lies in the fertile delta country of southern Myanmar on the
Yangon River. Although the population hovers around 4
million, the city seems so full of trees and shade that some neighbourhoods are practically jungle, giving it a totally
different feel from other Asian cities of comparable size.
At night, Yangon's wide boulevards come alive with hordes of
stalls selling delicious food and piles of huge cigars. If
you can close your eyes to the decay of the old colonial
architecture downtown, you'll probably agree that this is
one of the most charming cities in Asia.
sprawling cultural centre is the most Burman of Myanmar's
cities. It was the last capital of Myanmar before the
British took over and is the country's second-largest city,
complete with bustling markets of produce and handicrafts
from all over Upper Myanmar.
Highlights of Mandalay include Shwenandaw Kyaung, the sole
remaining building of the once extravagant moated palace;
Mandalay Hill, with its spiralling stairways, temples and
sweeping views; and the ancient Rakhine Buddha image at
Mahamuni Paya. There are four 'deserted cities' nearby:
Amarapura, Sagaing, Ava and Mingun. Mingun is the most
appealing of the four; not only are there some wonderful
monuments in various states of disrepair, but just getting
there is half the fun. The boat ride from Mandalay is a
bewildering, deserted city of fabulous pagodas and temples
on the banks of the Ayeyarwady is one of the wonders of
Asia. Bagan's period of grandeur stretched from the 11th to
the 13th centuries, and an enormous number of magnificent
buildings were constructed here. The city was sacked by
Kublai Khan in 1287 and never rebuilt. There are some 5000
temples, the most interesting of which are Ananda,
Thatbyinnyu and Gawdawpalin.
the Mon dynasty, Bago was a fabulous city, a major seaport
and capital of lower Myanmar. The city was destroyed by the
Burman in 1757 but partially restored in the early 19th
century. When the Bago River changed its course and cut the
city off from the sea, Bago failed to return to its previous
grandeur. Sights include the Shwemawdaw Pagoda, which
dominates the town, the Hintha Gone Pagoda and the 55m-long
(180ft) reclining Shwethalyaung Buddha.
trading port occupied by the Portuguese in early 17th
Century, Thanlyin and its surroundings offer many
attractions. The old buildings still stand in evidence of
the days of Portuguese occupation. The 270 metre long bridge
spanning the Bago River made possible the 45 minutes' drive
from Yangon. Kyaik-khauk Pagoda and Kyauktan Pagoda in the
creek are worth visiting.
15th century ancient city of Rakhine Kingdom is known for
its old temples with wall paintings of Indian cultural
influence. A regular passenger boat takes hours from Sittwe
(Akyab) to Mrauk-U. Special speed boat with 20 seats takes
only 2 1/2 hours. It is also accessible by road from Sittwe
via Ponnakyun and Kyauktaw. The Mahamuni Shrine, one of the
famous pagodas in Myanmar, is situated 30 km. from Myaut-oo.
50 km. southeast of Bagan, Mount Popa, 1,500 metres high, is
an extinct volcano. It is the legendary home of the 'nats'
or spirits. The Mount Popa area has also been designated as
a National Park, a perfect place for eco-tourism.
Mawlamyine, a charming town, is the capital of Mon state,
situated at the mouth of the Thanlwin River (Salween River).
It is easily accessible by road and rail from Yangon. The
famous Kyaikkhami Pagoda, perched on the rocks by the sea
and joined to the land by a covered causeway, is the main
attraction. About 34 km. from Mawlamyine is Thanbyuzayat, an
Allied War Memorial Cemetery for the prisoners of war who
lost their lives in the building of the famous Death Railway
across the River Kwai.
Pyin-Oo-Lwin (May Myo)
1,000 metres above sea-level, Pyin-Oo-Lwin is a popular
hill-station about 69 km. away from Mandalay. It is
well-known for its colonial-style houses with large compound
and pine trees, eucalyptus and silver-oak abound in town.
Delightfully cool and pleasant the whole year round, the 175
hectare Botanical Garden, Maha Ant Htoo Kanthar Pagoda, Pwe
Kauk and Ani-sakan Waterfalls, Goteik Viaduct and Peik Chin
Myaung Caves are places of interest.
Ngwe Saung Beach
It is a newly opened
beach about 48 km. from Pathein. This unspoilt beach
stretches 15 km. of white sand and blue sea. Fringed with
palm trees, almost all new hotels at chalet style with
modern equipment face the beach.
Located on the Rakhine coast near Thandwe (Sandoway),
Ngapali is one of the beautiful beaches in Myanmar. This
unspoilt beach is 35 minute flight from Yangon. By overland,
14 hour drive along the narrow winding road over the Rakhine
Yoma (mountain range) after crossing the Ayerwaddy River at
Pyay (Prome). There is an 18-hole Golf Course, located 15
minute drive from the beach.
