Myanmar (Burma) is home to some of the early civilizations of South East Asia and with Myanmar being one of the last remaining countries to open up to the modern world you will still find a way of life that has been left untouched by western influences for centuries. A country that continues to fascinate and intrigue me. If you are thinking of visiting this Golden Land, then here are some travel tips for Myanmar. Whether you choose to fly into the former capital Yangon and wander between its colonial buildings of which this city is famous for, take a hot air balloon over the more than two-thousand ancient pagodas and temples in Bagan, experience the river cruise down the Ayeyarwaddy River from Mandalay to Bagan, to trekking on trails that pass through Myanmar’s ethnic Shan, Danu, Pa-o, Tuang-yoe and Inthar tribes along the peaceful Inle Lake, Myanmar offers a wealth of experiences for every traveler.
Myanmar Tea Experience
For an authentic Myanmar tea experience make a stop at the STK Tea Shop at Mo Po Street and sit between Yangon’s colorful local characters as you watch the lively activity of tea being prepared for you and flat bread being freshly made in their pot oven.
Wholesome Gourmet Lunch
Visit Sharky’s for lunch and try their locally cured meats and legendary home made gelato ice cream. Educated and raised in Geneva, Ye Htut Win is passionate about promoting locally grown products and dishes that are produced at an international standard.
Cocktails at Monsoon
After a full day of exploring the city of Yangon go for cocktails at Monsoon during their five – seven PM happy hour (still need to double check the exact timing). A charming three-story colonial building, their staff are extremely friendly and their menu offers a wide variety of dishes from ranging from traditional Myanmar food, to Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian cuisine. Their top floor is a gift shop and features a nice collection of Myanmar’s handicrafts and art.
The Governor’s Residence by Orient Express
Stay at the the colonial style mansion that dates back to the early 1900s. The Governor’s Residence is a charming and welcoming sanctuary to return to after spending a day out in Yangon. Live music on Friday and Saturdays and the recommended rooms to stay in are: the Governor’s Room 411, 412, 711, and 713 which have a balcony and looks out onto the garden.
Dinner at La Planteur
Indulge yourself by having an exquisite romantic dining experience at La Plataran which is beautifully situated amidst a charming intimate garden. Great attention has been given to the food and ambience.
Shopping at Boyoke Market
To find some great textiles, excellent lacquareware, and indigenous jewelry from various ethnic tribes in Myanmar make a stop at Yoyamay Textile shop situated on the second floor of Boyoke Market. Family run business with very reasonable prices.
The Local Market Experience at Dawn
Take an early morning sunrise boat ride to the one of the markets and wander between the local people and hill tribes who exchange food and other basic necessities before the rest of the tourist arrive and traditional market stands are replaced for with touristy souvenirs.
A Day Hike around Inle Lake
Have your hotel organize a day hike where you have a chance to visit the local villages and experience their way of life. Take a visit to the local meal production factory, stop at the local rice wine distillery, or taste the fresh cooling sugar cane juice taken straight from the plantations.
Inle Princess Resort
For a true serene experience stay at the Inle Princess Resort. Surrounded by spectacular views of the blue mountain ranges and rice paddy fields and designed according to the traditions of the Shan and Intha people, this resort offers is a fine complementary experience to the beauty of Inle Lake and its natural surroundings.
Stay at Aureum Palace
A majestic looking resort, Aureum Palace is the place to stay when making your visit to Bagan. A range of prices to accommodate various budgets, their best rooms are the Jasmine Villas 101, 102, and 106. Visit their viewing tower during sunset and get a full 360 degrees view of ancient city and its more than two thousand stupas and pagodas.
Hot Air Balloon
Experience the city of Bagan from a hot air balloon and receive bird-eye views of this magnificent ancient city. Please note that it is not cheap and a ticket costs around $300usd, but many say that it is a once-in-a-life time experience.
Soma Journeys is organizing a scheduled journey to Myanmar on November 24th – December 1st, 2013. Contact Us for more information.