HIGHLIGHTS OF BURMA 

Burma Tours, Myanmar Travels

  YANGON MANDALAY
Shwedagon Pagoda
Bago (Pegu)
Twente
Thanlyin
Amarapura
Sagaing
Mingun
May Myo (Pyin oo Lwin)
  PAGAN (BAGAN) SHAN STATE
Mount Popa
Pakokku
Salay
Kalaw
Pindaya
Taunggyi
Inle Lake
  Other Interesting Places

 

Golden Rock
Mawlamying
Ngapali Beach
Chaungtha Beach
Lashio

YANGON

Yangon is the gateway to Myanmar and the nation’s capital. The many shady parks and beautiful lakes have earned it a reputation as the "Garden City of the East". Its unmistakably colonial style buildings, its open markets and wide tree-lined avenues endow it with a strange mix of old world charm and modern vitality. Yangon is home to the huge reclining Buddha (Kyauk Htat Gyi), Royal Lake, and the most beautiful pagoda of Asia, the Shwedagon Pagoda.

SHWEDAGON PAGODA

The majestic Shwedagon Pagoda towers above the Yangon landscape with a serenity, so unique that it is often considered one of the wonders of the world. According to legend, this glistening, gold covered pagoda was built over two and a half thousand years ago as a place of Buddhist working.

BAGO (PEGU)

Ancient port and capital, Bago boasts the most beautiful statue of the reclining Shwethalyaung Buddha (55 m long and 16 meters high). A visit to Bago imposes itself if one travels by car to Kyaik-tiyo or overland to the North and is recommended to those findings themselves with not enough time to enjoy the sights of Bagan, Mandalay, and Inle Lake.

From Yangon by road, to the ancient capital of Bago, is just 50 miles. Visits include: Shwemawdaw Pagoda (its golden dome inlaid with diamonds dominates the countryside) and the gigantic Shwethalyaung Buddha (dating back to 994 and considered the most beautiful reclining Buddha statue in Myanmar). Next is the Kalyani Sima Ordination Hall, the Mahazedi Pagoda and the local market.

TWENTE

Noted for its pottery, Twente is only a three hour boat ride from Yangon, along the Twente Canal length about 21 miles. There is a famous Shwe San Daw Pagoda for short visit. Besides pottery it is also famed for its fresh-water fishery.

THANLYIN

The port city of Thanlyin is situated on the other side of Yangon River. Thanlyin was known as a major port and trading center during the time of the Portuguese, who sided with the Mon. in their struggle against the Burmese Kings. Thanlyin continued as busy port. A short day trip to Thanlyin can be done from Yangon Jetty by a ferryboat, or by crossing the bridge over the Yangon River. In Thanlyin, a visit will be made to a traditional native market. Close by is the large Golden Kyaik-khauk Pagoda, rising from a hill to the north, and Kyauktaw, where the famous Ye-Le-Papa or island pagoda is situated.

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 MANDALAY

Although only Myanmar’s second largest city, Mandalay is considered by many as the heartland of Myanmar as it was in this area where the Burmese Kings resided for centuries. Claimed by the locals to be most representative of current day Myanmar, Mandalay provides a unique mix of old and new. For centuries under royal patronage, the Myanmar Arts are blooming to this day: silk weavers, tapestry makers, carvers of wood, ivory and stone, silversmiths and bronze-casters ply their trade according to the time-honored traditions of their forefathers. As the seat of Myanmar’s last Kingdom. Mandalay is a spiritual center as well and boasts numerous old wooden monasteries and unique pagodas, which date back to life as it was under the reign of Myanmar’s last king. You are free to explore the fortified ancient palace and the century old monuments and religious edifices that abound this once ancient royal capital. A number of interesting excursions can be made.

AMARAPURA

Amarapura is home to Mahagandayon Monastery where more than 700 monks bestow upon this city a unique and formidable religious atmosphere. Also of interest is Myanmar’s oldest Yunnan style Buddhist temple and U Bein Bridge, a two-century-old, 1.2-km teak footbridge.

SAGAING

Sagaing with its many monasteries and pagodas spread throughout the surrounding hills, overlooks the Ayeyarwaddy River to the West.

MINGUN

Mingun rests on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River and is home to the world’s biggest pile of bricks of the foundation of Pahtodawgyi (the Unfinished Pagoda) as well as the world’s largest ringing bell. It is reached via a memorable boat trip on the Ayeyarwaddy River that provides a fascinating insight into life on this famous waterway.

MAY MYO (PYIN OO LWIN)

Maymyo (Pyin Oo Lwin), an old British hill station, sits on the foothills of the Shan Plateau slightly north-east of Mandalay. The 1-½ hour drive from Mandalay offers breathtaking views across the Mandalay plain. Horse drawn carriages are the primary means of transport as you explore this town that abounds with the atmosphere of British colonial times. Coffee and banana plantations are common and the many Chrysanthemums that decorate the pagodas of Myanmar are grown here. Spectacular waterfalls and natural caves are also located in the vicinity.

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BAGAN (PAGAN)

Bagan is the birthplace of Myanmar civilization. This 11th century capital is one of the richest archeological sites in Asia. Known by many as the "City of four million pagodas", this enchanting ancient city offers the visitors over 2000 religious edifices of marvelous art. The majority of these well-preserved shrines reveal a rich architectural heritage from the 11th to 13th century era. In modern Bagan, bullock carts dictate the pace of the day as the master tradesmen produce with painstaking patience, Myanmar’s finest lacquerware.

MOUNT POPA

60 kilometers southeast of Bagan is the spectacular 1500-meter high extinct volcano Mount Popa. At the foot of this mountain is the perpendicular rock formation with almost vertical sides that is home of the "nat" (spirits). Accessible by a series of stairways, the famous festival of the "nats" or spirits is held here during the month May/June.

