for you to get a good rate. The market also had food items, gourmet goods, and even medicine too.
What to buy in Myanmar
If you’ve heard about the famous shan umbrellas, you can find them here. We didn’t pick one up as we couldn’t carry it with us on our trip, but looking back, it’s a big regret. They were incredible with vibrant colors.
If you walk around Myanmar you may see that a lot of people wear the longyi, which is actually unisex. Men and women wear clothing items very differently though, according to the customs of the area. Different patterns often cater to different sexes. This garment has become so popular over the years that market stall owners often sell them to tourists. We didn’t pick one up, but I can certainly see the appeal and if I ever get the chance to go back, I totally would.
From Inle to Indein
The journey from Inle to Indein is fun because you’ll go between narrow and (very) overgrown waterways. You’ll also be given the chance to meet boatmen and local farmers along the way too. When you go through Indein, you’ll see tons of ancient stupas. They are colored in white, brown, and red and they are all lined up. Some of them are newly restored with very interesting details. This makes the journey more interesting.
In Kayan, women wear huge brass rings around their collar. They were told to do this from a very young age, and it was a privilege to meet some of them. The idea is that the collar bones become deformed and that the upper ribs move to try and make their neck longer. You’ll be able to recognize them instantly, and they do take great pride in their culture.
As we went through the Kayan village, we saw a lot of women weaving and craft shops too. Of course, the locals were very welcoming, and they were all too happy to show us how they weave and the techniques they use. They didn’t speak English but the great thing about the Kayan language is that it takes a lot of inspiration from various other languages, such as Malay, Chinese, and English.
I made the effort to learn a few words before making the trip, which the locals seemed to appreciate, and it made the whole interaction way more fun. Sure, my pronunciation might have been a bit off, but all in all, it was a fantastic experience and it’s something that I will never forget.
Food in Myanmar
No travel post would be complete without a food section. Myanmar has a lot of specialty food and I made the effort to look them up in advance so that when I arrived, I knew what everything was. Shan Noodles are a specialty and they are often eaten throughout the day, for lunch, dinner, or even as a snack. This dish is ultimately a combination of very thin noodles and chicken. I did have a meal with pork once, that had a clear broth. It tasted a lot like pepper, which was synonymous with the dish. The strange thing about this dish is that it doesn’t matter how many times you order it, it seems to taste different every single time.
Another food that I would highly recommend is Burmese pancakes. These are fantastic for breakfast because if you go to the right place then you will find that the texture is super smooth and that the edges are very crisp. Totally worth it.
So, if you are embarking on a trip to Myanmar, you should note that there are two seasons and that they are very distinctive. There’s a wet season and a dry season. During the wet season, the area is completely inaccessible because there are very strong winds and heavy rainfall as well. The dry season is certainly the time that you should be going at because it’s the best time for you to catch that glorious hot air balloon.
Learn more about Myanmar and what to see and do by listening to Travel to Myanmar – Amateur Traveler Episode 354.