Out of all the south-east Asian countries I visited this winter, Myanmar was, by far, the most eye-opening experience. I only included 8 reasons to travel to Myanmar simply because I didn’t want to waste your valuable time when you SHOULD BE searching for flights and accommodation on TripAdvisor or Skyscanner. Seriously. 2015 is the time to go because it’s just recently been open to the world for tourism and NOTHING has been urbanized to fit the needs of obnoxious tourists just yet. YET. So drop everything you’re doing and head to the land of golden towers and friendly smiles.
1. Myanmar is underdeveloped
While I pride myself on diving into culture headfirst, I’m not ignorant to the costs of rapid urbanization. Culture and historical landmarks are eventually watered down to meet the needs of rising tourism and globalization, but Myanmar BARELY has implemented actual infrastructure so you know that what you’re seeing is as authentic as possible.
2. English is available
While underdeveloped, it’s not SO closed off where no one speaks English and you’re basically left to fend for yourself. Signs and stores are listened in Burmese and English, most people know SOME English words, and the country is accessible to foreigners without sacrificing its own culture and language to do it.
3. Food quality
As a border-line celiac, I’m constantly navigating between certain-breakouts and constant stomach issues when it comes to western diets, but for some reason, none of the grains had ANY effect on my skin or dietary issues. If I eat grains, the next morning my face is covered in blossoming hives without fail, but I COULDN’T GET ENOUGH of the Khaosay Thote noodles and there were no negative repercussions. Weird.
4. Friendly locals
During my stay in Myanmar, I met up with fellow Travel Blogger Drew (aka The Hungry Partier) for a week long adventure in Myanmar and we were shown around by a friendly local named Sai. Sai was in the process of building his own travel company to showcase the beautiful wonders of Myanmar to foreigns from around the world and we were his test dummies (haha). He took us all over Yangon and then to the countryside to witness first-hand the traditional lifestyle of the Burmese community. He also took us to multiple restaurants, we did Burmese Boxing with the national champion, and we went clubbing with him FOR FREE. Everyone at the hostel was jealous that we had the hookup.
5. It’s safe for solo-female travelers
I never once felt in danger during my time in Myanmar. Day or night, there were always tons of people around and well-lit areas. I met multiple female travelers whom were traveling alone without fear and one even went camping in the wilderness with some random guy she met in the hostel! She’s alive and well today (according to Facebook) and it was a once in a life-time experience I’m sure!
6. Spectacular architecture
I took over 1000 photos in Myanmar ALONE because the architecture was just UNREAL. Everything was dripping in gold, the babies were hella adorable, and the scenery was so authentic that I couldn’t help myself! You absolutely cannot leave Myanmar without going to the Shwedagon Pagoda because there are few things on this planet that is so well-preserved and mind-blowing.
7. It’s affordable
1 USD is basically like 1000 Myanmar Kyat. Everything from the food to the transportation will cost you anything from 500-4000 Kyat IF you stay away from super-tourist traps and restaurants. However, you should expect to shell out for accommodation as there are few places to stay in Myanmar since tourism is just starting to pick up. We paid around 18,000 Kyat per day at our hostel and you can find your own hostel in Yangon through Hostel World or Hostel.com. We stayed at Humble Footprints Hostel and made a TON of friends each morning during breakfast. They speak awesome English and even helped us out with recommendations constantly. I ended up going to their recommended spa 4 TIMES during the 7 days I was there since massages were 8000 Kyat. I ended up spending 8 hours on my last day there getting a facial, mani/pedi, and TWO massages. I just love being touched by strangers.
8. Electronic visas are available
Okay now you REALLY have no excuse for not going to Myanmar. With the boarders now WIDE OPEN for travelers, travelers can now apply for their Visa before-hand, making it that much less daunting for picky travelers. Immigration also isn’t a pain (like Cambodia -_-;) so you’ll be in and out and on with your life in no time. There’s really NO REASON not to go!
Check out more photos like these on Instagram! It’s my fav.
Know a traveler that would love this post? Don’t be shy to share! Don’t forget to comment below to let me know your opinions, share stories, and let me know what you want to see on Wander Onwards next!
If you want to see more photos and updates, check out my Facebook, Instgram, YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr! Interested in working with me as a content creator or to be on Wanderonwards.org? Follow me on Linkedin or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!