ATTRACTIONS IN MYANMAR

Yangon  Mandalay  Bagan  Inle Lake  Others

YANGON AND AREA

Yangon

Originally a Mon fishing village which gained prominence in the 14th century, the capital of city today still retains much of it's colonial heritage. Despite development, there are still many old historical buildings from British times to be found along many of the tree lined streets and avenues.

Walk the streets of Old Yangon to see leafy lanes and byways filled with enormous timber mansions, decorated in unique Myanmar style, where British captains of industry once lived. See century-old buildings with magnificent architecture, reminders of Yangon's past.  The number of colonial buildings still standing in downtown Yangon is nothing short of spectacular.  Myanmar's isolation from the rest of the world during the years after independence resulted in a unique preservation of many of its old buildings.  It is heartening to see that at last, many of them are restored to their former beauty.  Yangon's colonial streets are a showcase of the best, or most ostentatious, of colonial architecture - an exuberant display of wealth and designer dexterity.  The influence of Victorian and Edwardian architectural details soon made a deep impression on the local and Indian craftsmen who embraced the styles wholeheartedly.  Buildings developed an amazing hybird style that resulted in an array of curlicue trims and turrets along with cupolas and pergolas that adorn so many of the early buildings. Carved wood trims were also popular, all adding together to form an extraordinary architectural style unique to Myanmar.  Yangon is perhaps the last authentic example of an Asian tropical city still featuring its former colonial origins, huge parks, shady trees and lakes and its religious monuments.  Of those monuments, the most legendary, graceful and majestic of all, is the Shwedagon Pagoda built around 2,500 years old

Shwedagon Pagoda
This awe inspiring 98 meter golden domed pagoda dominates the central Yangon area. It is Yangon's premier tourist attraction and around the mighty stupa (pagoda) are arrayed an incredible assortment of smaller zedis, statues, temples, shrines, images and pavilions.     

 

Chaukhtatkyi Reclining 
Buddha

Chaukhtatkyi Pagoda
A colossal reclining pagoda nearly as large as the one in Bago.

National Museum
Its' exhibits include the Lion Throne of the last Burmese King - Thibaw Min; the Mandalay Regalia, a collection of gem-studded swords, jewelry, bowls; and many other cultural exhibits.

Nanthida Jetty
Where you can watch the busy life on the Yangon river.

Scott Market
A sprawling 70 years old complex noted for its' variety of handicrafts and other items-an excellent place for a shopping spree.

Syriam (Thanlwin)

This is a short trip from Yangon, this was a busy trading port before Yangon took it's role.

Kyauktan Yele Pagoda  
is a pagoda perched on a tiny island in the middle of the river. To reach it you catch one of the many launch ferries from the river bank.

Bago (Pegu)

This is of about 2 hours drive north of Yangon and this was the former royal capital. Bago is renowned for the 55-meter long reclining Buddha image, the Shwetalyaung, the beautiful golden Shwemawdaw Pagoda and many more religious monuments such as the old ordination hall built by King Dhammazedi.  It has an interesting lively market and just 10 minutes out of town, one can see authentic rural life including water buffaloes yoked in front of a plough working in the paddy fields.  Bago can be reached easily by road; the 80km journey from Yangon takes about 2 hours.  It is situated on the road to the Golden Rock Pagoda and to Mawlamyine.  Bago remains a quiet and easy going town with a lot more bicycles than cars.  It is, however, constantly expaning.

Htaukkyan War Cemetery
 

It s located on the road to Bago, this is a beautifully kept cemetery, final resting place for thousands of Allied soldiers who died during WWII. There is also a monument with the names of many thousands of soldiers whose remains were never found.

Shwetalyaung Pagoda  
It is a huge reclining Buddha, over 55 meters long and 16 meters high. It is said to be one of the largest and most lifelike of all reclining Buddha's.

Shwemawdaw Pagoda 
Its' height of 114 meters completely dominates the town with over 1,000 years old.

