Myanmar Travel Route & Itinerary: Thailand to Burma

Flying into Yangon is expensive! Depending on where you’re travelling from it may be much cheaper (and I think more exciting!) to cross the border from Thailand to Myanmar. The Land border from Mae Sot to Myawaddy has opened recently, and is now easy to traverse. It is easy to find transport from Myawaddy to the rest of Myanmar.

To find out more about crossing the Mae Sot – Myawaddy border, check out Nomadasaurus’ advice!

Below is a travel itinerary for Myanmar, crossing from Mae Sot in Thailand to Myawaddy, taking one month, perfect for a 28 day visa.


Map


Day 1

Day 1: Arrive in Mae Sot from Thailand, and cross the Friendship Bridge to Myawaddy.
From Myawaddy ask at the border, and take a shared car to Hpa-An.
The trip should cost around $10 and take around 5 hours.

Arrive in Hpa-An and ask your driver to drop you at a guesthouse.
I recommend the Soe Brothers Guesthouse for backpackers, which costs around $12 for a double room.

Spend the evening exploring Hpa-An's restaurants, and enjoy a Myanmar beer!

Day 2

Day 2: Spend the day exploring Hpa-An!
I recommend the Tuk Tuk tour offered by the Soe Brothers. The tour costs 5000 Kyat if there are 6 or more of you in your group.

If you have another day to spend in Hpa-An you could cross the river and climb Mount Zwegabin, or hire a motorbike and explore for yourself!

Day 3

Day 3: Spend the morning in Hpa-An, maybe enjoy a traditional breakfast in a Cafe.

In the afternoon take the bus to Kinpun. This can be easily organised by your guesthouse, and should costs around 5000 Kyat, taking around 4 hours.

Kinpun is small, when you arrive you will easily be able to find a guesthouse.
Else, if you are not on a budget, head straight up Mount Kyaiktiyo to the Golden Rock and stay on the mountain.

Day 4

Day 4: Ascend Mount Kyaiktiyo, either by foot or by truck.
The truck costs around 3000 Kyat (including life insurance!). The entrance fee to visit the rock is around $6.

You can either return down the mountain and leave Kinpun for Bago this evening, or wait until the following morning.

Day 5

Day 5: Leave in the morning for Bago. The bus should only take 2 or 3 hours, and will cost around 5000 Kyat.
When you arrive in Bago you will most likely have to take a mototaxi from the bus station to your guesthouse in the centre of Bago.

In Bago I recommend the San Francisco Guesthouse as a good budget option.
Here you can rent a bicycle or motorbike for the day to explore Bago and the surrounding area.

Day 6

Day 6: From the San Francisco Guesthouse you can rent a bike, or the lovely owner will organise a mototaxi tour of the Bago zone.
The Bago zone fee is $10, but you will need to pay a little extra to use your camera!

Take a look at Mudskipper for a guide of what temples and sights you can explore in Bago.
Make sure you visit Kyaly Khat Wai Monestry at lunch to help feed rice to the Monks!

Day 7

 Day 7: Take the train from Bago to Yangon. This is a short and easy trip.
The bus is cheaper than the train, but the train ride is very scenic and will take you in to the amazing Yangon Central Railway Station.

From Yangon station it is a quick walk to the Sule Pagoda, where a number of nice budget guesthouses are located. I recommend the Garden Guesthouse as a good budget option with a great view of the Pagoda.

Spend the evening enjoying some of Yangon's famous street food or trying the amazing 999 Shan Noodle,for the best noodles south of the Shan State!

Day 8

Day 8: Explore Yangon!
Spend the day walking Yangon's colonial streets, and visiting temples. You could take a trip on the famous Yangon Circle Line.

In the evening head down to Chinatown's 19th Street for a host of backpackers, BBQs and drinks.

Day 9

Day 9: Spend the day exploring the rest of Yangon. 
You could take a trip to Bogyoke Market to buy a Longyi, or visit Inya or Kandawgyi Lake. In the afternoon take a trip to the National Museum of Myanmar to take in some history.

In the evening take the night bus from Yangon to Bagan. This can be easily booked from one of the many bus operators opposite the station.

Day 10.png

Day 10: Arrive early morning in Bagan. From the bus station take a taxi to Nyaung-U or New Bagan (note that Nyaung-U is the best town for budget travellers). If you are not on a budget you may want to stay in the scenic Old Bagan.
If you are staying in Nyaung-U I recommend the Pyinsa Rupa Guesthouse, for the lovely owner and great breakfast.

