Myanmar is a mysterious country in Southeast Asia, where time seems to have frozen many centuries ago, leaving its beauty, traditions and numerous sights of Myanmar unshaken. Only recently the years of self-isolation of this country have disappeared, and the modest flow of tourists began to gradually grow and gain momentum. Lovers of travel and adventure are sure to find something to see in Myanmar - this unique architecture, which conveys the rich history of the country, and centuries-old traditions, and pristine nature, striking beauty, and ethnic diversity of the inhabitants, and an abundant national cuisine.
The list of the main attractions should begin with the main value that embodies the whole Myanmar - the numerous Buddhist shrines. That’s why, when choosing what to see in Myanmar in 1 day, it is worth a trip to the main temples and monasteries of the country - they are the ones that open the rating of Myanmar sights.
The best sights reveal Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, once its capital. Now called the cultural capital of the country, Yangon has a huge concentration of museums, cultural monuments and architecture. When in Yangon, you can’t help but wonder what to see first. You may not be able to see all the places of interest in Yangon in one trip. One of the traditional symbols of the city is the Shwedagon Stupa with a history of over 2.5 thousand years.
Among the most extraordinary places to visit in Myanmar, guides in Myanmar will definitely give recommendations to see with their own eyes the temples in Bagan, the capital of an ancient kingdom once located on these lands. Today, on the site of the ancient city is a valuable archaeological area with thousands of temples, monasteries, stupas, pagodas, most of which were built in the 11-13 centuries. During the dry season the shrines are restored, and in the rainy season the whole area is covered with lush greenery, and it seems as if all the ancient buildings are buried in the jungle. This place can be included in top most beautiful places on the planet!
The gigantic brick stupa, 98 meters high, is perhaps Myanmar’s most impressive landmark for its size and richness of decoration. It stands majestically on a hill in Yangon, almost entirely covered in gold, and only monks and male visitors are allowed inside. An unimaginable amount of gold - about 8 tons - was used to decorate Shwedagon, and its top is decorated with precious stones. The stupa is surrounded by other small pagodas, 64 in all, and there are also tausangas, which contain numerous images of the Buddha.
Official website: http://www.shwedagonpagoda
Another majestic and tallest temple of Bagan is Thatbyinnyu Temple, erected in 1150. In medieval times, this pagoda was a monastic complex that included, in addition to the monastery on the first tier, a library on the second tier and a sanctuary with a stupa in the upper massif. There is a widespread assumption that the Tatbinyu was built during the transitional period of Bagan architecture; this explains some of the disharmonious features of its construction.
This small but very famous shrine is located in Mon State. The pagoda is famous because of the many testimonials from visitors who rave about the stone on top of which the structure is located. The fact is that the stone, covered with gold leaf, literally hangs on the edge of the cliff, but does not fall, contrary to all physical laws. Legend has it that the stone is held in place by the hair of the Buddha. Around the sanctuary on the mountain is an entire complex for the accommodation of pilgrims. On the territory of the pagoda there are strict restrictions - adherents can not stay near the Golden Stone at night, and women are not allowed to approach the shrine of less than 10 meters.
Most people are used to seeing figures of Buddha depicted seated in the lotus posture. One seldom sees the enlightened one lying on his side, a position which symbolizes the moment of his earthly demise and his passage into nirvana. One of the largest statues of the reclining Buddha is located in the Chauthadji Pagoda in Yangon. The age of this ancient sculpture is about a millennium, and the size is even more impressive: the length is about 55 meters, a height of about 15 meters. This imposing landmark of Myanmar has undergone numerous restorations, the last of which was carried out in 1966.
Right in the heart of Yangon, at the crossroads of the city’s main streets, is the imposing 48-meter tall Sule Stupa. According to some descriptions, this structure is about 2,000 years old. The pagoda stands on a massive 8-sided base - the number of sides of the pagoda corresponds to the number of days in the week. The fact is that Buddhists divide the week into eight days, not seven, and Wednesday is divided into a “day” before sundown and a “day” after sundown. Each side has its own Buddha statue installed. Everyone who comes to worship the Guru chooses his Buddha according to the day on which he was born, and it is to him that he worships.
When choosing where to go in Myanmar, in addition to the many pagodas, the Mandalay Royal Palace, which is located 150 kilometers northeast of Bagan, is worth a look. The palace was once built of teak wood in the 19th century and served as the residence of the kings of Burma. However, at one time it was destroyed by Japanese aircraft, and all that can be seen now is a remake. Of the former structures, only the fortress walls have been preserved. In the main building today there is a museum, where you can see the royal throne and the bed of the monarch.
Near Mandalay, in the settlement of Mingun, is the largest unfinished pagoda, the Mingun Paya. The stupa was supposed to be the largest pagoda in the world, and its height was supposed to reach one hundred and fifty meters. But the construction was never finished, and there are two versions explaining this moment. The first is that the king was destined to die immediately after completion, and the second is that there was simply not enough money to build it. Be that as it may, the stupa remained only one-third completed.
Mrauk U is one of the largest ancient cities, once a major seaport where merchants from around the world flocked. Since the ancient city attracts many visitors, all facilities are provided here for visitors to the country. For example, you can wander through the souvenir shops, take pictures, visit local stores and mini-restaurants where local and European cuisine is presented. But most tourists still go to Mrauk-U to see the extraordinary ancient pagodas, which here are particularly massive and strong walls - temples were built so that if the case, they could withstand the longest siege.
