Myanmar is not merely a country, but an eclectic mixture of ethnic South Asian culture, breathtaking landscapes, and historical landmarks. And it goes even further: throbbing local markets, serene religious sites and cheerful harvest festivals. Conduct detailed research about the country and get in touch with a travel agency to customize your Myanmar trip. Here are 10 things you must absolutely do on your trip to Myanmar.
1. Travel like a local
When in Burma, do as the Burmese do. Get your itinerary customized to travel like a local. Explore the inner beauty of this land by travelling in their old-school trains, which connect most tourist attractions. Rent motorcycles to travel locally, or join a cycling tour.
2. Visit a scenic beer station to witness a sunset
Beer stations abound in Myanmar, and one should definitely visit one at the riverside. Ask your travel agency for suggestions on what locations you could visit on an evening. Botataung Jetty and Wardan Jetty in Yangon are good options to witness sunsets and unwind.
3. Visit a vineyard
The Shan Highland connects Myanmar to Thailand and here you will find refreshing vineyards near Inle Lake and Taunggyi. The weather is much cooler here, and allows winemaking. Do not miss Myanmar's fast improving variety of wine and go for a couple of tasting sessions.
4. Try water sports
You are never too far away from adventure on a Myanmar tour. Snorkeling, scuba diving, water rafting, and kayaking are popular in Northern Myanmar. Snorkeling at the Ngapali Beach is not to be missed.
5. Learn the local language
Your Myanmar tour is your best shot at learning Burmese, a truly exotic language. Even if it is only a few words, using them with the locals, usually warm and friendly, will help. Try going beyond common words and greetings.
6. Walk through the history book
From the famous drug-elimination museum in Yangon to George Orwell's recreation of the city of Katha in his Burmese Days, there is a lot to be seen. You can even see Aung San Suu Kyi's lakeside house in Yangon and the place of her house arrest.
7. Try the local cuisine
Myanmar's cuisine has flavors from India, Thailand, and China. Mohinga, a local delight in Yangon, should not be missed, and so is the tea. Try the different curries too. Look for a travel agency that can handcraft your trip. This way you can go beyond the usual fare tourists get.
8. See the world's largest book
Very close to Mandalay Hill, you will find the Kuthodaw Inscription Shrines. Buddhist scriptures fill as many as 729 stone slabs here, adding up to form the world's largest literary work. The place was accorded the status of a World Heritage Site in 2013.
9. Pay your respects in the Shwedagon Pagoda
Shwedagon Pagoda is the holiest site of Buddhism in Myanmar. Illuminated at night, the golden glow of the pagoda lights up all of Yangon in the night. Ask your travel agency to include this in your trip. Dress up modestly, in line with the faithful, and pay your respects.
10. Go hot air ballooning
Hot air ballooning in Myanmar should be on any traveler's bucket list. Soaring over the arid plains of Bagan at sunrise, you will get a thrilling view of the pagodas and temples of the city.
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