Places to Visit in Myanmar
According to Internetsailors, the country of Myanmar is located in Southeast Asia and shares borders with Thailand, Laos, the People’s Republic of China, India, Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal. The country is also known under the name Burma, German Burma. In 2011, the military dictatorship that had ruled since 1962 was ended with the appointment of a civilian head of state. In the north lies the Kachin Mountains, a southern branch of the Himalayas. Wetlands stretch along the coast of the Bay of Bengal, with the Arakan-Joma Mountains behind. The largest city in the country is Yangon (Rangoon), but today’s capital is Naypyidaw. However, the new capital still resembles an abandoned ghost town in many districts. The rainy season in Myanmar is from late May to mid-October. The largest ethnic group are the Bamar, followed by the Shan, the Karen and the Rohingya. In total, the approx. 52 million inhabitants come from 135 different ethnic groups. The majority of the population belongs to Buddhism and everyday life is based on this belief. Myanmar offers a wide range of attractions and tourism is rapidly growing. Myanmar is not called the “Golden Land” for nothing. Everywhere you can find pagodas, temples and other pieces of jewelry covered in gold. A valid visa and passport are required to travel to Myanmar. The largest and most important festival in Burma is the Burmese New Year festival Thingyan. Since it is celebrated with a lot of water in April, it is also known colloquially as the “water festival”. The coolest and driest period is from October to mid-February. But you can also travel to Myanmar in the summer months.
The Golden Rock is one of the holiest sites in Myanmar and one of the most important pilgrimage sites. The Golden Rock is located on a mountain near the town of Kyaikto in Mon state. According to legend, the rock is only kept in balance by two Buddha’s hairs so that it does not fall off. An old hermit is said to have kept the hair relic, which he had received personally from Buddha, in his topknot. Before his death he is said to have looked for a rock that resembled his skull. He found it, took it up the mountain, and built a pagoda where it still stands today. Under the pagoda is said to be the hair, which is protected by a reliquary. The rock has a coating of gold leaf. The pilgrims bring gold leaf which they stick to the sacred rock.
With around 6 million inhabitants, Yangon is the largest city in Myanmar and at the same time the largest industrial center. The city is located in the south of the country in a tropical climate zone.
Here is one of the largest pilgrimage sites in Myanmar, the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. The pagoda is covered with gold leaf weighing tons and its top is adorned with several thousand diamonds and precious stones. The sanctuary is said to have existed for around 2500 years and was often destroyed by earthquakes and fire. It was last fully restored in 1990. You should also visit Yangon Downtown with the Sule Pagoda and Kyaik Athok. This is said to have existed since 253 BC. Exist. The many colonial buildings that you can see while strolling through the city are also impressive.
The National Museum and the Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple with one of the longest reclining Buddha images in Myanmar are also of interest. Of course, on a Myanmar trip you should also savor the delicious food and visit the colorful markets, in Rangoon the Bogyoke market is particularly recommended. The Indian and Chinese quarters also promise a special atmosphere.
Bagan is an absolute must on any trip to Myanmar. The so-called Bagan Archaeological Zone, the former royal city, includes around 2500 temples, monasteries and pagodas. Most are from the 10th to 14th centuries. Bagan is located in what is now the Mandalay Division, 155 km southwest of the city of Mandalay on the east bank of the Irrawaddy. The city was the center of the first kingdom of what is now Burma for over 430 years. Some temples have been extensively restored, others are in ruins and there is definitely something for every Buddhism lover. The most important buildings are Shwezigon Pagoda, Htilominlo Temple, Ananda Temple, Thatbyinnyu Temple. Also worth seeing are the Pahtothamya Temple, Shwesandaw Pagoda and the Dhammayangyi Temple, Sulamani Temple and Gubyaukgyi Temple. To visit this unique temple area, a bike tour, a ride in a horse-drawn carriage or a balloon ride is ideal to see the area and the fascinating sights from above. A visit at sunrise is particularly recommended.
Another highlight of every Myanmar trip is the city of Mandalay. It is in the center of Burma and is in a bend in the Irrawaddy River. The second largest city in Myanmar has around 1.6 million inhabitants. From Mandalay Hill in the north of the city you have a wonderful view over the city and can get a first overview. Close by is the Kothodaw Pagoda, surrounded by 729 small, white pagodas, each with a marble tablet with text. If you were to put this on paper, you would fill 15,000 pages of paper, which is why the pagoda is often referred to as the “largest book in the world”.
The Buddha statue in the Mahamuni Pagoda is also unique. It is also one of the most valuable in the world, as it is not only richly decorated with precious stones, but pilgrims also attach even more gold leaf every day. It is now estimated at 3 to 12 tons of gold leaf. This is produced directly in Mandalay by gold bats, some of the show workshops can also be visited. You should also look at the handicrafts of stone carving, wood carving, bell foundries, silversmiths and weavers.
The former royal palace is located in the middle of the city and covers a huge area. The Shwenandaw Monastery, which is decorated with beautiful wood carvings, is particularly worth seeing.
The city of Amarapura is 11 km south of Mandalay, also a former royal capital and a popular tourist destination. The U-Bein bridge is the absolute highlight here. At 1,200 meters, it is the longest teak bridge in the world and crosses Thaungtaman Lake. A photo motif during sunset is particularly popular. A very special highlight is the monk feeding in the Mahagandayon monastery. Almost all that remains of the former royal palace are ruins. Therefore, one should rather pay a visit to the wooden monastery Bagaya Kyaung. The Kyauktawgyi Pagoda and the Patodawgyi Pagoda with their 50m high stupa are also worth seeing. A trip to Mingun, Inwa and the hills of Sagaing is also worthwhile.
The freshwater lake Inle-Lake is located in central Myanmar, not far from Mandalay. Only Lake Indawgyi in the country is bigger. The one-legged rowers are particularly well known in this region. Another special highlight when visiting Inle Lake are the floating gardens of the population, where they grow their vegetables, flowers and fruits. Numerous boat trips are offered for tourists and the area invites you to relax and unwind.
You can also visit handicrafts shops and Cheeroot cigar rolling shops. About 8 km from the lake is the small town of Nyaung Shwe. You should also make a detour to Pindaya from here. The local caves, the Pindaya Caves, are a special attraction. More than 8000 Buddha images are piled up to the ceiling in the huge caves.
Myanmar not only has fantastic landscapes, impressive temples and cities that are worth seeing, but also a multitude of paradisiacal beaches. In particular, Ngapali Beach, on the west coast, is famous for its kilometer-long, white beach. Here you can also rent bicycles and boats to go on smaller tours on your own. Diving and snorkeling are also particularly good here, as there is a coral reef to marvel at nearby. South of Ngapali Beach is the also worthwhile Ngwe Saung Beach.
In some parts of the country, especially in border areas, travel is prohibited. Information on this can be obtained from the embassy. There are often roadblocks by the military, the police or other authorities. During the monsoons, the roads are often flooded and therefore impassable. The plane is a suitable means of transport to cover greater distances within the country. Driving is prohibited for foreigners in Myanmar, which is why a rental car trip is not possible. If you still like to travel individually, you can use coaches. Some routes are also connected to the rail network by rail. The best way to get to know the country is by ship. There are also cruises across the country. Numerous organized round trips in small groups are also offered to Myanmar.