Spend the rest of the day resting, to recover from your over night journey! If you fancy venturing out you could visit the local market, enjoy a leisurely dinner, or visit a local hotels swimming pool.

Day 11

Day 11: Rent an electric bike and explore the many temples of Old Bagan!
The ticket for the Bagan Zone costs $20 but lasts for one week and is definitely worth it.

In the evening I recommend a meal at Weather Spoon's, for the 'Best Burger in Myanmar!'

Day 12

Day 12: Spend the day continuing to explore Bagan.
In the evening take the night bus to Kalaw.

Day 13

Day 13: Arrive in Kalaw.
Kalaw is small and it is easy to walk in to town to find a Guesthouse.
I recommend the Golden Lily Guesthouse; the owner is lovely, offers a great breakfast, and will also organise your trek to Inle Lake!

Spend the day organising your trek to Inle Lake. This can be done from your Guesthouse or by one of the many tour operators around Kalaw.
Visit the market to get supplies for your trip, and then rest before your trek.

In the evening I suggest a trip to Everest restaurant to load up on amazing Nepalese curry before your trek.

Day 14-16

Day 14-16: Take the three day trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake, staying over night in Monasteries or Home Stays.

Day 16.png

Day 16: Arrive (exhausted!) in Inle Lake.
From the edge of the lake most tour operators will arrange a boat to Nyaungshwe, where there are good budget guesthouse options and lovely restaurants. If you are not on a budget you could stay in a beautiful resort on the edge of the lake!
In Nyaungshwe I recommend Song of Travel Hostel as a fun, social place to stay.

Spend the afternoon resting and recovering from your trek. 
I recommend a trip to the hot springs and dinner at Live Dim Sum House.

Day 17

Day 17: Explore the lake!
Take an organised boat tour of Inle Lake, easy to arrange with one of the many drivers in Nyaungshwe.

Day 18

Day 18: Spend the day exploring Nyaungshwe.
In the morning I recommend a cookery class with an early morning trip to the market.
In the afternoon hire a bike and visit the Red Mountain Winery for some (interesting) Burmese wine tasting!

For dinner I recommend the lovely Thanakha Garden, where you can try some traditional Thanaka!

In the evening take the night bus to Hsipaw.

Day 19

Day 19: Arrive early morning in Hsipaw.
Hsipaw is small so it is easy to walk to find a guesthouse. If you need to kill some time before your guesthouse opens the morning market.
For a good budget guesthouse I recommend Lily the Home (not least for the amazing breakfast) or Mr. Charles, both of which are great at organising treks.

After organising your trek you could spend the rest of the day relaxing. Alternatively hire a motorbike and explore the rice paddies surrounding Hsipaw.

For dinner the Club Terrace boasts amazing views of the river and delicious curries.

Day 20-21.png

Day 20-21: Enjoy a two day trek through the elusive Shan State!

Day 22

Day 22: Spend your recovery day on the train to Mandalay.
The train from Hsipaw to Mandalay takes a long while (it is a little quicker to get the train to Pyin Oo Lwin, and then bus the rest of the way). BUT this train journey is one of the most scenic on the planet.
You will cross the Gokteik Viaduct, the highest bridge in Myanmar, and not for those with vertigo!

From the train station take a taxi to the centre of Mandalay. There are many good budget guesthouses near Mandalay Palace.

In the evening enjoy an amazing traditional Burmese buffet at Shan Ma Ma!

Day 23

Day 23: Take a day tour of Mandalay and the surrounding areas. 
Ask your guesthouse to book a taxi, mototaxi or trishaw taxi to be your driver and tour guide for the day; if you ask for Hyo Myint To's moto-trishaw, i cannot recommend him enough!
You're driver will ferry you to many of Mandalay's best sights. Ask to be at the U-Bein Bridge for sunset!

In the evening enjoy a show by the famous Moustache Brothers.

Day 24.png

Day 24: In the day hire motorbikes and drive to Mingun to see the amazing unfinished stupa.

In the evening take the night bus or train to Naypyidaw.

Day 25

Day 25: Arrive in Naypyidaw.
Take a taxi to your hotel. Note that there are few to no budget hotels in Naypyidaw, so treat yourself for the end of your trip!

You do not need long to explore Naypyidaw, as it's pretty baron.
My one recommendation for Naypyidaw would be to drive the Naypyidaw highway, as seen on Top Gear!
And for dinner why not check out Cafe Flight!

That evening (or the morning after) take a bus back to Yangon.

