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Jeff
Portland

Myanmar, Vietnam

Where to visit in Myanmar and Vietnam?

I am looking to travel in the late fall and I am wondering where are the best places to visit? I will have about 2.5 total weeks and I am looking to visit Vietnam, Myanmar and one other city which is still up in the air (Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong). Generally my travel has been focused on Europe and then Israel. I am expecting quite a bit of a different cultural experience, but overall I enjoy checking out the town, markets, eating and drinking, some sites (not museums) and overall enjoying people watching while having a few drinks. 

Any ideas or thoughts on cities, things to do, etc. would be fantastic.


9 Answers

top answer by
Lawrence from New Hampshire

Great trip idea, not dissimilar to the one I took last February. (I visited Thailand instead of Vietnam.) 

In Yangon, the highlight of the city is the Shwedagon Pagoda complex. It is beautiful at any time of the day but stands out best in the hours before and after sunset. 

In the middle of the city's financial district, standing awkwardly in the center of a traffic circle, you will find the smaller but more historically significant Sule Pagoda. This area is where Yangon's citizens have protested against their government's abuses, which often has triggered even greater crackdowns.  

The best shopping can be found in the massive Bogyoke Market. And for a great dinner experience, try one of the clustered barbecue restaurants on 19th Street. 

I enjoyed Mandalay, where the hike down the holy site Mandalay Hill drops you near Kuthodaw Pagoda, where you can see the world's largest book. Mandalay also gives you a unique opportunity to travel to Bagan by boat. The trip was delightful, but you must arrive at the docks before dawn. And the arrival timetable is often delayed by a couple of hours. 

Bagan was the standout thrill of the trip. Consider hiring a horse cart to take you between the temples. These business men are quite humble and flexible in meeting your needs, and you can rest assured that your payments will help feed a family. Bicycle rentals are also available. 

Inle Lake offers a unique experience and a glimpse into Burmese culture. I found Indein Market and the nearby crumbling small temple ruins particularly intriguing. (From the village, cross the bridge and go up the hill to find the pagoda complex.) 

EDIT: I neglected to mention a fabulous side trip from Bagan to Mt Popa The local area allows you to both see a near-unique geographic phenomenon and also become more acquainted with the worship of local spirits, called Nats. Also, it's a chance to interact with the local population of monkeys. 

Enjoy the trip!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Yangon (city)
  2. Shwedagon Pagoda (attraction)
  3. Sule Pagoda (attraction)
  4. Bogyoke Market (attraction)
  5. Mandalay (city)
  6. Kuthodaw Pagoda (attraction)
  7. Bagan (city)
  8. Inle Lake (attraction)
  9. Indein Market (attraction)
  10. Mt Popa (attraction)
6 thanks


answered by
Rachel from Orlando

Hi Jeff!


I did a "Quick & Dirty" guide on my recent trip to Myanmar!

Check it out: http://racheltravels.com/myanmar-burma/

You definitely want to get your Visa online if you can. It take about 3-4 days and is super easy!

Inle Lake View Resort is a MUST! There is a vineyard there and you can rent a boat for the day to see authentic "lake life"! It costs ~$15 for one boat (can be split with up to 4 ppl!).

Old Bagan is absolutely breath taking! Don't spend too much time here however, you may get "pagoda fatigue"! 

Mandalay was a bore (most backpackers will tell you to skip it), but if you must, there are some ancient cities there. If you've gone Bagan and Inle first, Mandalay will not be so impressive. 

Rangoon aka Yangon is cool to see Colonial British influences. There's a free walking tour to check out too!

Again.. I give you some pointers on buses and things on the post! Let me know if its helpful!


http://racheltravels.com/myanmar-burma/


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Inle Lake View Resort (hotel)
  2. Old Bagan (city)
  3. Mandalay (city)
  4. Rangoon (city)
6 thankscomments (4)


answered by
Scott from Fort Collins

Hello Jeff!  My wife and are leaving in three weeks for Vietnam.  We will be spending a little over two weeks in Ho Chi Minh CityHueHoi AnHalong BayHanoiSa Pa, and then three nights on the beach in Phu Quoc.  I'll make a note to follow up on our return to give you my thoughts.  


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ho Chi Minh City (city)
  2. Hue (city)
  3. Hoi An (city)
  4. Halong Bay (attraction)
  5. Hanoi (city)
  6. Sa Pa (city)
  7. Phu Quoc (city)
3 thankscomments (3)


answered by
Jenifer from Berlin

I just returned from a month long trip to Asia. I spent 2 weeks in Myanmar, split between Yangon Division, Inle Lake, Old Bagan, and Mandalay. 5 days in Vietnam between Hanoi and Hue, and 8 days in Hong Kong

If you are going to Myanmar, I'd honestly skip Vietnam this time around and save it for another trip. Myanmar is absolutely breathtaking and nothing that I saw in Vietnam even compared to the beauty in Myanmar. This is not to say that Vietnam isn't a beautiful country, but I wish I would have saved it for another time. There is so much to do in Vietnam that it deserved at least a week to 10 days. 

