Myanmar is one of those places in the world where you can indulge in all the must-have experiences and no matter what, you keep coming back for more! From mesmerising caves, seaside destinations, to mountain treks and underwater dives, Myanmar is a powerhouse waiting to be discovered.
Trekking in Ngapali
Ngapali Beach is better known for its sun and sand than its jungles, however, the jungle trek here is a must. Ranging from 1-3 hours, you will get a local guide who will tell you all about the local flora and fauna of Ngapali Beach. On your way, you will get the chance to hike to scenic spots that overlook the sea and give you stunning views across the bay. Ngapali Beach is also known for its little fishing villages that dot the coastline. In places like Maung Shwe Lay and Jade Taw Fishing Village, you will be able to see the locals at work as they reel in the day’s catch.
Hike Up Mt. Zwe Ka Bin
Located 10km south-east of Hpa An city centre, there are two ways to get to Mount Zwegabin. You can rent a scooter/motorbike in Hpa An, a short 15-minute drive from the city centre to the base of Zwekabin Mountain. Or you can rent a taxi. Once you reach the base, there are concrete stairs that zigzag steeply all the way to the summit. Majority of the hike is dimly lit so it’s recommended to pack a torch for the trek. The Mount Zwegabin Monastery, early morning sunrise and incredible views of Hpa An are waiting to be explored there.
Go Scuba Diving
Scuba diving might be more popular in Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines or Thailand, what most people don’t know is that Myanmar features some pretty spectacular untouched reefs by Ngapali Beach and in the Myeik (Mergui) archipelago. The Mergui Archipelago is so remote that it is possible to have an entire day of diving without encountering another dive boat. And there are many more species of Sea Urchins, Sea Stars, anemones, sea fans, soft and hard corals than in neighbouring Thailand.
Inle Lake Boat Tour
A visit to Inle Lake will take you back in time in between huge villages that are completely made of wood or bamboo. Go for an early morning boat ride, it is best to experience sunrise on the lake. The locals live their daily lives by working in their floating gardens, fishing, creating handicrafts and showing tourists how they live and what they do.
Go on a Hot Air Balloon
There are more than 2,000 temples in Bagan, and if you want to get the full Bagan experience, seeing it from a hot air balloon is mesmerising. In fact, compared to other countries in the world, the price of riding a hot air balloon in Bagan is pretty reasonable. The magnificent sights of ancient pagodas from high above in the sky is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.
Words: Salman Saeed