21 Best Places to Visit in Myanmar

20 Best Places to Visit in Myanmar

Today, we bring you the Best Places to Visit in Myanmar which are popular tourist attractions. So, whenever you decide to take a travel tour package to visit Myanmar, make sure that you visit one of these places to make your trip memorable.

Religious buildings of the country will impress lovers of antiquity and architecture:

  • The Bagan Archaeological Park is a whole scattering of temples and pagodas on a vast territory.
  • Damayanti is shrouded in legends. The stones of its 78-meter walls are so close to each other that it is impossible to stick a knife blade between them.
  • Ananda combines several architectural traditions, and its interior galleries are decorated with intricate stone carvings.
  • Sule plays a huge spiritual role in the life of every Buddhist in Myanmar.
  • The spire of the Shwedagon is adorned with real gems – a magnificent sight!

Best Places to Visit in Myanmar

Unlike neighboring states, Myanmar (Burma) cannot boast of a large tourist flow. This is a definite plus for those who want to enjoy natural and cultural attractions without crowds of onlookers.

1) Bagan

Bagan is an archaeological park with an area of ​​about 40 square meters. km. On its territory, there are more than 2 thousand religious buildings of varying degrees of preservation.

Together they form a unique architectural ensemble that reflects the original culture of the Burmese. It will take several days to see the entire temple complex.

In the period from the 9th to the 13th century, the city of Bagan was the capital of an ancient kingdom, from where the unification of the disparate territories of Myanmar began. It was here that the cultural and religious traditions of modern Burma were laid. 

In those days, more than 10 thousand temples and pagodas were built along the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy.

2) Gawdawpalin Temple

The construction of the majestic 55-meter temple was completed in 1227. Gawdawpalin is the second-largest religious building in Bagan.

It managed to survive a strong earthquake in 1975. The square sanctuary consists of two floors, which house 7 terraces. Inside there are 4 entrances on each side of the building. The main gate, guarded by lions, is located on the east porch.

  • On the first level, there is a spacious main hall for prayers and a corridor with statues of a seated Buddha.
  • The hall on the second level is much smaller – the main image of the Buddha is kept there.
  • The construction is crowned with a sharp tower. Unlike other temples of ancient Bagan, it is not gilded.

3) Taung Kalat Monastery

This is one of the most important monasteries in Myanmar, located on the sacred mountain of Popa (1518 m) about 50 km from Bagan. 

The mountain of volcanic origin, like a fabulous giant, rises above the desert plateau, and the picturesque monastery on its top can be seen from a distance of 60 km in good weather.

To climb to Taung Kalat, you will have to overcome 777 steps. There are small pagodas and shrines along the way. The ascent will be tiring but interesting. At the top, there are several viewing platforms and traditional Buddhist temples.

4) Anand Temple

The uniqueness of the temple, built in 1105, lies in its unusual architecture. The exterior combines Indian traditions of religious buildings and decorative details typical of the buildings of the ancient Mon civilization.

The building has the shape of a cross with four entrances oriented to the cardinal points. Believers are greeted by Buddha statues, but only two of them are original, the rest are copies of masterpieces that died in a fire in the 18th century.

At the top of the building is a pagoda with a shikhara covered with gilding. The main decoration of the temple hall is 1500 niches with skillful stone bas-reliefs. They depict scenes from the life of the Buddha. It is also worth stopping by the panels painted based on ancient legends.

5) Sule Pagoda

The gilded stupa is of great importance for almost every inhabitant of the country. Firstly, the hair of the Buddha is kept here – the legend says that Gautama personally handed it over to Burmese merchants.

It was they who decided to build a pagoda for the shrine on the foundation of an ancient religious building that appeared on this site more than 2500 years ago.

The age of Sule is usually counted from this time point, so it is considered the oldest in the country. Locals call the pagoda “Su-Wei”, which can be translated as “meeting place”. For several centuries, Burmese have been gathering here to discuss pressing issues.

It was from here that the popular unrest of 1988 and subsequent anti-government protests began. The height of the building is about 50 m.

At the beginning of the 20th century, prayer halls appeared around the pagoda, then souvenir shops and offices of soothsayers working for a small fee.

Here, locals perform a ritual to attract good luck. Next to the stupa, there are 7 statues of Buddha – according to the number of days of the week. It is necessary to pour water over the figure that corresponds to the birthday of the seeker of happiness.

