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Yangon

Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar (Burma)Yangon 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.

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Mandalay

Mandalay Moat, Myanmar (Burma)This 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 treat.

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Bagan

Ananda Temple, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)This 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.

 

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Bago (Pegu)

Ananda Temple, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)During 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.

 

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Thanlyin

Once a 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.

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Myauk U

Mrauk-U, Rakhine, Myanmar (Burma)The 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.

 


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Mount Popa, Myanmar (Burma)Mount Popa

Some 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.

 

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Mawlamyaing

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.

 

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Pyin-Oo-Lwin (May Myo)

Botanical Garden, Pyin Oo Lwin (May Myo), Myanmar (Burma)Over 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.

 

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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.

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Ngapali Beach

Ngapali Beach , Myanmar (Burma)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.

 

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Chaung Tha Beach , Myanmar (Burma)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.

 

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Mount KyaikhtiYoe

Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, Myanmar (Burma) This 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' .

 

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Pindaya , Myanmar (Burma)Pindaya

About 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 interesting stalagmites.

 

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Sagaing

Sagaing , Myanmar (Burma)Once 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.

 

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Putao

Puta-O 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.

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Salay

It is 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 cabinet.

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Amarapura

Some 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 Cottage Industry.

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Inle Lake

This 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 lake dwellers.

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Taunggyi , Myanmar (Burma)Taunggyi

Being 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.


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Tachilaik

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.

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Innwa

Inn-wa 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.

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Mingun

Mingun, 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 Hsinbyume Pagoda.

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Kyaingtong

Kyaing 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.

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Monywa

About 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.

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Myitkyina , Myanmar (Burma)Myitkyina

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.

 

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Kalaw

Being 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.

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Pyay

Pyay 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 century).

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