Best Places to Visit in Myanmar
Myanmar of the past – and Myanmar now – has slowly but surely entered the tourism landscape over the past few decades. Backpackers and adventure travelers find new love as the junta’s iron fist is loosened and fair elections take the country by storm. Tucked between the main pillars of India and Southeast Asia, the country certainly has a few great places to see.
You can experience the frenetic pulse of modern Myanmar life in Yangon, a metropolis filled with pagodas. Alternatively, you can hike the wild hills in the ancient lands of the Shan Kings, meet Hu Nong at Inle, and see the rusty remnants of British rule in Kalaw.
There are many ancient temples here, not to mention the carved stupas and ancient Hindu motifs like Bagan, fascinating Buddhist ruins and some sun-drenched beaches along the Bay of Bengal.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Myanmarand make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Myanmar
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Myanmar:
Breathtaking Bagan bags top the list of the best places to visit in Myanmar. Reason? Most travelers who take this route are left with a palpable sense of awe and wonder.
It’s easy to see why! A sea of countless temple-tops piercing clouds and forests; dust condensed on the towers of ancient stupas; From the huge platforms, faded silhouettes of forgotten Hindu demigods and the jagged edges of the Arakan Mountains stretched out everywhere.
Touring Bagan by hot air balloon is becoming more and more popular, offering a truly unique view of this 26 square mile land of temples.
Having found grandeur under British rule, Yangon rose with the rise of the Raj and became a staple of Georgian architecture with its elegant Victorian townhouses. Much of the city is also in pristine condition and today you can use the roads full of tuk-tuks and St. You can visit sights such as St. Mary’s Cathedral and its Anglo tower.
However, the real drag (and what often draws tourists to this ancient Burmese capital) has to be the Shwedagon Pagoda. This marks the sacred place where the sacred lotus buds once appeared, heralding the coming of Sakyamuni and leading the sages to nirvana. Be sure to visit this site to see the shimmering golden buildings, masjids, and beautifully carved pavilions for pilgrims.
Kalaw is rising on Myanmar’s tourism scene as one of the top destinations for hikers and adventurers heading to the mountainous eastern part of the country. Perched on a high hill in Shan State, this place was originally a British-administered mountain town and was designed to provide a respite from the Asian heat of the plains below.
Today, visitors can enjoy the cool breezes of the highlands, some cozy guesthouses, great food markets, and – most importantly – no unauthorized walking!
You can imagine how gorgeous the city of Mandalay would look when the magnificent Shwenandaw Monastery shimmers under its gold leaf cover, and it’s easy to see why even the name of the town atop this mysterious temple deep in Myanmar is perhaps the inspiration. Kipling is Asia’s most prolific British singer.
However, modern Mandalay beautifully balances all these elegant Burmese pagodas and carved stupas with true Burmese chaos. After all, this is Myanmar’s second largest city, a place of pilgrimage (thanks to Maha Myat Muni Paya) and a famous tourist attraction (the famous Royal Palace with its walls) all rolled into one!
A short walk east from Yangon is the towering Mount Kyaiktiyo, known for having one of the most revered Buddhist relics in the country: the crumbling Golden Rock. This marvelous, gravity-defying granite block can be found in the rugged forests and green hills of south-central Myanmar.
Legend has it that it was suspended by a hair of the Buddha, and (male) pilgrims climbed the winding steps to the spectacle, leaving the gold leaf behind and inspired. Surrounded by its own temples and pagodas, the site is complete with an immersive little shrine dedicated to a little-known Buddhist spirit.
6. Inle Lake
You’ll know you’re in the heart of rustic Burma when you see the curious leg rowers of Inle Lake and hear the squeak of carved canoes drifting over the water. Where time stands still, these vast waters are filled with villages on wooden pillars. Locals are known for their soil farming methods and you will be able to see green gardens growing directly from the lake.
Major religious sites, such as the Hpaung Daw U Pagoda (which has a fantastic festival in late summer), are also located on the riverbank, but the real draw is the food that exudes fresh herbs, Chinese spices, and lake-caught fish.
Pindaya is one of the most remote religious places in Myanmar. It sits on the towering Shan Mountains in the eastern Myrat region and offers a unique insight into the country’s deep Buddhist history. Consisting of a series of deep caves, Pindaya is home to around 8,000 Buddha statues that shimmer in gold and brass in the shady caves.
You can also cycle around the lake in the town of Pindaya, which enjoys a prime location between the peaks and starts at the start of the popular cross-mountain trail to Kalaw.
Get your hiking boots and thigh muscles ready for a trip to Hsipaw in the Highlands, as the once royal capital of the Shan slowly rises to compete with the aforementioned Kalaw on the trekking front.
Don’t be surprised if you’ve been stranded in these deep northern mountains longer than you think – not only are the sun-drenched forests unobstructed, but there are also a wealth of cultural traditions waiting to be discovered. You can experience it at the craft stalls in the town’s central market, or seek it out at Shan Palace, which still nostalgically stands on the street.
Nestled among rugged forest peaks and surrounded by the reflective waters of the Thanlwin River, Little Hpa-an is a rustic, rugged traveler town with some wonderful inns, guesthouses and beer bars.
Stroll along the bustling lane of Zaydan Road, wandering between coffee shops and roadside kitchens, or head to the shores of beautiful Kan Thar Yar Lake, shimmering like a mirror within walking distance of the city centre. When it’s time to explore the karst peaks on the horizon, the mysterious Zweigabin and its peak monastery beckon you.
Mawlamyine is a big city with a relaxed vibe and a great escape from the hustle and bustle of other big cities in Myanmar like Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. Deep in the Mon tribe and just a stone’s throw from the Thai border, it exudes a cultural identity unlike many other places on this list.
You can climb towering pagodas like the Mahamuni Paya, reflecting the twists and turns of Mon-style architecture, or see the tall Uzina Paya Stupa, clad in gold thanks to the dedication of countless pilgrims. Meanwhile, the town’s central market is brimming with fruit and vegetable vendors, and you have the chance to take a boat ride to the oddly named island of shampoo (with quirky Buddhist temples, not hair products!).
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Myanmar. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Myanmar, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.