Return to top

MANDALAY AND AREA

Mandalay

 
This is the last capital of Myanmar before the British took over. Historically it still has considerable cultural and religious significance. There are many inviting sightseeing excursions from this. This is the second largest city in Myanmar and is situated in the hot and dry central region of the country.  Mandalay is the cultural center of Myanmar and the last royal capital. It is surrounded by other ancient royal capitals, Sagaing, Ava (Inwa) and Amarapura, which are highly interesting sightseeing destinations due to their historical and religious importance - in ancient times as well as at present.  In Mandalay, you can watch traditional handicrafts being made, such as Kalaga tapestries, marionettes, bronze casting, stone and woodcarving.  Mandalay also houses the most revered Buddha statue in the whole of Myanmar, the Maha Myat Muni.  The Buddha Himself is said to have breathed onto the just-finished image thus giving it some of the Buddha's power.  People believe that the image is somewhat "alive" and it is therefore treated with the utmost respect.  Every early morning, monks and people come to the pagoda to wash the image's face and to make offerings of water, food, flowers, candles and incense. 

Mohamuni Pagoda
The center piece of this shrine is the highly venerated Mahamuni image which was transported from Mrauk U in 1784. It was believed to be of great age already at that time. The four-meter high seated image is casted in bronze but over the years countless thousands of devout Buddhists have gradually covered the figure in a 15 cm thick layer of goldleaf.

Shwenandaw Monastery
This is a fine example of a traditional Burmese wooden monastery and a fragile reminder of the old Mandalay Fort as well.

Atumshi Monastery
Before it was destroyed by fire in 1890, it was, by all accounts, being one of the most magnificent temples in Southeast Asia. It is stil impressive to see the remains such as the stumps of the large teak pillars that once supported the roof.

Kuthodaw Pagoda
It has been dubbed "the world's biggest book in the world" built by King Mindon after the Fifth Buddhist Council. It contains the entire Buddhist canon inscribed on its 729 marble stone slabs. Each slab is housed in it is on the little stupa.

 Mandalay Hill

This is a favourite place for tourists to watch the sunset. This hill, 230 meters high, is the only real vantage point over the flat plains that otherwise surround Mandalay. Various statues, shrines and Buddhas occupy the hillsides and if you wish you can choose to walk to the top via pleasantly covered walkways rather than to take motor transport.

Mandalay Fort
This is an imposing walled palace built by King Mindon Min in 1857. The royal palace within the fort was burned out during fighting between the occupying Japanese and the advancing British and Indian troops in WWII. It has been largely reconstructed in recent years.  Its ground can now be visited as a museum.

 

Amarapura

This is located 11km south of Mandalay. It was the capital city in the late 1700's and in the mid of 1800's.

U Bein Bridge - more than 2 centuries old this is the longest teakwood span in the world.

     

Mahagandayon Monastery - This is a school for young monks where we visit inside and see the daily living activities.

 

Mingun

This is a small town where is located 11 km upriver from Mandalay on the western bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. It is noted for the Mingun Paya, a huge unfinished pagoda and a gigantic90-ton-bell - the largest uncracked ringing bell in the world. The 45 minutes boat trip to Mingun is a very pleasant way to see the life along the Ayeyarwaddy River.

 

Inwa/Ava

Ava lies 20 km south west of Mandalay. It was founded by the Shan king Thadominbya in 1364. It remained the royal capital for almost 5 centuries. Visitors cross the river on a ferry and ride around the sites of Ava in a pony cart and visit Bagaya.

Bagaya Monastery
This is one of the largest and most active of Myanmar's wooden monasteries with many rare works of arts and over 400 Buddha statues.

Ruins of old fortress
Farms, villages, monasteries, and ruined zedis are scattered around the area within the old city walls.


