Choosing the top 10 things to do on a trip to Myanmar was a nightmare. Why? Because there’s so much to do and see in Myanmar, how do you choose! From visiting the 2500 year old Shwedagon Pagoda to exploring the ancient city of Inwa or meeting the full-face tattooed tribal women of Mindat. I did eventually manage to narrow down all the cool things that you must experience on your visit to this wonderful country. Here’s the final pick of the top 10 cool things to do on a trip to Myanmar.
Some very cool things to do on a trip to Myanmar include…
No visit to Myanmar is complete without seeing the 2500 year old Shwedagon Pagoda. No matter where you are in Myanmar, you won’t miss the shimmer of the Shwedagon Pagoda that gleams ninety-nine meters high. This is the most sacred pilgrimage site for Buddhists in Myanmar and is believed to contain relics of the four previous Buddhas of the present kalpa. The top of the Shwedagon Pagoda is made up of several diamonds which rest on the gold body.
Inwa is an ancient city near Mandalay, in central Myanmar. From the 14th to the 19th century Inwa was Myanmar’s capital city and it has religious ruins still scattered all around from this time. Worth seeing in Inwa is the Bagaya Kyaung which is a 19th century working monastery made of teak.
Yangon’s Night Market
Night markets serve a vital role in Myanmar’s society so experience them in person for genuine interactions with the local people. There’s something exhilarating about the night markets in Myanmar particularly the night bazaar that runs along Strand Road between 37th and Wa Dan Streets. This is the city’s first market regulated by the government and the perfect place to indulge in an all-you-can-eat street food buffet. Yangon’s night market is open from approximately 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
In western Shan State, you will find the picturesque Inle Lake. You must take time to stop off Inle lake on your way to Bagan. 22 km long and 10 km wide, the lake sits in a valley between two mountain ranges. Explore the villages and towns across the lake and see the wooden houses that are built on stilts. Inle Lake is famous for its floating villages and gardens and the unique way of life of the local Intha people, with their communities living on the water.
This pagoda, also known as the Yadana Labamuni Hsu-taungpye Paya was founded in 1974 by a Buddhist monk and is located near Mandalay. It’s famous for its large pythons that live coiled around the Buddha statue. Visit the Snake Pagoda in Myanmar to learn about the story that made the monks and people of Myanmar believe that these snakes are holy. It is also believed that the monks who looked after the Pagoda have come back in the form of the snakes.
Myanmar will take care of your thirst in the best way possible with its many vineyards. A trip to the Aythaya winery, the 1st vineyard of Myanmar, will be worth it as you explore the delicious wines, tour the wine making process and experience wine lessons at the regular tasting events.
The Saddar Cave
Saddar is a must-see cave in Hpa An. It’s about 20 km from Hpa An center and the best way to get there is by taxi. The Saddar caves contain different Buddhist statues and Stupas. As you go deeper into the caves expect to hear the shrieks of nocturnal bats flying all around you.
Bagan Temple Hopping
Discover thousands of temples featuring incredible art and architecture all over Bagan. Between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were built in the Bagan plains. Over 2,200 temples and pagodas are still standing today and most can be explored on foot. Tourists from all over the world come to get a glimpse of the temples (and the sunrise) from hot air balloons.
Win Sein Taw Ya
Win Sein Taw Ya is the largest reclining Buddha in the world at 30 meters high and 180 meters long. This reclining Buddha is filled with rooms that showcase dioramas of the teachings of Buddha. Visiting the giant Buddha involves walking into a giant head but don’t get too excited, it is still a place of worship and you’ll need to take your shoes off! After almost 15 years of construction, the reclining Buddha is still not complete.
Shop Myanmar Markets
To get the real feel of a place you need to visit the local markets. Myanmar has lots of really lively, captivating markets that you must take time to wander around. Visit the Thiri Mingalar Market that lies in the outskirts of Myanmar’s capital city. It’s one of the largest markets that you will come across. Enjoy the hustle and bustle and buy some of their fresh, local produce to take home for your dinner. Some of the best flea and street markets in Myanmar include Bogyoke Aung San Market in Yangon. Jade market in Mandalay (where you can buy, you guessed it, Jade) and Zegyo Market also in Mandalay.
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There is so much more to see and experience in this amazing country. Plan ahead so that you can take your time exploring and be prepared to be flexible because sometimes travelers you meet along the way will have the best suggestions for undiscovered gems and awesome things to to do.
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