Destination: Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle, Kyaikhtiyo
Yangon & Vicinity
The city of Myanmar has a unique charm with its old colonial buildings, Tree-lined streets, bustling local market and tranquil lakes. Interesting places to visit are the massive Shwedagon World famous Pagoda the original stupa was built over 2500 yrs at same place installing Buddhist relics inside it. Sule Pagoda an excellent landmark in the downtown area. Chaukhtatgyi 72 meter long a reclining Buddha Image. One the Yangon riverfront its Botataung Pagoda said to house some Buddha's hair relic. China town market has plenty of Chinese culture features Temples, houses and roadside food shops. National Museum a place housing numerous exhibits that are testament to the wealth of Myanmar Kings. Major tourist market in the city is Bogyoke Market. Numerous souvenirs items are sold there to be memorials of the visit Myanmar.
The ancient capital of Mon Kingdom, about 80 km for from Yangon has plenty of tourist attractions. It features Shwemawdaw the highest stupa in Myanmar, Shwethalaung a long and huge Buddha reclining Image. Hinthagone Hill meter high an ancient pagoda stand on a small hill, enjoy overview the city. Kyeik Pun four huge images. Mahaseti an unlike other large stupas in lower Myanmar.
Pyay is one of the beautiful spots in Myanmar. Probably most Temples in it were built between 5th and 7th centuries. During those days the city was ancient Pyu capital named Kitsara. The interesting places are Shwe sandaw situated on the eastern bank of Irrawaddy river and Myanmar's most venerated structure stands here, Baw Baw Gyi Pagoda, Payagyi and Payama Pagoda, north of the old city walls are conically-styled and were built about the same time as the Be Be Temple.
Akaung Taung (near Pyay)
From Pyay, by local ferry to Akaung Taung to say buddha images, cut into rocks. Overlooking the Ayeyarwaddy River.
Twante can easily be reached from Yangon by ferry and road. The main activity there is pottery and one can use pottery of all kinds as well as potters at their craft. The Twante Canal is a waterway that connects Yangon and Pathein. In the town, there is one significant pagoda – the Shwe San Daw Pagoda while if you go off at a turnoff on the way from Yangon and around 5 km from Twante, you will reach the Snake Temple.
Syriam, once a major port, but now a sleepy village. En route, there will be Kyaik Kyauk Pagoda ( Mon Pagoda), legend said built since over 2000 years ago. The famous Yele Pagoda(Mid-Stream-Pagoda), set on a tiny island in the river and explore two further pagodas and the riverside market where you can taste famous Myanmar dried fish (Nga Poke Chauk).
Mandalay & Vicinity
The last capital of Myanmar Kingdom is now Myanmar's second capital city. A city of Markets, Monasteries, Traditional art and craft centers and religious monuments, Mandalay is the economic and religious center of upper Myanmar. Places to visit around the city are old Royal Palace, the last palace of Myanmar Kingdom, Mandalay hill, Panoramic View of city, has teak Monastery for Royal Monks, rest house for pilgrims and shrines, Kuthodaw Pagoda, well known as the world largest book since Buddhist scripture had been inscribed on 1774. Marble Slabs, Shwenandaw Monastery, a wonderful wood carving decorated building and antique materials preserved inside it. The place every visitor shouldn't miss is Mahamuni Buddha Image. It was shifted from Rakhine State and built since Lord Buddha was still alive.
Other interesting places in the city are gold leaf making work, Tapestry work, and stone carving work, silk weaving work and Zaychotaw Market.
A morning 45 minutes long trip upriver from Mandalay is Mingun. The great-unfinished Pagoda, the World Largest working Bell and Myatheintan different type of Stupa are places to visit riding on an ox cart like a villager.
Innwa is former capitals situated only 30 minutes drive from Mandalay. Mae Nu Oak Kyaung (Temple), the excellent architecture of ancient Myanmar can be seen at there. Bagaya Wood Monastery is famous for its 267 teak pillars and intricate wood carving on the doors and walls. The learning tower of Ava, climb to the top for good view cross the Irrawaddy to Sagaing.
11 km South of Mandalay is Amarapura. As it today prides itself on silk weaving, Shouldn't miss the weaving works and shops of it, Mahagandayon Monastery, over one thousand monks make a solemn procession through the Monastery ground en route to their lunch. U Bein (1.2 km) long world oldest wooden bridge with Taungthaman Lake is an unforgettable one for the viewer. One may ride on hand rowing boat to other side or have a walk on it.
