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Yangon~Bago~Mandalay~Bagan~Mon State~Beaches & Resort~Shan State~Rakhine~Others

Yangon & Environs  
Yangon is the second capital of Myanmar and a major seaport as well. The city of Yangon was formerly named Dagon and this was renamed Yangon in the year 1755 by King Ah Laung PhaYar. The name Yangon, if literately translated into Myanmar language, means “free from danger” or rather “end of hostilities”. Being rebuilt as a modern capital, Yangon is attractive in any ways for tourists. The city is also the only point of entry for visitors from abroad to Myanmar by air and sea. Walk the streets of old Yangon to see century-old buildings with magnificent architecture, which act as reminders of Yangon's past. The number of colonial buildings still standing in downtown Yangon is nothing short of spectacular. Yangon's colonial streets are a showcase of the best, or most ostentatious, of colonial architecture an exuberant display of wealth and designer dexterity. Yangon is perhaps the last authentic example of an Asian tropical city still featuring its former colonial origins, huge parks, shady trees and lakes and, of course, religious shrines.
 
Shwedagon Pagoda

It is the landmark of the country, towering about 100meters (326ft) above the green city-scrape of Yangon. The Shwedagon Pagoda itself is famous for its wonderful architectural design. It is one of the wonders of the world, and is believed to have been built more than 2500 years ago. The Pagoda has been renovated many times over the centuries by successive Myanmar Kings. The shimmering main stupa soars high above the capital and is visible for miles away. All around the stupa is cluster of smaller stupas, temples, shrines, prayer halls, pavilions, religious images and statues. Lengthy staircases lined with stalls selling religious articles, Silverwares, Bras-wares, Souvenirs, Lacquer-wares, handicrafts, flowers and ceremonial umbrellas. A visit to Myanmar is incomplete without a visit to Shwedagon Pagoda which is not only a historical site but also a renowned religious place of worship for the Buddhists. The best time to visit Shwedagon pagoda is at sunset when its gilded stupa is bathed in the fading rays of the sun and takes on a magical glow.
 

Sule Pagoda

The Sule Pagoda is located in the heart of downtown Yangon, occupying the centre of the city near the Maha Bandoola Park and Independence Monument, Town Hall and High Court. The golden pagoda is unusual for its octagonal shape continues right up to the bell and inverted bowl. It stands 50 meters (152 feet) high and is surrounded by small shops and all the familiar non- religious services such as of astrologists, palmists, and so on. According to legend, it was built before the Shwe Dagon pagoda during the time of the Buddha, making it more than 2,500 years old. It is believed to be enshrined with 2 hair relics of the Buddha. It has its own original "Mon" name "Kyaik-Athoke" translates as "the pagoda where a Sacred Hair Relic is enshrined".
 

Chauk Htat Kyi Pagoda

Originally it was a huge sitting Buddha image, known as Phayargyi, built by Sir Po Tha in 1908. That Buddha statue was totally destroyed during the second world war and was rebuilt in 1957 as a reclining Buddha image. The present statue measures 70 metres in length and 30 metres in height. There are over 50 monasteries surrounding it. Along the corridors of the pagoda are small shopping spots where one can see different items of interest.
 

Botahtaung Pagoda

The Botahtaung Pagoda; literally meaning "1000 military officers" is a famous pagoda located in downtown Yangon, Myanmar, near the Yangon river. The Botataung Pagoda was completely destroyed during World War II, and was rebuilt after the war. It is widely known as the one and only type of pagoda in Myanmar wherein the enshrined relics can be reached by the worshippers. It is hollow inside and one can walk through it and a sort of mirrored maze inside the pagoda with glass show-cases containing many of the ancient relics and artifacts which were sealed inside the earlier pagoda. Above this interesting interior, the golden pagoda spire rises to 40 meters (132feet). The pagoda was first built by the Mon around the same time as was the Shwedagon Pagoda according to local belief, over 2500 years ago, and was known as Kyaik-de-att in Mon language.
 

Kaba Aye Pagoda

Kaba Aye Pagoda, which means World Peace Pagoda, formally Thiri Mingala Gaba Aye Zedidaw, is a pagoda located in Yangon, Myanmar. Built in 1952 by former prime minister U Nu. This pagoda is significant because of the Sixth World Buddhist Synod which was held in 1954 at the artificial concrete grotto "Mahapasana" which located in its precinct. The Buddhist Art Museum, and newly built Wizaya Mingalar Dhamathabin Hall are also located in the same precinct too. The International Buddhist Learning Centre is also situated there for all Buddhist-scholars around the world. It is also a good place to learn the different mudras (hand representation) and gesture of Buddha Images.
 

Mai-Lamu Pagoda

A wonder land of spire pagodas and sculptured figures located in North Okkalapa, a satellite town about 20 minutes' drive from the city center. The one compelling reason why you have to visit the Mai Lamu Pagoda is that it boasts a very unsual concrete tableaux depicting scenes of the scripture. These groups of figures in life-size action are quite artistic and gives you a glimpse at modern Myanmar Sculpture. There is also a mythical story that Mai Lamu means Miss Mangrove. The site of the Mai Lamu Pagoda is said to be the place where Mai Lamu, the fruit maiden born of a mangrove tree was born many years ago. Mai Lamu was so beautiful that Indra, the King of Gods, took her to be his consort and King Okkalapa, the builder of the Shwedagon Pagoda was born of the union. So you see that Mai Lamu Pagoda also is of romantic, mythical interest.
 

National Museum

It is located on Pyay Road near downtown Yangon. The lager- than-life-size images of King Anawrahta, the founder of the First Myanmar (Bagan Era), and King Bayintnaung, the founder of the second Myanmar, stands in front of the five-storied elegant building. The most remarkable single piece of exhibits in the museum is the magnificent Thihathana Throne (Lion Throne), a vast gilded wooden structure inlaid with lacquer-work. King Thibaw, the last Myanmar monarch, sat on this throne when it was housed in the Royal Palace in Mandalay. Because of the decorative lion figures at corners, it was named the Lion Throne. It measures 34 feet and 6 inches from base to top and nearly 6 feet from base to sitting place. And also displayed therein are rare stone inscriptions and artifacts of the ancient times, traditional musical instruments, paintings and so on . It is open from 10:00 to 16:00.
 

Bogyoke Aung San Market

People just call it Bogyoke Market in easy short form (originally name Scotts Market). It is the main shopping complex of the city where one can find almost everything. Myanmar arts and crafts, mostly pure hand-made, are best souvenirs and prices are very reasonable. Lacquer-wares, silk and cotton fabrics, bags (especially Shan shoulder bags), Burmese cigars and Burmese cheroots, pure silks, various national costumes, and T-shirts with Myanmar alphabet writings are some of the favorite items. For jewelry, there are Myanmar rubies (the world famous pigeon blood color), sapphires, jades, silver-wares and pearls available at the authorized Myanmar gems shops which will provide the official approval document for the custom of the Yangon International airport. The market opens from 9:00 to 17:00 daily except on Mondays and gazetted holidays.
 

Allied War Memorial Cemetery

Located at Htaukkyant, about 32 km from Yangon on the road to Bago (Pegu), is a memorial cemetery of Allied Forces Soldiers who scarified their life in the Myanmar during the World War ll. The Cemetery is beautifully kept under the missionary of international veteran organization. The ground has 27, 000 stone-graves of Commonwealth and allied Forces Soldiers. The cemetery is a calm, peaceful place and is beautiful tended.
 