6) Shwedagon Pagoda

Shwedagon is the main religious shrine of Burma, which houses the relics of the four Buddhas: part of the robe of Kassapa, the Konagamana water filter, the staff of Kakusandha, and 8 hairs of Gautama.

The height of the structure is 98 m, the walls are covered with gold leaf, and the spire is decorated with precious stones (about 4 thousand pieces): diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, including a 76-carat diamond.

Every inhabitant of the country is obliged at least once in his life to pray in the pagoda and give alms for the renewal of gilding.

The main stupa is surrounded by pompous temples, statues of animals and mythical creatures, Buddha sculptures in various poses, as well as burial pagodas of monks who have reached the highest enlightenment.

The pagoda stands on a high hill, so beautiful views of Yangon open up from its courtyard. The roof of the building is decorated with bells that keep ringing in the wind.

The main bells are placed in the temple and each has a name. The heaviest is called Maha Tissada (42 tons), followed by Singumin (23 tons).

7) Hpo Win Daung Caves

The underground temple complex consists of 947 caves connected by corridors ranging in length from 3 to 8 m. Each cave is a man-made temple carved into the rock.

The walls of the shrines are decorated with bright paintings based on the past lives of the Buddha. The dimensions of the chambers vary from 2 to 5 m.

The entrances are guarded by sculptures of lions and fabulous creatures. True, most of them are destroyed – in contrast to the numerous statues of Buddha, which have survived in good condition to our time.

The underground temple was built in the 14th-18th centuries, but the oldest drawings and statues date back to the 4th century.

8) Archaeological Museum of Bagan

The museum was founded in 1902 on the initiative of To Seong-ho, curator of the Department of Archeology of the National Museum.

The collections moved several times until finally settled in a beautiful modern building in 1995.

The museum has 10 themed rooms. Each contains priceless artifacts: items from the royal palace of Bagan, fragments of temple wall paintings, Buddha sculptures, and stones with inscriptions in the language of bygone civilizations. There is also a model of the Bagan temple complex, photographs, and documents.

9) Gem Museum

The museum is located on the third floor of the jewelry market. Amazing exhibits are collected in a small room.

Most of them are rough stones found in Myanmar, including the world’s largest sapphire and ruby.

It is worth stopping by the map of Burma, lined with valuable minerals and gems. When a button is pressed, a mine is highlighted, where a certain type of mineral is mined. The exhibition also presents jewelry made of precious and semi-precious stones.

10) National Museum of Yangon

The museum dedicated to the culture, art, life, and history of Myanmar was founded in 1952. Now it occupies a large 5-story building.

Extensive collections are exhibited in 14 spacious rooms, which should take several hours to explore.

Here you can find ancient tools, ritual attributes, and national clothes. Of greatest interest are objects of fine art from different eras – from prehistoric times to the present: examples of rock art, frescoes from temples, paintings, engravings, and more.

A whole hall is dedicated to all kinds of musical instruments and puppets that participated in theatrical performances in ancient times.

The hall with the treasures of the Burmese rulers impresses with luxury – ceremonial clothes, replicas of thrones, and jewelry are exhibited in it.

11) Myau-U Ancient City

The former capital of the state of Arakan was founded in 1431. The heyday of Myau-U came in the 16th century – then about 120 thousand people lived in the city, and trade was carried out with Portugal, the Netherlands, India, and Persia.

The inhabitants of the Arakan kingdom had their language, and script, and their minted coins.

Gradually, the city fell into decay, and was swallowed up by the jungle, but the bizarre architecture was perfectly preserved.

Religious buildings attract many tourists. Temples of Victory, Dukhantein, and Koutaun are especially popular.

12) Royal Mandalay Palace

The huge palace complex, built in the 19th century, was not only the residence of the Burmese rulers but also a “forbidden city” where only the elite could enter.

When the British occupied Myanmar, they placed soldiers in the former royal chambers, who did not stand on ceremony with the interior decoration. In 1945, the palace was bombed by Japanese planes.

Only fragments of the fortress wall and a few pagodas have survived from the original construction. What is now presented to the eyes of tourists is a remake.

But you should visit here to feel the spirit of a bygone era. Several halls of the palace have been converted into museums. The most interesting exhibits: are the king’s giant bed, engravings, and photographs.

Be sure to climb one of the fortress walls. There is a 300-meter observation deck from where you can see the surroundings.

