Myanmar is an unexplored natural and cultural wonder that offers one of the best authentic experiences for the traveler to Asia. From the snow-covered rugged Himalayas in the north to the pristine deep blue waters in the south, Myanmar is a land blessed and abundant.
The natural attractions include caves, corals, lakes, rivers, beaches, islands, and mountains, whilst the connoisseur of culture and history will find pagodas, an array of vibrant festivals, 135 tribes and a spread of delicious cuisine to tantalize their taste buds.
Imagine having white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, colourful coral reefs and water activities, all in the same place. At Ngapali Beach, the combination of white sand, palm trees and clear blue water will cast you into a peaceful state in a matter of minutes. The sunsets are nature’s glory that should not be missed. It is definitely recommended that you to visit a fishing village and enjoy a scrumptious meal with the sunset as your backdrop.
You can also enjoy snorkelling, scuba diving, and kayaking at Myeik Archipelago. Famous for its large cluster of islands, beautiful beaches and exotic marine life, look out for the monkeys eating small crabs – this rare sight!
Ngwe Saung Beach is the perfect destination for solo travellers as the place is safe and peaceful— ideal for a much-needed ‘me time’! It is close to Yangon, so you travel there for a half day or spend the whole day there before returning to the city. If you are love drinking beer by the beach, head to Dawei for some downtime. Known for its tranquillity, you can sip your beer at the beer stations available by the beach, along with delicious and affordable seafood!
If you are a nature lover, Myanmar provides you with numerous nature-related activities that will leave you with a new appreciation for the countryside. For starters, enjoy a climb up Mt. Victoria and be greeted by the cooling fresh air. The mountain’s winding paths is a result of the government’s efforts to preserve the natural landscape of the mountain, so you can expect the place to be unspoiled by constructions and pollution. Take in the panoramic view of Chin state and be mesmerised from above. In the midst of the chilly air, you will see townships around Chin surrounded by thick fog, making them look magical.
Enjoy a relaxing boat ride on Inle Lake, navigated by one-legged boat rowers that can only be found in Shan state. At the same time, you can watch migratory birds land at Inle Lake and spot some of the rare species there. You can also learn fishing from the fishermen, gain an authentic village experience as well as staying close to nature. Other great places for nature activities include the elephant camp (Phoe Kyar), wildlife observation (Chin State, Sagaing Region, Shan State) and dolphin sightings (Irrawaddy River).
Rich With History
The Pyu ancient cities are a must-visit if you wish to know more about civilisation. There are three locations in Myanmar with Pyu cities appointed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Halin City, Beikthano City and Sri Ksetra City. This is your chance to step into history as you explore these ancient cities that mark the early days of a civilisation. The impressive ancient cities consist of palace citadels, religious sites and storage facilities hint at the discovery of proper organisation and formation of a religion. Some structures are still intact despite facing harsh weather and earthquakes. Be sure to witness the pre-urban prehistoric habitation that features Assembly Halls, ancient artefacts and storage chambers.
Learn about the founder of modern Myanmar, the late General Aung San by visiting Bogyoke Aung San Museum in Yangon. This museum is your chance to get a glimpse of General Aung San’s short life. Dedicated to the late general who was assassinated in his own residence, the place has been converted into a museum to showcase his belongings and photographs of his early days, including childhood photos and letters written to his wife. The late general’s car is also included as part of the museum’s attractions.
Land of Pagodas
You will be missing out on a lot of things if you do not include the pagodas into your itinerary. Pagodas in Myanmar have a huge religious significance to Buddhist pilgrims and devotees. As Buddhism is the main religion in Myanmar, thousands of devotees celebrate pagoda festivals nearly every month in this country, donning colourful clothing and performing various rituals. Each pagoda boasts amazing and unique architecture, which means not a single pagoda in Myanmar is alike. Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas in the world is believed to be about 2,600 years old. It is also called the ‘Crown of Burma’ for its gold-plate dome topped with diamonds, rubies and other precious stones, resembling a crown.
Kyaikthiyo Pagoda is another interesting pagoda to visit. Perched on top of a round, granite boulder that resembles the head of a monk, this unique pagoda is even visited by pilgrims from rural areas due to its religious significance. Legend says that Lord Buddha’s hair supported the weight of the granite boulder, preventing it from rolling down the steep hill. You must also visit Kuthodaw Pagoda, home to the world’s largest book with 729 marble slabs with Buddhist teachings inscribed on them. It took 8 years to finally complete the slabs, and these have attracted thousands of visitors to the place every year.