Chaung Tha Beach
Chaung-tha Beach is located 40 km. to the west of Pathein (Bassein)
in Ayerwaddy Division. It is a very convenient drive from
Yangon via Pathein taking about 5 hours.
mystical pagoda stands on a gold gilded boulder,
precariously perched on the edge of the hill over 1,100 km.
above sea-level. Kyaikhto, the town at the foot of the hill,
is about 160 km. from Yangon. It is 11 kilometer uphill
climb for the hikers from Kinpun Base Camp. There is also a
steep winding road for 4-wheel drive cars from the base to
the nearest point of the pagoda. There are many legends
about the Pagoda and the 'nats' or 'spirits' .
45 km. drive from Kalaw is Pindaya, well-known for its
extensive limestone caves. The caves are set deep in the
hillsides and there stands at the entrance, a 15 meter high
Shwe U Min Pagoda. There are 6,000 Buddha images and
an ancient capital, Sagaing lies 21 km south west of
Mandalay, beside the Ayeyarwaddy River. The Sagaing Hills
are dotted with pagodas and there are over 500 monasteries,
a retreat for some 6000 monks and nuns. Soon U Ponya Shin
Pagoda, Kaung Hmudaw Pagoda ( a copy of the Mahaceti Pagoda
in Sri Lanka) and Ywahtaung Village ( home of the
silversmiths' guilds ) are places worth visiting.
is another town in Kachin State surrounded by snow-peaked
mountains. It is cool the whole year round and there are
many varieties of citrus fruits grown in the orchards. It is
the nearest town to the base camp for climbing Mt.
Khakhaborazi ( 5,889 metres ), which is the highest mountain
in Myanmar and in Southeast Asia.
a small town about 15 km. south of Bagan, down the
Ayeyarwaddy River. U Pone Nya Museum, formerly the Yoke Sone
Monastery, exhibits antique lacquerware, wooden reliefs and
a large standing gilded Buddha image. The figures carved
outside the front of the building are worth seeing. Another
place worth visiting is Thatana Kyaung (Keythar Monastery)
where Tipitaka texts are housed in a large red lacquered
11 km. south of Mandalay is the town of Amarapura. It was
the capital of Konbaung Dynasty during the reign of King
Bodawpaya when he moved its capital to Amarapura in 1783.
Places of interest are Pahtodawgyi Pagoda, U Bein Bridge
across the Taungthaman Lake, Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, Nagayon
Pagoda, Mahagandayone Monastery and Cotton & Silk Weaving
vast picturesque lake, 900 metres above seas-level, is one
of the main tourist attractions in Myanmar. The lake, 22 km
long and 10 km across, has a population of some 150,000,
many of whom live on floating islands of vegetation. Inle
Lake, natural and unpolluted, is famous for its scenic
beauty and the unique leg-rowing of the Inthas, the native
the capital of Shan State, Taunggyi is situated over 1,430
metres above sea-level. It is a hill station, cool and
pleasant all the year round. The market on every fifth day
is crowded with ethnic minorities in their traditional
dresses. The journey from Taunggyi down to Inle Lake area
takes about an hour.
Tachileik, located in the Golden Triangle Area, is the
border gateway opposite Mae Sai in Thailand. It is
accessible by air or by road; about 2 hours by air from
Yangon to Tachileik.
is another ancient capital, known as the Kingdom of Inn-wa
during the Second Myanmar Empire. Today, Inn-wa is a small
town south of Amarapura. The sites to see in Inn-wa include
Nanmyint Watch Tower, Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, Bagaya
Monastery, Lacquerware Industry, and Innwa Bridge spanning
the Ayeyarwaddy River.
located about 11 km. upriver from Mandalay on the western
banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River, is a town well-known for its
90 ton Mingun Bell, the largest ringing bell in the world; a
mammoth unfinished Mingun Pagoda; Settawya Pagoda; and
Tong is the capital city of the Golden Triangle Region.
There are many sites to see besides the ethnic tribes in
colourful dresses. There are regular flights from Yangon to
Kyaing Tong. Visitors are allowed to cross into this border
town with Border Pass.
136 km. to the west of Mandalay is Monywa, the commercial
centre of Chindwin Valley. Sites to see in Monywa are Than-bok-de
Pagoda with over 500,000 Buddha Images, Bodhi-ta-htaung (one
thousand Bo Trees), Ledi Kyaungteik Monastery where Buddhist
scriptures are inscribed on 806 stone slabs and Kyauka
Village known for its own style of lacquerware.
Myitkyina is the largest town in Kachin State. From
Myitkyina, visitors can tour the confluence (myitsone) of
Maikha and Malikha, the source of the Ayerwaddy River. There
are regular flights from Yangon and Mandalay to Myitkyina.
a hill station, Kalaw is 1,400 metres above sea-level. Many
of the Tudor-style houses and English gardens of colonial
days remain. It is located 70 km. west of Taunggyi.
is located about 285 km. north of Yangon, on the eastern
banks of the Ayerwaddy. It is easily accessible by road or
by rail which takes about 5 hours. A few kilometers
north-east of the town is Thaye Khittaya (Sri Ksetra), an
archaeological site of the ancient Pyu capital (5th to 9th
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