They say that 600 human bodies are immured in these walls. Such a sacrifice was ordered to be made by the king during construction to protect the palace from enemy encroachments.

13) Ubin Wooden Bridge

It is the longest and oldest wooden bridge in the world, connecting the city of Amarapura with the adjacent village.

The structure, approximately 1.2 km long, stands on 1,068 teak logs left over from the construction of the royal palace in Ava.

The bridge consists of two segments located at an angle to each other. In 9 places there are passages for large ships.

The bridge was built in 1850. This is a solid period for a natural material that is constantly exposed to moisture.

Many teak fragments have been replaced with concrete. Throughout the promenade, there are benches and gazebos for relaxation, and there is a brisk trade in souvenirs.

14) Inya Lake

Also known as Lake Victoria, Inya is the largest body of water in Yangon. The reservoir was created by the British in 1883 to collect excess rainwater during the wet season and also to provide the city with drinking water.

Except for a public park on the southwest shore, the entire area around the lake is privately owned by expensive real estate. Free access to water is possible from the Inya and Pyi embankments, located next to the University of Yangon.

15) Hlawga National Park

The park, founded in 1982, is located in the suburbs of Mingaladon. The territory with an area of ​​over 623 hectares is divided into 3 zones:

  • relaxation
  • Adventure
  • education

In the first one, there are cozy bungalows combined into a hotel, a spa, a restaurant, and a boat rental.

The second zone is aimed at outdoor enthusiasts: they offer car safaris and hiking, and there are artificial rocks for amateur climbers. The third is a butterfly garden, a mini-zoo with reptiles, and a greenhouse.

16) Lake Kandawgyi

Kandawgyi or Royal Lake is an artificial reservoir created to provide citizens with drinking water. To implement the project in the 1870s, the British drained the swamps and built a dam.

Thus, Lake Kandavgi was formed, which was then connected with Inya by pipes. As planned, water from the combined reservoirs was supposed to flow through a system of canals deep into the city, but this did not happen.

Today, the surroundings of Kandavga are a favorite place for tourists and residents to walk. The length of the coastline is approximately 8 km. Nearby is a landscape park and a zoo. On the east side of the lake is the Karawijk Hall restaurant.

17) Fountain Garden

The attraction is located near the city of Naypyidaw. The entrance to the park with an area of ​​67 hectares is marked by three huge arches – immediately after them, the territory of entertainment for children and adults begins.

These are sports and playgrounds, cafes, restaurants, and, of course, fountains. There are more than 20 of them here, they are equipped in artificial ponds, and catamarans are rented on the shores of the largest reservoirs.

For young visitors, two ponds were converted into a small water park with slides of various sizes.

Other attractions include viewing old boats in the open-air museum and admiring the beauties from observation towers.

In the evening, the backlight turns on in the garden, and the jets of fountains shimmer in different colors.

18) Zoo

The oldest zoo in Myanmar is located in Yangon and covers an area of ​​about 28 hectares. More than 200 species of animals live here – in total over a thousand representatives of the fauna. These are elephants, tigers, lions, crocodiles, primates, birds, and many others.

There are especially many visitors to the aquarium, where colorful fish caught off the coast of Southeast Asia live.

The zoo also houses an amusement park and a natural history museum. When the capital was moved from Yangon to Naypyidaw, a significant number of animals went there, for which a new zoo was built.

19) Tinjan Festival

One of the main public holidays precedes the Buddhist New Year, which is celebrated in April. Within 3 days the country turns into a water battlefield. Municipal offices, shops, and schools are closed.

People of all ages, regardless of status and wealth, pour water on each other from all kinds of containers. Wet action is accompanied by processions and dances.

20) Bojuque Market

The bazaar opened during the British presence, occupies a picturesque building with arches, galleries, and passages.

The market was originally called Scott Market, after Commissioner Gavin Scott. After Burma gained independence, the mall was renamed Bogyuk Aung San to perpetuate the memory of a prominent military and political figure.

Antiques, jewelry, souvenirs, art, clothes, shoes, and haberdashery are sold in the market building and on the adjacent streets. There are also pharmacies, healers’ offices, and shops with medicinal herbs.

Things to Do When Visit Myanmar

Museums of the country keep the most valuable collections that will be of interest to all inquisitive people.

Artifacts from temples, paintings, household items, and much more are exhibited at the National Museum.

The Gem Museum is a real treasure trove. The prices of some of his exhibits are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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