Flavours Of Myanmar
Take a bite out of Burma with some Green Tea Salad in Mandalay or a walking food tour in colonial Yangon. This mix of Chinese and Indian influences is a delicious way to experience Myanmar.
From the Shwedagon pagoda covered in billions worth of gold, to the desert plains covered with thousands of stupas, this country has unique experiences around every corner.
Talk with the farmers and fishermen of Inle Lake, who created unique floating gardens. Feel the local culture when you buy some flowers to donate in a flower-offering ritual.
Top Places to Visit
The economic and religious hub of upper Myanmar, centered around the Royal Palace, Mandalay is the second largest city in the country after Yangon. Over half of Myanmar’s monks reside in Mandalay and the surrounding areas. The city is an intriguing mix of ancient and modern, with a distinctly Chinese flavor. The old-style elegance of the past remains in its shrines and monasteries, and the workshops of traditional crafts are the best in the country. The main city spreads out in a southerly direction from the Fort and Palace, the latter of which has just been fully restored and is open to visitors.
The Golden Rock
Kyaikhtiyo, or The Golden Rock as many people rather know it, is truly something out of the ordinary. Located in Mon State it is a one-night excursion from Yangon away. More than the 5.5 m gilded chedi on top of a gilded boulder, itself balanced on top of a cliff, for the local followers of Buddhist faith it is the place of pilgrimage per excellence in Myanmar. It is a chance to meet and fraternize with friendly locals who have come from near and far to pay homage to the lord Buddha. Especially around sunrise and sunset time the sweeping views from the top of Mount Kyaikhtiyo can be very beautiful.
Mawlamyine & Hpa-An
Also located in Mon State, but more toward the center, Mawlamyine is the country’s 3rd biggest city. In the context of the planned (2015) East West economic Corridor land connection linking Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand with Myanmar, Mawlamyine is the convenient terminus of this very-important-to-be highway. The city still has many reminders of the British colonial era, it has a number of nice and interesting pagodas an monasteries, and is the starting place for many excursion in every direction. Hpa-An, a good one-hour drive away from Mawlamyine, is located in the neighboring Kayin State. It is the area of green paddies, scenic panoramas, and many caves.
Located on the banks of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River, Bagan is home to the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins in the world with many dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. The city with its collection of over 2000 awe-inspiring pagodas, is surely the most splendid sight in the whole of Southeast Asia and a must for any visitor to Myanmar. Nowhere else in the region do manmade relics mix so evocatively with nature as on the plains of Bagan. Visitors can enjoy a horse-and-cart ride around the site. On nearby Mount Popa, one can enjoy trekking, horseback riding trips and spectacular views.
This city is an amalgamation of British, Burmese, Chinese and Indian influences, and is known for its colonial architecture, friendly people, numerous street vendors and their pungent smells! Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar, is as busy as it gets in the country – the downtown area is always alive with people in the distinctly, laid back Myanmar way. Highlight is undoubtedly the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, surely one of the most incredible sights in the world and certainly one of the best preserved and maintained. A priority for many will be the chance to shop for exotic fabrics, rubies from the famous Mogok mines and handicrafts competitively priced even when compared to the rest of Southeast Asia.
North Myanmar (Bhamo, Myitkyina, Putao)
Kachin State is Myanmar’s northernmost state. In terms of wild beauty, colorful ethnicities and rare fauna and flora, this region stands out from all others. From the snow-capped mountains of Putao, to the decimated tiger colony of the Hukawng Valley, to the rare orchid and butterfly varieties hidden high up in the deep forest and jungle, to the jade mines of Hpakant, to the confluence of the Maykha and Malikha rivers (and as such the birthplace of the Ayerwaddy river) near Myitkyina, to the scenic Indawgyi Lake with its many bird species, to the colonial-era Bhamo of the days of George Orwell – Kachin State does not stop amazing us. It should be considered a privilege to visit this area of exceptional value!
Inle Lake & Surroundings
Located in the heart of the Shan Plateau, 900 meters above sea level, Inle Lake is inhabited by many different ethnic nationals of the area. The Intha people are the Lake dwellers who are unique for their traditional leg rowing style that attracts many visitors. Each side is banked by tall hills creating a stunningly beautiful expanse of water surrounded by a unique community of 17 villages. Visitors to the area can also experience life on the lake by staying in the numerous hotels and guesthouses perched on stilts out on the water. Bargain-hunters can chose from the array of silk weaves and silver from lakeside workshops available at markets that move from village to village.
Mrauk U & Sittwe
Mrauk-U is Myanmar’s second-most-famous archaeological site, a centuries-old city of hundreds of temples around which village life thrives. Tourists are a rarity here and are treated by the locals with a mixture of skeptical reserve and cheerful curiosity. Although smaller than the vast plain of temples and pagodas of Bagan, there is something unique and almost mystifying about the Mrauk-U site. In addition, the plentiful waterways in Rakhine State and the very rural atmosphere in general make it a very nature-based experience. Sittwe, an important port on the west coast facing the Bay of Bengal, is the gateway to any destination in upper Rakhine State and famous for its fisheries.
Idyllic palm-lined pristine white sands on the Bay of Bengal’s blue water, Ngapali is an unspool beach haven. Don’t expect jet skis and windsurfing here, this is a truly laidback and unspoilt paradise in Myanmar, where all there is to do is lay back and relax. Ngapali Beach is heaven for peace and tranquility “far from the madding crowds.” Situated about 7km from Thandwe, it is one of the ancient Rakhine towns and is famous for its natural beauty up to this day. The beach stretches about 3km (2 miles) with soft white sand fringed by coconut palms. It serves as the best ground for sunbathing and recreation and unlike today’s beaches of Asia, it is free of noisy beachside bars, crowds and hawkers trying to persuade you to buy their things.