Day 26-28

Day 26-28: This itinerary has a couple of extra days to plan onward travel or enjoy Yangon before your visa runs out.
This also gives you a couple of spare days in case you want to spend longer in any destination!

 

If you have any advice for trips to Myanmar, please share it or link your blogs in the comment sections 🙂

Advertisements

10 Cute Women’s Travelling Trousers

Light weight trousers are a travel essential! They are easy to pack, keep you covered from the sun, and are respectful in communities where it is expected for women to cover up.

You will find Elephant Pants in abundance throughout Southeast Asia, and they are beginning to gain popularity throughout the rest of the world. Elephant pants are super cheap to buy while travelling (Think less than £2), but if you want some traveller style trousers to take with you, i like these:


1. Cropped Plisse Pleat Floral Print

Available here – £25

 

2. RAGYARD Festival Green Tiger Trousers

Available here – £65

 

3. JDY Floral Printed Trouser

Available here – Reduced to £12.50

 

4. Akasa Beach Pants

Available here – £18

 

5. Tropical Print Harem Pants

Available here – £25

 

6. New Look Plus Floral Plisse Crop

Available here – Reduced to £14.50

 

7. Curve Linen Trouser

Available here – Reduced to £21

 

8. Shirred Harem in Washed Tie Dye

Available here – Reduced to £15

 

9. Glamorous Festival Awkward Length Trouser

Available here – Reduced to £21

 

10. Free People Miranda Angular Pull On Wide Trouser

Available here – £58


 

 

Southeast Asia Backpacking Packing Checklist

Southeast Asia Backpacking Packing Checklist
What to bring – Travel essentials

The following packing list is ideal for trips of about one month or more. There’s lots of places to do laundry in most of Southeast Asia (you could also bring some hand wash or a wash bag), so don’t worry about bringing enough clothes to last for your entire trip.

Remember to pack light, don’t over pack. Lugging a heavy bag around is a hindrance, especially in the Southeast Asian heat.  Pack the essentials, and leave a little room to bring back souvenirs!

Also check out our Southeast Asia Preparation Checklist

Important StuffIf you remember nothing else remember these few essentials

• PASSPORT
 (+ photocopy, this is important in case you lose your passport)

• PASSPORT PHOTOS
 Again you may need these if you lose your passport. You will also need passport photos to get Visas for some countries

• MONEY
 (In the form of cash, card, or travellers cheques)
 I always recommend bringing some cash (in the currency of your arrival destination) to get started, a few dollars, and a card (or travel card)

• BOARDING PASS/ TRAVEL TICKETS
 Remember all boarding passes and travel documents and consider having photocopies of these

•TRAVEL INSURANCE DOCUMENTS
 If you have purchased travel insurance (which I recommend you do) make sure you bring a copy of your travel insurance documents in case of emergencies

Clothes
 • 2/3 x    T SHIRTS OR TOPS
 • 1/2 x    SHORTS/ SKIRTS
 In a lot of places in Southeast Asia tourists do wear shorts. But always remember to be respectful, check the rules, and never wear shorts in Temples.
 • 1/2 x    LIGHT TROUSERS OR LEGGINGS
 Bare in mind that you will probably buy at least one pair of Elephant Pants in Asia!
 • 7 x    UNDERWEAR
 • 5 x    SOCKS
 • 2 x    SWIMWEAR
 • 1 x    SUN HAT
 • 1 x    RAINCOAT
 • 1 x    WARM JUMPER
 Night buses are often air conditioned far too strongly, and a warm jumper will prove invaluable for keeping you warm on these journeys!

Shoes

 

 • 1 x   FLIP FLOPS
 You might consider waiting to buy these in Asia, they are usually much cheaper!
 • 1 x   CASUAL SHOES (i.e. Trainers or Converse)
 • 1 x   WALKING SHOES/ BOOTS
 Whether you choose to bring shoes or boots depends on how much hiking you think you will do.
 If you feel you are likely to hike mountains and long trails, a pair of boots may prove invaluable.  

For walking boots i took a pair of Brasher Hillwalkers.  I would highly recommend these, they were comfortable, waterproof and easy to walk in. You could also try Regatta.
For walking shoes (as boots are often bulky and difficult to carry) I recommend a pair of Tevas.  For every day walking and small treks they are comfortable and extremely resilient. Try these for women, or these for men.


