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Myanmar is a mysterious country in Southeast Asia, where time seems to have frozen many centuries ago, leaving unshakable its beauty, traditions and numerous sights of Myanmar. Only recently the years of self-isolation of this country have sunk into the past, and a modest flow of tourists began to gradually grow and gain momentum. Lovers of real travels and vivid adventures will certainly find something to see in Myanmar – this is a unique architecture that conveys the rich history of the country, and centuries-old traditions, and pristine nature, striking in its beauty, and the ethnic diversity of the inhabitants, and the abundant national cuisine.
< h2> What to see first in Myanmar
The list of main attractions should start with the main value that personifies the whole of Myanmar – numerous Buddhist shrines. That is why, choosing what to see in Myanmar in 1 day, it is worth making a trip to the main temples and monasteries of the country – they are the ones that open the rating of Myanmar attractions.
1. Yangon city
Yangon City – restaurant-ship Caraway at sunset
The best sights are opened by Yangon – the largest city of Myanmar, which was once its capital. Now Yangon is called the cultural capital of the country, since a huge number of museums, cultural and architectural monuments are concentrated here. You will have to work hard on choosing what to visit in Myanmar in the first place, if you find yourself in Yangon. Indeed, to see all the interesting places concentrated in this city, sometimes one trip is not enough. One of the traditional symbols of the city has become the Shwedagon stupa with a history of more than 2.5 thousand years.
2. Temples in Bagan (Pagan)
Valley of ancient temples and pagodas in Bagan
Among the most unusual 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 that was once located on these lands. Today, on the site of the ancient city, there is a valuable archaeological area with thousands of temples, monasteries, stupas, pagodas, most of which were built in the 11-13 centuries. During the months of the dry season, the shrines are restored, and during the rainy season, the entire area is covered with lush greenery, and it seems that all the ancient buildings are buried in the jungle. This place can be included in the top most beautiful places on the planet!
3. Shwedagon Pagoda
The unique architecture of the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda
A giant brick stupa 98 meters high is perhaps the most impressive landmark of Myanmar in its size and richness of decoration. It rises majestically on a hill in Yangon, almost all covered in gold, and only monks and male visitors can enter inside. An incredible amount of gold was used to finish the Shwedagon – about 8 tons, and its top is decorated with precious stones. The stupa is surrounded by other small pagodas, there are 64 of them in total, there are also tauzangs, which contain numerous images of the Buddha.
Official website: http://www.shwedagonpagoda.
4. Thatbyinnyu Temple
View of the massive and majestic Tatbinyu Temple
Another majestic and highest temple of Bagan is Tatbinyu, built in 1150. In the Middle Ages, this pagoda was a whole monastic complex, which included, in addition to the monastery on the first tier, a library on the second tier, and a sanctuary with a stupa in the uppermost array. There is the most common assumption that the construction of Tatbinyu fell on the transitional period of Bagan architecture, this explains some of the inharmonious features of its execution.
5. Chaittiyo Pagoda (Golden Stone)
Chaittiyo Pagoda and Golden Rock at sunset
This small but very famous shrine is located in Mon State. The pagoda is famous for the numerous reviews of visitors who enthusiastically share their impressions of the stone, on top of which the structure is located. The fact is that a stone covered with gold leaf literally hangs on the edge of a cliff, but does not fall, contrary to all physical laws. Legend has it that this stone is kept on the edge thanks to the hair of the Buddha. Around the sanctuary on the mountain there is a whole complex for accommodating pilgrims. There are severe restrictions on the territory of the pagoda – non-believers cannot stay near the Golden Stone at night, and women cannot approach the saints less than 10 meters at all.
Feel the atmosphere of Myanmar in this beautiful video!
6. Chautaji Pagoda (Reclining Buddha)
Ancient and large reclining Buddha statue at Chautaji Pagoda Colegota
Most are accustomed to seeing the figures of the Buddha, depicted seated in the lotus position. It is rare to find an enlightened person lying on his side – this position personifies the moment of his earthly death and the transition to nirvana. One of the largest statues of the reclining Buddha is located in the Chhouthaji Pagoda in Yangon. The age of this ancient sculpture is about a millennium, and the dimensions are even more impressive: the length is about 55 meters, the height is about 15 meters. This impressive landmark of Myanmar has undergone numerous restorations, the last of which was carried out in 1966.