21 km Southwest of Mandalay, an ancient city called Sagaing is famous for its meditation centers. Sagaing is home to about 200 Pagodas and Stupas, and over 500 Monasteries and Nunneries on a Green Hillside overlooking the Arrawaddy river , Swanoo pon nyashin Pagoda and U Min ThoneSe Pagodas are major places to visit. Silverware work and making rice bowl for monks are also attractive.
Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo)
Also known as Maymyo, when it was a British hill station. The old stagecoaches are still operating as local taxi service. There are plenty to see, such as the wonderful Botanical Garden, Pwe Kauk Waterfall, the busy market and the newly built Pye Lone Chan Tha Pagoda, which houses a mysterious Buddha image. Why not taking a train one early morning, which takes a winding circuitous up route through the hills at sunrise!
Pyin Oo Lwin, 1070 meters above sea level, is 67 km east from Mandalay on the west known as Maymyo, a former British colonial summer retreat. Kandawgyi Park and the Pyin U Lwin Market are popular sites. Excursions to Pwe Kauk Falls, Peik Chin Myaung Cave and a ride on a horse-drawn stagecoach through the town. Pyin Oo Lwin is an easy day trip from Mandalay. Hiking trips to the nearby Anisakan Falls can be arranged.
Beyond Sagaing 160 km from Mandalay is Monywa. After crossing the Chindwin river by ferry boat and 15 minutes drive, it's Powintaung and Nwathotaung, impressive extinct volcanoes with some 446, 444 Buddha Images placed in sandstone niches, about 15 minutes from Monywa, Kyaukka village is famous for its bamboo ware products. On the way back to Mandalay, one may visit Thanboddhe Shrine, a different type stupa, largest reclining Buddha Image and thousands of Bo trees.
Roughly 200km north of Mandalay, Mogok is famous for its gem mines of rubies and sapphires. The town is nestled in a valley at over 1000 m around a large lake - the weather is cool. Visits to the mines can be arranged. Mogok means 'ruby land'.
One of the world historical as well as archeological sites is a major Tourist attraction in Myanmar. Originally there were 10,000 temples at Bagan, largely constructed of brick between the 11th and 13th centuries. After seven long centuries, only 2217 of these remain standing. Ten great Bagan monuments are most attractive ones for Tourist. There're Ananda Temple, built by King Kyan Sittha was completed in 1091. Thatbyinnyu Temple the tallest building in Bagan at 62 meters was built in the 12th century. Thandawgya Image a huge seated Budda figure at six meter tall, was build in 1284. Gawdawpalin Temple it was built in Burma style to resemble the Thatbyinnyu Temple. Shwegugyi Temple, king Alaungsithu built it in 1131 unlike most Buddhist monument. Damayangyi Temple is well over a kilometer to the southwest of the city walls. Shwesandaw Pagoda was built by king Anawrata in 1057. The long flat building within the walls of its enclosure contains the Shinbinthalyaung reclining Buddha. The last Burma style Temple built in Bagan is Tilominlo Temple. It was constructed in 1211. The last of the great stupa is Mingalazedi Pagoda. It was built in 1284 and it represents the pinnacle of Burma Pagoda architecture. Other interesting places in Bagan are Shwezigon Stupa in Nyaung Oo and Nyaung Oo Market, lacquer ware works and shops in Myinkabar village as well as New Bagan.
Oasis of the dry zone Known as the " Oasis of dry zone ", Poppa is a steep-sided volcanic peak dedicated to the legendary "Nat" spirits of Myanmar. The mountain itself is considered to be sacred - a sort of Mt.Olympus, an abode of the Gods. Set amid lovely hill and forest scenery. Poppa - a great extinct volcano last active 250,000 years ago, is a forest-clad landmark rising to 1,520 meters from the flat, surrounding Myingan Plains. It is a place of special importance in both the country's history and culture. The natural springs; flowers and wooded hillsides greatly contrast to the arid lands surrounding it.
