Myanmar Top Places Visit !
“Mingalarbar!” our tour guide, Mr. Saw welcomed us with the traditional Burmese greeting that means “Good Day”.
We drove past horse carts, down lush tree-lined streets, and saw women and girls adorn their faces with “thanaka” a cosmetic paste made from ground bark to protect skin and used as make up. Our guide told us this is part of Myanmar culture.
We were excited to discover Myanmar’s mysteries and its people. Wondering where to go in Myanmar? Below is a list of the top recommendations and some highlights from Mandalay to Yangon.
First up in our list of Myanmar top places visit is Mandalay, the former capital city of the Myanmar Kingdom, is a spectacular destination for historical and cultural travelers. It’s a perfect way to start off our list and reviews of the top places to visit in Myanmar.
U Bein’s Bridge
This landmark bridge was built in 1850 and considered to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. It spans 1 mile from Amarapura to a village across the Taungthaman Lake.
Mahamuni Buddhist Temple
The breathtaking Mahamuni Buddist temple & the Great Buddha is a pilgrimage site, one of the three most sacred sites in Myanmar. The temple houses a large Buddha covered in gold leaf which originally weighed 6 tons, and now weighs 12 tons from all the gold that worshippers have added to it. This Buddha image is said to be one of only five that was created in the likeness of Buddha.
This famous top spot is a Buddhist stupa that houses the World’s Largest Book. There are 729 pagodas that contain a marble slab, inscribed on both sides with the Theravada Buddhism’s sacred texts.
All the slabs combined contain the entire Tipitaka text, and has been named “the world’s largest book,” according to the World Heritage List.
King’s Palace and Surrounding Canal
Shwenandaw Kyaung, the Golden Palace Monastery
Another top spot as you visit Myanmar! This is one of the last original buildings left from the Royal Palace.
It’s entirely made of teakwood and has intricate carvings in the walls and roofs of Buddhist myths.
Mandalay Hill at Sunset
Last on this top spot list is the perfect spot to get a 360 degree view of Mandalay as you watch the sun set on the Irrawaddy River. At the top, you’ll see monks and nuns visiting shrines, and several tourists taking photos of the sunset, and pagodas dotting the landscape. You can hike up the almost 800 ft. hill which takes about 30 mins or take a taxi to the top of the hill.
This lake is home to the Inthar tribal people who live in the 17 villages along the lake shores, and are known for their fishing skills. Inthar people have lived on the lake for generations, living in wooden houses built on stilts.
They tend to floating vegetable gardens, weave textiles from silk and lotus stems, and fish with conical-shaped nets using an intriguing one-legged rowing technique. You’ll see fishermen standing upright, swinging a leg around an oar, and then glide through the water, while the other foot is anchored to the boat.
Dugout canoes and long-tail boats carve through its waters, and the one-legged rowing fishermen’s silhouettes can be seen from a mile away, against a backdrop of the mist-shrouded Shan Hills. We were in awe and mesmerized by this tranquil lake that can be so still, it mirrors the sky. Definitely something you won’t want to miss during your visit to Myanmar top places.
Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery –
Built in the 19th century, this wooden monastery is where young novice monks study the Buddhism manuscript. We found some young monks studying, but also a few taking a break and playing cards or with cats, or watching those who past by.
Unique “one-leg rowing” fishermen
Great Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
Nga Phe Chaung Monastery,
The “Jumping Cats” wooden monastery on stilts, that has a collection of Buddha images in Shan, Tibetan, Bagan, Inwa style.
These are vegetables that are farmed on floating islands throughout the lake.
Lin Kin Village
This is one of the most visited villages at Inle Lake where you can meet the local people, visit the market.
Arts and Crafts Workshops
So many fun workshops including silversmiths, silk & lotus weaving. A must stop is to Inn Paw Kon, a silk weaving factory where you can see weavers creating beautiful textiles on their wooden handlooms. We purchased some beautiful lotus & silk scarves at the village shop.
Padaung Hilltribe House –
We didn’t make it to visit the Padaung Hilltribe, but heard this is a unique experience to learn about their daily lives, traditional ways and tribal wear.
Nyaung Shwe Pagoda Market
This is where you can find local food, wooden hats, and other interesting souvenir
Bagan was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan from the 9th to the 13th centuries. An ancient city, but considered a living place of worship for Buddhists.
It’s the first kingdom of Burma, modern day Myanmar, and known as the “Land with a Million Pagodas”.
Bagan Temples –
Anananda Temple, Htilominlo Temple, Thatbyinyu Temple, Dhammayangyi Temple, Sulamani Temple with amazing frescoes on interior walls.
Shwezigon Pagoda –
Sunrise Balloon Ride
Buu Phaya for Ayyarwaddy River View
Shop for Laquerware –
The very best city in Myanmar to find authentic pieces
Yangon is called “the Garden City of the East”, gateway to Myanmar with idyllic lakes, shady parks, tropical garden & giant golden pagodas!
Yangon Downtown –
Lots of activity on the riverfront with markets and boat traffic along the Irrawaddy River.
Bogyoke Market –
Shwedagon Pagoda –
Built 2,500 yrs ago and is the largest golden monument on earth at 300 ft high! The terrace has dozens of smaller pagodas and Buddha images surrounding the giant gold pagoda. There are 83,850 jewelry items, 4,016 gold bells and 4,351 diamonds on the vane and the umbrella that adorn the top of the Shwedagon Pagoda with a diamond orb apex 76 carat diamond on top.
The Strand Hotel –
Step back in time to British Colonial days and enjoy a tea, lunch or a drink at the famous bar.
Written by: Patricia Stone, a travel writer & consultant.
Interested in a Trip to Myanmar?
We can introduce you to our recommended travel agent to help you plan a customized trip or sign you up for a group trip.
Travel Resources & Gear
- Mr. Saw, Tour Guide & Operator (recommended by Global Adventuress, Lonely Planet & Trip Advisor).
- Oriental Ballooning offers hot-air balloon rides over Mandalay, Inle Lake, and Bagan – a thrill and great way to get aerial views of these great places!
- ExOfficio Clothing: We highly recommend ExOfficio clothing while traveling in Southeast Asia – especially the lightweight clothing pieces that provide sunscreen protection, repel mosquitoes. ExOfficio’s clothes are quick drying so easy to wash & wear again. Our clothing was practical yet stylish! In our travels through Southeast Asia, we wore the blouses and skirts or trousers that covered our knees to show respect in the Buddhist temples and at religious ceremonies and rituals.
Welcome or Hello (Good Morning/Good Afternoon/Good Evening): Mingalabar (min ga la ba)
How are you? Kamya Nekan Yehla (k’amyà ne-kaùn-yéh-là?)
Doing well (ne-kaùn-ba-deh)
What’s your name? (k’amyà ne-meh beh-lo k’aw-dhǎlèh?)
Pleased to meet you (twé-yá-da wùn-tha-ba-deh)
Thank you (cè-zù tin-ba-deh)
Goodbye (Thwa dau mal)