7. Sule Pagoda
Sule Pagoda surrounded by Buddhist shops
Right in the heart of Yangon, at the crossroads of the main streets of the city, is the imposing 48-meter Sule Stupa. According to some descriptions, the age of this structure is about 2 thousand years. The pagoda stands on a massive octagonal base – the number of sides of the pagoda corresponds to the number of days in a week. The fact is that the adherents of Buddhism divide the week not into 7, but into 8 days, Wednesday is divided into a “day” before sunset and a “day” after it. Each side has its own statue of the Buddha. Everyone who comes to bow to the Teacher chooses his Buddha according to the day on which he was born, and it is he who is worshiped.
8. Mandalay Royal Palace
Beautiful panoramic view of the Mandalay Royal Palace
When choosing where to go in Myanmar, in addition to numerous pagodas, you should pay attention to the Mandalay Royal Palace, which is located 150 kilometers northeast of Bagan. Once in the 19th century, the palace was built from teak wood and served as the residence of the kings of Burma. However, at one time it was defeated by Japanese aircraft, and everything that can be seen now is a remake. Of the former buildings, only the fortress walls have been preserved. The main building now houses a museum where you can see the royal throne and the bed of the monarch.
9. Mingun Paya Stupa
Entrance to the unfinished Mingun stupa
Near Mandalay, in the Mingun settlement, there is the largest unfinished pagoda – Mingun Paya. The construction of the stupa promised to break all records – the construction was to become the world's largest pagoda, and its height was to reach one and a half hundred meters. But the construction was never completed, and there are two versions explaining this moment. According to the first version, the king was predicted to die immediately after the completion of construction, and according to the second, there simply were not enough funds for the construction. Be that as it may, the stupa remained only one-third built.
10. The ancient city of Mrauk U
Lost in the jungle, the ancient city of Mrauk U
Mrauk-U is one of the largest ancient cities, once a major seaport, where merchants from all over the world flocked. Since the ancient city attracts numerous visitors, all conditions for the guests of the country are created here. For example, you can wander around souvenir shops, take photos, visit local shops and mini-restaurants, where local and European cuisine is presented. But most tourists still go to Mrauk-U to see the unusual old pagodas, which here are distinguished by their massiveness and strength of the walls – the temples were built so that, on occasion, they could withstand the longest siege.
11. Buddhist Damayangji Temple
Damayangji Buddhist Temple amid lush greenery Paul Mannix
Among all the sights of Myanmar, Damayangji temple enjoys special honor. According to the legends, the construction was carried out under King Naratu, who killed his father in order to come to power. And in order to atone for his bloody sin, he decided to build a huge pagoda. Today, Damayangji 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 inspection, while the inner rooms are walled up for unknown reasons.
12. Taung Kalat Monastery (Mount Popa)
Ascent to the monastery Taung Kala on a stone staircase carved into the rock
At the top of Mount Popa, which is a dormant volcano, rises a beautiful spiritual landmark of Myanmar – the Taung Kalat Monastery. The building itself is an example of an exceptionally harmonious combination of human work and the creation of nature. The dormant volcano, the last eruption of which took place several millennia ago, is now observed from afar – its peak is visible for several tens of kilometers. Today the monastery attracts countless streams of pilgrims, being one of the most revered sanctuaries in the country and in the world. In order to get inside, you first need to climb up a long staircase of 777 steps.
13. Mingun Bell
Mingun working bronze bell BlackNose
Mentioning what to see in Myanmar, it is impossible to ignore the huge bell in the village of Mingun, which is the second largest in the world. The history of its existence goes back 2 centuries – it was cast for the huge Pathodauji pagoda. The alloy for the bell was made by local craftsmen according to a special recipe, from five metals, which even included silver and gold. The bell was mounted on strong supports, which were later damaged by an earthquake. The pillars collapsed, but the bell remained intact, and today anyone can strike the bell so that it will overshadow the surroundings with its clear deep sound.
