10 Wondrous Places in Myanmar You Need to Visit

10 Wondrous Places in Myanmar You Need to Visit

Myanmar recently opened its doors to the world, and oh what gems it hold within. Places you need to visit in Myanmar include the famous Bagan and Yangon and lesser-known Shan State and Ngapali.

To many outside the country, Myanmar is a land where Aung San Suu Kyi is from or a land of continuous civil wars. However, this golden land also has many well kept gorgeous and secret sites which are worthy of a visit. Below are top 10 wondrous places in Myanmar that you need to visit.

1. Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon

Why: Incredible beauty (especially at night), 2,500 year-old old holy site which enshrined numerous Buddhism relics.

Image Credit: Rajesh India

Shwedagon Pagoda is a 2500 years old Pagoda which, accordingly to legend, enshrined Buddha hair together with many precious Buddhism relics! One of the world oldest standing Pagoda, Shwedagon Pagoda is fully covered with golden plates. To be exact: 8000 gold plates, 5000 diamonds, 2000 precious stones were used to decorate the main pagoda. Spending a quiet moment in front of the glittering gold stupa in the Pagoda’s quiet hours is a humble experience. A visit to Myanmar is definitely not complete without visiting Shwedagon Pagoda!

Also Read: A Glimpse of the Mythical Landscape of Myanmar

2. Inle Lake, Shan State

Why: Scenic, unpolluted, untouched, authentic, rich local culture

Inle Lake, Shan state, Myanmar

Outrageously beautiful, Inle Lake is still relatively untouched by tourists compared to similar water bodies around the region. The region is home to about 80,000 Inthars (native lake-dwellers) living in 17 floating villages. They have continued to maintain their unique way of living, including the one leg-rowing custom.

Intha tribe on the water village at Inle Lake

Idle by on one of the overpriced resort on the lake for a full day and you will forget all your troubles. From the misty mornings to the splendid sunset on the lake, you’re bound to feel that you’re in heaven! Visit now before the influx of tourists dent its beauty.

Also Read: What to do at Inle Lake, Myanmar

3. U Bein Bridge, Mandalay

Why: World’s longest and oldest teak wood bridge, beautiful sunset

Image Credit: llee_wu

At 1200 meters,  this is the world’s longest and oldest teak bridge. Built in the mid 1800’s by the then mayor U Bein, this bridge is supported by thousands of scavenged pillars and wooden planks. Apart from the cooling breeze as one strolls across the entire length, its danger charm also lies in the shakiness of its planks as one steps on them.

Image Credit: Dietmar Temps

The most beautiful hours here is undoubtedly the evening time. As the sun sets behind the hills, it creates a serene atmosphere.  This passageway is also indispensable to the daily life of the locals, and in the evening, hundreds of locals and saffron-robed monks stroll home while the fishermen goes about their daily catching in its shadow.  Definitely a place not to be missed in Myanmar.

4. Bodhi Tataung, Monywa

Why: Second tallest Standing Buddha in the world!

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Standing tall at 129m on a hill, the Bodhi Tataung Buddha dominates the landscape for miles. It is currently the second tallest standing Buddha in the world! For a statue of such an enormous scale, the workmanship is surprisingly refined. The whole statue also conveys a sense of tranquility, thanks to the peaceful facial expression on the Buddha. One can also enter the statue and view extremely intriguing scenes of hell and heaven inside.

Bodhi Tatung, Monywa, Sagaing Division

To add to the serenity mystery of the sites, there are thousands of sitting Buddha in mediating position scattered across the entire field. The statues are near identical and they sit in neat rows among the overgrown fields. Sufficient reasons to pay a visit?

5. Mingun Bell, Sagaing

Why: World’s largest hanging bell , “nearly” the world’s largest pagoda

Image Credit: Wikipedia

The Mingun bell, with a height of 3.7 meter and weight of 90 tons, is today the world’s largest ringing bell and the second largest bell structure. The structure is so enormous that one can comfortably stand inside the bell. King Bodawpaya, who commissioned the bell in 1808, was so obsessed with ensuring that it remains the world’s biggest bell that he apparently had the craftsman executed once the bell was completed to stop him from making anything similar.

Mingun Pagoda, Saigang

Not too far away, there is the uncompleted work of the Mingun Temple. With a planned height of height of 152 meters, the Mingun Temple would have been the tallest pagoda in the world, if completed. Fortunately for the people, but unfortunately for the record, this project was halted when it reached its current height of 50m due to a prophecy. To add to the charm, there are highly visible cracks on the structure due 2 large earthquakes in 1838. Read more about this here.

