This once isolated nation is brimming with sacred sites and heavenly landscapes just waiting to be explored. From the dynamic city of Yangon and magnificent history of Mandalay, to the stupa-filled plains of Bagan and heavenly Inle Lake, here’s an inside peek into the best that Myanmar has to offer.
The fascinating city of Yangon, and former capital of Myanmar, is a city reaching for the future yet caught in the past. Longi-clad pedestrians meander through the warren of historic streets lined with colonial buildings, whilst the aromas of street stalls linger in the air. Sitting atop Singuttara Hill, the gleaming golden stupa of Shwedagon Pagoda is the city’s centrepiece.
Sitting on the east bank of the Ayeyarwady River is Mandalay, the last royal capital of Myanmar. Along with its numerous monasteries and pagodas, one of the main highlights here is the magnificent complex of Mandalay Palace. Surrounded by a moat with finely built walls and wooden pavilions, it serves as a reminder of Myanmar’s once great empire.
Found in the ancient city of Amarapura, Mahagandayon Monastery is one of the largest teaching monasteries in the country. Founded in 1914, it’s home to several thousand young monks who live an extremely disciplined way of life. If you happen to arrive for a mealtime you’ll be able to see hundreds of robe-clad monks queuing up for their lunch.
U Bein Bridge
Another worthy stop in Amarapura is the U Bein Bridge. Claiming the title as the oldest and longest teak bridge in the world, it’s set over the enchanting Taungthaman Lake. Constructed in the 1800s, the bridge is made up of thousands of pillars and wooden planks. Whilst some have been replaced over time, it continues to play an important role in local life as well as being a popular spot for travellers.
Cruise the Ayeyarwaddy
From Amarapura, hop on board a scenic cruise of the Ayeyarwaddy River towards Bagan. Providing the perfect excuse to sit back and relax, you can simply take in the surrounds as the vessel plies its course past green fields and scenes of everyday life in Myanmar. The Ayeyarwaddy River is also one of the country’s most important waterways, flowing from the north to the south of Myanmar.
Rise early and head to the riverside town of Nyaung-U for the hustle and bustle of the morning market. Overflowing with everything from freshly caught fish and colourful fruits, to wicker baskets and vibrant textiles. You can browse local wares, mingle with vendors and bargain for a sale, as well as snap a few photos as the locals go about their daily business.
Found in central Myanmar, the ancient city of Bagan is home to scores of Buddhist structures scattered across vast dusty plains. Sitting on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River, this iconic site contains over 4,400 glistening temples, pagodas and stupas and is best experienced in the golden hue of dawn from the dreamy heights of a hot air-balloon.
Inle Lake is an enchanting place of floating farms, stilted villages and crumbling stupas. The lake is also home to the Intha people who live along the shore and on the water itself. Their unique style of rowing, standing with one leg on their small rowboats and the other wrapped around its oar, is fascinating.
After a few days of sightseeing you may well be looking for some rest and relaxation. And one of Myanmar’s best beaches is the beautiful Ngapali. This idyllic palm-fringed beach has traditional fishing village roots, but today is a popular get away for those looking to enjoy the sun, sand and sea. While away a few days here and simply watch the world go by.
Discover the highlights of this incredible country on our Best of Myanmar group tour.