Royal Kandawgyi Lake

"Kandawgyi" royal lake is situated in the east of Shwedagon Pagoda. It was created by the British and a good spot for relax with well shady trees and plants. The Glisten Shwedagon pagoda reflects in the restful waters of the lake. It is full of interesting places around the lake. On the eastern part of Royal Lake is the Karaweik floating restaurant made of concrete fully decorated with plaster work. It is the replica of Royal Barge with two mythical birds at fore-front which was used by King Alongsithu of Bagan dynasty (12 Century AD).
 

People’s Square and People’s Park

The People's Square and Park is one of the major parks surrounding the Shwedagone Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar. It occupies over 130 acres of land between Shwedagon Pagoda and Pyithu Hluttaw (Parliament). The park is bounded by Pyay Road to its west, U Wisara Road to its east, Dhammazedi Road to its north and Ahlone Road to its south. A flower-and tree-lined marble esplanade starting from Pyithu Hluttaw towards the Shwedagon Pagoda is the center piece of the square. Over a thousand trees and plants from 52 species make up the square. The Park is well known for its large concrete water fountain. A fountain, composed of two receding tiers of white elephants spewing water out of their raised trunks and is topped by a single lotus bud, forms the centerpiece of a flower-lined marble esplanade. There are amusement park including swimming pools, water slides, joy rides and water fountain garden. Families, groups, couples and individuals who want rest and relax are seen at the People's Park and People's Square. There are many restaurants which serves Myanmar, Chinese and European cuisines. The People's Square and People's Park remains open daily from 7AM to 7PM.
 

THANLYIN

Thanlyin is situated on the other side of the Yangon River just about an hours drive from Yangon. There is a wonderful long bridge built with the Myanmar-Chinese cooperation spanning the wide river complete with motor-way and rail road. About 20km south of Thanlyin on a tributary of Yangon River is the Kyauk-Tan Pagoda built on an island situated in the middle of the river. Ferry services are available to cross to the Pagoda. Many fishes are abounding swimming around the Pagoda and pilgrims can feed the fish with scraps of bread or popcorn.
 

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Bago
 
 
It is the capital of Bago Division and situated about 80kms North-East of Yangon. Shwemawdaw Pagoda, Shwethar lyaung Pagoda, a reclining Buddha image which measure 55 meters in length and 16 meters in height and Kyaik Pun Pagoda are the most noticeable places in Bago. Besides, Maha Kalyani Sima, Mahazedi Pagoda, Shwegugale Pagoda, Snake Pagoda are also worth seeing. The next step to Kanbowzathadi Palace makes one know Mon, Siamese and Myanmar Bagan style buddhas; clay tobacco pipes; glazed tiles and pots; bronze weights and scales; pieces of the original teak stockade; and weaponry. It has a lively market and just 10 minutes out of town one can see authentic scenes of rural life. Bago is situated on the road to Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock) and Mawlamyine, and it remains a quiet and easy-going town with a lot more bicycles and motorbikes than cars. One visiting Myanmar should take the chance to visit Bago since it is only about 2hrs drive from Yangon.

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TWANTE
 
 
About 24km from Yangon in the same division is Twante. It takes two hours to reach Twante by car after crossing the Bayint-naung and the Twante Canal Bridge. A small town that is well-known for its pottery industry and cotton weaving, as well as its old Mon-style pagoda. The town is situated on – and gives its name to – the Twante Canal, which was constructed during the colonial period to improve access from Yangon to the Ayeyarwady delta. A ride on the canal bridge offers contrasting images: the buzzing chaos in Yangon is replaced by the provincial calmness of the countryside only a few minutes outside the former capital.

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PYAY  
 
 
One of the more popular tourist attractions in Myanmar recently, Pyay, it is home to more than 80 gilded pagodas, especially the Shwesandaw pagoda – one of the most famous ancient pagodas. Formerly known as Kaytumadi, Pyay is a good place for the purchase of products made of teak, wood, cotton and silk. Interesting spots around Pyay which are remains of the ancient city of Thayeikhittaya or Sriksetra. Visit Sehtetgyi Pagoda, Baw Baw Gyi Pagoda, Ahkauktaung, and Shwe Myatman Paya are also explore-worthy.


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KYAIKHTIYO (GOLDEN ROCK)
 
 
The Golden Rock of Kyaikhtiyo is one of the most revered pilgrimage sites for Myanmar Buddhists. The gold-covered boulder is said to maintain its balance thanks to a single hair of the Buddha enshrined inside the pagoda. To reach the top of the mountain, one can either make a 13-kilometre climb (allow about seven hours) or take an open truck with other pilgrims along a steep and winding road to a point near the top of the mountain. An easy alternative for those who can't manage the way on foot is to rent a sedan chair, which is carried by four porters to the top. Once arrived at the pagoda expect spectacular views, particularly at sunrise or sunset. The whole site has a magic charisma and is a famous site for meditation.

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MAWLAMYINE
 
 
Mawlamyine is the capital of Mon State. It is about 300 kilometers from Yangon and reachable via a 10-hour drive or 18-hour train trip. It can be visited as an extension of the Kyaikhtiyo trip. It is an ancient Mon town which can be reached by road, rail, plane or boat from Yangon. If one chooses to go by road, one has to cross two rivers; the Sittaung River and the Than Lwin River. Mawlamyine Bridge which crosses the Than Lwin River is longest bridge in Myanmar. There are many seasonal fruits in Mon State which one can enjoy such as; Mango, Durian, Pineapple and watermelon, the sweet and juicy ones that only the Mon State can produce. Now the city is being transformed into a modern city with many new public and private buildings sprouting up. Only the old pagodas on the Mawlamyine Ridge reminds us of her ancient origins.

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Mandalay & Environs
 
 
Mandalay is the second-largest city in Myanmar and situated in the hot and dry central region of the country. It is situated on the banks of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River north of Yangon. It is considered the cultural centre of Myanmar and was the last royal capital. Surrounded by other ancient royal capitals, including Sagaing, Mingun, Ava (Inwa) and Amarapura, Mandalay also acts as a base for sightseeing trips to these places of significance. Mandalay is well known for its rich traditional, cultural and spiritual splendor, but also offers exquisite handicraft such as hand-woven embroidery in silk and cotton, the incredible process of making gold leaves, wood and stone carving, and bronze casting etc. Mandalay houses the most revered Buddha statue and many famous pagodas, temples and monasteries. Mandalay is not only a city of temples and monasteries; it can also be considered as city of royalty. The other attractions in Mandalay are reminders of the time when Burmese kingdoms were still in existence. This is the city where the Royal Palace can be found, as well as other structures built by the kings. However, the best attraction in Mandalay is not made by man. Mandalay Hill is the most famous attraction of the city, a necessary stop for any tourist who arrives in this part of Myanmar. The river jetty at Mandalay is a beehive of activity with small boats going up and down the river, bamboo rafts and cargo boats with huge logs from the teak forests upriver. Mandalay has excellent air, road and river connections to all parts of Myanmar and is the ideal base from which to explore the rest of upper Myanmar.
 