Maymyo (Pyin Oo Lwin)


This one-time British hill town hideaway, about 2 hours drive from Mandalay, offers cool weather, eclectic architecture and stagecoaches.  The town dates from the early 20th century and its main street is part of the famous Burma Road, an important route that leads north to the trading town of Lashio and beyond to the Chinese border.  The street is an interesting place to walk about, lined with a mishmash of building styles; iron grillwork, balconies, chimneys and wood-carved decorations accent the architecture.  The town's clock tower, the Purcell Tower with its Big Ben chime, is said to be a present from Queen Victoria, identical to one in Capetown, South Africa.  Close to Pyin Oo Lwin are several natural attractions, waterfalls and caves.

Peik Chin Myaing Cave
It houses many Buddha images, and some models of Myanmar's most revered pagodas.  The cave lies in a beautiful setting with some waterfalls around.  It is a favourite weekend destination for local tourists. 

National Kandawgyi Botanical Garden
The garden was founded back in 1915, is home to a large variety of trees and flowers from Myanmar and abroad as well as numerous birds.  

Maymo Market
The region is a center for growing many "English" vegetables which need colder growing conditions. For example, strawberries in season (Feb-March) are cheap and delicious.

Monywa

Monywa is about 140 km to the west of Mandalay is a commercial centre of the Chindwin Valley. Monywa serves as a major agricultural trade center for the Chindwin Valley. There is also a crater lake near the town which measures 5,363 meters in circumference and is set amidst lush scenic surroundings.

Thanboddhay Paya
is the major attraction for visitors. It has 845 smaller stupas surrounding the richly decorated central stupa. It was first built in 1303 and is said to enclose more than 7,350 relics and other holy materials.

Po Win Daung Caves
located just across the Chindwin River and reached by ferry. The caves are famous for their Buddha statues, mural paintings and woodcarvings. There are quite a few legends about the caves, related mostly to Nats (the Myanmar spirits). There are supposed to have been over 400,000 Buddha images caved out in the caves.

 

Sagaing

The ancient capital of Sagaing lies 21 km southwest of Mandalay on the west bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. The Sagaing Hills offer famous religious retreats where monks and nuns go for study and meditation in over 400 monasteries. Nearby is Ywataung Village known for its silver craftsmen.

Ponya Shin Zedi
On Sagaing Hill with a number of other zedis, it was constructed in 1312 and offers an outstanding view of Sagaing.

Kaungmudaw Pagoda
This is best known of Sagaing stupas, this is a huge whitewashed edifice with a dome rising 46 meters. This zedi was built in 1636.

Return to top

BAGAN AND AREA

Bagan

Bagan is one of the richest archaeological and historical sites in Asia, a large area  of more than 42 square km, with more than 2,000 pagodas and temples, all set in a vast plain beside the legendary Ayeyarwaddy River.  More popularly known as the "City of Four Million Pagodas".  Today is considered as one of the wonders of the world.
During the Bagan Era (11th to 13th century), Burmese was written for the first time.  Bagan was the origin of Buddhism, as still practiced nowadays, and was the seat of religious learning for clergy and laity. Maingalazedi is one of Bagan's last great stupas to have been erected and is a fine example of the skills of the temple builders.  It is also a favourite spot to catch the sunset.  Foreign visitors to Bagan can be found on the steep steps waiting for the magical moment; as the sun sinks behind the already misty Ayeyarwaddy.

Highlights include:
Shwezigon Pagoda - a prototype of later Myanmar stupas Gubyaukyi Pagoda - an early period pagoda with paintings still preserved inside Htilominlo Pagoda - traces of ancient murals are still visible Ananda Pagoda - one of the finest, largest and best preserved Anada Ok Kyaung - one of the few surviving brick monastery buildings of the Early Bagan period. 

Dhammayangyi Pagoda - is a massive later period temple with the finest brickwork in Bagan. 

Payathonzu Pagoda - a 13th century complex of three interconnected shrines. Manuha Paya - said constructed by the captured king Manuha and where in the back there is reclining Buddha in very cramped quarters, supposedly reflecting the king's displeasure at captivity. sunset view - as the day wanes we can watch the beautiful sunset from one of the pagodas selected by the tour guide for best viewing. Evening boat ride on the Ayeyarwaddy River - take a scenic evening boat ride on the river which ends at Lawkananda Kyaung, a riverside monastery rich in history and where the sunset views are excellent. 

