The 20 best places to visit in Myanmar


To the south east of the former capital, Yangon, across the Gulf Of Martaban is the small town of Mudon. Slightly south of Mudon is the very small Latt Tett Village, home to the Khat Ya Khat Yu Pagoda​, sometimes known as the Great Sitting Buddha Of Mudon, or more simply as the Sitting Buddha Statue. One of the largest statues in Myanmar, it sits 55 metres (180 ft) tall.

20. Sitting Buddha Statue


To the north east of the capital, Naypyidaw, in the Shan State is the Inle Lake, the second largest lake in Myanmar. Surrounded by thick jungle and low lying mountains, Inle Lake has become a major tourist location thanks in part to its picturesque surroundings and traditional floating villages. Today with the addition of many new hotels, hostels and the opportunity for boat tours, Inle Lake is a stop off for most visitors.

19. Inle Lake


East of the city of Mandalay, close to the village of Anesakhan is the Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall, sometimes known as the Anisakan Falls. At the end of an hours hike through steep forested trails, visitors are met with a spectacular view of this huge waterfall, splashing 122 metres (400 ft) over the forested cliff edge into the pools below. One of the largest waterfalls in Myanmar, Anisakan Falls is certainly one of the countries most spectacular.

18. Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall


To the north east of the capital, Naypyidaw, close to the popular tourist attraction of Inle Lake is the Shwe Indein Pagoda, a hillside complex that contains over 1,500 Buddhist Stupas. Dating from around the 12th or 13th century, the stupas vary in size and height, some made from mud, some from stone, with some even decorated and gilded with precious metals. The sheer scale of the complex in a state of ruin being partially reclaimed by jungle makes for a very unusual sight.

17. Shwe Indein Pagoda


In 2002, north of the former capital, Yangon, building began on a brand new fully planned city, the new capital of Myanmar, Naypyidaw, sometimes spelled Naypyitaw, it means, 'Abode Of The King'. The cities large size, large scale buildings with an extremely small population makes the feel of the capital a rather unusual one. The new cities most prominent landmark is the Uppatasanti Pagoda, built in 2009 it measures 99 metres (325 ft) tall making it an almost exact scale replica of the famous Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.

Pictured is the Uppatasanti Pagoda.

16. Naypyidaw


Completed in 2015 to the south of the city of Mandalay is the Werawsana Pagoda, the only pagoda in the world made entirely from the semi precious gemstone, Jade. Standing at 75 metres (246 ft) high, adorned with over 30,000 jade Buddha statues, over 2,000 tons of quality jade stones were used in the pagodas construction.

15. Werawsana Jade Pagoda


In the extreme south of the country, off the western coast of the Malay Peninsula in the Andaman Sea is the Mergui Archipelago, a vast area that consists of more than 800 islands. Varying in size, the islands are characterized by rocky limestone and granite headlands, generally covered in thick tropical growth with shorelines of pristine beaches and offshore coral reefs. The areas virtual isolation for so long now makes it one of the most untouched and perfect paradise locations in the world.

14. Mergui Archipelago


In the extreme north of the country, straddling the borders between Myanmar, India and the Tibetan Region of China is a 3,810 square kilometre (1,472 square mile) area of protected land called the Khakaborazi National Park, encompassing an area of the Greater Himalayas. Named after the countries highest peak, Hkakabo Razi, standing at 5,881 metres (19,295 ft) above sea level, it is also the highest peak in South East Asia. Covered in rain forest at its lowest points, the entirely mountainous park with its high terrain is one of permanent snow and large glaciers, making for some of the most rugged and spectacular landscape in the region.

13. Khakaborazi National Park


To the south east of the former capital, Yangon, across the Gulf Of Martaban is the small town of Mudon. Slightly north of Mudon is the Win Sein Taw Ya, the largest reclining Buddha in the world. With its measurements coming in at a whopping 30 metres (99 ft) high, and 180 metres (590 ft) long, if it were to be standing it would be the tallest statue on the planet. Visitors are able to enter the structure to see a shrine, dioramas and literature that showcase the teachings of the Buddha.

12. Win Sein Taw Ya


East of the former capital, Yangon, across the Gulf Of Martaban in Karen State is a landscape of lush open fields and single giant limestone mountains. Within one of these mountains is the impressive Saddar Cave, sometimes known as the Saddan Cave. Though the cave is deep with long narrow walkways leading to large caverns of impressive stalactites and stalagmites, it's the large natural opening that impresses most. The chamber is filled with various sized statutes, gold painted designs on the walls, a large reclining Buddha and at its centre a large golden stupa. 

11. Saddar Cave


Built in 1952 to the west of the city of Mandalay is the impressive and incredibly decorative Thanboddhay Pagoda, constructed over the site of an earlier 14th century monastery it is today one of the most intricately decorated temples in the country. Along its base are a number of receding terraces that contain over eight hundred richly decorated smaller pagodas, along with statues of lions and mythical beasts, leading inwards towards the centrepiece, the 40 metre (131 ft) tall golden stupa. The pagoda is estimated to contain a staggering 580,000 images of the Buddha.