The vegetation around the mountain is said to be the remains of a large forest that was mostly fossilized after a volcanic explosion. Mt.Poppa is famous for its wealth of medicinal plants and rare orchids: home for over 90 different species of birds. Bird watching, horse riding can be arranged in the remote and attractive parts of the mountain park. The natural waters of Poppa Mountain provide all the water supply needed for numerous purposes in the area and miles around. The area has now been established as the Poppa Mountain Park by the Ministry of Forestry and is being developed actively for the promotion of ecotourism. Some of the many interesting places to see include Poppa Mountain Crater, View Point, Poppa village, Sima waterfalls, Poppa Mountain Park, Medicinal herbal plantation garden, Sandalwood Plantation, the Nat shrine.....etc. waterfalls, Poppa Mountain Park, Medicinal herbal plantation garden, Sandalwood Plantation, the Nat shrine...........etc.
It is a small town about 15 km south of Bagan, down the Ayarwaddy River. U Pone Nya Museum, formerly the Yoke Sone Monastery, exhibits antique lacquer wares, wooden relieves and a large standing gilded Buddha image. The figures carved outside the front of the building are worth seeing. Another place worth visiting is Tha-ta-na Kyaung (Keythar monastery) where Tipitaka texts are housed in a large red lacquered cabinet.
A peaceful excursion by boat along the Ayeyarwaddy River from Bagan, Pakokku and its surroundings offer Travellers a unique glimpse into the typical village life in the area. The nearby 19th-century town of Pakhangyi has one of the oldest wooden monasteries in Upper Myanmar with 254 teak pillars. Locals produce tobacco, jaggery palm sugar candy and the famous checkered blankets and woven fabric typical of this region.
Inle & Vicinity
Inle, vast picturesque and the second largest natural lake is one of the famous highlights and situated in Nyaung Shwe Township of the Southern Shan State. Lying 900 meters above the sea level.The lake stretches about 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. All Inthas are Buddhist. They are very pious observing the Buddhist moral precepts on Sabbath days, going to monasteries, and Buddhist shrines to carry out works of religious merit. Interesting sightseeings in Inle lake are their market day, weaving, blacksmith, a silver-smith, paper-making, boat-making, cigar workshop, umbrella workshop and etc.. You can get fresh and relax feelings during your trip in Myanmar.
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
The most famous pagodas in Shan State. There are five Buddha images of the 12th century. When the King from Bagan visited this area in the 12th century, he donated these Buddha images. Because of the pious Buddhists guild gold leaves on images, now the buddha images transform as round. Phaung Daw Oo pagoda festival celebrate in October and these Buddha images are brought by village boats and resided village by village every day.
Indein means shallow lake, connected with a small canal to the big inle lake. Indein village located the other side of Inle lake and also the starting point to go up to many tribes’ villages in the mountain area. Around Indein village is nice landscape with bamboo forests, paddy fields, old monasteries. The main attractions in Indein are groups of ancient pagodas from centuries ago. Over thousands of Indein pagodas were lost in jungles for centuries and now maintain by the government.
Kalaw is a typical small town in the Southern shan state. Situated 1400 meters above sea level and so the weather is cool all the year round and chili cold in winter. It is also another hill station and many of the Tudor-style houses and English gardens of colonial days remain. Around the town, there are shan mountains to make a nice trekking trip to visit the tribe villages from Kalaw. The old station, Kalaw market is interesting. Making half day trekking and one night stop in Kalaw is nice. If you would like to make trekking more, you can stay more days.
A small and charming town about 45 km from Kalaw is Pindaya. Landscape from Kalaw to Pindaya is very nice with different colors of plantations. Beautiful lake near the center of town and many big ficus trees around the town are symbols of Pindaya. Pindaya well known for its extensive limestone caves. The caves are set deep in the hillsides and there are at the entrance, a 15 meter high Shwe U Min Pagoda. Inside there are some 8000 Buddha images and interesting stalagmites. Around Pindaya also many hill villages and visitors can make trekking to these villages.
Shwe U Min Cave (Pindaya Cave)
Famous cave with full of ancient Buddha images in different styles. Shweumin or Pindaya cave formed 200,000 million years ago. The caves are stocked full of Buddha images (8094 in total) many covered in gold leaf and carved by the locals at the end of the 17th century in a variety of styles. There are also numerous stalactites and stalagmites. The stupa inside the cave was built by King Alaungsithu from Bagan in the 12th century. Legendary that the young prince saved seven princesses who were closed inside the cave by the webs of huge spider was interesting and visitors can see the prince and spider statues at the entrance of the cave.
Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State is situated over 1430 metres above sea level. It is a hill station, cool and pleasant all the year round and a few of the typical ‘hill station’ houses still remain. The market on every fifth day is crowded with ethnic minorities in their traditional dresses. From Inle lake to Taunggyi takes about an hour. Hot air balloon festival which celebrates in November is the most famous attraction of the town Taunggyi and full of local and foreign visitors go and see the festival.
If you have enough time or an extra day at Inle lake, you can go and visit Kakku. About nearly 2 ½ hours drive from Nyaung Shwe. Kakku is the place of the collections of thousands pagoda from the 12th century. On the way to Kakku you can visit the famous winery and vineyard before you arrive the capital of the state, Taunggyi. You can visit also the capital of State. Between Taunggyi to Kakku there are many Pao tribe villages. You can visit some village beside the road to see the life of tribe people.
Kyaing Tong is the capital of Eastern Shan area and also the capital city of the Golden Triangle region. Near the border with Thailand. Four countries of China, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos all have stakes in the triangle. Myanmar’s part of the Golden Triangle is a big one and takes up a fair chunk of Shan State, including the trekking destinations of Kyaing Tong. There are so many different groups of people living in the area around Kyaing Tong. Akha, Akhu, Lisu, Lahu, Shan, Wa and Eng are the larger groups and more easily to visit.
Another larger groups in the Golden Triangle is the Eng. If you visit the Eng villages, you will never forget the experience for one major reason. Eng women chew a variety of jungle betel nut that stains their mouths black. According to the Eng culture, women with black teeth and mouths are considered beautiful. Traditional dress for the Eng consists of a shirt or jacket depending on the weather and their black costumes are made within the village itself and never as generously as the Akha.
The Akha people are a true hill tribe and almost always live in relatively high altitudes and survive in that climate by slash-and-burn agriculture. The Akha people are highly distinctive, with the women donning silver-decorated headdresses and jewelry. Akha women are skilled weavers and each village is certain to have at least a handful of looms tucked away within it. Around Kyaing Tong, Ho Kyin four Akha villages are interesting. Akha people are Buddhist, Christian, and also Animists.
Tachileik, located in the Golden Triangle area, is the border gateway opposite Mae Sai in Thailand. Tachileik is also home to a replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda that sits atop a hill overlooking the town. From the tourist market, it’s a decent walk to the site but numerous motorcycle taxi drivers and tuk-tuk drivers will offer to take you
Kyaikhtiyo & Vicinity
Mon state is to the southeast of Yangon and one of the biggest state. Mainly mon people live and also some other tribes. According to historical background, Mon people are Buddhist since before Bagan period. Mon state is in the hot wet region, gets annual rainfall about 200 inches. The average annual temperature is 80F. The chief crops in the area are rice, rubber, sugarcane, betel nuts, peppers and coconuts. Mon State is also noted for its delicious fruits like durians, mangosteens, pomelos, rambutans.
Kyaikhtiyo (Golden Rock)
The most famous pagoda in Mon State. “Kyaikhtiyo” derived from Mon language means a pagoda-shouldered on the head of a hermit. It’s built on a huge boulder which balances precariously on a projecting tabular rock. The rock itself is separated from the mountain by a deep chasm which is spanned by an iron bridge. Legend has it that two hermits lived in these mountains and they had received two hair relics of Buddha and desired to enshrine these relics on the rock which looks like his head. Mountaineering about an hour to arrive there is fun.
Mawlamyine is the capital of Mon State situated 165 kilometers from Yangon. It takes about Mon State has an area of 16735 square miles with ten townships and about 400 villages. 6 hours drive from Yangon. Population in the city is almost 300,000. The majority of the people are Mons and there are also Karens, Shans. During the colonial time known as Moulmein and the administrative capital of British Lower Burma.
Mawlamyine does have a charm of its own with its rich history, buildings with colonial style architecture, World War II-era wooden buses, and its close proximity to the infamous Siam-Burma "death railway", making it a fascinating place to visit! With its colonial buildings, wooden Chevrolet buses and its leafy tropical coastal setting, Mawlamyine has a charm of its own distinct from any other town or city in Myanmar.
There are also places of historical interest in and around Mawlamyine. Thanbyuzayat, 60 km south is the end of the line for the infamous Burma-Siam death railway where 100,000 people died in its construction during World War II under the Japanese occupation. Kyaikthanlan pagoda on the eastern ridge of town is thought to be the setting where Rudyard Kipling wrote his famous poem, 'The Road to Mandalay'. Win Sein Taw Ya, 30 km south on the outskirts of Mudon is the site of the largest reclining Buddha image in the world.