Excursion to Mt. Popa - the morning drive to the Mt. Popa which rose from the ground in a massive earthquake in 442 BC. Mt. Popa is renowned as the home of the Nats (Spirit Gods) and for its' panoramic view of the local tropical region.

Return to top

INLE LAKE AREA AND THE SHAN STATE

Inle Lake


The lake is situated 1328 meters above sea level and is surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Shan State. Inle Lake is well known for its floating villages and gardens, and colorful markets. Visitors will always remember the image of a fisherman standing at the stern of a alender boat while rowing in the one-legged style which is characteristic of Inle Lake. Gardens of grass and earth float on the surface of this shallow lake; floating strips of "land" for growing vegetables. Another attraction besides the enjoyment of the scenery is a visit to the "jumping cats" monastery where the monks have trained the resident cats to jump through hoops.

Fisherman on Inle Lake Floating Flower Garden House on Stilts

 

Pindaya Caves

Located a short way northwest of Inle Lake are the famous Pindaya Caves. Inside are nearly 9,000 Buddha images which have been placed there over the centuries as a form of merit making. Made of various materials and of different sizes. The statues are situated in every nook and cranny throughout the many cave chambers.

Taunggyi

At an elevation of 1,430 meters, this western Shan state town offers a pleasantly cool climate. A main attraction is the morning market in the center of town where you can see colorful hill tribe-people.

 

Kalaw

Kalaw, which lies about 71km west of Taunggyi, is a beautiful hill station surrounded by pine trees and forests. This was the popular former British Hill stations. It is at the altitude of 1,320 meters. It is a picturesque village surrounded by pine forests and has some of Myanmar's most beautiful gardens. From Kalaw there are good trekking and hiking possibilities to the neighboring hill tribe villages, which still function the same as they did centuries ago.  Fans of natural beauty and peaceful sites will surely get their money's worth.  The road leading to Kalaw and Pindaya offer breathtaking sights of the landscape and are somehow reminiscent of the beautiful Alps region in Europe.

Lashio

Lashio is the trading centre for the northern Shan State at the begining of the famous Burma Road leading into China. From Mandalay you can reach Lashio by road in a day. Lashio has one of the most colourful markets where the local villagers from the surrounding areas gather for their daily shopping. It is a mountain town at 855 meters. A scenic train or drive from Mandaly is the usual mode of travel.

Return to top

OTHER AREAS

Ngapali Beach

A short 40 minutes flight from Yangon up to Myanmar's west coast lies the slowly awakening beach resort of Nagapali beach. Here golden sand beaches, palm trees, and the clear green waters of the Bay of Bengal create an idyllic and relaxing environment. The few hotels currently in operation offer attractive accommodation in all categories. And although "quiet" is the watchword for Ngapali beach, there are still a few windsurfers and sailboats for hire. Bicycles can also be rented for sightseeing on the quiet roads to the nearby fishing villages. Or a small boat can take you just off shore where you can observe the local fisherman at work. In the evening, after the sunt has slipped gracefully over the horizon, the beautiful night sky fills with bright stars and a romantic tropical moon. The perfect ending to the perfect Myanmar holiday.

 

Kyiaktiyo (Golden Rock)

  To reach Kyiaktiyo one must drive north to Bago (Pegu) and then turn south and drive into the Mon State for another 4 hours. Kyiaktiyo is one of the most revered Buddhist sites in Myanmar and is located high on a mountain. It is known as the "balancing or golden rock" and is supposedly held in place by a delicately placed hair of the Buddha. Vehicles are not permitted near the top where the Golden Rock is so visitors must walk up the hill for about 45 minutes to reach the site.

Return to top

Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further information or reservation:

  E-mail: info@exotic-holidays.hk

Tel: (852) 3575 9090       Fax: (852) 2311 1318

Last update 2008/10/26