Backpacking in Myanmar (Burma)

Backpacking in Myanmar (Burma) is an exhilarating adventure that offers a unique glimpse into the fascinating culture and stunning landscapes of this Southeast Asian gem. In recent years, Myanmar has emerged as an increasingly popular destination for backpackers seeking an authentic experience off the beaten path.

This country, rich in history and tradition, was once relatively isolated from the rest of the world due to political restrictions. However, since opening up to tourism in 2011, Myanmar has seen a significant increase in the number of backpackers flocking to its shores, eager to explore its hidden treasures.

One engaging element that draws backpackers to Myanmar is the opportunity to witness the country’s gradual transition from a military dictatorship to a more democratic society. The ongoing political and social changes have intensified the country’s allure, as travelers are drawn to the hopeful energy that permeates the air.

Moreover, Myanmar boasts a diverse range of landscapes, from its golden pagodas and ancient temples to its lush mountains and pristine beaches. This diversity presents backpackers with endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. In fact, statistics show that in 2019 alone, over 3.5 million tourists visited Myanmar, with a significant portion being backpackers seeking adventure and cultural immersion.

One of the reasons backpacking in Myanmar is so appealing is the affordability factor. Compared to other popular backpacking destinations in Southeast Asia, such as Thailand or Vietnam, Myanmar still offers relatively inexpensive accommodation, food, and transportation options. This cost-effective aspect enables backpackers to stretch their budgets while enjoying the rich experiences that the country has to offer.

While Myanmar’s tourism industry continues to grow, it is worth noting that it is still in its early stages of development. This means that as a backpacker, you have the opportunity to support local communities directly while avoiding overtourism. By engaging in responsible tourism practices, such as staying in locally-owned guesthouses, eating at local restaurants, and participating in community-based activities, backpackers can help to sustainably develop the tourism sector in Myanmar.

In essence, backpacking in Myanmar is an adventure that combines awe-inspiring natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and the opportunity to witness a country in transition. With its unique mix of history, affordability, and untapped destinations, Myanmar offers backpackers an unparalleled experience that will leave them with memories to last a lifetime.

Backpacking in Myanmar
Backpacking in Myanmar

Is Backpacking in Myanmar (Burma) Worth the Adventure?

Discovering the hidden gems of Myanmar (Burma) through backpacking can be a truly unforgettable adventure. From its ancient temples and rich cultural heritage to its breathtaking landscapes and warm hospitality, this Southeast Asian country offers a unique experience for adventurous souls. But is backpacking in Myanmar worth it? Let’s delve deeper into the reasons why Myanmar should be on every backpacker’s bucket list.

Best Time to Go Backpacking in Myanmar (Burma)

When planning a backpacking trip to Myanmar (Burma), it is important to consider the best time to visit in order to make the most of your experience. The country has a tropical climate, with three main seasons: the hot season (March to May), the rainy season (June to October), and the cool season (November to February).

The best time to go backpacking in Myanmar is during the cool season, from November to February. During this time, the temperatures are milder, ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F), making it more comfortable for outdoor activities. The skies are generally clear, and there is little to no rainfall, which allows for better exploration of the country.

During the hot season, temperatures soar to over 40°C (104°F), making it extremely hot and uncomfortable for outdoor activities. The rainy season, on the other hand, brings heavy rainfall and occasional floods, which can disrupt travel plans and limit outdoor activities.

Backpacking Routes in Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar offers a range of backpacking routes that allow travelers to explore the country’s rich culture, stunning landscapes, and historical sites. Here are some popular backpacking routes:

  • Yangon to Mandalay: This route takes you from Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, to the cultural capital, Mandalay. Along the way, you can visit ancient cities, such as Bagan and Ava, and explore the beautiful Inle Lake.
  • Mandalay to Bagan: This route allows you to travel from Mandalay to the ancient city of Bagan, known for its thousands of temples and pagodas. You can explore the temples by bicycle or hot air balloon for a unique experience.
  • Hsipaw to Kalaw: This trekking route takes you through the stunning Shan State, where you can hike through picturesque landscapes, interact with local hill tribes, and experience the traditional way of life in rural Myanmar.

These are just a few examples of the many backpacking routes available in Myanmar. Each route offers a unique experience and allows travelers to immerse themselves in the country’s rich culture and natural beauty.

Accommodation and Budget for Backpacking in Myanmar (Burma)

Backpacking in Myanmar can be a budget-friendly experience, with a variety of accommodation options available to suit different budgets. In major cities like Yangon and Mandalay, you can find budget guesthouses and hostels starting from $10-15 USD per night. In more remote areas, such as Bagan and Inle Lake, accommodation options may be slightly more expensive, but still affordable for backpackers.