ToiletriesTo carry your toiletries, take a look at my Patchwork World Map Pouch

 • MEDICATION Including Malaria Tablets
 • SUN CREAM
This is often difficult to find in Southeast Asia, so bring enough for your trip!
 • MOSQUITO REPELLENT
To accompany your Malaria Tablets you should apply mosquito repellent frequently
 • SHAMPOO
 • SHOWER GEL
 • TOOTHBRUSH & TOOTHPASTE
 • BABY WIPES
 • DEODORANT
 • SANITARY PRODUCTS
 • HAIR BRUSH
 • HAIR BANDS
 • MAKEUP (Optional)
 • HAND SANITIZER

And any other products you deem to be essential in your day to day life


Electronics
 • CAMERA
 Many people chose to take pictures on their smart phones, if you don’t, bring a camera to document your trip!
 Also remember your camera case, to protect your camera while travelling and any chargers/ batteries.
 You may also consider bringing a GoPro. Or for a cheaper alternative I have an Apeman, which I love!
 • PHONE & Charger
 • TABLET (Optional)
 Not everyone chooses to bring a Tablet travelling, but I find it very useful for when I have no access to a  computer. You could chose an Ipad Mini. Or if you're looking for a cheaper alternative, I recommend this Fire Tablet.
 • ADAPTER
 You will probably encounter a few different types of sockets in Southeast Asia. I recommend bringing a worldwide adapter.
 • CHARGERS/ BATTERIES
 For long bus/ train journeys or treks you may also want to bring a portable charger.

Everything Else
• FIRST AID KIT 
Plasters and antiseptic are important for emergencies, always travel with a first aid kit, just in case. Try this travel size first aid kit or have a look in your local drug store (or Boots/ Superdrug) 

• SUN GLASSES  

• EAR PLUGS & EYE MASK 
Hostels and night buses/ sleeper trains can be very noisy, ear plugs and eye masks will make it easier to sleep. Try this ear plug & eye mask combo. 

• MONEY BELT 
Money Belts are recommended for security while travelling, placed under your clothes it is unlikely that thieves will see and take your money belt.  Keep important things in here (like your passport or spare cash) when out. 
For a simple money belt try the Samsonite Double Pocket Money Belt  
Also Take a look at our 10 Best Stylish Bumbags for Travelers! 

• SLEEPING BAG LINER 
Most hostels come with bed linen, however if you plan on camping or are worried about the cleanliness of the bed linen then consider bringing a sleeping bag liner.  Liners are lighter and easier to carry than sleeping bags, and are cooler in hot climates. (Silk liners are more desirable, but also more expensive) 
Try this poly-cotton liner, or this silk liner. 

• TRAVEL TOWEL 
You can bring a normal towel, however microfiber towels dry much quicker and fold smaller, and so are easier to transport while traveling. 

• MOSQUITO NET
This is particularly important if you are planning on camping. I recommend this net.

• DRY BAG
There are lots of water based activities to try in Southeast Asia (For example Tubing in Laos). A Dry Bag will help keep your valuables safe in the water.

• PADLOCKS 
Padlocks are important for hostel lockers to keep valuables safe.  You may also wish to padlock your suitcase while traveling.

• TORCH
Not everywhere you travel in Southeast Asia will have streetlights. A torch is essential for safety, particularly in rural areas. I prefer to use a head torch!

• PENKNIFE (Optional)
This is not essential, but if you are planning on doing a lot of hiking a penknife may come in handy. I used a penknife to eat a coconut that fell from a tree! 

• GUIDE BOOK 
When travelling I like to have a guide book, although you can research most places online.  Lonely planet guides are concise and interesting; they provide information on what to do, where to stay and where to eat. 
Try: Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring
Or alternatively: Lonely Planet, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos & Northern Thailand
You may also want to consider bringing a phrasebook! 

• WATERPROOF PASSPORT HOLDER 
Not strictly essential, but with rugged travelling I find it important to protect your passport and other travel documents with a waterproof cover. Alternatively you could try these DriStore bags. 

• PLASTIC BAGS 
Plastic bags always come in handy when travelling; for example to store dirty washing or muddy shoes.  When packing my rucksack i separate things into plastic bags, this makes it easy to unpack and repack your backpack without fuss. 

• TRAVEL JOURNAL 
Not essential, but i personally like documenting my travels in a journal to keep a nice record of my trip. I use the Luckies of London advisable.

 Now you will need two bags to carry everything in

• MAIN BACKPACK
 I took a 42l Lowe Alpine Crag Attack rucksack, which I can highly recommend.
 42l proved big enough to fit everything I needed, and was easy to carry.
 
• DAY BAG
 I recommend the ever popular Eastpak backpack; they are surprisingly spacious, stylish and rugged, with a long guarantee.
 Jan Sport Backpacks are also very popular. 
 Or take a look at our 10 Best Stylish Backpacks for Travelers!

