A land that not long ago, was shrouded in mystery, Myanmar, also known as Burma is the Golden Land. Its golden temples, warm smiles, humble folk, and majestic yet quaint landscapes attract visitors from all over the world. Myanmar is a country that stands out in Southeast Asia, a holy land that leaves an impression on anyone who travels its borders. Here at Buffalo Tours we always have a heart for adventure and a passion for travel, so here are Myanmar’s top 10 attractions!
With all the hustle and bustle of travelling, its always handy to know of a near by beach. Located on the Bay of Bengal, Ngapali beach is a real refuge of relaxation. These peaceful, pristine beaches are fringed with palm trees and laid back smiling locals. Despite being so idyllic, it has yet to be swarmed by hoards of people, retaining the sleepy fishing village feeling and ease of local life. This beach getaway is a major attraction that can be added on the end of any multi-day journey in Myanmar.
The bustling former capital of Burma, Yangon is the largest city in the country. Despite the chaos, its charms are boundless. With friendly locals, newspaper stalls, accessible cabs and stunning parks and temples. Exploring Yangon is an invigorating experience, whether exploring the local rural life across the river in Dala, or riding the circle train around the city chatting with locals. Yangon offers a lot to travellers, but its biggest attraction is easily the impressive Shwedagon Pagoda. Said to be standing for over two and a half millennia, this golden temple is based in solid gold and its tip contains thousands of precious stones. As Shwedagon sits 99 meters high on a hilltop, it can be seen anywhere in Yangon and by night it’s golden hue lights up the city. Its considered to be the oldest Buddhist sight in the world and an important place of pilgrimage accommodating hundreds of devotees per year.
Perched on a mountainside, overlooking Kyaikhto town lies a boulder covered with golden leaf. Seemingly balanced on the side of the mountain, Golden Rock, also known as Kyaiktio Pagoda, is a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site. Situated over a thousand meters above sea level, a small pagoda is delicately placed atop the gravity-defying boulder that has been painted gold over centuries by devotees. Unfortunately, only men are allowed to come closer to Golden Rock, women are not allowed to touch it.
The capital of the once mighty kingdom of Pagan, this sacred and historical area is unlike any temple complex in the world. Vast plains dotted with thousands of 12th to 14th century temples, stupas and pagodas, its a marvel for visitors to behold. It has impressed the likes of Marco Polo, whose visit to the region is memorialized on the murals inside the monastery of Ananda temple. This location can only be explored on a bicycle, e-bike or horse-drawn carriage, but within moments its easy to see why. This vast sight can keep visitors mesmerized for days with impressive views from sunrise to sunset and is easily one of Myanmar’s finest attractions. It’s even possible to soar above the temples in a hot-air balloon at sunset!
The mighty Irrawaddy River spans through central Myanmar and spills out to the Bay of Bengal in Yangon, but many set sail from Bagan to Mandalay on a peaceful journey. The humble countryside and general ease of riverside life, make it a restful journey through some rural corners of the country. Here one can float adrift, observing the way the country remains almost untouched by the modern world. This will surely change, but the peaceful tone and lovely untouched landscape make it a must.
Just outside of Mandalay, the last royal capital, lies one of the ancient villages of Inwa. This area is home to a few old imperial capitals but the beautiful village of Inwa houses the beautiful teak monastery Bagaya Kyaung. Supported by 267 immense teak posts, it gives the impression of being an ancient site, despite having been constructed 200 years ago. Exploring its cool spacious interior is a great way to beat the heat and see the heartbeat of local life, as much remains unchanged. Novices are still trained, so keep an eye out for the cranberry cloaked monks.
Over two centuries ago, a teak bridge was constructed across Taungthaman Lake, stretching over a kilometer! Known as Ubein bridge, its considered the longest wooden teak bridge in the world and it connects two villages outside of Mandalay. Taking a stroll across at sunset or even sitting at its ridge, offers breathtaking views, and a flare of local living. Monks, villagers, cyclists and traveller scamper across, and its easy to see why this is one of the most simple yet iconic settings in Myanmar.
Southwest of Mandalay lies the colourful Sagaing Hill, a hilltop covered in hundreds of small temples and important religious site. Set along the Irrawaddy River, its sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding country are charming, as is the multitude of colours in its unique architecture. An easy day trip, its worth the time to explore the area, pagodas and neighbouring caves.
The old colonial station of Kalaw lies in the mountains of the Shan region. This area isn’t littered with must-see temples or major sights but is home to beautiful trekking routes that are accessible to all. Not only does it offer unparalleled views of life in the isolated countryside, whose muddy roads, hidden rice paddy fields and mountains welcome explorers weary feet, but it also illustrates the diversity of the people of Myanmar. With over a hundred ethnic groups, this nation is home to many languages and ways of life. Kalaw can offer an excellent gat
eway to discover this side of Burma as well as provide a route to the beautiful Inle Lake.
Located in the Shan highlands, Inle Lake is jaw-dropping. An immense freshwater lake, surrounded by mountain peaks, it’s no surprise this is a major attraction of Myanmar. Home to many floating villages, ethnic communities, artisanal shops and even a vineyard, this incredible destination has something for everyone. The Intha people who live in the area tend to row visitors around the lake, paddling across the mighty waters with a single leg! The floating houses are surrounded by water gardens, agriculture and colourful floating stupas. Inle Lake demonstrates the majestic natural beauty of Myanmar, and its diverse and kind people like no other attraction.