3 Perfect One-Week Itineraries for Myanmar

3 Perfect One-Week Itineraries for Myanmar

Myanmar is easily the next go-to destination. In order to plot your trip right and experience the best of what Myanmar can offer, follow these itineraries and squeeze in the majesty of this country during a week-long trip.

Myanmar is one of the most beautiful countries in Southeast Asia. It had previously been ignored and overlooked, but the country has recently gained popularity following some political transitions in 2015 which opened up more gateways for tourists. This diverse country has multiple cities that never fail to captivate, each offering an abundance of sights to gawk at, ranging from glittering pagodas and ancient temples to majestic historical landmarks.

Take a pick from these three itineraries for your next week-long trip:

Itinerary 1: The major tourist spots of Myanmar

Day 1: Yangon

myanmar itinerary

Image credit: William

Since you’ll likely arrive at the Yangon International Airport, plot out visits to Yangon’s top spots first. Being the last royal capital city of Myanmar, Yangon has many majestic landmarks and pagodas that are sure to create an impressive first impression of Myanmar. Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, and Bogyoke market. After a long day seeing the sights of Yangon, experience Myanmar’s nightlife at 19th Street. Kick back and get your fill of local grub and beer.

Day 2: Mandalay

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Take a flight to one of the major economic cities of Upper Myanmar and fill your tummy with Mandalay Mont Di (an authentic Mandalay noodle salad) before starting your journey around Mandalay. Be prepared for an awe-inspiring visit to Mandalay Palace, trek to Mandalay Hills, and take a stroll along U Bein Bridge, which is located on the outskirts of Mandalay.

Day 3-4: Bagan

myanmar itinerary

Image credit: Nhi Dang

Bagan is the major reason tourists visit Myanmar. As the ancient capital city of the First Kingdom of Myanmar, it has various temples that will totally wow you. Must-visit temples include Dhammayangyi Temple, Ananda Temple, and A Lo Taw Pyae Pagoda (translated as wish-fulfilling pagoda). To catch the beautiful Myanmar sunset, visit either the Shwesandaw Pagoda or Pyathetgyi Pagoda.

On your second day in Bagan, visit lesser-known hidden spots, such as Phaya Thone Su, Soe Min Gyi Pagoda and Sin Phyu Sin Temple. After visiting these less crowded places, go to Manuhar Temple, Gupyoukgyi Pagoda, Htilominlo Temple and Gadawpalin Temple. You can buy lacquerware as gifts for your family and friends. You can also bring home Tamarind candy and Plum Ginger, both of which are popular snacks in Bagan.

Day 5-6: Taunggyi, Nyaungshwe, Inle Lake

Image credit: Marc Veraart

From Bagan, head to the Eastern part of Myanmar, which is famous for its local cuisine. Make sure to try Bagan’s popular delicacies, such as Shan noodle, Tofu Nway (warm tofu salad), and Mee Shay (Shan rice noodles salad). Then, find your way to the Sularmuni Pagoda, which is the most sacred structure among the many pagodas at the Taunggyi and Mway Taw Kakku Pagoda grounds. Then, go to Nyaung Shwe, which is about an hour drive from Taunggyi, and reward yourself with a delicious dinner. Here, you can savour different types of cuisine, from Shan food and Burmese food to Western dishes.

Begin your next day in Bagan bright and early with a visit to the famous Inle Lake where you will find boat-rowers using their feet to row the boats. There, you can do various activities, such as explore Khit Sunn Yin Lotus, drop in at the Silk and Cotton Hand Weaving Center, or see the Inle Heritage and Phaung Daw U Pagoda.

Day 7: Kyitehtiyo

Image credit: Thorsten Bachner

Before saying goodbye to the Golden Land of Myanmar, take a day trip to Kyitehtiyo (Gold Rock Pagoda), which is a three-hour drive from Yangon. History says that this pagoda is shaped like the head of Arahant (enlightened monk). Visitors to Kyitehtiyo Pagoda are always left baffled about how the Golden Rock remains stable on the cliff.

Itinerary 2: A trip to Shan State, Mandalay & Bagan

Day 1-2: Inle Lake, Nyaung Shwe

Image credit:  Paul Arps

From Yangon, head straight to see the beautiful Inle Lake in Shan State. Phaung Daw U Pagoda, Shwe Indein Pagoda, Inle Heritage, and Hand Weaving Centers are among the many places not to be missed on this lakeside destination.

Then, enjoy a savoury dinner at any local restaurant in Nyaung Shwe. Most of the restaurants are packed with tourists who are eager to taste a whole gamut of signature dishes ranging from Burmese, Indian, and European fare. While in Nyaung Shwe, make sure to go to Shwe Yaunghwe Kyaung and Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery as well.