Maha Myat Muni Pagoda

Mandalay houses the most revered Buddha statue in the country. The Maha Myat Muni Pagoda is located at the Southwest of Mandalay, where inside lies the Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image. It is the most ancient Buddha image in Myanmar. The 4m high-seated image is cast in bronze and weighs 6.5 tons, which crown is decorated with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. The Buddha himself is said to have breathed on to the just-finished image, giving it some of the Buddha's power. People believe that the image is somewhat “alive” and it is therefore treated with the utmost respect. Early each morning, a team of monks and laypeople come to the pagoda to wash the image's face and to make offerings of water, food, flowers, candles and incense. Since Myanmar Buddhists are so devout countless thousands of devotees apply gold leaf to gain merit, the image has been completely covered with 15 cm thick gold and original shape is distorted.
 

Mandalay Hill

Just outside the North of downtown and north-east corner of the Mandalay Royal Palace is Mandalay Hill which summit is 230 m above the surrounding plain. Mandalay Hill is the natural watch-tower for the visitors to watch sunrise or sunset. Everyone who arrived in Mandalay, the ancient capital of Myanmar, usually goes to Mandalay Hill, the landmark of Mandalay which overlooks the city and its environ Sagaing Hill, Ayeyarwady River and Mingun in the west and Yankin hill, YaeTa Khun Hill in the east. In the evening, the platform of Mandalay Hill’s Su Taung Pyi Pagoda is crowded with tourists and devotees who record the beauty of sunset. At the bottom in front of the southwest entrance are the two immense statue of Lions guard the holy hill. Virtually all visitors and pilgrims to Mandalay Hill either climb the 1,729 steps of the covered southern stairway or use easier means and take the escalator, cars or buses to the top. As an ancient Myanmar saying goes: “To live life a little longer in the pastoral shadows of old Mandalay Hill”.
 

Royal Palace

The Myan Nan San Kyaw Shwe Nan Daw, or Royal Palace, was the first palace to be built in Mandalay and constructed by King Mindon. The Royal Mandalay Palace is located between 12th street and 26th street, in the heart of Mandalay city. It is perfectly square walled enclosure, and surrounded it with a wide moat. The nearly 2 kilometer long sides each face a cardinal direction. At the center of the square stood the Royal Palace. Above the throne room of the palace rose a seven tiered golden roof meant to focus the wisdom of the universe directly onto the king on his throne. The magnificent palace was built of teak wood on raised brick plinth gilded with gold and vermilion. When the British annexed Upper Burma in 1885, the Royal Palace became barracks and was renamed Fort Dufferin. Unfortunately, at the end of World War II, the British shelled the fort to force out the small group of Japanese and local soldiers that held it, and in the process destroyed all of the wooden buildings of King Mindon's palace. The main palace buildings were rebuilt and are now open to the public, although much of the fort remains the property of the army.
 

Shwenandaw Monstery

This Monastery is a very wonderful building beautifully carved in wood. Shwenandaw means – “Golden Palace”. It is not only the traditionally carved wooden monastery, but a piece and part of remains from King Mindon’s Palace. It was fully covered gold-leaves. It is an authentic part of the ancient palace of the last King of Myanmar. Part of the royal palace where King Mindon died, the teak structure was moved out of the palace under King Thibaw in 1880 and was converted into a monastery.
 

Kuthodaw Pagoda

At the southeastern base of Mandalay Hill is Kuthodaw Pagoda. At the center of the temple is the 100 foot high golden Maha Lawka Marazein Pagoda. The most interesting feature of the temple is the 729 smaller pagodas that surround the central shrine. Each one houses a marble tablet inscribed with a 'page' of text from the Buddhist holy book, called the Tipitaka. They were arranged in neat rows within three enclosures, 42 in the first, 168 in the middle and 519 in the third. Thirty four brick rest houses (Zayats) stood all around except on the east side of the pagoda. The main entrance is from the south through massive but open teak doors ornately carved with floral designs, scrolls, and Deva Nats. It is a covered approach or saungdan as in most Burmese pagodas with frieze paintings under the roof. Between the rows of stone-inscription stupas grow mature star flower trees (Mimusops elengi) that emanate a jasmine-like fragrance to the entire complex. Burmese families may be seen having a picnic in the cool shade under these trees, picking the flowers to make star flower chains for the Buddha or to wear in their hair, or the children playing hide and seek among the rows of stupas. On the southwest inner terrace is one very old tree believed to be 250 years old, its low spreading boughs propped up by supports.

 

Sagaing  


Once an ancient capital, Sagaing lies 21km south west of the Ayeyarwady River. Sagaing is a religious sanctuary. It is the town situated at the foot of the hills and had hundreds of pagodas, monasteries, nunneries tucked into the surrounding valleys and hills. Some monasteries are magnificently built of brick in a combination of Western and Myanmar architectural designs while some are built of teak. Sagaing is renowned for its silversmith works and pottery. Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, Kaung Hmudaw Pagoda (a copy of the Mahaceti Pagoda in Sri Lanka), and Ywahtaung village (home of the silversmiths' guild) are places worth visiting.
 

Sagaing Hill

Once you cross the Sagaing Bridge, you can see the hilltops, each crested with pagodas, and banners proclaiming Buddha’s teaching. It is the famous refuge from all ills and tribulations where over 600 monasteries housing monks and nuns are located for Buddhist studies and meditation. The Padamyazedi pagoda dates back from 1300, whilst the Umin Thonze or thirty caves pagoda has many Buddha images in crescent shaped colonnade. Mural paintings can be seen in the Tilawkaguru cave temple which was built around 1672. At nearby village of Ywahtaung, one can see silversmiths in the process of making bowls and other items of silver by traditional methods. The most impressive Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda, which receives the first of alms offering made, is the oldest temple on the Sagaing Hill. The view of Sagaing from Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin and its approach is really marvelous.
 

Kaungmudaw Pagoda

It is also called YazaManiSula. It is a huge pagoda which is 10 km beyond the town of Sagaing. The enormous dome rises 46 m (151 feet) in the shape of a perfect hemisphere and was modeled after the Mahaceti Pagoda in Ceylon. The pagoda was built to commemorate Inwa's establishment as the royal capital of Myanmar. Around the base of the pagoda are 812 stone pillars, each of which is 1.5 m high with a hollow and an image of Spirit in it. The stupa enshrined the Buddhist relics inside its relic chamber. The pagoda dome had been continuously painted white to signify purity but now glided with gold. It is one of the famous pilgrimage and tourist destinations in the Sagaing Area.
 

Amarapura
 
 

Amarapura meaning "City of Immortality" is a city in the Mandalay Division of Myanmar, lies on the left bank of the Ayarwaddy River (Irrawaddy) and it is situated 11 km to the south of Mandalay. It is accessible by car. A suburb of Mandalay, it is also known as Taung-myo (Southern Town) or Myohaung (Old City). The main feature of the charming little town of Amarapura has many workshops such as silk and cotton weaving, and bronze casting. Most of the Myanmar people are very proud to wear silk Achiek Longyi on special occasion like the cultural ceremonies. These silk Achiek Longyi are mainly produced in Amarapura. The other highlights of Amarapura are the world’s longest wooden bridge (U Bein Bridge) and Mahagandayon Monastery (one of the Buddhist Universities). Catch some glorious senses of waterfront temple life here and enjoy a fantastic sunset view of U Bein Bridge and Taung Thaman Inn. There are actually monasteries on both sides of the bridge and you will frequently see young monks walking across. The valuable Burmese archeological designs can also be observed by visiting to the historical pagodas such as Kyaut Taw Gyi Pagoda, Pahtotawgyi Pagoda and Shwe Gu Gyi Pagoda.
 

U Bein Bridge
 
 

U Bein Bridge is about three quarter of a mile crossing the Taung-tha-man Inn (lake). It is one of the most attractive spot for tourists. It is the longest teak bridge in the world and is about two centuries old. This bridge became to be known as U Bein Bridge after the name of the donor, U Bein who was a clerk to the Mayor of Amarapura. It was constructed in 1849 from old planks and timber posts of dismantled houses in Sagaing and Inwa. It took nearly two years to finish. It was opened in 1851. From that time, it has constantly been in use by the people and in recent years by foreign visitors also. There are now 1086 posts and 482 spans. 9 points were served as drawbridges which were built to allow the royal barges and war boats to go under the bridge and out to the Ayeyarwaddy River in the old days.
 

INNWA
 
 
Inwa was formerly known as Ava, and it is located 21 kilometres southwest of Mandalay across the Myitnge River and was the capital of the Myanmar kingdom for nearly 400 years. All the major buildings that were not destroyed during the earthquake of 1838 were transferred first to Amarapura and then to Mandalay when the capital moved. Only the 27-metre-high (90 feet) masonry Nan Myint watchtower, also known as the “learning tower of Ava” remains of the palace built by King Bagyidaw. The Bargaya teak monastery, famous for its 267 wooden pillars, can also still be seen.
 
Maha Aung Mye Bon Zan Monastery

Maha Aung Mye Bon Zan Monastery well known as Me Nu Oak Kyaung or the Brick Monastery was built by Nanmadaw Me Nu, Chief Queen of King Bagyidaw in 1818. She donated to the royal abbot Nyaunggan Sayardaw U Po. Then she offered to the 2nd Nyaunggan Sayardaw U Bok. It was damaged by the earthquake in 1838 but was repaired in 1873 by Queen Sin Phyu Ma Shin. This monastery is one of the finest brick building decorated with flora and stucco.
 

Nan Myint Watch Tower

The Watch Tower, about 90ft (27m) high is the only masonry building left on the King Bagyidaw’s Palace built in 1822. The tower was left leaning to one side after an earthquake in 1838 but it was restored as its original structure. This is one of the Myanmar architectural styles of early 19th Century.

MINGUN
 
 

Located across majestic Ayeyarwady River, about 12 kilometers north of Mandalay, Mingun is famous as the home of the world’s second-largest ringing bell, weighing 90 tons, as well as a giant unfinished pagoda. Mingun Payagyi was supposed to be the world’s largest monument, however what stands today could better be described as the world’s largest pile of bricks. From the top of the Mingun Pahtodawgyi, one can view the scene of Mingun and Ayeyawaddy River. You can use the stairs to climb to the top. There are altogether 174 steps. A visit to Mingun invariably means a boat trip from Mandalay’s Gawwein jetty and takes about one hour upriver and 40 minutes downriver. With plenty of activity to see on the river, a boat trip to Mingun is a pleasant way to pass the morning or afternoon. (If you are in luck, you may be able to see the Ayeyarwaddy dolphins swimming up and down the Ayeyarwaddy River).
 

Mingun Pahtodawgyi

The Mingun Pahtodawgyi is one of the famous monuments in the world. It is also known as the world's largest unfinished pagoda. There are all together 174 steps to climb to the top. The scenery is marvelous from the top of the Pagoda. You can view natural scenic beauty of Ayeyarwaddy river and green and pleasant Minwun Hill. It lies in 10 kilometers northwest of Mandalay in Sagaing Region in central Myanmar. It was one of the big fours built by King Bodawpaya around the place. The building of Mingun Pahtodawgyi started in 1791 which was intentionally left unfinished. It was stopped at 49 meters height. If the construction had been completed, it would have been the largest in the world at 150 meters.
 

Mingun Bell

The Watch Tower, about 90ft (27m) high is the only masonry building left on the King Bagyidaw’s Palace built in 1822. The tower was left leaning to one side after an earthquake in 1838 but it was restored as its original structure. This is one of the Myanmar architectural styles of early 19th Century.
 

Monywa
 
 
Monywa lies on the banks of the Chindwin River, about 140 kilometres northwest of Mandalay. Monywa is a major trade center for agricultural produce from the surrounding Chindwin Valley, especially beans, orange pulses and jiggery (palm sugar). In addition, the local industry includes mills for the production of cotton, flour, noodles, and edible oils. Monywa's rough cotton blankets are famous throughout Myanmar. Other regional crafts include bamboo and reed products, bullock carts and agricultural implements. Tourists can also take a drive across the Chindwin River and visit Phowin Taung where they can enjoy the beauty of statues carved out of rocky mountain sides and also some mural paiting. Moreover, Laykyun Setkyar Standing Buddha Image, which was built by Bodhi Tahtaung Sayadaw (venerable monk)and Moenyinn Thanbuddhe Pagoda, which has 800 small stupas on and around the pagoda, as well as 582,357 Buddha statues in and on the ceiling, walls, archways and niches of the building are worth visiting in Monywa.
 
Mohnyin Thanboddhay Pagoda

Mohnyin Thanboddhay Pagoda is the major tourist attraction of Monywa. It was erected in M.E 1301 by Mohnyin Sayadaw. The main stupa contains 582363 Buddha images of all sizes row upon row in ascending tiers in niches both interior and exterior walls. It was dedicated to the 512028 Buddhas who became enlightened during Gotama Buddha births in the cycle of Samsara. The pagoda compound is very wide and contains many pavilions rest houses and a large square pool where fish and turtles are allowed to live free. There are also a few old wooden pavilions with beautiful and colourful stucco figures, flowers and animals. One pagoda with a tower is called the Arlain Nga Sint, or the Five Stages Spiral Tower. The entrance is guarded by two huge white elephants. The length of each elephants is 36 feet and the heigh to the diamond bud is 48 feet. The pagoda festival is held in November. Thanboddhay is the only pagoda with this unique shape in the whole country.
 

PYIN OO LWIN  
 

Pyin Oo Lwin offers visitors cool days and nights, peaceful rural roads and tracks for walkers and cyclists, trekking in the fruit and flower producing countryside, and interesting shopping. Old times can be re-lived with coach rides, and many historical and beautiful places are within easy reach. Just over an hour’s drive from Mandalay, and with spectacular views from the road up the escarpment, Pyin Oo Lwin is an ideal and refreshing destination for visitors to Upper Myanmar.
 

Mahar Ant Htoo Kan Thar Pagoda

The building of this Mahar Ant Htoo Kan Thar Pagoda has a history of its own. The reason was that three marble Buddha Images sculpted in Mandalay were being transported to their planned destination in China. On this journey, one of the Buddha statues fell down from the truck and could not be reloaded due to its weight. After many attempts, this Image was left behind and the other two were taken on their way. A local Buddhist monk decided he would try faith. He sat for 7 days on this image and preached to the locals and recited teachings of Buddha. After 7 days the image was apparently easily lifted and placed in its current location and the local people built a pagoda as an offering to Buddha. Nowadays it becomes one of tourist attraction sites of Pyin Oo Lwin.
 

Peik Chin Myaung Cave

Peik Chin Myaung Cave (also known as Maha Nandamu Cave) is located on the Lashio road near Wetwun village, 12 miles east of Pyin Oo Lwin town. It is a limestone cave estimated between 230 million and 310 million years old. The cave is called Peik Chin Myaung as plenty of Peik Chin plants used to grow there. The entrance of the Peik Chin Myaung cave is about 20 ft wide and 1,600 ft long. The long cave is filled with so many Buddha images and pagodas in various sizes and position at every corners and niches. Inside the cave are many underground springs flowing from different directions. Many stalactites and others in the shape of chandeliers have formed as water seeped and dropped from rocks and limestone. Some pilgrims take this water in bottles because they believe that water seeping from the walls can cure skin-diseases and eye ailments. The cave is one of the interest sites for visitors. There is a waterfall called three layers waterfall which takes a few minute to walk from Peik Chin Myaung Cave. Most of the people still don't know this waterfall is there.
 

Kandawgyi National Botanical Garden

The National Kandawgyi Gardens (formerly National Botanical Gardens) is located in the Alpine town about 1.5 km south of Pyin Oo Lwin (formerly Maymyo), Myanmar. The garden has many collection of flora, including foreign species, orchids of various species in orchid garden, dahlia gardens, rose gardens, many exotic fruits and shady trees. The Botanical Gardens has three museums: the Fossils Museum, the Petrified Wood Museum and the Butterfly Museum. The gardens are well laid out among lakes and paths, and there are beautiful collection of pond fish and lovely black and white swans. There have an aerial walkway through aviary with hornbills and a variety of other birds as well as the swamp trail. There is a watch tower to climb up which offers a great views over Pyin Oo Lwin and the Shan Hills. It is a popular picnic spot for the locals and one of the main attractions for tourist.
 

Bagan & Environs
Bagan
 
 
Bagan is one of the richest archaeological and historical sites in Asia. This ancient royal city's importance lies in its heritage with over 2,000 ancient shrines, temples and stupas. The magnificent architecture, fine mural paintings, brilliant stucco carvings and elegant Buddha images, drive one’s soul into a timeless dream world. The ancient city of Bagan, located on the eastern banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River, became famous in 11th century during the reign of King Annawrahta. Bagan now features a variety of good hotels and is also the starting and ending point for cruises on the Ayeyarwady River to and from Mandalay. A unique travel experience is a hot-air balloon ride over the archaeological zone, which is available during the winter months. Moreover, Bagan is a city which has many sites to watch in Myanmar.
 
Shwezigon Pagoda

This is a solid pagoda, a cylindrical structure resting on three square terraces. It is a prototype of Myanmar stupa. This stupa was built by King Anawrahta in A.D. 1059, but completed by King Kyansittha in A.D. 1090. ShweZiGon stupa is the most sacred pagoda in Bagan because of the relics of the Buddha such as the frontal bone and the Sacred Tooth. Pilgrims from throughout Burma journey to Shwezigon each year for a great festival during the Burmese month of Nadaw, which falls in the November-December period. This festival is hugely popular because elements of pre-Buddhist Nat worship were combined with Buddhist themes in the pagoda’s construction. Shwezigon is thus a center of pilgrimage for both the archaic shamanic culture of Burma and the newer religion of Buddhism.
  

Tuyin Taung Pagoda

Tuyin Taung or the Tuyin hill is located on the eastern side of the Ayeyarwaddy River bank of Bagan. Similar to Tantkyi Taung Pagoda, another famous pagoda in the Bagan region is the Tuyin Taung Pagoda. Tuyin Taung Pagoda was built during A.D 1059 by King Anawrahta. King Vizaraba from Sri Lanka donated one of Buddha's tooth relics and King Anawrahta duplicated with another one and embedded in the sacred place inside this pagoda. There are 32 statues of elephants made in ratio to different directions at the base of the pagoda. It is an octagonal shaped designed platform on which the pagoda resides. Many years passed by but still the pagoda is maintained from time to time. There is a saying that if one could go and pay homage to Shwezigon pagoda, Tantkyi Taung pagoda, Tuyin Taung pagoda and Lawka Nandar pagoda , in a single day, a wish comes true.
  

Tantkyi Taung Pagoda

Tantkyi Taung or the Tantkyi hill is located on the western side of Ayeyarwaddy river which falls on the other si de of Bagan. Tantkyi Taung Pagoda was built during A.D 1059 by King Anawrahta. King Vizaraba from Sri Lanka donated one of Buddha's tooth relics and King Anawrahta duplicated with another one and embedded in the sacred place inside this pagoda. There are 32 statues of elephants made in ratio to different directions at the base of the pagoda. It is an octagonal shaped designed platform on which the pagoda resides. Many years passed by but still the pagoda is maintained from time to time. It takes about half a day to travel and visit this place. There are ferries carrying visitors across the Ayeyarwaddy River, early every morning.
 

Lawkananda Pagoda

Lawkananda pagoda was built by King Anawrahta during his reign in 1059. The pagoda has enshrined the Buddha's tooth relic in Bagan. The pagoda is erected on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. During those days, with the power of Bagan Dynasty, the Mon region, Rakhine and even as far as Sri Lanka would anchor by the Ayeyarwaddy riverside. Lawkananda would be the first to see with its distinctive elongated cylindrical dome. It is still used as an everyday place of worship and is thought to house an important Buddha-tooth replica. The riverside and sunset views from Lawkananda are unique.
  

Thabinnyu

Thabinnyu is the tallest monument in Bagan measuring 64ms in height. It was built by King Alaungsithu in the mid 12th century. It is the magnificent in white and the Thabinnyu takes its name from the Omniscience of the Buddha. Thatbyinnyutanyan is in Myanmar language, Sabbannutanana in Pali and Omniscience is given further explanation in contemporary inscriptions as "knowing thoroughly and seeing widely." Thatbyinnyu Temple is among one of the four significant monuments in Bagan.
 

Ananda Temple

The Ananda Temple is the most artistic and graceful temple in Bagan. It was built by King Kyansittha in 1091 A.D. The name symbolizes “the endless wisdom” (Ananta Panna) of the Buddha. Ananda temple is considered to be one of the most surviving masterpieces of the Mon architecture. It is also known as the finest largest best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples. During the 1975 earthquake, Ananda suffered considerable damage but has been totally restored. The structure of Ananda temple is that of a simple corridor temple. The entrance ways make the structure into a perfect cross. Each entrance is crowned with a stupa finial. The base and the terraces are decorated with 554 glazed tiles showing jataka scenes (life stories of the Buddha) thought to be derived from Mon texts. Huge carved teak doors separate interior halls from cross passages on all four sides.
 

Dhama Yankyi Temple

This temple is the most massive temple in Bagan. It was built by King Alaung Sithu’s son Narathu in the mid-12th century. The name of this temple symbolizes “the Light of the Buddha’s Dhamma”. It is one of Bagan’s architectural marvels. It has withstood ravages of time, natural disasters and vandalism throughout its long life.
 

Bupaya

This cylindrical Pyu-style Bupaya, situated on the bank of Ayeyarwady River, is said to be the oldest in Bagan. Bupaya means the "a gourd shape pagoda". It was built by King Pyusawhti, the third King of Bagan (163-248 AD) before Anawrahta period. Legend has it that the pagoda was built in a place where a gigantic Bu or gourd like climbing plant grew. It has the bulbous form and is built on rows of crenulated walls overlooking the river. Bupaya was completely destroyed when it tumbled into the river in the 1975 earthquake, but has since been totally rebuilt. The view from the river is also a breath-taking one. It is also a favorite site to watch the sunset in Bagan.
 

MOUNT POPA
 
 

Mt. Popa is about 50km away from the Bagan. It takes about 45 minutes drive from Nyaung Oo Airport, in Bagan. It is an extinct volcano that is estimated to have erupted for the last time during 442BC. The main attraction of the region, however, is the smaller, 730-metre conic rock Popa Taungkalat. Also known as the “Olympus of the Nats” because it is the home to Myanmar's legendary 37 "Nats" (animist spirits), one has to climb 700 steps accompanied by a crowd of monkeys to reach the top of the volcanic plug, with its many shrines and monastery. This effort is also rewarded with an extraordinary panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. Around the area of Mount Popa is Popa National Park, which features dense sandalwood forests and rare species of birds and butterflies – certainly worth a walk or trek. Other attractions include two important “Nat Pwes” (or festivals) held each year – one in May-June and the other in November-December – when people from all parts of the country come to appease and worship the spirits. These spirits are evoked by so-called “Natkadaws” (mediums), who offer their bodies to individual nats. The nats still play an important part in many people's lives inspite of the dominance of Buddhism.
 

Salay
 
 

Visitors to Bagan often make the 40-kilometre trip south to visit Salay, an ancient town rich in Myanmar culture. Also located on the banks of the great Ayeyarwady River, another pleasurable way to reach Salay is by one of the small motor boats available for hire at Bu Paya jetty. It is worth visiting for it’s exceptional 18th century wood carved monastery, known as Yoke Son.



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Mon State
 
 
Mawlamyine (Moulmein)

Mawlamyine is the capital of Mon State. It is 270km from Yangon. It has a population of about 240,000. It is an ancient Mon town which can be reached by road, rail, plane or boat from Yangon. If one chooses to go by road, one has to cross two rivers; the Sittaung River and the Than Lwin River. Mawlamyine Bridge which crosses the Than Lwin River is longest bridge in Myanmar. There are many seasonal fruits in Mon State which one can enjoy such as; Mangostein, Durian, Pineapple and Pomelo, the sweet and juicy ones that only the Mon State can produce. Now the city is being transformed into a modern city with many new public and private buildings sprouting up. Only the old pagodas on the Mawlamyine Ridge remind us of her ancient origins.
 

Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda

Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda is a famous and sacred pagoda in Mon State. It is about 160km east of Yangon. Across the Gulf of Mottama – in the fertile area between Sittaung and Thanlwin rivers – lies the town of Thanton. And about halfway between Thanton and Bago, lies the town of Kyaikto which is approximately 10 miles from Kyaikhtiyo. The famous spectacular Kyaikhtiyo pagoda stands on a gilded boulder, precariously perched on the edge of a hill over 1100m above sea-level. Kyaikto is at the foot of the hill, and is about 160km from Yangon. Kyaikhtiyo is an 11km up-hill climb for hikers starting from Kinpun base camp.

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Beaches and Resorts  

Myanmar (Burma) is surrounded by five neighbouring countries. It is not a land-locked country because its west and south regions open into the sea. The Rakhine (Arakan) coast on Myanmar’s west faces the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean and the southern Tanintharyi (Tennisarim) coast front the emerald green Andaman Sea. Myanmar has ten major unspoiled beaches; to name a few: Ngapali, Kanthaya, Chauntha, Ngwe Saung, and Letkhokkon. Out of these, the most popular Holiday Resorts that are mostly frequented by tourists and locals alike are Chaungtha, Ngwe Saung, and Ngapali.
 
Ngapali Beach

Located in Western Myanmar’s Rakhine State, Ngapali offers natural unspoiled beauty via a series of beaches interspersed with small fishing villages - perfect for a laid back holiday. Far from the maddening crowds, go back to the cobalt blue sea, soft waves, the lovely tropical sun, languorous palm trees, excellent cuisine and comfortable chalets make Ngapali Beach a preferred destination. Many people enjoy water sports such as kayaking, sailing and snorkeling here, while others simply relax on the beach and work their tans. Ngapali also offers an 18-hole golf course at about a 15 minutes' drive from the beach. Pony rides along the beach are a fun option for those who want to try something different and those with a strong sense of adventure with extra energy in the tank can take a boat trip to explore the nearby collection of islands; Pearl Island or the intriguing black sands of Zalat Htone Island are most popular.
  

Ngwe Saung Beach

Myanmar's latest beach resort, Ngwe Saung is located just 29 miles from Pathein in the Ayeyarwaddy Division. This unspoilt beach stretches 15 km bordered by tall, green palms. The long, unspoiled and almost deserted beach of purest white sand and crystal-clear blue water is one of the most beautiful spots in the South-east Asia. Read, run, walk, eat or swim, Ngwe Saung beach is a place for relaxing and recharging the batteries. One can visit small fishing villages and local markets, explore the countryside by bicycle or enjoy a boat trip to the magnificent offshore islands where you can snorkel. Also, when the tide is out, you can actually walk across to Lover’s Island and climb up for a fabulous panoramic view of the stretched sea and beachfront. Take a motor bike to Chuangtha Beach, about 2 hours away and you go through jungle-like foliage across.
  

Chaungtha Beach

Chaungtha Beach is located on the western coast of Myanmar near Pathein where the waves of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean lap the shores. Being the nearest one from Yangon (only a four hours' drive), Chaung Tha Beach can be reached during all seasons. It is renowned for its fresh and reasonably priced seafood. A major attraction is a small pagoda built on a limestone boulder at the southern end of the beach. Nearby fishing villages and tidal mangrove forests are also popular amongst the tourists. Being more affordable than the nearby Ngwesaung and Ngapali beaches, Chaungtha is more crowded and less clean than the two fancier and better maintained beaches.

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Shan State  

The Shan State is the largest of all states and divisions in Myanmar. It is also known as The Shan Plateau. The average height of the Shan Plateau is (1000-1300m) above sea level. The climate is cool all the year round in most areas. It has an area of 15580 sq km with 52 townships and 1628 village tracts. The population of Shan State at present is roughly over 6 million. There are three regions in Shan State; Western, Northern, and Southern.
 
Taunggyi

Taunggyi is the capital of Shan State and has a population of approximately 200,000, making it the fourth-largest city in Myanmar. Taunggyi sits at an elevation of 1,400 meters above sea level and its name means "huge mountain" in the Burmese language. The Taunggyi area is a popular tourist destination. It is known for its scenic beauty and pleasant climate, and is famous for hot-air balloon festival held every year in the month of November, which is about 30 days after the End of Buddhist Lent. The hot-air balloon festival attracts not only tourists from abroad but holiday makers from all over Myanmar. It is the cleanest city in Myanmar. The city itself has an interesting five-day market, where farmers from around the area would come to the Taunggyi on market day and sell fresh produce in the open market, but with more development of the city, the significance of market day has been lessened. However, the market-day tradition continues strong in the outlying small towns. Nearer to Taunggyi at the Kekku, one can see hundreds of stupas dating to the 16th century.
 

Inle Lake

Inle Lake is roughly 22 km long and 11 km wide and an outstanding natural and cultural attraction. One of its many unique features is the cultivation of floating gardens where flowers as well as tomatoes, beans and cucumbers grow. There are many traditional arts and craft items produced by gold and silver smiths, as well as colorful silk cloths weaving by young damsels in traditional style. Local villages and markets make interesting sightseeing spots, while visitors also enjoy mouth-dropping sunrises and sunsets over the Shan mountains. Every year, on the eve of the full moon day in October, the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda festival is held, which sees the pagoda's revered Buddha images displayed on the golden Karaweik – a replica of the ancient royal barge – and taken to villages around the lake. Unlike most other pagoda festivals in Myanmar, which typically run for about three days, the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda festival goes for 18 days, and also includes boat races that attract spectators near and far. The races provide exciting additional entertainment and are well worth watching, with separate events held for men and women.
  

Phaungdawoo Pagoda

The Phaungdawoo Pagoda is situated in Inle Lake, one of the most dazzling and magical places in Asia. It is one of the famous principal shrines in Myanmar and this pagoda houses five small Buddha images. There is a pagoda festival during which the five Buddha images are rowed around the Lake in a colorful barge once a year in end September-early October. Actually, four Buddha Images out of five from Phaung-daw-oo Pagoda are carried on royal barge and conveyed around 14 villages on the Lake during the festival. The barge is towed by the boats of leg-rowers and hundreds of boats follow the procession. The large crowds of people gather on the lake-shores to celebrate the occasion. It is really a splendid sight. Among the dance shows and fun-fairs, the most interesting event of the festival, especially for foreigners, is their boat race due to their unique leg rowing. It is the one and only place in the world that one can see such marvelous act. The best time to visit Inle Lake is between September and March of every year.
 

Ngaphechaung Monastery

Ngaphechaung Monastery is located in Inle Lake and it is on the way to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. 25 minutes boat ride to visit an ancient monastery built on huge pieces of teak wood with traditional architecture and see the popular jumping cats leap through the hoops. The monastery is also known for a collection of old Myanmar's worth seeing Buddha images from different areas. Nga Phe Chaung is the biggest and oldest monastery on the Inle Lake and is worth visiting for its historical purposes and architecture as well as its cats.

Mine Thauk

Usually the Mine Thauk Market is open after every 5 days a week. It is a large and bustling market where one can find a real local atmosphere with a variety of produce from the lake. Other places of interest near the market in the lake are Paya Pauk Pagoda, Zakah Village and Nga Phe Chaung monastery. Accessible by ferry boats in Inle.

 

Pindaya

Pindaya is situated at about 1,200 meters above sea level and is surrounded by hill tribe villages. Its main attraction is a natural limestone cave that has more than 8,000 Buddha images, made of wood, marble, lacquer, brick, stone and bronze. Devoted Buddhist pilgrims have placed the images over the centuries and the collection is unique and well worth seeing. It is also famous for its celebrated caves called Shwe-Umin (Gold Caves), formed 200,000 million years ago.Pindaya also features the picturesque Boutaloke Lake, which is set amongst huge old trees. A major handicraft industry in Pindaya is umbrella manufacturing. Handmade from paper, the umbrellas can be seen in several workshops in town.

 

Kalaw

was a favorite hill station during the colonial era and it still feels like a high-altitude holiday resort: the air is cool, the atmosphere is calm, the streets are leafy and green, and the surrounding hills offer some of the best trekking in Myanmar. This peaceful town is a great place for anyone to relax in summer and enjoy the Tudor-style houses. Moreover it is better known as an excellent base for walking in the cool and picturesque mountains, blanketed in gnarled pine forests and bamboo groves. On longer treks it is possible to discover little-visited minority hill tribe villages. If one feels like overnight trekking for two to three days on Shan mountains, you can start the journey from Kalaw toward Inle Lake. This would provide with a nice mixture of hard and light trek with good sun and shade. Beside, Kalaw also has a big central market where the locals selling their goods can be met.
 

Nee Paya(Bamboo Strip Lacquer Buddha Image)

It lies in Pinmagon Monastery of Pinmagon Village, Kalaw Township, south of Shan State. It was estimated to have been established in First Inn-wa Period over 500 years ago. The donors were hard to ascertain and there were no records but its head was sharp upright. Its ears were not touching the shoulders and the nether garment was covered for the whole of its lower parts. So it was believed to be historic. It is eight feet four inches high. It is noted for its longevity, its prevention of fire and its wish granting powers. Occasionally radiation seemed to come from the pagoda at the front of image. The image is now lacquered and gilded all the way.

Hten San Cave

Hten San Cave is located 26 miles (42km) from Taunggyi ; and 10 miles (16km) from Hopone city. It is a natural limestone cave at 1800 meter above sea level. Hten San Cave Located in the central uplands of Shan State, this breathtakingly beautiful, limestone cavern is a testament to natural’s mastery. Flowing streams, deep pools of crystal clear water and towering columns characterize this living cave. Gaze in wonder at the white flow stones and in awe at the beauty of the nature which adorn the cave. Be sure to make Hten San Cave your first stop while in Taunggyi.
 

Kakku

Kakku is situated near Mway Taw village in Taunggyi township, about 25 kilometres from Taunggyi proper. In recent years the previously hidden Kakku Pagoda has become one of the Asia's largest and most spectacular ancient monuments in southern Shan State. It is mainly a group of thousands of pagodas and temples which were built in the 16th century. Visiting Kakku allows us a close observation of the vegetation and cultivation and to study the daily life of Pa-oh tribal and their culture also.

 
Kyaing Tone

Located high in the Shan Hills at the centre of the Golden Triangle, Kyaing Tong is one of the country’s most remote outposts in Shan State. Living almost side by side in small communities, the groups include the Ang, Lahu Ahka, Akhu, Padaung, Shan, Chin, Lisu, Pa-O, Wa, Khun and Laui. Villages show differing stages of development and some still adhere to a very traditional way of life. Kyaing Tong is known for its scenic beauty, mostly inhabited by colorful hill tribes. It’s also one of the major places for trekking.

 

 


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Rakhine  


Rakhine, one of the national races of the Union of Myanmar, has a long history of glory. Chronicles speak of many ancient royal cities that were seats of the Rakine dynasties. The Ann valley is an important trade route between Rakhine state and central of the country. Arakan, Rakine people, played a pivotal role in the exchange of cultures and religions between India and Southeast Asia.
The earliest of the ancient Rakhine cities are Dwarawaddy and Dhanyawaddy (3000BC). The last king, Minsawmun founded the ancient royal city of Mrauk-U in the year 1430.
 

Sittwe

Sittwe is the Capital city of the Rakhine State. Sittwe is situated on an estuarial island at the confluence of the Kaladan River, Myu River and Lemyo River. Arriving at Sittwe makes you step back in time, with an airport consisting of just one room with ceiling fans. Sittwe served as a major trading point with India during the time of the British. Sittwe boasts several interesting pagodas and an exceptional monastery with a wonderful collection of Buddha images, some dating back to the 15th century when Mrauk Oo reached its zenith. Sittwe's main importance for tourists lies in the fact that it is the starting point for a boat journey on the Kaladan River to the ancient capital and important archaeological site of Mrauk U.
 

Mrauk-U

Located in Northern Rakhine State, Mrauk U is a major archaeological spot in Myanmar and has only recently become a reachable tourist destination. The main attractions are the temples and ruins around the town. The remains of the main palace roughly form the centre of the town. Mrauk U maintains a small archaeological Museum near Palace site, which is right in the center of town. As a prominent capital Mrauk U was carefully built in a strategic location by leveling three small hills. The pagodas are strategically located on hilltops and serve as fortresses; Shitthaung Pagoda, Dukkanthein Pagoda, Andawthein Shrine are some of the sites to see in Mrauk Oo. The most impressive among them is the Shitthaung Temple, meaning 80,000, with its seemingly endless perambulatory tunnels. It is believed that the 84,000 of the Buddha's relics with the same number of the Lord's images are enshrined in it, hence the name Shitthaung.
 

Shitthaung Temple

Shitthaung or "temple of the 80,000 Buddhas" located about half a mile to the north of the palace site was built by one of the most powerful kings of the Mrauk U Dynasty called by the people. The skill and art displayed in its construction and ornamentation are remarkable. Besides, we may observe here about the maze-like layout of this pagoda. In the accounts of this curious plan, some foreigners remarked that the Shitthaung Pagoda was built alike a fortress. The real purpose of the pagoda was for prayer, some rituals of initiation and some of the King's ceremonies which were usually held secretly. It was constructed six feet thick of solid sandstone and like "rock cave tunnel". No mortar was used in the construction and stones were connected with stone brackets. It is believed that 84,000 of the Buddha's relics with the same number of the Lord's images are enshrined in it. People who entered the tunnels of the temple felt that they were actually inside an endless tunnel. The pagodas had been built by one thousand architects and workmen for a year.
 

Koetaung Pagodas

The name means 90,000 and probably signified the number of Buddha images it was supposed to contain. It was built by King Min Taikkha, the son of King Min Bin who built the Sitthaung Temple (80,000 Images). The son exceeded the father by 10,000! It is the biggest temple in Mrauk U Area. Like the Shitthaung Pagoda, this temple is also a massive fortress-like structure built with stone walls and terraces. There are 108 smaller pagodas surrounding it, all made of sandstone. With a winding corridor it is like a cave tunnel which you have to traverse until you reach the central chamber. The inner gallery has collapsed and is no longer accessible. There is an octagonal pagoda in the middle surrounded by over one hundred smaller pagodas. Unlike some of the other temples, not only sandstone, but bricks were also used.
 

Htukkhan Thein (Ordination Hall)

Like most of Mrauk U's Buddhist temples, it is designed as a dual purpose 'fortress-temple'. Although it is a 'thein' (Ordination Hall), it is one of the most militaristic buildings in Mrauk U, built on raised ground, with a single entrance and small windows. It was built by King Minphalaung (1571-1593). It is also lying on the hill and reached by stone stairways on the east and south. The Htukkanthein has three chambers, rotating clockwise inwards. The entire temple has a total of 180 Buddha images in niches (179 smaller ones along the corridors, and 1 at the central vaulted chamber). On each side of the niches are sculpted male and a female figures said to represent the donors who made the construction of the temple possible. At the west side of the temple is a small meditation chamber, accessible only via the main temple.
 

Andaw Thein

Andaw Thein is a temple in Mrauk U located at the northwest corner of the Shit-thaung Temple. The name means 'Tooth Shrine'. It contains a tooth relic of the Buddha coming from Sri Lanka. It was first built as an ordination hall between 1515 and 1521 by King Thazata, and restored by Min Bin between 1534 and 1542. It was later expanded into a temple by King Raza II in order to house a tooth relic of the Buddha he brought back from his pilgrimage to Ceylon, either in 1596 or 1606–1607. The main hall is octagonal faces in east. There are two corridors round the central block which supports the octagonal stupa above. There are eight seated stone Buddha Images within niches cut into the interior walls which are decorated with arch-pediments.
 

 

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Others Destination  

Chin Hills And Mt. Victoria

The Chin life in western Myanmar, along the border with India. The most accessible attraction for foreign tourists here is Mt Victoria, also known as Natmataung, which at a height of more than 3000 meters is the perfect place for nature lovers. Soft trekking, butterfly and bird watching tours are available. Another incredible sight are the elderly Chin women with tattooed faces. The practice, which is entirely voluntary, is slowly disappearing, with few younger women willing to undergo the ritual scarring. Handwoven cotton and silk items in traditional Chin designs and colors are also collector’s items. Trips to Chin State are not recommended during the rainy season, from May to October, because of the poor condition of the roads. Accommodation consists of very simple guesthouses so this excursion is suitable only for adventurous clients.
 

Myitkyina

The capital and largest town of Kachin State is an important trade centre between China and Myanmar. It is an ideal starting point for excursions to tribal villages, jade mines and the Myitsone River confluence, about 40 kilometres north, where two Himalayan streams – Mehka and Malikha – meet to form the mighty Ayeyarwady River. Kachin State is renowned for its scenic natural beauty; from untouched jungle to Mount Hkakaborazi, the highest point in Myanmar at 5,889 metres and climbed for the first time only in 1996. This mountain area in the far north is largely untouched by tourism.
 

Bhamo (Bamaw)

Bhamo is located on the Ayeyarwaddy River about 186 kilometres south of the Kachin State capital Myitkyina. It lies just 65 kilometres from the border with China’s Yunnan Province and the population consists of Chinese and Shan, with Kachin people living mostly in the hills around the town. Bhamo was an important trading post with the Chinese Empire up to the 19th century, when copper coins from China flowed into Burma through the city. VOC (United Dutch East India Company) records identified these copper coins as an important source of profit, and also mention the presence of a Customs Office in Bhamo to regulate the border trade. As of 1935 the town was situated at the highest navigable point of the river, and was the terminus of caravan routes from India and Burma, by which jade, in particular, was brought into China. Bhamo was once called Sampanago, the capital of the long-disappeared Shan kingdom of Manmaw. The ruins of the old city walls, dating from the fifth century, can be found some 5 kilometres from the modern town.
 

Putao

Putao in Kachin State is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and is cool the whole year round. Flowing streams and rivulets, straw-roofed houses and fences of pebbles and creek stones provide a pleasant, pastoral contrast to the scenes and sights of modern cities. Suspension bridges are the typical river crossing in this region, which features populations of Rawang, Lisu, Khamti-Shan, Jingphaw and Kachin people. It is the nearest town to the base camp for climbing Mountt Hkakhaborazi. Putao is the starting point for Myanmar's most adventurous trekking adventures and is a 30-minute flight from Myitkyina.
 

Myeik Archipelago

Myeik is located in Tanintharyi Region, the most southern part of the country. The town’s economy is based largely on exports of local products, such as tin, tungsten, dried fish, dried prawns, fish paste, salt and rubber. A cultured pearl industry has also developed on some of the nearby islands, particularly Pale Kyun (Pearl Island), about 138 kilometres south of Myeik. Lampi Island, 105 kilometres by 50 kilometres with mountains topping 450 metres, boasts lovely beaches, coral reefs, clear water and undisturbed wildlife. It has been designated a Marine National Park to preserve the environment and attract ecotourists. The Myeik Archipelago consists of many similar virgin islands, which typically feature white sandy beaches and are good for snorkeling and scuba diving. The water is so clear that it is enough to see the coral reefs and tropical fish, while there are also abundant lagoon caves, bird nests and waterfalls.

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