Ancient temples, archaeological ruins and floating gardens are just the beginning of what you will find in Burma (Myanmar) – a beautiful and enigmatic destination in Southeast Asia. From the modern capital of Yangon to the idyllic waterfront villages on Lake Inle, Burma is rich in cultural diversity and timeless traditions. If you are planning a trip to Burma (why not have a look at Bales Worldwide), then make sure you visit these 5 must-see highlights…
1. Markets of Yangon
The markets of Yangon’s old Chinese and colonial quarters are legendary – you can spend the morning haggling and bartering for just about anything. This is the place to find the perfect souvenir to bring back home – just don’t get lost in the old quarter’s warren-like maze of streets.
2. Sule Pagoda and Shwedagon Pagoda
Burma is world famous for it ancient temples and pagodas. In fact, it is said to have the best temple architecture in all of Asia. Spend an afternoon exploring the Sule Pagoda and the Shwedagon Pagoda. The Sule Pagoda is said to date back over 2,000 years, and the Shwedagon is believed to contain more gold than the banks of England, but you will have to find out whether this is fact or fiction..!
3. The Ancient Cities of Amarapura and Inwa
In Amarapura, one of the ancient cities of Burma, you can take a scenic stroll across the 1.2 km long U Bein Bridge (the longest teak bridge in the world!), and visit traditional silk and cotton weaving workshops. You can also visit the huge Mahaghandayon Monastery (with over 2000 monks) which is one of the most important monasteries in the country. Inwa is another of Burma’s important ancient cities, with a long history of successive Burmese kingdoms from the 14th to 19th centuries. The city was sacked and rebuilt several times, until it was finally abandoned in 1839 after a series of earthquakes. To get to Inwa you take a short boat trip across the river where you’ll be met by a number of horse carts ready to take you on a tour of the area.
4. Irrawaddy River
Perhaps the most pleasurable way to see Myanmar, feel its pulse and understand its history, is to take a cruise on the Irrawaddy River with Bales. While slowly floating down the river, you will have a chance to see a more traditional and idyllic side of Burma, passing rustic villages and lush landscapes which make you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time.
Bagan is Burma’s archeological paradise and is said to have over 2,000 pagodas – from the well-preserved Ananda Temple to the masterful brickwork of the Dhammayan-gyi, this is a magical and fascinating place to visit. Bagan is also known for its handicrafts and traditional lacquer ware, so no trip to Bagan is complete without a stopping at the Nyaung U market to pick up some more exotic souvenirs before heading home.
Have you been to Burma? What was the highlight of your trip?
(photo credits: 1)