14. Pindaya Caves
Covered stairways to Pindaya caves
The small town of Myanmar Pindaya is famous for its caves, located on a hill a couple of kilometers from the city center, and revered as the most important Buddhist shrine. From all sides, galleries lead to the entrance to the caves, passing through which you can admire excellent views of the surrounding park. The caves themselves, with a length of more than 1.5 kilometers, have many branches. Passing through the labyrinths of caves between countless stone sculptures of Buddha, visitors find themselves in beautiful halls with underground lakes, hanging stalactites and Buddhist altars of amazing beauty.
15. Irrawaddy River
Lokannanda Pagoda on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River
The great South Asian river, the largest in Myanmar, is the Irrawaddy River. In the old days, the Irrawaddy became the basis for the emergence of civilizations that had a major impact on the culture of the East. For centuries, this river has been the most important water artery and the basis of the life of the population, and has been used as a transport, trade route, source of food and drink. Traveling along the Ayeyarwaddy is a unique chance to see the life of local peoples from the inside, as well as visit the most interesting places and important sights of Myanmar located in nearby settlements.
Sights of Myanmar: what else to visit in Myanmar
The attractive force of Myanmar with its magical sights is great. But in addition to historical and cultural, there is a great variety of natural attractions 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 managed to get their first impressions of getting to know the country.
16. Ubein Wooden Bridge
Teak Wooden Bridge over Tauntome Lake
Ubein, which is the longest and oldest wooden bridge, has become one of the symbols of Myanmar. The date of the construction of the bridge is unknown today, but presumably it was 1850. Teak wood was used for the construction of the structure. The length of the bridge is 1200 m, and it consists of 2 parts, docked at a slight angle. Today it is a popular tourist attraction and the most famous attraction in Myanmar. Once here, you can buy various souvenir paraphernalia, sit on the covered veranda, walk along the bridge.
17. Inle Lake
Village and boats on Inle Lake
What to see in Myanmar to personally get acquainted with the traditions of the local population? Perhaps the best place for this is the amazingly beautiful freshwater Inle Lake, which attracts not only with its landscapes, but also with the unusual way of life of the indigenous people. Local tribes build houses on bamboo stilts, use their own way of catching fish, weave clothes from lotus stems, make jewelry, arrange gardens on brushwood islands, and much more that can only be found here. In the center of the unique lake there is another interesting attraction – the Monastery of Jumping Cats. Several monks who live there teach the caudates to perform amazing and very complex tricks.
18. Ngapali Beach
Calm sea and soft sand of Ngapali beach
Ngapali Beach is a strip of pure white sand lined with the best and most modern hotels in Myanmar. Here you can enjoy the warm sea, gentle sun, go diving or stroll through the coconut plantations of nearby villages. In the neighborhood with vacationers, fishermen conduct their simple fishing, and in general, the locals are very friendly to every tourist as to a person with whom you can have a cordial conversation, even if you limit yourself to a meager stock of English words. And local hotel restaurants offer a large selection of exotic dishes from the freshest seafood.
19. Tattooed women of the Chin tribe
Faces of Chin women with a spider web tattoo dany13
The faces of the women of the Chin tribe are completely covered with a network of tattoos. The tradition of tattooing on the face is a thing of the past, and about 50 years ago it was banned by the country's authorities. Therefore, unusual tattoos today can only be found on the faces of very elderly women. It is believed that the Chin people have always had girls of amazing beauty, who were admired by neighboring tribes. Therefore, the phenomenon of the abduction of the beautiful representatives of the Chin was not uncommon. The life of the Chin tribe is extremely simple – they live without electricity, farm, weave blankets and hunt buffalo.
20. Thingyan Water Festival
Members Thinjan Water Festival Myanmar Flightspeed
What you should definitely see in Myanmar is Tinjan, a bright 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 mass dousing with water as a sign of the beginning of the rainy season. For the locals, this is an important and special holiday, when even the calmest residents of Burma indulge in fun, pouring water on everyone around them, washing away all the sins and failures of the past year. Festive processions reach a special scale in Yangon, where entire dance floors are set up, music plays loudly, and the city turns into “the largest soul in the world.”
Historical and religious sights of Myanmar are the basis that will make the future tourism in this country. Excursions to Myanmar are still in the development stage, and therefore you should go here for impressions as soon as possible, while these lands still retain their originality. For those who have a spirit of adventure, there is simply no better place to travel. While in Myanmar, consider visiting Thailand, which is nearby. Read about the sights of Thailand and get inspired for your next trip to Southeast Asia!