10. Thanboddhay Pagoda


East of the former capital, Yangon, across the Gulf Of Martaban to the south of the town of Hpa-An is the Kyauk Kalap Monastery, famous for the unique pagoda built into a limestone pinnacle in the middle of a man made lake. Meaning 'Water Garden', the tiny isle is dotted with monastic buildings, making a beautiful setting for this unique pagoda. Visitors are able to climb the staircase to the top of the pagoda for wonderful views over the surrounding mountainous landscape, able to see as far as Mount Zwegabin, considered one of the most sacred mountains in Myanmar. 

9. Kyauk Kalap


To the north east of the former capital, Yangon, is the well known Buddhist pilgrimage site of Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, sometimes referred to as the Golden Rock. Situated at the top of Mount Kyaiktiyo, the pagoda measures 7.3 metres (24 ft) high and sits upon a gold leaf covered granite boulder that hangs precariously on a cliff edge, seemingly defying gravity. Steeped in myth and legend, the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is the third most important Buddhist pilgrimage site after the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Mahamuni Pagoda. Sitting at an elevation of 1,100 metres (3,609 ft) above sea level the site offers fantastic views over the surrounding mountainous landscape.

8. Kyaiktiyo Pagoda


To the west of the city of Mandalay, in the village of Khatakan Taung is the former Burmese monastery of Maha Bodhi Ta Htuang, famous for its two giant Buddha statues known as the Monywa Buddhas or Lakyum Setkyar. Construction began on the Standing Buddha in 1995 and was completed thirteen years later in 2008. Set upon a 13.5 metre (44 ft) throne, the statue of the Guatama Buddha itself has a height of 116 metres (380 ft), making it the tallest statue in Myanmar, and the second tallest statue on Earth. Visitors are able to enter the statue, of which the 31 floors (referring to the 31 planes of existence) showcase murals and paintings, with each floor representing a realm of the life cycle.

At the feet of the Standing Buddha Statue is the Reclining Buddha Statue. Built in 1991 it measure 101 metres (333 ft) in length, making it another of Myanmar's largest Buddha representations. Visitors are also able to enter the Reclining Buddha, where the Great Chronicles Of Buddha are displayed.

7. Maha Bodhi Ta Htaung


North west of the capital, Naypyidaw, at the western end of Mount Popa National Park is the Taung Kalat, meaning Pedestal Hill, a sheer sided volcanic plug that rises 657 metres (2,156 ft) above sea level. Visitors can take the 777 steps, braving the monkeys that guard the stairway to visit the golden Buddhist monastery that sits atop the volcanic plug. From its peak visitors can enjoy a panoramic view over the ancient city of Bagan, and to the solitary conical peak of Mount Popa, said to rise like Mount Fuji in Japan.

6. Taung Kalat


At the southern end of the main bulk of the country is the previous capital city of Myanmar, Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon until 2006 when the military government relocated the capital to Naypyidaw. Still Myanmar's largest and most populated city, the centre of Yangon boasts a unique colonial-era urban core that remains remarkably intact, with the largest number of colonial-era buildings in South East Asia. Other landmarks of note include the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in the country, and the Sule Pagoda, reputed to be over 2,000 years old.

Click here for the Must See Places In Yangon...

5. Yangon


Founded in 1857 AD in the northern centre of the country directly north of the new capital, Naypyidaw, is the city of Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar and last royal capital of Burma. With incredible sights that include such wonders as the Mandalay Palace and many ancient pagodas, the city of Mandalay is fast becoming one of the biggest tourist hot spots in the country.

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4. Mandalay


To the north east of the former capital, Yangon, is the city of Bago, the capital of the Bago region​ and one of the oldest cities in Myanmar. With a slew of large Buddha statues, pagodas, and one of the finest palaces in the country, Bago is certainly one of Myanmar's most interesting cities.

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3. Bago

In the far west of the country, close to the extreme south eastern border of Bangladesh and the Bay Of Bengal is the important archaeological town of Mrauk U, between 1430 AD and 1785 AD it was the capital of the Mrauk U Kingdom, the most powerful and important region within the larger Rakhine Kingdom. Housing a rich collection of temples and pagodas, the site of Mrauk U is second only to the historical city of Bagan. The most noteworthy temples in the area are the Shite-thaung Temple (Temple Of Victory), Htukkanthein Temple (Htukkan Ordination Hall), the Koe-thaung Temple (Temple Of 90,000 Images) and the Five Mahn Pagodas.

2. Mrauk U


South west of the city of Mandalay, lying within the vast expanse of plains in Upper Myanmar are the remains of the ancient city of Bagan, the capital of the Pagan Kingdom between the 9th and 13th centuries. During the kingdoms height, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were built in this small area alone. Located in an active earthquake zone that has seen more than 500 earthquakes in the 20th century, many of the structures have been destroyed, and as of 2017 only 2,229 temples and pagodas remain. Standing out for the sheer number of religious buildings, the magnificent grand architecture of the temples has left many considering Bagan one of the finest historical locations in South East Asia.

1. Bagan

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