Day 3: Taunggyi

myanmar itinerary

Image credit: Mark Veraart

Taunggyi is the capital city of Shan State, and you can wake up early in the morning to visit its local market to interact with the friendly Shan people. Next, visit the sacred Sularmuni Pagoda and Mway Taw Kakku Pagoda. When making your way around Taunggyi, also make sure to try this local favourite: pickled tea leaves. This specialized tea is widely grown in Taunggyi, and you can even tour around a tea leaf farm to see how this famous tea is harvested.

Day 4-5: Kalaw, Pindaya

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Once you are in Kalaw, you will never want to leave this beautiful city. No matter what time you visit this hill city; you will always feel the refreshing change in temperature with its breezy,  cool weather. So, make sure to bring a sweater just in case it gets pretty chilly.

Shweoomin Pagoda, Myin Ma Hti Temple, and Bawa Thantayar Bridge are famous spots near Kalaw that you must also visit. Then try to schedule a visit to Pindaya as well, a top spot located two hours away. Here, you get to see the historic Pindaya Caves.

Day 6-7: Mandalay, Bagan

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Heho is the nearest city to Kalaw, and you can take a flight and head to Mandalay to see the famous Mandalay Palace, Mandalay Hills, and the U Pein Bridged. You can end this wonderful trip to Myanmar by getting lost in intentional prayer at one of the pagoda grounds.

Itinerary 3: Mandalay and surroundings

Day 1-2: Mandalay

myanmar itinerary

Image credit: Zac Appleton

Mandalay is one of the only two options for tourists entering into Myanmar by air. Some must-see places in Mandalay include the Mandalay Palace, Mandalay Hills, and U Bein bridge in Amarapura.

As you explore the city further, male quick visits to the Shwe Kyaung (Golden Monastery and, Kuthodaw Pagoda, a mystical spot which holds the record for having the world’s largest book. Then swing by the Mahamuni Pagoda, the local’s most visited place for religious activities.

Day 3: Sagaing, Innwa

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Then, head to the neighbouring city of Mandalay. Once there, visit the Mingun areas, where many historical sites (Mingun Pathodawgyi, the most famous of all) are located. This spot is always crowded with both local and foreign visitors. The world’s third-largest Mingun Bell weighing 90,718 kilograms, is located there.

Before going back to Mandalay, take a stop at Innwa to see Bagaya monastery, which is built in teak, Thabyedan fortress, and Yadana Hsimi Pagoda.

Day 4-6: Bagan

myanmar itinerary

Image credit: Justin Vidamo

Three days in Bagan will still not be enough to visit over 2,200 temples in this ancient city. You can travel around Bagan by riding e-bikes between Old Bagan and New Bagan areas. A trip to Bagan will not be complete without visiting Ananda Temple, Dhammayangyi Pagoda, Htilominlo Pagoda, and A Lo Taw Pyae Pagoda. Also, make sure to drop in at the Tharapar Gate and Manuhar Pagoda, where three gigantic Buddha statues stand in an ironically small building. Then, head to Bu Phaya, located on the Ayawaddy river bank.

You can visit four Swal Taw Pagodas (where sacred relics of Buddha are stored) in Bagan, namely, Shwe Zi Gone, Lawkanandar, Tant-kyi-taung, and Tu-ywin-taung. Or, you can also witness the hidden gems in Bagan, such as Kyansittha Umin Temple (Kyansittha Cave), Hngat Pyit Taung (Bird Shooting Mountain), and Sinphyushin Temple.

Day 7: Pyin-Oo-Lwin

Image credit: Clay Gilliland

After three days of going to temples, relax in this tranquil city. To wind down, you can escape to the National Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens, where you can find towering trees and fragrant flowers.

Also, make sure to visit the world’s famous Goteik viaduct, and don’t forget to snap a worthy selfie when you’re there. Then, make you’re way to see the Peikchinmyaung Cave, a limestone cave with thousands of Buddha images and stupas inside. You can also head to Pwe Kauk mini-waterfall to enjoy a rejuvenating dip in the water. Then, visit the sacred Maha Ant Htoo Kan Thar Pagoda before heading back to Mandalay for your flight home.

With a week in Myanmar, you can definitely cover more ground and see more sights with a solid itinerary. It may get pricey flying from one city to the next, but the plane fares are worth every cent once you see what each Myanmar city has to offer.

About Author

Zaw Ye Naing
Zaw Ye Naing

Zaw enjoys three things in life the most: eating, making new friends, and travelling. To enjoy all three things that he loves, he often travels where he can eat new dishes and make new friends. Zaw has travelled extensively in Southeast Asia (Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam) and it does not matter whether he has to travel alone or with the group. All that matters to him is to travel.

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