Spots to Visit in Myanmar
Since opening up its borders to the world, especially for tourists, Myanmar has always been one of the most recommended places to visit worldwide. In fact, it was number 9 in the Top 10 countries of the Best in Travel 2016 book by Lonely Planet. My 2016 travel to Myanmar has been the best thus far. I am hereby recommending these 15 Myanmar Travel Spots to include in your itineraries as you visit this golden spectacular country:
But before that, you might wanna check out this other Myanmar Guide article I wrote based on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown episode on Myanmar:
If you haven’t seen the said episode yet, you may check the trailer below:
SPOTS TO VISIT IN MYANMAR: MANDALAY
1. Mandalay Palace
The Mandalay Palace is the last royal palace of the last Burmese monarchy and was said to be built around mid-1800s. However, the current structure existing is only a replica of the original. The top of the spiral watchtower will give you a spectacular view (such as shown in the photo above). I recommend you to devote 1-2hours to go around the complex because it is really huge. Entrance fee is MKY10,000.
2. Kuthodaw Pagoda
Maha Lawkamarazein or Kuthodaw Inscription Shrines (which literally means Royal Merit) contains the world’s largest book and was inscribed on the Register by UNESCO in 2013. This stupa is located at the foot of the Mandalay Hill and is patterned after Shwegizon Pagoda. It contains 729 marble slabs with Buddhust scriptures displayed in them.
3. Sutaungpyei Pagoda at Mandalay Hill
The Sutaungpei Pagoda is located atop Mandalay Hill which gives a spectacular view of Mandalay City. The way up is not an easy one — it’s like going up to the City of Baguio in the northern Philippines, but the experience is really worth it. It is also a gppd spot to view the sunset on the side where the Irrawaddy River can be found. It’s a huge complex, and there are actually escalators around! This pagoda is also more ‘shining shimmering splendid’ compared to other pagodas since mirrors and beautiful tiles surround the place.
4. U Bein Bridge
U Bein Bridge is a 1.2-kilometer bridge is said to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. This was named after the former Mayor who had it built, U Bein. It passes over the Taungthaman Lake in Amarapura.
5. Taungthaman Lake
Below the U Bein Bridge is the Taungthaman Lake which also offers a stunning sunset view. Beers, coconut water, and other drinks are sold by the lakeside which you can drink while enjoying the sunset. Boatrides are also available which wander around the lake.
For my trip in Mandalay Myanmar, I stayed at Oway Grand Hotel.
For other accommodation options in Mandalay, Myanmar, click on the button below:
SPOTS TO VISIT IN MYANMAR: BAGAN
1. Shwezigon Pagoda
The Shwezigon Pagoda is a typical circular gold-leafed stupa located at Nyaung U in Bagan and is only one of the thousand golden temples in the country. A lot of mysteries surround the pagoda, such as shadow positions not changing throughout the day, the Hti still standing despite the absence of butresses, the ability of the complex to accommodate a huge number of people and yet does not get crowded at all, name it.
2. Ruins of Old Bagan
When you search Myanmar on Google Images, you will inevitably come across this photo of hot air balloons above stupas in Old Bagan. This is definitely a must-see in Myanmar, however it was said that climbing the stupas in Bagan to view the hot air balloons flying on sunrise will now be banned by the Burmese government in order to preserve the temples. It was a sad news, though. However, do come while it is still allowed. The day I went to see the sunrise in one of the stupas with hot air balloons above my head was the best feeling in the world.
3. Ananda Phaya
Ananda Phaya is considered as one of the most beautiful temples in Bagan. With its unique beauty, it was dubbed as the ‘Westminster Abbey of Myanmar’. Right after the entrance to the temple are sellers of different goods like scarves and books.
4. Mahabodhi Temple
This Buddhist Temple is modeled after the temple of the same name (which is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was believed to be the place where Buddha reached his Enlightenment) located in Bihar, India. It is unique compared to the typical golden stupas found everywhere else in Myanmar because its architecture resembles that of the Gupta period. This is where I actually saw the temple caretakers watching a Filipino TV Series, Princess and I (which was shot in Bhutan), dubbed in a Burmese local language.
5. Buphaya Paya
This pagoda is distinct because of its bulbous-shaped dome, as opposed to the typical pagodas with many edges. It is located at the banks of the Irrawaddy River and it also provides a nice view of the sunset. Buphaya literally means “a gourd shaped pagoda”. There are food stalls at the entrance of the temple.
6. Irrawaddy River
Also called Ayeyarwady River, it is the largest river in Myanmar, spanning from north to south. It is considered as the cradle of civilization in Myanmar, being the most important commercial waterway. One of Rudyard Kipling’s poems dub Irrawaddy River as “the road to Mandalay”. Cows and other farm animals can be seen in the riverbanks and cruiseships roam around the river. Boatrides are available during sunset time (that’s when I took the photo above).
7. Nyaung U Market
This looks like your typical marketplace, but it does not make it hard for tourists to roam around. The thanaka kids outside the marlet were kinda aggressive, though. You will not have to worry leaving your motorbikes and bicycles unchained in the parking area. Nyaung U market also offers a lot of products to tourists, such as spices, postcards, pottery products, and the like.
For my trip in Bagan, Myanmar, I stayed at Golden Crown Motel.
SPOTS TO VISIT IN MYANMAR: YANGON
1. Yangon Zoological Garden
Located across the Kandawgyi Lake, Yangon Zoo is where Burmese families flock and bond together as they enjoy wacthing different animals. It is considered as the oldest and second largest zoo in Myanmar which also houses a museum inside. Renovations are ongoing when we came there to modernize the facilities in order to serve the visitors better.
2. Kandawgyi Lake
Literally means “great royal lake”, Kandawgyi Lake is an artificial lake located in Yangon, across the Yangon Zoological Garden. It used to be a provider of clean water supply for during the British Colonial Government. In this place you will find the Kandawgyi Nature Park wherein families have their picnics and quality time. The lake is also surrounded by a 6-kilometer wooden bridge, perfect for a leisure or fitness walk.
3. KFC Yangon
Okay, it’s just a typical fastfood chain with a huge presence worldwide. What’s so special about this one? This KFC is the first US fastfood chain to open up in Myanmar which opened up only last June 2015 as Myanmar opens up its economy to the outside world. Before that, Myanmar has no access to Western fastfood.
For my trip in Yangon, Myanmar, I stayed at East Hotel.
For other accommodation options in Yangon, Myanmar, click on the button below:
For other blog posts about Myanmar, click on the banner below: