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Myanmar Highlights

Myanmar is recognized by many as the Golden Land for good reason. Burma, as it is still more commonly known in the west, is a country of magnificent, ancient Buddhist temples, broad flowing rivers, lush mountain forests, interesting cities and vastly contrasting countryside.

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Myanmar Highlights

Myanmar is recognized by many as the Golden Land for good reason. Burma, as it is still more commonly known in the west, is a country of magnificent, ancient Buddhist temples, broad flowing rivers, lush mountain forests, interesting cities and vastly contrasting countryside.

image

Myanmar Highlights

Myanmar is recognized by many as the Golden Land for good reason. Burma, as it is still more commonly known in the west, is a country of magnificent, ancient Buddhist temples, broad flowing rivers, lush mountain forests, interesting cities and vastly contrasting countryside.

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YANGON (RANGOON)

This city is an amalgamation of British, Burmese, Chinese and Indian influences, and is known for its colonial architecture, friendly people, numerous street vendors and their pungent smells!

Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar, is as busy as it gets in the country – the downtown area is always alive with people in the distinctly, laid back Myanmar way. The highlight of any trip to Yangon is undoubtedly the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, surely one of the most incredible sights in the world and certainly one of the best preserved and maintained. A priority for many will be the chance to shop for exotic fabrics, rubies from the famous Mogok mines and handicrafts competitively priced even when compared to the rest of Southeast Asia.

MANDALAY

the economic and religious hub of upper Myanmar, centred around the Royal Palace, Mandalay is the second largest city in the country after Yangon. Over half of Myanmar’s monks reside in Mandalay and the surrounding areas.

Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city and the last capital before British rule, is an intriguing mix of ancient and modern, with a distinctly Chinese flavour. The old-style elegance of the past remains in its shrines and monasteries, and the workshops of traditional crafts are the best in the country. The main city spreads out in a southerly direction from the Fort and Palace, the latter of which has just been fully restored and is open to visitors. Other unique attractions include ‘the world’s biggest book’– 729 marble slabs on which are inscribed the Tripitaka, a Buddhist doctrine, around the central stupa at Kuthodaw Pagoda.

Inle Lake & Surroundings

located in the heart of the Shan Plateau, 900 metres above sea level, Inle Lake is 22km long and 10km across, and is inhabited by many different ethnic nationals of the area. The Intha people are the Lake dwellers who are unique for their traditional leg rowing style that attracts many visitors.

Inle Lake ranks as one of the must-see destinations in Myanmar and for good reason; each side is banked by tall hills creating a stunningly beautiful expanse of water surrounded by a unique community of 17 villages. The Intha people that live here are culturally different from the rest of the Shan State and are perhaps most famous for their extraordinary skill in leg-rowing on skiff boats that glide across the water. Visitors to the area can also experience life on the lake by staying in the numerous hotels and guesthouses perched on stilts out on the water. Bargain-hunters can chose from the array of silk weaves and silver from lakeside workshops available at markets that move from village to village. One of the best times to visit is during September and October when Inle Lake comes alive in a flotilla of starry lights for the sacred three-week festival Phaung daw oo.

BAGAN

located on the banks of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River, Bagan is home to the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins in the world with many dating from the 11th and 12th centuries.

Bagan, with its collection of over 2000 awe-inspiring pagodas, is surely the most splendid sight in the whole of Southeast Asia and a must for any visitor to Myanmar. Nowhere else in the region do manmade relics mix so evocatively with nature as on the plains of Bagan. The sheer variety of temples, many of which were built in the 12th century, will overwhelm most visitors. The most imposing pagoda is perhaps the Dhammayangyi dating back to 1167 A.D., with bricks so finely laid that a needle could not be inserted between them. Visitors can enjoy a horse-and-cart ride around the site. On nearby Mount Popa, one can enjoy trekking, horseback riding trips and spectacular views.

