Myanmar, the Asian country formerly known as Burma, attracts many tourists for a range of reasons. Of course, the beaches are a highlight, but this culturally thriving hub also offers up nature experiences both in and out of the water. There are also countless temples and Pagodas that make for breathtaking travel photos.

From the culture to the food to the economical climate, there's a lot to know about traveling to Myanmar. Here, we'll cover ten things tourists need to plan their trips around.


Scope Out Both Nature And Culture

As noted, one of the highlights in Myanmar is its rich culture. You'll see people of all backgrounds and ethnicities here, and it's pretty amazing. What's also wonderful is the presence of architectural wonders like the most famous Buddha temple, Shwedagon Pagoda. It's one of the most sacred, as well, making it a top tourist destination.

When it comes to enjoying nature, though, there are also tons of places to seek out. For example, a proposed UNESCO site in Myanmar is Padah-Lin Cave, an archaeological and natural wonder. The cave contains elements that are over 13,000 years old, says Go Myanmar Tours.

Set Out For Myanmar In The Dry Winter Months

Visiting Myanmar is ideal in the winter months, which tend to see drier, warmer days and cool yet pleasant evenings say Responsible Vacation. You'll still need warmer layers for the range in temperatures, especially if you plan to hike to higher elevations.

Some sources say November to February is an ideal time to travel, but Responsible Vacation zeroes in on October to March as the ideal timeframe. The former may involve fewer tourists, while the latter is likely the ideal spot for getting non-tropical-downpour weather.

Hunker Down Near Old Bagan To See The Sights Of Myanmar

Staying near Old Bagan, along the Irrawaddy River in the Mandalay Region, lets you stick close to the cool cultural sites. There are so many pagodas and other cool buildings to spot, and keeping to the Bagan area makes for easy access.

Stay At Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort

Looking at the photos of this four-star hotel, you wouldn't expect it to be so affordable. But Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort can cost as little as $60 per night, and the onsite pool, modern amenities, and excellent view of the river make this your best bet for a stay in Myanmar. The grounds are so picturesque, you might not even want to leave!

Sample Traditional Dishes Like Lephet Thoke And Shan Rice

Lephet Thoke might sound like a super exotic dish, but according to Go Myanmar Tours, the dish is actually a salad. However, it's anything but basic: Lephet Thoke involves fermented tea leaves, cabbage, tomatoes, fried beans, nuts and peas, filets, and garlic. You'll find that the dish stands alone, but it's also combined with rice to form a complete meal.

Speaking of rice, Shan rice is another popular dish. Shan rice (or Nga Htamin) is rice with crispy fried fish, saffron, and veggies. Sounds amazing, right?

Travel Via Bus For Best Results

Myanmar has taxis, buses, trains, and boats. You can also take a plane from city to city, which is often the fastest and most convenient way to travel if you're, say, heading from Old Bagan to the coast. However, Asia experts like Asia Highlights suggest sticking to buses for the best results.

The bus system is cheaper and more reliable than trains, they note, and also less nerve-wracking for newbie travelers. Taxis are also a suitable mode of transport for many travelers, but traffic can be hectic (and also dangerous). That means the ever-popular moped/scooter options might not be ideal for a first-time visitor.

Visit UNESCO World Heritage Site Bagan

While there are plenty of places in Myanmar that are worthy of being designated world heritage sites, Bagan is one of few actual spots UNESCO covers. Bagan is an archaeological area that also contains thousands of Buddhist monuments, including temples, monasteries, and more. You'll see amazing frescoes across 300 temples, and you could spend the entire day just exploring Bagan.

Don't forget to visit Nyaung Lat Phet, the sunset viewpoint from which you can capture an epic photo of Bagan a la Instagram influencer. There's also Bagan Golden Palace and a Musem nearby.

Stock Up On Burmese Kyat For Travel

You may know this already, but Myanmar used to be called Burma. Up until 1989, the country kept its traditional English name. And although it's already been called Myanmar for more than 30 years, travelers will still call it Burma (though the native people have called it Myanma since the 13 century, notes Brittanica).

But knowing this background helps travelers understand why the currency is sometimes called the Burmese kyat. Of course, Myanmar kyat is also commonly used to describe the currency. Currently, one USD equals 1,363.31 Myanmar kyat. Things are pretty affordable for travelers to Myanmar, but it's not quite as cheap as going to Thailand or the Philippines.

Fly During September For The Best Deals

The peak tourist season that calls for higher prices spans May, June, and July, says Kayak. In contrast, September is the cheapest month for travel to Myanmar, which nearly perfectly lines up with our recommendations based on seasonal climates. Per Kayak, you can expect to pay as little as $480 for a ticket to Myanmar in September.

Exploring The Beaches Of Myanmar

While our recommended hotel and exploration zone isn't near the coast, if you're a beachy kind of traveler, it's worth visiting the seascape that is Myanmar's western border. Vacationers love checking out the sea life via snorkeling and scuba diving, but cycling along the coast or skimming along it in a kayak are also popular recreational pursuits.

There's also the fact that Myanmar's coast features the "Burmese coast" mangroves, an ecoregion that spans this country plus Malaysia and Thailand. Sadly, much of the groves have been cleared by humans, but restoration efforts are underway to restore them.