States & Cities
NAY PYI TAW
Magway region is an administrative region in central Myanmar covering an area of 44,820 sq.km. The largest city of Magway region is Pakokku. CAPITAL CITY: MAGWAY CITY
Sagaing Region is located in the north-western part of the country and is bordered by India in the North. The region covers an area of 93,527 sq.km.
CAPITAL CITY: Sagaing City
PERMITTED AREAS FOR TRAVEL: Sagaing Township, Myinmu Township, Myaung Township, Monywa Township, Chaugn-u Township, Ayadaw Township, Budalin Township, Shewbo Township, Depeyin Township, Ye-u Township, Khin-u Township, Taze Township, Kyunhla Township, Kanbalu Township, Wetlet Township, Katha Township, Indaw Township, Htigyaing Township, Pinlebu Township, Banmauk Township, Kawlin Township, Wuntho Township, Yinmabin Township, Salingyi Township, Pale Township, Kani Township, Kale Township, Kalewa Township, Min-gin Township, Mawlaik Township, Paungbyin Township, Tamu Township, Khante Township (Homalin Township, Leshi Township and Lahe Township)
AREAS WHERE TOURISTS NEED PRIOR PERMISSION: Nanyun Township
RESTRICTED AREAS: Katha, Banmauk
Mandalay Region is located in the centre of the country and consists of 7 districts which are subdivided into 30 townships.
CAPITAL CITY: Mandalay City
RESTRICTED AREAS: Mogok, Tha-beik-kyin, Pyin-oo-lwin (Kyuntaing, Nyaungkone, Thabyae Chaung, Moegyoepyit, Pategone, Naungpain, Maetaw, Mogok)
Yangon Region is located towards lower Myanmar and is dominated by Yangon, the former capital and the largest city of the country. It covers an area of 10,170 sq.km.
CAPITAL CITY: Yangon City
Ayeyarwady Region is the region occupying the delta region of the Ayeyarwady river and covers an area of 35,140 sq.km. This region has a number of lakes and rivers.
CAPITAL CITY: Pathein City
PERMITTED AREAS FOR TRAVEL: Pathein Township – Shwe-thaung-yan Town and Ngwesaung Township, Kangyi daunk Township, Thabaung Township, Ngapudaw Township – Ngayokekaung Township and Hai-gyi-kyun Town, Kyonpyaw Township – Antaung Town, Yekyi Township – Ngathaingchaung Town and Ahthoke Town, Kyaunggon Township, Hinthada Township, Zalun Township, Lemyethna Township, Myanaung Township, Kyangin Township, Ingapu Township – Htoogyi Town, Myaungmya Township, Einme Township, Wakema Township – Kyonmanage Township, Maubin Township, Pantanaw Township, Nyaungdon Township, Danubyu Township, Phapon Township – Ahmar Town, Bogale Township, Kyaiklat Township, Dedaye Township, Labutta Township – Pyinsalu Town, Mawlamyinegyun Township
Bago Region is located in the south-central part of the country and has an approximate population of 4.8 million people as of 2014. It opens up to the Gulf of Martaban in the east.
CAPITAL CITY: Bago City
PERMITTED AREAS FOR TRAVEL: Bago Township, Daik-U Township, Nyaunglebin Township, Kyauktaga Township, Waw Township, Thanatpin Township, Kawa Township, Taungoo Township, Yedashe Township, Oktwin Township, Phyu Township, Htantabin Township, Kyaukkyi Township, Pyay Township, Paukkaung Township, Thaegon Township, Paungde Township, Shwedaung Township, Padaung Township, Tharrawaddy Township, Letpadan Township, Minhla Township, Monyo Township, Okpho Township, Gyobingauk Township, Zigon Township and Nattalin Township
AREAS WHERE TOURISTS ARE PERMITTED ONLY IN DOWNTOWN AREAS: Shwe Kyin Township
AREAS WHERE TOURISTS NEED PRIOR PERMISSION: Shwe Kyin Township (The rest areas except downtown of Shwe Kyin)
RESTRICTED AREAS: Htantabin, Kyaukkyi, Kyaukkyi Township (Mone)
Tanintharyi Region is the region covering the long narrow southern part of the country on the Kra Isthmus. It mainly consists of islands and coastal area.