Kyaik Than Lan Pagoda
Kyaikthanlan pagoda was built in 875 AD and enshrines the Tripitaka Buddhist manuscripts as well as a hair relic from the Buddha. This pagoda is the highest one in Mawlamyine and stands 150 feet tall on the ridge overlooking the town centre. It can be seen for miles especially at night where its lighted brilliance dominates the skyline. From the top of the pagoda grounds, an excellent 360-degree panoramic view of the whole of the city can be seen. From this vantage point, Mawlamyine's British built prison strikes you immediately as you look westwards towards the Thanlwin river and the Gulf of Mottoma. It is thought to be the site where Rudyard Kipling wrote his famous poem, Mandalay. Incidentally, the Mandalay ward of Mawlamyine is located just north of the Kyaikthanlan pagoda so this may have been his inspiration for writing the poem "Mandalay".
Gaung Se Kyun
First two words Gaung Se means 'head medicine' or shampoo in and 'kyun' means island thus giving rise to its English name of Shampoo Island. It has been given this name from the Ava period when water from a spring on this island was used in the annual royal hair washing ceremony. The island also has a Buddhist meditation centre although these days, with the Thanlwin bridge being built just 50 meters abeam the island, meditation on the island is far more challenging than what it used to be, with vehicle traffic and railway line being literally only a stone's throw away. Sandawshin Pagoda is also located on the island. To get to Gaung Se Kyun, hire a longtail boat from the banks of the Thanlwin river immediately opposite the island.
Zay Gyi is the town's main shopping centre and is not to be confused with Zeigyo, which is 7 km away near the highway bus station on the way to Mudon. This is a 'dry market' where items for sale include domestic household goods such as clothes, longyi, soaps and detergents, pots and pans, biscuits, cigarettes, medicines etc.
Mon Culture Museum
Mon Cultural Museum is located on the corner of Baho St and Dawei Jetty Rd. There are no English signs but the Museum is easy enough to find. Look for this large signboard in red at the front of the museum building. There you can see the various kinds of traditional art and craft things. Historic evidence from different eras.
Kyauktalon Taung is an interesting flat rock formation 300 feet in height with a Buddhist shrine situated on top. Although reminding you of Mt Popa in central Myanmar, the outcrop is geologically different being made of limestone rather than volcanic rock.
Yadana Taung is just opposite of Kyauktalon Taung and the entrance to a Hindu temple where literally hundreds of monkeys. A hundred metres further south is the entrance to Win Sein Taw Ya.
Win Sein Taw Ya
Win Sein Taw Ya, is the place of the largest reclining Buddha image in the world, situated about 20 km south of Mawlamyine on the main road to Mudon. It can be clearly seen for miles as you leave Mudon for Mawlamyine on the right side of the road. The reclining Buddha has 180 meters in length and 30 meters in height. Inside there are numerous rooms with dioramas of the teachings of Buddhism.
Hpa-an is the administrative capital of Kayin State and about 400 kilometers (250 miles) southeast of Yangon. It is a small town with a busy market. The major tribes living here is Kayin and Mon, and most of them are Buddhists. Christians are just a minority.
The glorious Zwegabin Hill is an attractive place for visitors and Kawtgon Cave is also a place of interest. Mt.Zwegabin in the state of Kayin MOUNTAIN ZWEKABIN one evidences 800 meters over plains and e' one stone for the Kayin people who live in these plains. An ascension hundreds of the irregular points to the monasteroche that situated on the peak, them recompense' with one seen exceptional.
Saddan Cave & Bayin Nyi Cave
Bayin Nyi Cave is closer to Thaton and makes an ideal stop on the way to Yangon. This is another steep Rock in the plains with a monastery at the foot of the mountain. There is a hot spring with bathing possibility. Thandaung Hill Resort is a small resort town located in Kayin State, Myanmar. The majority of its population is Karen. It was developed as a hill resort by the British. Thandaung was also built-up as a hill resort from Victorian times by the British. It happens to be the hill resort closest to Yangon as it is only about 200 miles away and can be reached by car or bus on a half day's journey. If visitors prefer using the railway, they can ride the train from Yangon to Taungoo in about six hours and from Taungoo to Thandaung it is only 27 miles up by car passing through lush virgin forests, see cascading mountain streams and climb gradually to over 4,000 feet, to reach Thandaung.