6. Bagan

Why: Amazingly beautiful Pagodas with immense historical significance

Image Credit: Martin Sojka

Home to more than 2,000 temples, Bagan’s beauty and historical significance is unsurpassed. Built in the 11th to 13th, these sacred pagodas and beautiful temples are scattered around a small area of 16 square miles, creating a rare mystical and striking landscape.

Image Credit: KX Studio

From the mysterious Dhammayangyi Pahto temple with stunning, cavernous hallways, to the thousands of beautiful Buddha images in Ananda Paya, every pagoda is unique and has a story waiting to be explored. Unsurprising, the best photography moments are during dusk or dawn when the glittering natural light enhances the beauty of this mysterious site.

Also Read: A Photographer’s Dream: The Golden Lights of Bagan, Myanmar

7. Shan State

Why: Amazing mountain beauty, excellent for trekking, home to numerous unique minority ethnicities

Lashio, Shan State

Okay, I admit to cheating here. Lumping all these fascinating sites into a single section does ill justice to this fascinating state. A former great kingdom, Shan Plateau is made up of a mountainous landscape which is home to many colourful minor ethnicities. The rough terrains cause many of them live in remote condition, and this inadvertently helps to retain their rich culture. These group include the much feared Wa, the Pa-O with their striking costumes, the Lisu, Lahu, Akha who have shamans and build ‘spirit gates’ outside every village to ward off forest demons, just to list a few. If you are an avid trekker who enjoys exploring new cultures, this is pure heaven.

Shan Tribe

Oh, did I forget to mention the Gokteik Viaduct? This is a spectacular railway bridge is over 100 metres high – easiest the highest in Myanmar – and stretch nearly 700 metres.  Fittingly described by Paul Theroux’s as “a monster of silver geometry in all the ragged rock and jungle, its presence was bizarre”, all trains today have to slow down to a crawl when crossing this bridge to avoid exerting too much pressure. Fancy a train ride?

8. Ngapali, Rakhine State

Why: Pristine, unspoit beach; termed as “Naples of the East”

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

With the long stretches of pristine white sands, clear blue waters and rows of swaying palm trees, Ngapali Beach has got to be one the best unspoiled beaches in South East Asia. In addition, there are sophisticated and luxurious accommodation options available that you may even forget that you are in Myanmar.

9. Shwe Myetman Buddha, Shwe Taung

Why: Probably the only spectacle-wearing Buddha statue in the world 

Shwe Myetman “Spectacle Wearing” Buddha, Myanmar

This is possibly the only spectacle-wearing Buddha in the world. Wearing a golden rimmed spectacles, this status has arguably cured many devotes of their eyes illness. The spectacle was first offered by a nobleman in an attempt to stimulate local faith through curiosity. The current pair is donated by an English officer, whose wife was suffering from eyes diseases. Today. it takes about nine monks to remove the glasses for their fortnightly cleaning!

10. “Golden Rock” Kyaik Hti Yo Pagoda, Mon State

Why: Great journey to reach the Golden Rock, incredible view at night

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Miraculously perched on a cliff at a near impossible angle, the Golden Rock consists of a small stupa built on the top of a granite boulder covered with gold leaves pasted on by devotees.  The balancing rock seems to defy gravity, as it appears to be perpetually on the verge of rolling down the hill. The locals believe that this balancing act is possible as the rock is perched on a strand of Buddha’s hair.

Besides the amazing night view of the pagoda, another priceless experience was the journey up the mountain.  The mode of transportation was a huge cart with benches pulled by a powerful towhead. The back seats could easily fill about 50 passengers squeezed together with little room between them. Comparing the 30-minute ride to a roller coaster is an understatement. At some points, the ascent was steeper than 45 degrees. At other points, the space was just barely sufficient for the towhead to make the 180-degree turn without scratching the rocks. At some point, the above 2 points combined. You get the point.

Read more about the ride here.

The above 10 sights should be sufficient reasons for you to book your air tickets to Myanmar now!

Contributed by TH Nomad

About Author

Chua TianHao

Besides the usual destinations, Tian Hao seek to explore places where few would venture. On top of sharing his travel experiences to inspire you, Tian Hao provide travel tips as well. Follow him on his blog and facebook page


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