CAPITAL CITY: Dawei City
PERMITTED AREAS FOR TRAVEL: Kawthaung Township – Khamaukgyi Sub-Township, Dawei Township – Myitta Sub-Township, Yebyu Township – Kaleinaung Sub-Township, Launglon Township, Thayetchaung Township, Tanintharyi Township, Palaw, Palauk Sub-Township and Myeik Township
AREAS WHERE TOURISTS ARE PERMITTED ONLY IN DOWNTOWN AREAS: Bokpyin Township – Pyigyimandaing Sub-Township, Karathuri Town, Kyunsu Township
RESTRICTED AREAS: Kawthaung(Khamaukgyi)
Chin State is located in western Myanmar and covers an area of 36,019 sq.km. It is a mountainous region with fewer transportation options. The state is inhabited by 53 different tribes and subtribe who speak a variety of languages.
CAPITAL CITY: HAKHA CITY
Kayah State is located in eastern Myanmar and covers an area of 11,670 sq.km. The state is primarily inhabited by Karenni ethnic group who are also known as Red Karen or Kayah or Sino-Tibetan people.
CAPITAL CITY: Loikaw City
PERMITTED AREAS FOR TRAVEL: Loi-kaw Township, Demoso Township (Dawkaladu and Taneelalae Village in Dawkalawdu Village Group, Ngwetaung Village in Ngwetaung Village Group, Panpetrwanku, Panpetsaunglu, Panpetpemasaung, Panpetkateku and Panpetdawke Villages, Hpasawng Township, Uptown Quarters in Hpasaung, Bawlakheand Mese, towns on the bordering- trade way with Thailand, Bawlakhe Township (uptown quarters in Hpasaung, Bawlakheand Mese, towns on the bordering- trade way with Thailand), Mese Township (uptown quarters in Hpasaung, Bawlakheand Mese, towns on the bordering- trade way with Thailand)
AREAS WHERE TOURISTS ARE PERMITTED ONLY IN DOWNTOWN AREAS: Hpruso Township
AREAS WHERE TOURISTS NEED PRIOR PERMISSION: Shadaw Township and all areas except those mentioned in the above two lists.
Kayin State is located in the southeastern part of the country and is mostly mountainous in nature. The topography is predominantly dominated by Dawna Range which runs from the north-west to south-east direction.
CAPITAL CITY: Hpa-an City
PERMITTED AREAS FOR TRAVEL: Hpa-an Township, Mya-wady Township (Su-kali Sub-Township and Wal-lae Sub-Township)
AREAS WHERE TOURISTS ARE PERMITTED ONLY IN DOWNTOWN AREAS: Kaw-ka-reik Township (Kyone-doe Sub-Township), Hlaingbwe Township (Pai-kyone Sub-Township and Shan-ywa-thit Sub-Township), Thandaunggyi Township (Leiktho Town and Bawgali Town)
AREAS WHERE TOURISTS NEED PRIOR PERMISSION: Kyain Seikgyi Township (Phayathonsu Town and Kyeikdon Town) and Hpa-pun Township (Kamamaung Town)
RESTRICTED AREAS: Papun, Hlaing bwe, Shanywathit, Sukali, Wawlaymyaing,Thantaunggyi, Kya-In-Seik-Gyi, Kawkareik
Kachin State in the northernmost state of Myanmar covering an area of 89,041 sq.km. The highest mountain of Myanmar Hkakabo Razi and the largest inland lake of Southeast Asia, Indawgyi Lake are located here.
CAPITAL CITY: MYITKINA
PERMITTED AREAS FOR TRAVEL: Bhamo Township, Shwegu Township, Mogaung Township, Mohnyin Township, Myit-kyi-na Township
AREAS WHERE TOURISTS ARE PERMITTED ONLY IN DOWNTOWN AREAS: Putao Township, Machanbaw Township, Mansi Township, Momauk Township, Waingmaw Township
AREAS WHERE TOURISTS NEED PRIOR PERMISSION: Naung-mon Township, Kawng-lan-hpu Township, Sumprabum Township, Hpakant Township, Tanai Township, Injangyang Township, Chipwi Township, Tsawlaw Township
RESTRICTED AREAS: Lweje, Dotphonyan, Sadone, Kanpeiktee, Panandin, Kamaing,Shinbwayyang, Panwar
Mon State lies between Kayin state in the east and the Andaman sea in the west and covers an area of 12,155 sq.km. Small islands such as Kalegauk, Wa Kyin and Kyungyi island are also included within the boundaries of this state.
