Mother nature has blessed Myanmar with a range of spectacular waterways! Lakes, rivers, waterfalls, deltas and coastal beaches can all be found within its borders. Most travelers get a sampling of these sites, perhaps taking a sunset boat ride in Bagan or exploring the villages on Inle Lake. But there are so many more amazing places to explore. Read on to discover Odyssey’s guide to the most intriguing of these waterways!
INDAWGYI LAKE: Inle Lake gets all the fame- and tourists- but Indawgyi Lake is poised to be Myanmar’s next hotspot! The country’s largest lake offers incredible bird watching, rugged trekking trails, traditional villages to explore and, of course, miles of placid water. The lake is situated nearly 5 hours from the nearest airport, and the nearest city, so getting their takes some effort! But once you arrive at the shores of Indawgyi, you will discover it was well worth the trip!
THE IRRAWADDY RIVER: Loosely translated as ‘the river that brings blessings to the people’, the Irrawaddy is the lifeblood of Myanmar. The river winds from its origins in the far north to the south, where it fans out into a fertile delta. Most tourists catch a glimpse of the mighty Irrawaddy while exploring Mandalay or Bagan, with short boat trips taking you to nearby villages. But to truly embrace the importance and beauty of the river, a multi-day cruise to the north is a must!
MANDALAY’S WATERFALLS: Myanmar’s second largest city is a bustling metropolis in many ways: rush hour traffic, downtown lined with non-descript concrete buildings and other markings of city life. But a short drive away from town lie several spectacular waterfalls waiting to be explored! Busy on the weekends with city residents, but during the week they are nearly empty and, thus, ideal for nature-loving travelers who have an extra day on their itinerary. Better yet, combine a bike ride in the countryside with a light trek at the falls for a memorable adventure!
THE ‘HIDDEN’ WESTERN COAST: Ngapali Beach, Chaung Thar and Ngwe Saung are far and away the most popular beaches in Myanmar. But with 1900 kilometers of coastline, there are countless small beaches in between where a few small hotels have been popping up recently. Two of our favorites are Lalay Lodge and Arakan Nature Lodge. The former is set in Maung Shwe Lay village, a one-hour drive from Ngapali, and the other is further down the coast around 3 hours from Ngapali. Both properties are situated on secluded beaches and have less than 15 rooms, ensuring the solitude of the coast is yours to enjoy without the crowds!
SOUTHERN INLE LAKE: Inle Lake is a stop on most Myanmar holiday itineraries, but few tourists are aware of the additional two lakes just south of Inle. These two lakes, called Pekon and Samkar, are equally beautiful and far less busy than Inle Lake. Samkar can be visited as a day trip from Inle Lake, but it is recommended to stay 2-3 nights to truly appreciate the nature and culture of the area. The wonderful Little Samkar Lodge and Sanctuary Inle (Pekon) are charming inns where you can relax after a day of exploring the surrounding villages.
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