It is also possible to find cheap food options in Myanmar, with local street food stalls offering delicious and affordable meals. A meal at a local restaurant can cost around $2-5 USD, depending on the location. If you prefer self-catering, many guesthouses and hostels provide communal kitchens where you can prepare your own meals.

Overall, budgeting around $30-40 USD per day for accommodation, meals, transportation, and activities should be sufficient for backpacking in Myanmar.

Visa Requirements for Backpacking in Myanmar (Burma)

Before backpacking in Myanmar, it is important to check the visa requirements for your country of residence. As of November 2021, most tourists require a visa to enter Myanmar. The easiest way to obtain a tourist visa is through the e-visa system, which allows you to apply online and receive an electronic visa approval letter.

The e-visa is valid for a stay of up to 28 days and costs $50 USD. It is recommended to apply for the visa at least one week in advance to allow for processing time. Upon arrival in Myanmar, you will need to present your e-visa approval letter and passport for entry.

It is important to note that visa requirements may change, so it is always a good idea to check the latest information from the official Myanmar government website or consult with your nearest Myanmar embassy or consulate before planning your backpacking trip.

According to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar received over 4.36 million international visitors in 2019, showcasing the country’s growing popularity as a backpacking destination.

Backpacking in Myanmar (Burma) FAQ

1. Can I go backpacking in Myanmar without a visa?

No, you need a visa to enter Myanmar. Tourist visas can be obtained through the Myanmar eVisa website or at Myanmar embassies and consulates.

2. What is the best time to go backpacking in Myanmar?

The best time to visit Myanmar is during the cool and dry season from November to February. The temperatures are more comfortable, and rain is less frequent.

3. Do I need to bring cash or are credit cards widely accepted?

While credit cards are starting to be accepted in larger establishments, it’s still advisable to bring enough cash. ATMs are available in major cities, but they may not always work and could charge high fees.

4. Do I need to get travel insurance when backpacking in Myanmar?

Yes, it is highly recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses, theft, and trip cancellations. It provides valuable financial protection in case of emergencies.

5. Are there any safety concerns for backpackers in Myanmar?

Myanmar is generally a safe country for backpackers, but it’s important to exercise caution. Be aware of your surroundings, avoid walking alone late at night, and follow any local advice regarding areas to avoid.

6. What type of accommodation options are available for backpackers?

There are various accommodation options for backpackers in Myanmar, ranging from budget guesthouses and hostels to mid-range hotels. You can also find homestays or opt for camping in certain areas.

7. How can I get around in Myanmar as a backpacker?

Public transportation options in Myanmar include buses, trains, and boats. Buses are the most common and affordable mode of transport for backpackers, while trains and boats offer scenic journeys, especially along the Irrawaddy River.

8. What are some must-visit destinations for backpackers in Myanmar?

Must-visit destinations for backpackers in Myanmar include Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake, and Hpa An. These places offer unique cultural experiences, historical sites, and natural beauty.

9. Are there any cultural etiquettes I should be aware of when backpacking in Myanmar?

Yes, it’s important to respect the local customs and traditions. Dress modestly, remove your shoes before entering religious sites, and be mindful of local norms and practices.

10. Can I use my mobile phone and access the internet while backpacking in Myanmar?

Using a mobile phone and accessing the internet in Myanmar is possible, but the quality and coverage may vary. It is advisable to get a local SIM card for better connectivity, and free Wi-Fi is available in some hotels and cafes.


Myanmar (Burma) is a hidden gem for backpackers, offering a unique and authentic travel experience. From its mesmerizing landscapes to its rich cultural heritage, Myanmar has everything to offer adventurous souls. The article provided insights into the best time to visit, visa requirements, and essential tips for backpacking in this enchanting country.

One important takeaway is the perfect timing to visit Myanmar. With its tropical climate, the months of November to February offer the most pleasant and enjoyable weather, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the awe-inspiring temples. Additionally, obtaining a visa is a crucial step before embarking on this journey. The article discussed the different types of visas available and provided guidance on how to apply, ensuring a hassle-free entry into the country.

Moreover, the article emphasized the importance of responsible and respectful travel in Myanmar. Being aware of cultural norms and customs, as well as choosing sustainable accommodations and supporting local businesses, allows backpackers to have a positive impact on the local communities. Lastly, it highlighted some essential tips for backpacking in Myanmar, such as budget planning, transportation options, and recommended destinations, ensuring a smooth and fulfilling trip.

In conclusion, backpacking in Myanmar offers unforgettable experiences for travelers seeking adventurous and authentic journeys. From exploring ancient temples in Bagan to trekking through the scenic hills of Inle Lake, Myanmar provides a plethora of opportunities for backpackers to immerse themselves in its rich culture and natural beauty. By following the insights and tips provided in the article, backpackers can make the most of their trip to Myanmar while being respectful and responsible travelers.

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