CAPITAL CITY: Mawlamyine City
PERMITTED AREAS FOR TRAVEL: Bilin Township – Kalatha Hill near Taunggyi Village, Kyaukpi Phaya and Kyaukdaga Pagoda near Melan Village (Except these,other areas need to get permission), Thahton Township – Myathabeik Pagoda in Nankhe Quarter (Except these, other areas need to get permission), Thanbyuzayat Township – Wekali Natural Hot Spring , Panga Sarkween, Death Railway Museum, War Cemetry Museum, Kyaikkhami Yele Pagoda and Setse Beach (Except these, other areas need to get permission), Kyaikhto Township, Paung Township – Zinkyaik Town, Moattama Town, Mawlamyine Township, Chaungzon Township, Mudon Township and Kamawat Town.
AREAS WHERE TOURISTS ARE PERMITTED ONLY IN DOWNTOWN AREAS: Ye Township
AREAS WHERE TOURISTS NEED PRIOR PERMISSION: Kyaikmaraw Town
Rakhine State is located along the western coast of Myanmar and covers an area of 36,762 sq.km. The Arakan Mountains rising up to 3063 metres at Victoria Peak is the highest part of this state.
CAPITAL CITY: MRAUK U CITY
RESTRICTED AREAS: Taungpyoletwe, Palet-wa, Sittwe (15 IDP Camps), Ya-the-daung (4 IDP Camps), Pauk-taw (4 IDP Camps), Kyauktaw (1 IDP Camp), Myebon (1 IDP Camp), Kuaukpyu (1 IDP Camp), Rambywel (1 IDP Camp) Bu-thi-daung, Maung- daw
Shan State is one of the largest states of Myanmar covering an area of 155,800 sq.km which is almost a quarter of the land area of Myanmar. The state is home to the Shan people, a distinctive ethnic group of the country.
CAPITAL CITY: Taunggyi City
PERMITTED AREAS FOR TRAVEL: Taunggyi Township, Kalaw Township, Nyaungshwe Township, Hopong Township, His Hseng Township, Pinlaung Township, Phekon Township, Ywangan Township, Pindaya Township, Muse Township, Namhkam Township, Kutkhaing Township, Hopang Township – Panlong Town, Kyaingtong Township, Mong Khet Township, Mong Yang Township, Mong Ping Township, Tachileik Township, Mong Hpayak Township and Mong Yawng Township
AREAS WHERE TOURISTS ARE PERMITTED ONLY IN DOWNTOWN AREAS: Yatsawk Township, Loilen Township – Pinlon Town, Namhsan Township – Kholan Sub-Township, Kunhing Township – Ka-li Town, Lecha Township, Linke Township, Moenel Township, Lashio Township, Thein-ni Township, Tangyan Township, Konglong Township, Mineyal Township, Kyaukme Township, Hsipaw Township, Naungcho Township, Namtu Township, Nansang Township, Moemate Township, Mabein Township, Minesat Township, Minetong Township and Matmann Township
AREAS WHERE TOURISTS NEED PRIOR PERMISSION: Kyay-thee Township, Mai-kai Township, Mai-shu Township, Mai-pan Township, Mauk-mae Township, Manton Township, Lauk-kaing Township, Kone-kyan Township, Mong-la Township, Nar-phan Township, Pan-wine Township, Pan-sann (Pan-khan) Township and Mai-maw Township
RESTRICTED AREAS: Mong ngoc, Mong lon, Chin-shwe-haw. Hopang, Namtit, Panlon, Mawhteik, Muse, Namkhan, Kutkai, Mankan, Mong Khet, Mong Yang (Mong Pauk), Mong la, Mong Pyin(Tontar), Mong Hpauk, Mong Yawng(Mong Yu), Hsi Hseng, Loilen (Mong Pon)