PAKOKKU

Situated on the Ayeyarwaddy River near Bagan, yet still untouched by tourism, Pakokku supports a colorful weaving industry and some of the biggest monasteries of Myanmar.

SALAY

It is famous for Paya Thonezu, Three brick Shrines Nan Paya, Hnee Paya, an antique lacquerware Buddha image, Yokesone Kyaung and wooden Monastery which has 100 years old sculptures.

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SHAN STATE

KALAW

Full day drive to Kalaw. First, the road leads through flat land and endless paddy fields. Later in the day, the road winds its way up to the Mountains of the Southern Shan State and the climate starts of to chant with increasing altitude. Arrive Kalaw, a former British hill station that is renowned for its cool climate and many churches.

In the morning, visit Kalaw market, made very colorful by the many tribes in ethnic costumes, which come from near and far. In the afternoon, a foot-walk of 2 hours (short way) or 4 hours leads to a village of Palaung tribe.

At first, a steep track leads down into a narrow valley where the Palaung are cultivating cheroot, tea, damson, and mangoes on the slopes of the mountains. The track crosses the valley floor before climbing up very steeply again to the Palaung village, which thrones atop the mountain. The village has a very interesting long house for 8 families. Observe tribal village life and how the Palaungs dry cheroot on a specially designed oven. Formerly animists, the Palaungs have mostly converted themselves to Buddhism.

PINDAYA

Drive from Kalaw to Pindaya. On the way, visit a Danu and a Pa-O Village. Then stop at the market of Aung Ban before continuing by road to Pindaya. Arrive in Pindaya and visit the caves where thousands of Buddha statues in different styles are exposed.

TAUNGGYI

Drive across the Shan Plateau cultivated by the Pa-O and Danu to Taunggyi. On the way, stop at Heho market. Arrive in Taunggyi, the capital of the Southern Shan State, where you visit the local market in which hill tribe people from faraway sell their products. Visit the small tribal museum and one of the local cheroot factories. Afterwards, continue to Nyaungshwe on Inle Lake.

INLE LAKE

Located in the Shan State and nestled amidst hazy blue mountains is the beautiful Inle Lake. This 14 kilometer long waterway is home to the renowned legrowers. Here, villages are built on stilts over the lake waters and boats are the sole means of transport. Local products are grown in unique floating gardens and then peddled by villagers at the spectacular floating market. The cooler climate of Inle Lake makes it a highly popular summer resort. Nearby Taunggyi is the capital of the Shan State. It is home to some of Myanmar’s finest cheroot factories and boasts an impressive local market.

Full day boat trip on Inle Lake, famous for its unique "legrowers", the fishermen’s interesting method of fishing and its scenic beauty. The boat trip includes visit to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the floating gardens, the floating market at Ywama (only every 5 days), the "jumping cats" show and the local handicraft center.

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OTHERS INTERESTING PLACES

KYAIK-TIYO (GOLDEN ROCK PAGODA)

Home of the incredible balancing pagoda of Kyaik-tiyo. This pagoda is built atop an enormous gold-leafed boulder that is delicately balanced on the very edge of a massive cliff face. Legend suggests that the boulder maintains its balance due to a precisely placed Buddha hair within the pagoda. The pagoda is a place of particular religious significance for local Buddhists who undertake regular pilgrimages during the winter months. The site is closed during the rainy season when access roads become impassable under the heavy rain.

Drive through seemingly endless paddy fields to the small city of Kyaik-tiyo, outside of which is the base camp of Kinpun from where one can reach the Golden Rock in approximately 4 ½ hours by foot. The path (10km) climbs about 1000 meters in altitude and along the way, there are various rest halls and shrines, which relate the story of the temple’s legendary creation. (Possibility also exists to board a truck at the base camp and be driven to the upper camp from where one can ascend a very steep path leading to the mountain top in about 1 hour. People not willing to walk at all, can hire at the upper camp a foursome of porters who offer rides in sedan chairs). Arrive at the legendary Golden Rock and take in the magnificent view over the surrounding scenery, make friends with locals and loose yourself in the magic of this typical Burmese pilgrimage site.

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MAWLAMYING (MOULMEIN)

This attractive tropical town with a ridge of hills on one side and the sea on the other is the third largest city in Myanmar. Here the citizen carry on their daily activities as they have for centuries, little affected by the modern influence that has so dramatically altered lifestyles in other parts of Southeast Asia. Made famous by Rudyard Kipling’s Mandalay: "by the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea.

NGAPALI BEACH (SANDOWAY)

The sandy, coconut fringed beaches and sapphire blue seas of Ngapali Beach stretch over 3 km. Still largely undeveloped, this seaside retreat offers both sun and solitude. Open only during the winter months, Ngapali provides hot days but refreshingly cool evenings.

CHAUNGTHA BEACH

Newly opened beach resorts, one of the unspoiled, clean, sandy spots and shaded with coconut trees, is located on the south of Ngapali Beach, edging to the Bay of Bengal. An overnight steamer trip from Yangon along Twante canal up to Pathein and one hour thirty minutes by coach to Chaung Tha Beach is an interesting trip.

LASHIO

It is the capital of the northern Shan State where various national races reside. It is a beautiful town on the hill. One can observe traditional culture, customs, style of dresses of the various national group.

From Yangon to Lashio

Passengers will have to go from Yangon to Mandalay and then continue the journey to Lashio by train or car. Since the section between Mandalay and Lashio lies on the hill terrain the train has to climb up the hill by using zigzag reversing lines. En-route the train passes through the Pyin-Oo-Lwin (Maymyo), a famous hill station. Along the journey, the passengers can enjoy beautiful scenery including world-famous Gohtaik Viaduct.

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