Go where few travellers have gone before, as you plan your perfect travel route from Thailand to Myanmar – and back again. Our suggestion gives you the ultimate travel route combining urban life, remote jungle, secluded countryside lifestyle and the freedom to explore the (easily reachable) classic highlights – all at your own pace.
Are you an explorer, ready to go beyond the beaten track?
Before planning a travel route from Thailand to Myanmar, you should know…
…That our suggestion demands an adventurous and curious mind, but not recklessness. If you go with us, you will go remote but in a safe environment. For many years, there have been tensions around the Myanmar borders, but not in the areas we recommend. You can always check with us if you have questions on the current situation.
…You will need a visa in advance to enter Myanmar. Most nationalities can apply online here. It’s easy and normally very fast; just follow the guidelines given on the page.
…That you can find more “good to know, before you go” information HERE.
…and now for the fun stuff – your travel route from Thailand to Myanmar:
Urban Bangkok – a perfect (and cheap) place to start your journey
Tired (but excited!) you arrive in Thailand’s capital Bangkok – a superb and cheap gateway for South-east Asian travels. Bangkok is bold and beautiful, and it really pays off to plan your first days in advance. Book your place to stay, and maybe even an arrival transfer to beat the jetlag faster? You’ll thank yourself you did (hint: check this Arrival Package out!). When in Bangkok, how about a bike trip through the local back alleys? Or a refreshing boat trip through Bangkok’s canals for a more relaxed overview of the bustling city.
Remote Jungle Trekking in a forgotten corner of Thailand
Trekking in Thailand can be a crowded experience, but there are a few gems out there. One gem is the amazingly beautiful and UNESCO certified Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary on Thailand’s western border with Myanmar. Trek through the dense jungle, stay overnight in a local, untouched village, sail down the flushing river, and swim in Thailand’s largest and tallest waterfall, Tee Lor Su.
Cross into Myanmar and explore the remote backlands in the Kayin state
Once you cross the Moei River, you are no longer in Thailand. Based in Hpa An, you now explore the remote countryside and villages where you sense how slowly time has passed. Hundreds of eyes will be curious to welcome someone as different as you. Kayak in the rice fields; marvel below the hovering limestone cliffs, and cruise southwards to Mawlamyine. Be a voyager on the train ride to the golden Rock wildly hanging on its tip above the plains. Then head for Yangon’s urban beat.
Spend a few days in bustling Yangon
Yangon (Rangoon) is quirky and colonial with a distinct aura of years in solitude – and remains from the British colonial era. Yet, it’s so clearly an Asian heritage and absolutely unique.
Spend a few days in Myanmar’s biggest city, and allow yourself time to just be and to feel the city vibe: Sip steaming hot mohinga (local flavorsome fish soup) in the early morning and take in the bustling late afternoon vibe by the harbour as passengers head home and the sun is blessing the river with its last rays for the day.
You also want to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda but plan your visit for sunrise or sunset, where the golden rays of the sun are reflected in the emerald stupa.
Travel from Yangon to the classic highlights of Inle Lake and Bagan’s temple world
From Yangon, catch an overnight bus to Nyaung U – the gateway to Inle Lake and its floating gardens. Inle Lake is also home to the skilled one-legged rowers, and you’ll see lots of tranquil lake life, but don’t miss out on taking a bike ride or hike around the lake shores while you’re there.
Continue by day bus to Bagan, land of thousands of temple and pagoda ruins, which are spread across the plains of Bagan. Together they form a beautiful testament to the religious devotion of Burma’s Buddhists and religious rulers over time. Today this is a popular exploration site, and we recommend you to rent a bicycle in town, so you can reach some of the more isolated (and quiet) temples.
Once you’re ready, go by boat upriver, or jump on a bus to…
Mandalay – A poem by Kipling, a bustling city and a fine travel hub
…and today a busy city with modern buildings. But dread not! You can still find the local life and slow pace in Mandalay’s outskirts; the quiet monk residences and the dusty roadside stalls. Rent a bicycle and explore the surroundings, head to U Bein at dawn as the monks cross the fragile wooden bridge, and climb the Mandalay hill for a view over the city.
After a few days in Mandalay, you’ll be ready for your next destination.
From Myanmar back to Thailand – to the creative capital of Chiang Mai in the North
If you’re still hungry for Myanmar, how about travelling East via the remote Shan State to the colonial outpost city of Kengtung? Kengtung is not far from the Mae Sai border in Northern Thailand, from where there’s a mere 4 hours drive to Chiang Mai.
If you’re out of time, fly from Mandalay to Chiang Mai in just 1 hour 30 mins. Bangkok Airways fly out once every day.
Congratulations! You have now travelled far and wide in Myanmar and have earned yourself a Chiang Mai city base for a few days and to spoil yourself for a while. Jump in the swimming pool at budget friendly ECO Resort Chiang Mai, treat yourself to a Thai massage and spend your days sipping freshly brewed coffee in the city’s many cafes.
So! To sum up your travel route from Thailand to Myanmar (and back again)
Arrive in Bangkok, head to the Umphang Jungle and enter Burma through the backdoor via the Mae Sot border. Get to Yangon through the rarely visited countryside. Pass by the classic highlights of Inle Lake and Bagan before you enter Mandalay – your gateway back to Thailand.
You will need around 25-30 days from your arrival in Bangkok until your last day of enjoying Chiang Mai.
SEE THE FULL TRAVEL ROUTE FROM THAILAND TO MYANMAR (AND BACK AGAIN) HERE – For your convenience, use the icon in the upper left-hand corner to easily navigate on the map:
Have you travelled in Myanmar, and maybe even crossed the borders? What was your experience? We would love to hear from you (just click here).
If you have questions about the above destinations and tours or about travelling in Thailand or Myanmar in general, please don’t hesitate to contact our Travel Advisors. It’s absolutely free and no questions are too small to ask.