Myanmar or also known as Burma is one of the most magical and undiscovered countries in the world: a golden land that is steeped in fascinating history and traditions. Myanmar continues to open up to the outside world, more visitors are coming to this fascinating country. Here is a list of must-do things to do in Myanmar that will help you plan a trip to Myanmar.
#1 – Admire Sunrise and Sunset in Bagan temples
Bagan sunrises and sunset are truly breathtaking and, watching the sun light up the Bagan temple plain, is an iconic Myanmar moment. The temples stretch as far as the eye can see, a morning mist rises over the plain, a rainbow coloured sky emerges through the darkness and hot air balloons drift over the horizon.
#2 – Mount Popa
Mount Popa is a myanmar postcard sight. This is an extinct volcano on the slopes of which can be found the sacred Popa Taungkalat monastery with stupas glistening gold. . The monastery is entirely surrounded by sheer cliff faces and offers stunning views of the surrounding plains and Mount Popa itself.
777 steps lead the way to the top of Mount Popa, the headquarters of Myanmar’s most powerful Nats, and the route is lined with monkeys keen to get up to mischief with the tourists in their search for food! Mount Popa is a popular half day trip from Bagan, where you will find a 360 degree panorama and a labyrinth of shrines to explore.
#3 Take a ride on one of the slender long tail wooden boats on Inle Lake
Inle Lake is one of the most stunning lakes in the world and the stilt houses and Buddhist temples rising from the marshy reeds only add to its appeal. The best way to experience Inle Lake is to take a ride on one of the slender long tail wooden boats and experiencing the silence and emptiness of the lake is an absolute privilege as is watching local village life while floating by. Inle Lake can certainly hold its own on the sunset front: the beautiful colours of the Myanmar sunset reflect from the glass like lake making for a picture perfect setting.
#4 Get lost among the thousands of Stupas at Kakku, Inle Lake
One of Myanmar’s most spectacular pagodas, Kakku is a Shan State hidden gem. It is a collection of 2,478 stupas commissioned 2,000 years ago and it is a religious centre for the Pa’O people, a Buddhist tribe from Myanmar. It’s accessible by a half day trip from Inle Lake and, due to local laws, it is required to take the trip with a local guide.
Hundreds of red, white and brown stupas stand in varying states of disrepair on a hill in Indein, a Myanmar village located at the end of a narrow creek directly off Inle Lake. The journey to Indein is a joy: the twists and turns of the creek took us past farmers, accompanied by water buffalo, tilling the rice paddies and families bathing along the banks.
#5 – Shwedagon Pagoda
Shwedagon Pagoda is a real treat at any time of the day but there’s something special about the quiet calm of visiting after dark. The pagoda is the most sacred Buddhist Pagoda in Myanmar as it is believed to contain the relics of four previous Buddhas and, at night it’s filled mostly with worshipers. The golden beauty of the Pagoda is breathtaking after darkness falls.
#6 – Mandalay
Once part of the Roayl Palace, the Golden Palace Monastery near Mandalay Hill is adorned with spectacular teak carvings of Buddhist myths. It’s completely different from any of the other religious sights in Myanmar and an absolute highlight of Mandalay.
The Mahamuni Pagoda is one of the most significant Buddhist pilgrim sites in Myanmar and houses the Mahamuni Buddha image which is the most highly revered Buddha image in the country. Only men are permitted to enter the inner chamber and place a gold leaf on the Buddha while women watch on.