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.