Hoping to escape the bright lights and noisy streets of Yangon over your Thadingyut holiday? Here’s my guide of the best places that you can head to for a mid-week mini-break.
This well-known beach in Pathein Township, Ayeyarwady is more affordable to go than most beaches in Myanmar. With its array of reasonably priced hotels, both overlooking the bay and in nearby villages, the beach is a popular choice. With everything from fresh seafood, to stunning views and football on the beach, who wouldn’t enjoy a trip to Cahung Tha? Buses depart regualrly form Yangon for very afforable rates.
Ngwe Saung is beloved as one of the most beautiful beaches in Myanmar. It lies to the west of Pathein Township, close to Chaung Tha beach. There’s little to do in Ngwe Saung, but that’s can be the perfect reason to go—chill by the sea, relax and enjoy the beach. Anyone feeling adventurous can enjoy snorkelling, bird watching or a trip to the neighbouring elephant camp.
Ngapali beach in southern Rakhine State has many luxury hotels and its beauty is unparalleled. Rooms can be pricey at this time of the year so advance booking is advised, but the beach is the prime choice for its white sand, blue waves, quiet rural surroundings, coconuts, watersports, cruises and other activities. Thandwe town has an airport with direct flights to and from Yangon.
Bagan – Mount Popa
Bagan is all about its sea of temples and sunset views. This magical ancient city is well known across the world, not only because of its astonishing temples, but also as the home of the very first rulers of the Myanmar kingdom. Rent a motorbike to get around or fly over the area in hot air balloon, there are many ways to explore the early history of Myanmar’s bygone kingdom.
If you want to go further afield, head an hour’s drive away to Mount Popa where you can experience the giant green hill catch a glimpse of the local monkeys.
Mandalay – Sagaing – Mingun
The historic towns of Sagaing and Mingun can be visited by day trips from Mandalay. While in the city, catch a sunset at U-Bein Bridge, the world’s longest teak bridge and don’t miss Mya Thein Tan pagoda.
Mingun is home to the world’s second largest bell and to the world’s “largest pile of bricks” Mingun Paya. This unfinished stupa, which would have been the world’s tallest, was built on the orders of King Bodawpaya.
Sagaing is everything Mandalay isn’t and therefore lovely. White and shwe pagodas crowning verdant hills overlook the Ayeyarwaddy River and are connected by a web of rural roads.
Kalaw – Inle
Inle lake in western Shan State is the second largest lake in Myanmar and October is the best time to visit as a festival at Phaung Daw Oo pagoda is held then for 18 days. During that time, five scared images of Buddha are carried on the Hintha barge in convoy across surrounding villages to collect funds for the pagoda. There’s also plenty to explore on the lake, like its floating villages and traditional weaving workshops.
From Inle lake, you can hike amid magnificent hills and plains through well-trodden trails and yellowing paddy fields to the picturesque Kalaw. Book a local guide before your journey to show you the way.