Under the military regime Myanmar knew little or no tourism. The country has been on the rise in recent years. And that is with good reason, because Myanmar is a beautiful country. Temples, lakes, white sand beaches, of all the beauty that Myanmar has to offer, we have put together a list for you.
Since 2005, Yangon is no longer the capital of Myanmar. That honor is now reserved for Naypyidaw. But even though it is no longer the political center of the country, it is still the economic and cultural heart of the country. In the city there are some beautiful temples, such as the Botataung Paya and the Chaukhtatgyi Paya. But the absolute highlight of Yangon is the Shwedagon Paya, which is magically beautiful. The pagoda is 98 meters high and made of 50,000 kilos of gold leaf. As if that is not enough, the pagoda is also covered with thousands of gems. You have a good view of the city from the Sakura Tower. And a walk in the historic center is a must. Here you will find imposing buildings from the British colonial period, such as the Town Hall, the Strand Hotel and the High Court Building.
In Bagan it is not so much a single temple but the impressive nature of the thousands of temples that you see there. In this former capital of the Burmese Empire, over 3000 temples have been built. They are not all in good condition anymore, but most have been well restored. Pagan was founded in 849 and today has the largest collection of Buddhist temples, ruins and stupas in the world. The temples can be found in the Bagan Archaeological Zone, an area that covers more than 42 kilometers. The most important one can be found in a radius of one kilometer around the walled Old Bagan. Viewing the sunset over Bagan is a must. A trip with an aviation balloon is also fun. However, the most popular way to explore is to rent a bike in the village with with which you explore the temple area.
Inle Lake is the largest lake in Myanmar. Here you will not find temples or other impressive buildings. However, you can enjoy the beautiful nature and authentic Myanmar here. The Inle Lake stretches for 20 kilometers in length and 5 kilometers in width. It is known for the villages on stilts, the floating gardens and the leg rowers. The leg rowers are fishermen who row with one leg so that they keep the arms free to throw out the fishing net. The floating gardens are created by binding a layer of soil to marsh plants. The lake is surrounded by mountains where many mountain tribes live. Shans and Inthas live around and on the lake. The most famous village is Ywama, with wooden houses on stilts and canals as streets. Taking a boat trip is the best way to explore this beautiful lake.
U-Bein Bridge in Amarapura
Near the town of Mandalay you'll find the town of Amarapura and this is also the place where you can find the U-Bein Bridge, one of our favorite places in Myanmar. It is a teak bridge for pedestrians over 1 kilometer long. Walk a bit over the bridge just before and during sunset or rent one of the boats to view the bridge and its visitors from the water.
The Golden Rock: Kyaiktiyo
Near the big city of Yangon you can find a gigantic large golden rock that balances on the edge of a cliff. This golden rock is also called Kyaiktiyo and this is one of the most famous Myanmar sights. It is not only a special rock to see and a tough walk to defy, but it is also a holy place for Buddhists who come here in large numbers.
If you enjoy making treks, the multi-day hike from Kalaw is for you. You discover more of the interior of Myanmar and see just a bit more than the well-known attractions. This tour ends, for example, at the Inle Lake. Along the way you will spend the night with locals in authentic villages. Some of the scenery includes the rice fields, monasteries and the mountainous region of Kalaw.
Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar with 900,000 inhabitants. It is the religious center of the country and has hundreds of Buddhist structures, such as the Mahamuni pagoda and the Shwenandaw monastery. A highlight is the Kuthodaw Pagoda. Here, in 729 marble stones, the Tripitaka, the teachings of the Buddha, is drawn. Each stone is placed in a mini-pagoda and it is called the world's largest book. In addition, the Fort of Mandalay, located on the Mandalay Hill, is a must.
Mount Popa is the holiest mountain in Myanmar and a place of pilgrimage for the Burmese. Here the 'nats', the spirits, are honored. On the Mount Popa lies a sanctuary for the nats where the 37 most important are depicted and honored. Here you better not wear black or red clothes, do not say bad things and do not take meat products, this is bad spirit and that means disaster.
Ngapali Beach is probably the most popular beach in Myanmar and when you see the pictures you immediately understand why. Beautiful white sand, turquoise sea and no mass tourism. Here you can relax on your beach towel with a coconut in your hand.
In the south of Myanmar lies the Mergui archipelago with about 800 islands. Here are countless beautiful beaches but Kyun Phi Lar is not to be missed! You can see more monkeys here than people on the beach which could easily have been the movie set of Expedition Robinson.