Among all the places of interest in Myanmar, the Damayanji Temple is especially revered. According to legend, it was built under King Narathu, who murdered his father to come to power. And in order to atone for his bloody sin, he decided to build a huge pagoda. Today Damayanji is the largest temple in Bagan and is available for tours. But only the outer galleries of the temple and 4 balconies are open for viewing, while the inner rooms are walled up for unknown reasons.
Atop Mount Popa, a dormant volcano, stands the Taung Kalat Monastery, a beautiful spiritual landmark in Myanmar. The structure itself is an example of an exceptionally harmonious combination of human work and nature’s creation. Dormant volcano, the last eruption of which took place a few thousand years ago, today is visible from afar - its peak can be seen from a few tens of kilometers away. Today the monastery attracts countless streams of pilgrims, being one of the most revered shrines in the country and in the world. To enter the monastery, one must first climb a long staircase of 777 steps.
When mentioning what to see in Myanmar, it is impossible to ignore the huge bell in Mingun village, which is the second largest in the world. It has a history of two centuries - it was cast for the enormous Patkhodauji Pagoda. Alloy for the bell was made by local craftsmen on a special recipe, from the five metals, which even included silver and gold. The bell was mounted on sturdy supports, which later suffered from an earthquake. The supports collapsed, but the bell remained unscathed, and today anyone can strike the bell to enlighten their surroundings with its pure, deep sound.
The small Myanmar town of Pindaya is famous for its caves, located on a hill a couple of kilometers from the town center, and revered as an important Buddhist shrine. The entrance to the caves is accessed by staircases and galleries, which offer spectacular views of the surrounding park. The caves themselves are more than 1.5 kilometers long and have many ramifications. Walking through the maze of caves between countless stone sculptures of Buddha, visitors find themselves in beautiful halls with underground lakes, dangling stalactites, and amazingly beautiful Buddhist altars.
The great South Asian river, the largest river in Myanmar, is the Irrawaddy River. In former times, the Irrawaddy was the basis for the birth of civilizations that have had a major influence on the culture of the East. For centuries, this river has been the most important waterway and the basis of life for the people, and has been used as a transport, a trade route, a source of food and drink. Travelling along the Irrawaddy is a unique chance to see the life of local people from the inside, as well as to visit the most interesting places and important sights of Myanmar, located in the nearby settlements.
Great is the alluring power of Myanmar with its magical sights. But in addition to the historical and cultural, a great variety of natural sights of Myanmar - numerous mountain ranges and plateaus, picturesque river valleys, caves, lakes. The nature of Myanmar is filled with the energy of life. Below is an overview of what to see in Myanmar for those who had time to get the first impressions of getting to know the country.
Ubayin, which is the longest and oldest wooden bridge, has become one of Myanmar’s symbols. The date when the bridge was built is not known today, but it was presumably in 1850. Teak wood was used to build the structure. The length of the bridge is 1200 m, and it consists of two parts, joined at a slight angle. Today it is a popular tourist attraction and the most famous landmark of Myanmar. Once here, you can buy various souvenir paraphernalia, sit on a covered veranda, walk across the bridge.
What to see in Myanmar to experience the traditions of the local people firsthand? Perhaps the best place for this is the amazingly beautiful freshwater Inle Lake, which attracts not only its scenery, but also the unusual lifestyle of the indigenous people. Local tribes build houses on stilts of bamboo, use their own way of fishing, weave clothes from lotus stalks, make jewelry, arrange gardens on islands of twigs, and much more, which can only be found here. In the center of the unique lake is another interesting attraction - the Monastery of the Jumping Cats. Several monks who live there teach the tailed cats to perform amazing and very difficult tricks.
Ngapali Beach is a strip of pure white sand along which Myanmar’s finest and most modern hotels are lined up. Here you can enjoy the warm sea, gentle sun, go scuba diving or stroll through the coconut plantations of the surrounding villages. In the neighborhood with tourists here are their artless fishing, and in general, locals are very friendly to every tourist as a person with whom you can cordially talk, even limiting the scanty stock of English words. And the local hotel restaurants offer a large selection of exotic dishes from the freshest seafood.
The faces of the Chin women are covered with a network of tattoos. The tradition of facial tattooing goes back in time, and about 50 years ago it was forbidden by the authorities of the country. Therefore, the unusual tattoos today can only be found on the faces of very old women. It is believed that the Chin people have always had girls of amazing beauty, who were admired by neighboring tribes. Therefore, it was not uncommon for beautiful Chin women to be kidnapped. The way of life of the Chin tribe is extremely simple - they live without electricity, engage in farming, weave blankets, and hunt buffalo.
What is a must-see in Myanmar is Thingyan, a colorful mass celebration, a festival that takes place for 3 days in April, at the end of the dry season. The main tradition of Tinjan is the mass pouring of water to signify the beginning of the rainy season. For the locals it is an important and special holiday when even the most relaxed residents of Burma in the fun, pouring water on everyone around, washing away all the sins and failures of the past year. The parades are especially powerful in Yangon, where there are dancing stages, loud music and the city becomes “the world’s biggest shower”.
Myanmar’s historical and religious sites are the foundation that will make up the future of tourism in this country. Excursions to Myanmar are still in the development stage, so you should come here for an experience as soon as possible, while the land still preserves its pristine nature. Those who have an adventurous spirit, there is no better place to travel. While in Myanmar, consider visiting Thailand, which is nearby. Read about Thailand attractions and get inspired for your future journey through Southeast Asia!