Northern and Central Myanmar – The Golden Land Beckons
Myanmar is a vast country offering immense natural wealth that is almost impossible to
completely explore in just one trip. There are so many things to do, see, eat and understand
that it is easy to get a little lost while making a travel plan.
In this article, we have listed the highlights that you should consider while planning a trip to
central and north Myanmar.
#1 The picturesque sunrise at Bagan
You must have seen a lot of sunrises in your life. But this experience will be completely
different. Head to the Nanmyint Tower to see the golden sunrise behind hundreds of
temples jutting out of the thick canopy of trees. You can take a hot air balloon ride for added
excitement. However, if you are travelling on a budget, the view from the tower will be in no
way less exciting.
# 2 Temple tour of Bagan
Bagan is an archaeological wonder with almost 2,000 temples of varying sizes that have
been a matter of tourists’ curiosity for ages. Take a day and explore some of the most
important temples of Bagan – Ananda temple, Dhamayangi temple, Sulamani temple, and
# 3 The view while climbing Mount Popa
Mount Popa is an extinct volcano located about 50km from Bagan. While the volcano itself is
good enough for a visit, you can climb the 777 steps leading to the Popa Taungkalat
Monastery. Let the number 777 not dampen your spirit. The view on the way will be worth
# 4 Cruising on the Ayeyarwady River
For the best experience of Myanmar, we strongly suggest taking a river cruise from
Mandalay to Bagan or vice-versa. There are daily cruises available. You will pass through
rural villages, see the life of the local people and be able to watch local fishermen go about
their daily life. The added bonus will be the gorgeous sunset on the horizon.
# 5 Mahamuni Buddist Temple at Mandalay
If anybody asks what is that one thing that you have to see when you are in Mandalay, it is
this 13-foot tall Buddha sculpture covered with gold leaves. The Mahamuni Museum is also
located inside the temple where you can learn about Buddha’s life.
# 6 Climb Mandalay Hill
Climbing this hill and exploring the breathtaking panoramic view is a must-do while at
Mandalay. The hill itself is dotted with temples and pagodas, which you can explore. The
visit will be an exciting one and worth all the sweat!
# 7 Walk on the U-bein bridge
If you plan to visit Mandalay, head to Amrapura and take a walk on the world’s longest
wooden bridge: U Bein bridge. The bridge stretches over 1km across the Taungthaman Lake
and provides some of the best photo opportunities. Instagram here you come!
# 8 Take a train ride over Gokteik Viaduct
While at Mandalay, purchase a ticket to travel to Lashio by train. The journey will take you
through the scenic Gokteik Viaduct, a bridge built in 1901 over a stunning gorge. A
fascinating journey indeed.
# 9 Relax at Pyin Oo Lwin
Get respite from the generally hot climate of the country when you visit Pyin Oo Lwin, a
colonial hill station near Mandalay. The town is beautiful and quiet and will be an ideal place
to relax and unwind.
# 10 The array of activities at Inle Lake
Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar and presents exquisite beauty that cannot be
missed. There are a lot of things to do at Inle Lake such as exploring villages, taking a boat
ride on the lake, enjoying the floating gardens, interacting with the locals, staying at Inle Stilt
Houses and seeing Burmese cats, an endangered species and gorging on the delicious food.
# 11 Thousands of stupas at Kakku Pagodas
Be in awe of the 2500 stupas spread on the hills near the Inle Lake – it is a completely
different world out there. The stupa of Kakku Pagodas are believed to have been created
more than 2,000 years ago and most are well-preserved.
# 12 Exploring the diverse ecosystem of Inndawgyi Lake
If you like to take the less travelled path, you should visit the Inndawgyi Lake, which has
been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The pristine and quiet lake will take you
away from the crowd and into the lap of nature.
# 13 The origin of Ayeyarwady river at Myitsone
Myitsone is a scenic place with unparalleled beauty. The Mayhka and the Malikha rivers
meet near Myitsone to create the Ayeyarwady river, the lifeline of Myanmar – a view which
will surely leave you awestruck.
# 14 View of the snowcapped peaks from Putao
Putao is the capital of the northernmost state of Myanmar: Kachin. The town is surrounded
by snowcapped mountains on all sides. Putao is not a frequently visited town by tourists. It
creates the perfect setting for a few days of relaxation amidst cool temperatures.
# 15 Trekking at Kalaw
The beautiful hills on eastern Myanmar provide a picturesque setting for some physical
activities. Keeping the quaint town of Kalaw as your base, you can follow the trekking trails
to see some of the most amazing hilly landscape scenes the country has to offer.
# 16 The quaint town of Hsipaw
If exploring and trekking is more your thing, another place to head out to apart from Kalaw is
Hsipaw in eastern Myanmar. You can walk through the mystical forests and enjoy the scenic
beauty. You will also get the opportunity to explore the cultural aspects of the town, which
is quite unique in itself.
# 17 Understand Buddhism at Pindaya Lake
A place where you can get an in-depth understanding of Buddhism is Pindaya, a destination
in Shan State in eastern Myanmar. There are hundreds of statues and images in hues of gold
and brass with glittering effect placed inside caves. There is also a picturesque lake beside
the caves, which is popular among visitors.
These are only a few of the multiple things you can do while travelling to central and
northern Myanmar. The local people of Myanmar are a friendly lot and they will love for you
to experience this beautiful country they call home.