Myanmar is a country full of mystery and excitement. This wonderland is the perfect choice for adventure-seekers to explore nature, float away in a hot air balloon, and participate in exciting outdoor activities. Whatever you have in mind, Myanmar welcomes visitors from around the world to engage in its amazing possibilities.
With more than 800 islands in the Andaman Sean, diving in this mostly undiscovered area should be on the top of the wish list of any Scuba diver. Ngapali and Ngwe Saung, two beach destinations on the west coast of Myanmar (Bay of Bengal), offer good and easy scuba diving possibilities as well. Despite the undisputed potential of its over-2000 km tropical coastline, the scuba diving industry in Myanmar is still very much in its infancy. For decades the coastal waters were more or less prohibited for tourist divers, and a few operators from Thailand approached the ‘Burma Banks’ with 6 or 7-day live-aboard dive safaris from Phuket and Khao Lak. Slow developments have been seen in Myanmar’s scuba diving offer, despite the rapidly growing interest in Myanmar as a beach and scuba diving destination. The most beautiful dive sites in the Southern Mergui Archipelago were first only reached through Thai dive safari operators based in Ranong, a border town. In total there are now only five reliable Myanmar scuba diving operators at the time of writing, offering trips to already known dive sites in the Southern Mergui Archipelago, and to dive sites in Ngwe Saung and Ngapali. With hardly any other diving group in sight, and with still many undiscovered dive sites around, diving in Myanmar is a true adventurous experience.
TREKKING & HIKING
Blood-pumping adventure can be found trekking and hiking through Myanmar’s diverse landscapes and breathtaking scenery. Some of the best places for trekking are from Kalaw to the vast Inle Lake, Myanmar’s beautiful Shan state, and up north by Putao. Putao is perfect for adventure-lovers to ski, hike, and mountain bike. Another famous hike is northeast of Mandaly through Hsipaw, renowned for its waterfalls and natural hot springs.
Just a short drive from beautiful Bagan is Mount Popa, which requires a hike up hundreds of stairs to enjoy the gorgeous panoramic view at this ancient volcano’s summit. Some destinations require authorization one month in advance, but most do not have restrictions. Be sure to check with your tour operator.
RAFTING & WATER SPORTS
Popular water sports at Myanmar’s pristine beaches such as Ngapali and Ngwe Saung include snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking. White water rafting is also a great and increasingly popular activity for those seeking blood-pumping adventure in Myanmar, and the best rafting spots can be found in the northern part of the country. The Malihka River, one of the major tributaries of the Irrawaddy, is a thrill-seeker’s dream. The rapids have ratings of 4 and 5 on a scale of 6, which give rafters the exciting opportunity to enjoy their river experience to the fullest.
In the far north of Myanmar around the untouched, rugged wilderness of Putao, the May Kha and Nam Lang Rivers are perfect for intense and unforgettable rafting experiences. Keep in mind that many areas in northern Myanmar required a permit, so check with your tour operator about arranging a trip.
MARATHONS & OTHER RACES
Myanmar hosts a series of marathons throughout the year. If you’re looking to stay physically active and immerse yourself into another aspect of Myanmar’s culture, you’ll find no shortage of races available for locals and travelers alike.
One of the most popular is the Bagan Temple Marathon, held every November. This race consists of a unique route that takes runners through the ancient temples and friendly villages of stunning Bagan, inspiring the feeling of traveling back in time. Runners will enjoy not only the natural beauty and historic significance of Bagan, but also the exciting challenge of the marathon. The Yoma Yangon International Marathon, held every January, is the city’s only marathon event and attracts runners from all over the globe!
Active travelers will not be disappointed with the vast range of cycling opportunities in Myanmar. Cycling is a popular activity that provides a close-up and scenic tour of the country. Joining a cycling tour is perfect if you’re looking for an organized, multifaceted way to sightseeing. Popular cycle tours include: mountain biking, city cycling, and countryside biking. Myanmar has everything a cyclist could want in an adventure: stunning landscapes and spectacular rock and limestone formations. December and January are especially wonderful times to enjoy a Myanmar cycling adventure, as during this time the weather is not too hot and there is little rainfall.
HOT AIR BALLOONS
Hot Air Ballooning is a signature activity in Myanmar, and the city of Bagan is the ultimate destination to experience it. This gorgeous area comprises thousands of pagodas and lush vegetation that make for an unforgettable ride! Enjoying these breathtaking views over such an alluring city is unparalleled to other hot air balloon rides. Rides typically take place at sunrise or sunset when the views over Bagan’s ancient pagodas are exceptionally beautiful and washed in a golden hue. This unique and memorable experience will stay with travelers for years to come. While in the hot air balloon, a champagne toast at the top is a must!