Places to go in Myanmar

Bagan Temples

Bagan, a vast, spectacular desert dotted with stunning varied temples can be toured by bike or vehicle. This extravagant temple complex is the highlight of a trip to Myanmar and should not to be missed.

The top-notch temples include Shwesandaw Paya, Buledi, Ananda Pahto, Dhammayangyi Pahto, and Thatbyinnyu. The Bagan Archaeological Zone is the main draw in Myanmar’s nascent tourism industry, equal in splendor to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Inle Lake

Traditional boat racing with dozens of leg rowers in Shan dress chant and motivate each other to deliver their Buddha relic to the next township first, reigning victorious. A three-day festival ensues where crowds from varied ethnic groups around the country eat, drink, shop, and celebrate.

The Hpaung Daw U Festival is followed by the Thadingyut Festival of Lights. Intha and Shan people rejoice in vast numbers during Buddhist Lent.

The standing Buddha

The standing Buddha statue is the second-tallest statue in the world at 129 meters. The sprawling site is filled with bodhi trees and pagodas. In front of the standing statue lays a 95-meter-long, reclining Buddha that can be entered via Buddha’s left rear posterior. The sheer size of the standing Buddha is an unforgettable experience.

Shwedagon Pagoda

The first must-see sight in Myanmar is Yangon’s impressive 2,500-year old, 100-meter-high golden Shwedagon Pagoda, the most visited and sacred Buddhist temple. It houses relics of the past four Buddhas including: the staff  of  Kakusandha, the water filter of Konagamana, a piece of the robe of Kassapa, and eight strands of hair from Gautama.

The sanctuary is used daily by reverent monks; Buddhists frequent the site offering alms. The temple is especially magical at dusk.

The World's Largest Book

Mandalay’s top sights include traversing up Mandalay Hill. The summit terrace adjacent to the Sutaungpyei Pagoda offers panoramic views of Mandalay’s plain near the old city walls and moat. Nearby monasteries afford visitors the opportunity to watch devotees place golden leaf on the Buddha images.

The other must is to literally walk through the world’s largest book; Kuthodaw Pagoda and its 729 satellite stupas each house a page inscribed in stone forming the world’s largest book.