The tourism industry in Myanmar is a lot smaller and less developed compared to the popular South East Asia countries in the region. We went there in 2017, and we were amazed by the purity of the people and the country, it felt as if the locals were not worn out by mass tourism yet.
Hiking from Kalaw to Inle Lake is an amazing way to interact with locals and to get an idea of the life at the countryside in Myanmar. In Kalaw we recommend the Unique Bed and Breakfast as a base, and at Inle Lake we loved to stay at the Ostello Bello.
Visit Bagan and stay at the Ostello Bello. They have a local guide who offers a day tour which we highly recommend. He will take you to some hidden places and it is a great way to learn more about the culture. To relax, don't miss the Phantasia Garden Café.
Going to the market in Mandalay in the 86th street. We barely saw tourists there and you get a really good impression of the daily life and diet in Myanmar.
Visit the unreal landscapes of Hpa-An and if the budget allows, we highly recommend to stay in the Keinnara Hpa-An Lodge. The lodge has beautiful rooms in the middle of nature, great service and offers an amazing scenery for a romantic stay.
We have to bear in mind that traveling to Myanmar today requires to answer an ethical question: Am I willing to travel to a country whose government is involved in a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" (United Nations, 2018). What is the likelihood that the money I spend supports the fatal military operation against the minority of the Rohingya? Even though the conflict has not been as accelerated in 2017, it has been present since decades. Alex and I were debating in early 2017 wether we should visit Myanmar or not. Our personal conclusion back then was that we will visit the country. The major part of the population highly depends on tourism and is facing major existential threads because of a decline in the tourism industry. Furthermore, we believed to keep the conversation about Myanmar going and support the visibility of the country through tourism is as well an important aspect. It is a difficult question to answer and each one of us has to do so for themselves.