Your Complete Travel Planning Guide To Myanmar
We’d like to give you, the person reading this post, an enthusiastic high-five because that means you’re planning your trip to Myanmar! We spent 3 wonderful weeks exploring Myanmar and we are here to give you a complete travel planning guide to Myanmar to ensure you have the same wonderful experiences we had!
Myanmar is truly a wonder to behold. We can’t wait for you to explore it.
A few important things we want to call out just to set your expectations before you visit Myanmar.
- Myanmar is what Thailand was 20 years ago. Meaning? It’s unlike any country in Asia you’ll experience. The country recently opened its borders to international tourists and because of this, the culture and way of life has stayed much more intact as compared to other Southeast Asian countries.
- Myanmar is massive. Because the country is so big, it takes quite a while to get to places. Our biggest travel tip is always allow a day for transport from one place to the next. Things run slow here and if you try and book something (like a tour, etc) the same day of your transport, you may have a pretty good chance of missing it.
- You can’t go everywhere. Myanmar is no stranger to corruption and crimes against humanity. In fact, the government purposely tries to cover up “certain things” from the media. Because of this, tourists and journalist do not have access to the entire country. Permits are needed for some states and regions and some places you are just flat out not allowed in.
We have a load of other tips on things to know before you go to Myanmar for you to check out too. We want you to be as prepared as possible 🙂
The Best Time To Visit Myanmar
- January to May: The sun is out and the weather is HOT. If you are looking to avoid the rainy season, these are the months for you.
- June – September: Mandalay region is still sunny and hot in June but the beaches start to see monsoon activity and begin to wrap up their season by mid-june. Towards the end of June, monsoons start to effect more of the country and if you are determined to go, best stay around the larger cities where infrastructure is better.
- October – December: Beach resorts are up and running again and the main tourist attractions are done with the monsoon season.
Getting Your Myanmar eVisa
Visa on Arrival is not possible for tourists coming to Myanmar. You’ll need to do a bit of work ahead of time to ensure you have your visa and paperwork in order or else, you will not be allowed in the country of Myanmar (we know from experience…)
You NEED a eVisa to enter Myanmar and it MUST be applied for ahead of time. Allow yourself at least 3 days to allow your eVisa to process if you do want to pay for rush services. If you are needing your eVisa faster, there are rush services of one day to 5 hours. Ff course, you pay more for those services.
You can apply for your eVisa here.
We paid $89 USD (per person) for a 28 day visa into Myanmar. 28 days is the longest tourist eVisa you can get. If you are going for business, a 70 day eVisa is something you can look into getting.
The application process is straightforward. Just allow yourself the time that is needed. We didn’t give ourselves enough time and we ended up missing our flight! Don’t be us. Ha, learn from our mistakes.
How To Get To Myanmar
You have two ways of getting to Myanmar. The first is flying and the second is overland travel from Thailand.
If you want to fly, your best bet is to fly into Yangon International Airport in Yangon and Mandalay International Airport in, you guessed it, Mandalay.
Once in the country, there are a handful of regional airports scattered about for you to use if flying is your preferred travel method.
From Thailand, you have a few options to cross by land into Myanmar. We are going to talk about two of the border crossing options you have from Thailand.
There are a few other border crossing options but there are stipulations and exceptions to each of those border crossings. Some border crossings will not let you go further into the country without permits, some crossings are weird about Visas. For this post, we are only going to cover the two most popular points of entry, Myawaddy and Htee Kee.
Option 1: Mae Sot, Thailand to Myawaddy, Myanmar
This is the most popular border crossing from Thailand to Myanmar. You can get to Mae Sot, Thailand via bus from any of the major cities in Thailand. However, we recommend taking the bus from Chiang Mai as it’s a shorter ride from let’s say Bangkok.
If you are over or don’t prefer long bus travel, there is an airport in Mae Sot. If you’d rather fly, that is always an option for you to look into.
Option 2: Ban Phu Nam Ron, Thailand – Htee Kee, Myanmar
A second popular crossing is for the folks coming from Kanchanaburi, Thailand. This border crossing is further south in Myanmar than Myawaddy is.
Since it is further south, this is a great crossing especially if you are interested in getting some beach and dive time in while in Myanmar.
Please keep in mind that details surrounding border crossings into Myanmar are prone to change. Our biggest tip is to NEVER EVER assume, so please exercise due diligence before heading to any border crossing.
Go Myanmar has a great post on border crossings on what is and isn’t possible. We highly suggest looking into this government site as this may be the most up to date information if situations at the borders change.
How To Get Around Myanmar
From buses to planes to boats to trains, you definitely have options on how to get around Myanmar. Like we said above, there are regional airports scattered about the country so if you are short on time, consider flying.
If you have the time and want to focus on budget friendly transportation, consider traveling overland. Sure, it will take a while and sometimes can make you nauseous, but it’s definitely the cheapest way to travel.
Just a little FYI – roads were recently added in some places and let us remind you, you’re traveling in Asia. A place that lives and breaths “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Literally.
The railroad tracks are some of the original rails the British laid and under no circumstances have any updates been made unless it is absolutely necessary. Oh the joys of traveling around in Myanmar 🙂
TIP: A little advice on bus travel. Make sure you take a tourist bus. It’ll be way more comfortable than the local transportation and plus, it’s only a few bucks more. If you’d like to know more about traveling Myanmar read our two posts about traveling by boat and by train. Definitely unforgettable memories.
Where To Go In Myanmar
Depending on the length of your time and what you want to see, each person’s travel itinerary will differ. Below are few points of interests for you to consider when planning your route.
- Yangon (city)
- Mandalay (city)
- Bagan (pagodas and sunrises)
- Mrauk U (temples and pagodas – like Bagan but less visited)
- Hpa An (small rural town)
- Inle Lake (beautiful lake)
- Kalaw to Inle Lake (hike)
- Hipaw (small town & hiking)
- Ngapali (beach)
- Ngwe Saung (beach)
If you are interested, we have a 2 week itinerary as well as a epic 3 week backpacking itinerary to help give you some inspiration in planning your route around Myanmar.
It’s one big, beautiful country that is waiting for you! Enjoy her, friends.
WANT MORE INFORMATION ON MYANMAR?!
10 Must See Temples & Pagodas in Bagan, Myanmar
9 Things To Know Before You Go To Myanmar
Your Complete Guide To Trekking From Kalaw to Inle Lake
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For more travel tips, guides and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our site, follow us on Instagram @wanderingstus, Pinterest and on Facebook. Oh, and if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or, just leave us a positive note!
– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)