PYAY

situated half way between Yangon and Bagan, on the eastern bank of the picturesque Ayeyarwady River, Pyay is an important commercial centre for trade between the Ayeyarwady Delta, central and upper Myanmar and the Rakhine State.

NGAPALI BEACH

idyllic palm-lined pristine white sands on the Bay of Bengal’s blue water, Ngapali is an unspoilt beach haven. Don’t expect jet skis and windsurfing here, this is a truly laidback and unspoilt paradise in Myanmar, where all there is to do is lay back and relax.

Ngapali Beach is heaven for peace and tranquility “far from the madding crowds.” Situated about 7km from Thandwe, it is one of the ancient Rakhine towns and is famous for its natural beauty up to this day. The beach stretches about 3km (2 miles) with soft white sand fringed by coconut palms. It serves as the best ground for sunbathing and recreation, such as beach strolling, cycling and so on. Unlike today’s beaches of Asia, it is free of noisy beachside bars, crowds and hawkers trying to persuade you to buy their things. There is only the natural scenic beauty of the blue sea, white sand and the lovely sun. The sea is cobalt blue, clean, and free of dangerous marine animals.

Sittwe & Mrauk U

Mrauk-U is Myanmar’s second-most-famous archaeological site, a centuries-old city of hundreds of temples around which village life thrives. Tourists are a rarity here and are treated by the locals with a mixture of sceptical reserve and cheerful curiosity.

After the ancient Site of Bagan Mrauk-U is the most important archaeological site in Myanmar. Although smaller than the vast plain of temples & pagodas of Bagan, there is something unique and almost mystifying about the Mrauk-U site. In addition, the plentiful waterways in Rakhine State and the very rural atmosphere in general make it a very nature-based experience. The presence of Chin Face-Tattooed Women on the banks of the Lemro River, up from Mrauk-U, makes a trip here all the more special.

Sittwe, an important port on the west coast facing the Bay of Bengal, is the gateway to any destination in upper Rakhine State. Sittwe is further veryimportant for its fisheries.

The Golden Rock

Kyaikhtiyo, or The Golden Rock as many people rather know it, is truly something out of the ordinary. Located in Mon State it is a one-night excursion from Yangon away. More than the 5.5 m gilded chedi on top of a gilded boulder, itself balanced on top of a cliff, for the local followers of Buddhist faith it is the place of pilgrimage per excellence in Myanmar. It is a chance to meet and fraternize with friendly locals who have come from near and far to pay homage to the lord Buddha. Especially around sunrise and sunset time the sweeping views from the top of Mount Kyaikhtiyo can be very beautiful.

 

Mawlamyine & Hpa-An

Also located in Mon State, but more toward the centre, Mawlamyine is the country’s 3rd biggest city. In the context of the planned (2015) East West economic Corridor land connection linking Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand with Myanmar, Mawlamyine is the convenient terminus of this very-important-to-be highway.

The city still has many reminders of the British colonial era, it has a number of nice and interesting pagodas an monasteries, and is the starting place of many an excursion in every direction.

Hpa-An, a good one-hour drive away from Mawlamyine, is located in the neighbouring Kayin State. It is the area of green paddies, scenic panoramas, and many caves.

North Myanmar (Bhamo / Myitkyina / Putao)

Kachin State is Myanmar’s northernmost state. After Sagaing division and the combined Shan states Kachin State is the next biggest province in the country. In terms of wild beauty, colourful ethnicities and rare fauna & flora, this region stands out from all others. From the snow-capped mountains of Putao, to the decimated tiger colony of the Hukawng Valley, to the rare orchid & butterfly varieties hidden high up in the deep forest and jungle, to the jade mines of Hpakant, to the confluence of the Maykha & Malikha rivers (and as such the birthplace of the Ayerwaddy river) near Myitkyina, to the scenic Indawgyi Lake with its many bird species, to the colonial-era Bhamo of the days of George Orwell, Kachin State does not stop amazing us. It should be considered a privilege to visit this area of exceptional value!

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