Southeast Asia Backpacking Preparation Checklist

Southeast Asia Backpacking Preparation Checklist
What to do – How to prepare

Planning a tip to Southeast Asia? Below is a full preparation list to help you plan your trip!

Also check out our Southeast Asia Packing Checklist

Plan a Route

This is the exciting part! 

Start planning where you want to go. You may not have a strict route, but it is useful to have a vague idea of what you want to see and where you want to visit. Bear in mind that your plans will almost certainly change!
Start reading guidebooks and looking online and write down a proposed route. Indietraveller has some useful route planning advice.

Travel Advice

Most countries in Southeast Asia are safe to travel in, and most visits trouble free. However it is very important to check government travel advice before travelling.
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
In most countries you visit it is likely that there will be some areas where travel is not recommended. Make sure you take this into account when planning your route.

Book Flights

Once you've decided where you want to go you'll want to book your flights! You may not want to book all your internal flights, but you'll need at least a flight from home to your first destination.

I use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights on the day I want to travel, or to explore the cheapest month to travel.  If you know how long you are travelling for, and where you'll be when you want to return, book a return ticket, otherwise you could book a one way ticket and plan to book your return flight when you are away.
 STA travel offer a MultiFLEX pass, starting at £29 these passes let you change your flights; this is good, as you may wish to stay longer than you initially planned!  Flights through STA are usually a good price.

I have flown to Asia with a number of different airlines: Quatar Airways,  Air China, China Southern, Air Vietnam and KLM.  My favourite airline was Quatar Airways, but this was also more expensive, Air China were also a good airline, where China Southern left something to be desired.
 Check reviews and prices before you make your decision.

Get Travel Insurance.png

Travel insurance is essential.  It is often difficult to find travel insurance which will protect you for an elongated holiday.
On my most recent trip I booked through Go Walkabout, but World Nomads is also highly recommended.

Apply for Visas

Find out whether you require a Visa for any of your destinations, and apply well in time of your departure date (at least a month before) to give your visa time to arrive.  Most subsequent travel Visas can be applied for while in Asia, in the major cities.

Check if you need a Visa here and read more here.

Book Vaccinations
For most trips to Southeast Asia you will need vaccinations. Book your vaccinations at least a month and a half before your trip as most courses take a month to complete!

Check the Fit For Travel website to check what vaccinations you may require. Also make sure you are up to date on all regular vaccinations as well.

Get Malaria Tablets

Getting a prescription for malaria tablets is essential for most trips to South East Asia.  To check if the areas you are travelling to are effected by Malaria check the Fit For Travel website and select your destination.

Most doctors offer three different types of Malaria tablets, from cheapest to most expensive:
 • Mefloquine
 • Doxycycline
 • Atovaquone/Proguanil

I ordered my tablets from nomadtravel , but, especially if it is your first time travelling, you should consider having a consultation with your doctor to see which tablets are right for you. 
 Personally I recommend Doxycycline, it is relatively cheap and I haven't experienced any serious side effects.  Read reviews and side effects carefully before you make your decision.  And make sure you have enough tablets to last for the duration of your trip, and the allocated time for after your trip.
 Even with Malaria tablets it is important to take bite prevention precautions, read about how to avoid bites at Fit For Travel.

Get Money

For long trips I do not recommend that you bring enough cash to last your entire trip, as you risk having it lost or stolen!  Instead I recommend that you bring enough cash (in the currency of your arrival destination) to last 1 week, and a few US dollars.  You can compare exchange rates here.

Then bring a card, or travel money card to withdraw money for the rest of your trip.  If your bank does not offer competitive exchange rates consider a Caxton Fx currency card or an STA Travel Money Card.  These card boasts no withdrawal fees at ATMs, and you load them with money as you go, so that if they are stolen, you do not have to worry about all the money being withdrawn from your bank. You can also get someone at home to load the money onto your card for you.
Take a look at this website to review other currency cards.
There is access to  ATMs through most of Southeast Asia, excluding some islands.

Book Accommodation

It is important to book your first few nights accommodation, so that when you arrive in your first destination you are not lost and vulnerable.
 In Asia I usually book through Hostel World or Agoda.
 You could also try Booking.com or Trivago.
 Find and print out detailed directions to your accommodation from the airport and show these to your taxi driver.

Photocopy Documents

Just before you leave you should photocopy all important documents twice:
 • Passport
 • Travel Insurance Details
 • Flight Boarding Passes
 Take one copy with you and leave one at home in case of emergency.