country
culture
religion
politics
history
sights
  Sights

   
Yangon
Bagan
Inle Lake
Mandalay
Amarapura
Inwa
Sagaing
Mingun
Pindaya
Mt Popa
Kyaiktiyo

Bago
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Yangon, formerly Rangoon, is the biggest city of Myanmar and its former capital city. Offically the national capital was relocated to Naypyidaw (Mandalay Division) by the military government in 2006. However, Yangon is still the economic centre and hosts one of its most important cultural sights: the Shwedagon Pagoda, with its 98 m height, is the most sacred Buddhist site for the Burmese. It´s surrounded by numerous smaller shrines and stupas housing Buddha statues and other religious images. It´s best to visit the whole complex in the late afternoon as to stay there for sunset and enjoy the pagoda by night.

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Bagan is located in the centre of Myanmar and is amongst the biggest archaeological sites of South East Asia. More than 2000 temples and stupas are spread over an area of about 40 km². Bagan has always been the most popular touristic sight in Myanmar and the number of visitors has even increased in recent years. During an earthquake in 1975, many temples and ruins were destroyed and were reconstructed since then, sometimes in a way which doesn´t respect the original architecture. This is unfortunate but you will still be impressed.

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Inle Lake is well-known for its floating markets and the specific way the local fishermen row while moving around the lake. This peaceful lake is located in the Shan State at 875 m above the sea level. The 17 villages around the lake are mostly inhabitated by the Intha people, who make a living from market gardening, fishing and craftwork.

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Mandalay is the second biggest city in Myanmar; it´s less charming than Yangon but it´s a good starting point to visit nearby sights of Sagaing, Amarapura and Mingun. Mandalay is also the place where you can see the Moustache Brothers, who are three comedians well-known for their liveshows, a mixture of dissident satire, comedy and traditional dancing.


© Bengt Lindgren

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Many travellers staying in Mandalay come to Amarapura to see the U Bein´s Bridge, the world´s longest teak bridge. It´s best to visit it early mornings or early evenings when the bridge is crossed by hundreds of locals, making the experience more typical. Visiting Amarapura can be combined with another trip to nearby sights of Inwa and/or Sagaing.

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Inwa used to be the capital of the Burmese kingdom for nearly 400 years. Today it´s a quiet and peaceful place which hosts one of Myanmar´s most beautiful teakwood monasteries.

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There´re about 600 Buddhist pagodas, temples and monasteries in and around Sagaing. The most visited sight is the Sagaing Hill where you can enjoy the views on the Ayeyarwady River and the countless white stupas.

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Mingun can be reached by boat from Mandalay in one hour. It hosts the Mingun Paya, a huge base of a 150 m high pagoda which construction was planed by King Bodawpaya in 1790. However, his plan failed and the pagoda was never completed. You can visit the giant Mingun Bell, the world´s biggest bell with its weight of 90 tonnes.

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The famous Pindaya Caves are located in the limestone ridge at the shore of Natthamikan Lake and house around 8000 Buddha statues carved in teakwood, marble, stone, alabaster and other material.

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The holy Mt Popa (737 m) is an extinct volcano and is said to be the home of the 37 Nats, animist spirits which are both worshiped and feared by the Burmese. You have to climb 777 steps to reach the monastery located on the top of the mountain.

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Kyaiktiyo is a small town located 160 km away from Yangon and famous for the Golden Rock Pagoda. The small stupa is built on a golden rock which appears to be falling off the cliff. The legend says that the rock keeps its balance by the hair of the Buddha itself placed inside the stupa. Kyaiktiyo is one of the most sacred Buddhist places in the country and among its major pilgrimage sites.

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Bago is located between Yangon and Kyaiktiyo and hosts the world´s second biggest reclining Buddha statue: the Shwethalyaung-Buddha. With its lenght of 55 m and its height of 16 m, it´s said to be one of the most lifelike reclining Buddhas.
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