Old Bagan is hands down, the most magical and breathtaking place I've ever been. If you want the best sunrise of your life, visit this place. Images of the hot air balloons peacefully gliding over the landscape of the temples will never be forgotten. The best thing about these photos is that they are hardly photoshopped. What you see is what you get. The color changes from oranges to yellows and greens through out the sunrise and mid-morning.
We stayed in old Bagan right outside the walls and rented E-bikes to get around the 2,200 temples. I was a little reluctant to get on a motor bike, but in this particular area, that was the only way to get around in a practical way since there weren't any tuk tuks. A lot of the pathways were sand or dirt. This place is changing by the minute. Right now, the country has only been open to US tourists for 6 years and the temples are wide open to exploration. The bigger ones are quite touristy, but still very worth it. We did a fair amount of exploring, going in as many as possible that were off the beaten path. I recommend wearing flip flops or easy on/off shoes as you will have to take your shoes off when entering every temple.
Inle Lake was one of those unexpected adventures that stands out in the memory bank. We almost didn't come here, but decided to anyway. I've always had a fascination with living on the water. Inle Lake takes it to the next level. They have an entire community that lives miles and miles out in the middle of this lake. They have a post office, electrical poles, everything. They are completely self-sustaining water community. For the most part, it's still pretty under the radar and not overly touristy. We hired a boat driver and did the tour in one full day. The boat tours are very "un-official." You just walk down to the boat docks and find a guy and pay him $20 US dollars for the whole day. No need to worry about getting a touristy tour vs. an authentic tour because it's all the same.
We flew into Yangon and spent two days there doing a couple of short stories. If you are just traveling, I recommend doing a layover that has enough hours in between flights to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda. This is the tallest pagoda I saw on my trip. It stands 325 feet tall and made with gold and a 76 carat diamond at the top. It looks incredible during the evening all light up and early morning hours. It's the most famous landmark in Yangon and worth seeing. We got there just before sunrise. The wind chimes and children chanting made me feel like I was on a different planet. There's nothing else that compares to it. I recommend wearing sandals or flip flops and bringing wet wipes because you will be expected to take off your shoes at the entrance. They regularly sweep, but your bare feet will get very dirty.