Following on from our week 1 Myanmar adventures (check them out here!) it’s time for our Week 2 Myanmar itinerary and budget. After much research we found our perfect Myanmar route from Yangon to Lake Inle to Mount Popa to Bagan to Mandalay and spent an amazing two weeks exploring the country.
To help any of you Myanmar trip planners out there we wanted to share our itinerary: everything from our route, the transport we used, the hotels we stayed in, the sights we saw and the money we spent. Happy planning!
Our Myanmar Route
Our route is based around the classic tourist triangle route of Myanmar.
Bangkok –> Fly into Yangon –> Bus to Lake Inle –> Bus to Mount Popa –> Taxi to Bagan –> Express Boat to Mandalay –> fly to Bangkok
Day 7: Mount Popa to Bagan
After exploring Mount Popa in the morning we continued on to Bagan to explore the vast temples in one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites.
Bagan hotels tend to book up fast so book your hotel as far in advance of your travels as you can. Hotels in Bagan are located across three areas: Old and New Bagan and Nyaung-U. Nyaung-U, a mix of boutique hotels and local residents about 3km from the temples, is our favourite. Old Bagan, in the heart of the temples, houses many of Bagan’s luxury hotels while New Bagan is home to larger hotels and new builds.
- ZFreeti Hotel: we stayed in the Zfreeti, a small hotel with lots of great restaurant options in the surrounding streets and an inviting swimming pool! We rented electric bikes from the store across the street to get around – Check for lowest prices here
- Other good options in Nguang-U include the Sky View Hotel and Motel Zein.
- Aureum Palace Hotel and Resort: located within the actual Bagan Archaeological Preservation Zone amongst the ancient temples themselves, this hotel give you the very best views of the Bagan plains. It’s definitely one of the most unique hotels we’ve ever seen – Check for lowest prices here
- Other good luxury options in Old Bagan include The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate and the Bagan Thande Hotel
- Bagan Lodge (New Bagan): If you prefer New Bagan this might be your best option – Check for lowest prices here
- Another good option is the Blue Bird Hotel.
- Taxi form Popa Mountain Resort, stopping at Mount Popa, and then taking us onto Bagan (USD 40): we spent around 1 hour at Mount Popa and, from there, it was around a 90 minute drive to the Zfreeti Hotel in Bagan.
- Half day electric bike rental (5,000 kyat per bike): we rented our bikes from the bike shop opposite the Zfreeti hotel and had a great experience with the bikes and the service. It is worth negotiating to get a good price but make sure to check the quality of the bikes for rent. Cheaper does not always equal better! Also, it’s best to rent a bike for each person as it’s much more comfortable!
- Sunrise over Mount Popa from the Mount Popa Resort. Check out our review of this amazing hotel here.
- Climbed Mount Popa: Mount Popa is a sacred mountain with glistening gold temples perched precariously atop of a dormant volcano. 777 steps lead the way to the top and, as well as the 40 degree temperatures, the steps are lined with many monkeys who are in search of food!
- A 25,000 Kyat zone fee is collected at a checkpoint on entry to Bagan. The ticket must be shown at selected temples when requested to do so.
- Sunset at North Guny temple Bagan (check out our favourite Bagan sunsets here)
Day 8 and 9: Bagan
- Full day e-bike rental (cost Kyat: 8,000 per day)
- Sunrise at Low ka Oushang and Shwesandaw Pagoda: read all about our favourite Bagan sunrises here!
- Bulethi Pagoda
- Upali Thien
- Lunch at Bibo restaurant: Bibo restaurant was located a couple of streets up from our hotel, the Zfreeti. Bibo is a cute little neighbourhood restaurant run by a young couple and we were served some of the best Burmese food we had during our trip.
- Ananda Temple
- That Byin Nyu Temple
- Sulamani Temple
- Abe Yadanar Pagoda
- Bupaya Pagoda
- Shwezigon Pagoda
- Sunset at Pyathadar Hypa Pagoda and North Guny
Day 10: Bagan to Mandalay
After a long day of travelling on the Bagan to Mandalay boat (check out Bagan to Mandalay cruises and Mandalay to Bagan cruises here) we arrived in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city and old royal city, for our final stop in on Myanmar journey.
We stayed in central Mandalay which was a great base for exploring the city. The main sights are dotted around Mandalay so staying in a central hotel makes exploring the city much easier.
- The Smart Hotel where we stayed is basic (upgrade to one of the better rooms if you can) but was perfect for exploring the city. It’s a great budget hotel and has a low key rooftop bar/restaurant which we really liked with traditional puppet shows in the evening.
- The Link 78 Mandalay Boutique Hotel is a new boutique hotel in central Mandalay and a perfect base for exploring the city. Enjoy the sunset from the rooftop restaurant.
- Hotel by the Red Canal Mandalay the perfect location for exploring the Golden Palace and Mandalay Hill, with a beautiful pool and spa.
We find Agoda the best booking website for Asian hotels due to the wide range of hotels on offer and the extremely competitive prices. It’s reliable, has a huge inventory and the prices were the best we could find.
- Taxi to pier in Bagan (cost 5,000 kyat)
- MGR Express boat Bagan to Mandalay (cost USD 32 per person): read about our Bagan to Mandalay boat adventures here. The boat leaves from Bagan at 5:30am and we arrived in Mandalay at around 6pm so the trip is a full day on the boat. We spent the day doing a mix of: blogging, snapping, watching river life, eating and drinking a few beers on deck! We booked our boat ticket through our hotel and MGR Express required us to pay USD.
- Taxi to Smart Hotel (cost 10 USD)
Day 11: Mandalay
Transport: Private car (full-day) in Mandalay (cost 45,000 kyat). Similar to Yangon, it was totally worth the extra expense to have our own transport!
- Zey Chow Market: go early in the day for the best market experience
- Shwe Kyaung Pagoda: we paid 10,000 Kyat to enter this Pagoda and the 10,000 Kyat provided a Mandalay zone ticket which included AVA and Amarapura
- Mandalay Hill: 1,000 Kyat camera fee enforced on our visit
- Kuthodaw Pagoda
- Jade Market
- Mahamuni Buddha Temple: 1,000 Kyat camera fee enforced on our visit. Note: only men can approach the Mahamuni Buddha and they were required to cover their legs – knee length shorts were not allowed but a longyi was fine.
- Sunset at the U Bein Bridge
Day 12: Mandalay to Bangkok
- Taxi to airport (cost 12,000 kyat)
- Air Asia flight to Bangkok (cost USD 70 per person)
Food and Drink Costs
The only other costs we had were meals and drinks. Eating local was relatively cheap: noodles and a beer for each of us came in at less than $10. On the days when we ate at the hotel a meal with drinks was typically $30 to $40.
So there you have it: a day by day lowdown of our two weeks in Myanmar. What can we say except Myanmar, you were absolutely awesome! We wish you the most amazing trip and we hope you have as much fun as we did!