Hong Kong was also amazing and I can't believe I waited this long to check it out. 8 days is a long time to spend there since it's a pretty small place, so I'd suggest only 2-3 days if you don't mind being a bit rushed. 

Within Myanmar, I'd skip Mandalay, but Yangon, Inle Lake, and Bagan are a must. And you absolutely have to do the balloon ride in Bagan. I did it with Oriental Ballooning and I'm glad I chose them over Balloons Over Bagan (another ballooning company). 

I'm currently posting a story to exposure.co about Inle Lake and Bagan. When they are up I'll post the links in here as well! But I'm happy to answer any specific questions you might have in the mean time! 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Myanmar (country)
  2. Yangon Division (state)
  3. Inle Lake (attraction)
  4. Old Bagan (city)
  5. Mandalay (city)
  6. Vietnam (country)
  7. Hanoi (city)
  8. Hue (city)
  9. Hong Kong (city)
2 thankscomments (2)


answered by
Ionut

I just come back from a 18 days trip to Vietnam. The initial plan was to do both Cambodia and Vietnam but then we realized we would be too much on the road and less enjoying the vacation.  This was a good decision although we still moved a lot.

We did just the south of Vietnam. Our itinerary was Ho Chi Minh City Hoi An  HueCan Tho  Phu Quoc.


Ho Chi Minh City is quite crowded and noisy. There are millions of scooters on the street any time of day but it gives you the feel of a Vietnam city.  The food is great an very cheap.  Don't miss the Bến Thành Market especially if you like fish and sea food.

Hoi An Ancient Town is very well conserved (part of UNESCO patrimony) and very enjoyable.


In Can Tho you can see the Cái Răng floating market and make a trip to the Khong river.  Try not to book a regular trip to the Mekong Delta since this is quite lame.  The boat ride is like 10 min on a canal crowded with tourists boats.  Instead try to book an overnight trip that would take you to the real Mekong Delta far from beaten path.


Phu Quoc is a nice island but changing rapidly, a lot of "resorts" are being built now.  The beach is fine although not that exotic as you might imagine.  The water is great but don't bring your snorkeling equipment as you will not see too much.  The night market is quite charming especially you are a foodie like me :D

We stayed 6 nights here at the Freedomland Phu Quoc Resort http://www.freedomlandphuquoc.com/bungalows/ which is a great place with fantastic food (the chef is quite professional).  The dinner is about 15$ but you get like 4-5 different courses and they all look/taste unbelievable.


A few more thoughts:

1) The internal flights are quite cheap (less than 50$), You have airports in most places (Ho Chi Minh, Can Tho, Da Nang, Hue ..) and all of them are quite new.

2) Try to stay at least 2-3 days in the same place. It's a holiday after all :)

3)  Keep the receipts whenever you get them.  You can collect the VAT (10%) back at the airport.  We found that too late :D




Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ho Chi Minh City (city)
  2. Hoi An (city)
  3. Hue (city)
  4. Can Tho (state)
  5. Phu Quoc (city)
  6. Bến Thành Market (attraction)
  7. Hoi An Ancient Town (attraction)
  8. Cái Răng (metro area)
  9. Khong (attraction)
  10. Freedomland Phu Quoc Resort (hotel)
2 thankscomments (2)


answered first by
Brian from Portland

Definitely check out Hoi An It's quaint and unique. If you have the time and willing to travel further away, Sa Pa is also an amazing place. You can see the terraced rice patty fields and experience the hill tribe culture of Vietnam. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hoi An (city)
  2. Sa Pa (city)
2 thankscomments (2)


answered by
Thuymi from Montreal, Quebec

We just came back from Myanmar it was great! We have listed all our locations and places to go + review on our blog you can check it out : http://www.adventurefaktory.com/category/countries/myanmar

As for Vietnam, we live there now, our blog has locations to visit in HCMC, but as for the rest I recommend you to not skip Hoi AnDa LatSa PaHalong Bay Vietnam! (http://www.adventurefaktory.com/category/countries/vietnam-countries/)

Thuymi | www.adventurefaktory.com 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hoi An (city)
  2. Da Lat (city)
  3. Sa Pa (city)
  4. Halong Bay Vietnam (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
Pam from Traverse City, Mi

A cruise on the Ayeyarwady River is a relaxed way to travel through the picturesque rural countryside between Mandalay and Old Bagan. Explore Bagan on an electric bike to appreciate the enormous size of the archaelogical park or go balloning if your budget allows.  Inle Lake with its floating gardens is  a fascinating destination. Stay at the Intha Heritage house and enjoy delicious regional specialties prepared by students.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ayeyarwady River (attraction)
  2. Mandalay (city)
  3. Old Bagan (city)
  4. Inle Lake (attraction)


answered by
claus

With only 2,5 weeks to two countries you will need to choose what part of Vietnam you want to visit as it's too big to visit both north, south and central Vietnam without rushing through and sitting on a plane most of the time.

I think you should consider central Vietnam as this is a very pretty and diverse part of the country.

Fly in to the big city Da Nang and then visit places like Hoi An Hue and Mỹ Sơn from there. 

All world class places to visit


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Da Nang (city)
  2. Hoi An (city)
  3. Hue (city)
  4. Mỹ Sơn (neighborhood)




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