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10 Best Things to Do in Myanmar

A mysterious destination to most, Myanmar is an exciting country that boasts unique landscapes and a vibrant culture. Emerging from its ancient times, Myanmar boasts a plethora of stunning sights for visitors to explore. With picturesque white sand beaches and postcard-worthy sunsets, coupled with some of the warmest locals in the world, visitors are often enchanted with the authentic customs and traditions of the people of Myanmar. From adventurous hot air balloon rides over ancient Bagan pagodas to boat trips floating across the glassy waters of Inle Lake and hiking through mythical caves, these are some of the top things to do in Myanmar.

Soar in a Hot Air Balloon Over Bagan Bagan, Myanmar
Credit: Bagan, Myanmar by bigstock.com

Soar in a Hot Air Balloon Over Bagan

What Is It? Covering an expansive area of 26 square miles, the breathtaking archaeological site of the ancient city of Bagan allows visitors to travel back in time. 

Why Do It? Soak in the sublime beauty of this ancient kingdom dotted with the remains of some 2,000 temples and pagodas that date back to the 11th century. 

Good to Know: There is no better way to capture this once-in-a-lifetime experience than from a hot air balloon, soaring across the majestic landscape at sunrise or sunset, and soaking in the unbeatable views that surround the unique architectural gems.

Admire the Golden Glow of Shwedagon Pagoda Shwedagon Pagoda
Credit: Shwedagon Pagoda by bigstock.com

Admire the Golden Glow of Shwedagon Pagoda

What Is It? Considered the most sacred religious shrine in Myanmar and one of the most famous in the world, the Shwedagon Pagoda is also stunning. 

Why Do It? Located in Yangon situated atop a hill, this spectacular Buddhist monument is an oasis of tranquility with a golden steeple rising high above the city’s skyline. Here visitors can explore Buddhist relics, including a strand of hair and a piece of robe, and walk the halls where numerous dignitaries have passed through its 6th and 10th-century grounds. 

Good to Know: A highlight of the pagoda is the stupa that is encrusted with more than 4,500 diamonds and one flawless diamond that is 72 carats.

Stroll the Sandy Ngapali Beach Ngapali Beach, Myanmar
Credit: Ngapali Beach, Myanmar by © Quang Bui Duc | Dreamstime.com

Stroll the Sandy Ngapali Beach

What Is It? A 4 mile stretch of white sand beaches lined with towering coconut palms, Ngapali is considered the premier beach spot in Myanmar. 

Why Do It? Said to be named after the Italian city of Naples, the area boasts turquoise waters and picturesque thatched huts. A tropical getaway destination, it is ideal for leisurely water activities such as snorkeling, diving, and kayaking.

Good to Know: Also a fantastic destination for those looking to unwind, here visitors are able to watch local fishermen show off their day’s catch, dine on freshly caught seafood, or soak in the pristine views of a sunset from their oceanfront resort.

Observe Local Fishermen at Inle Lake Inle Lake
Credit: Inle Lake by bigstock.com

Observe Local Fishermen at Inle Lake

What Is It? Attracting photographers from around the world for its stunning natural beauty, Inle Lake is a top destination in Myanmar. 

Why Do It? The second largest lake in the country, it is surrounded by 507 villages and one of the best places to see the famous bamboo stilt houses, floating villages, and colorful daily floating market. A real highlight of the area, visitors come to watch the incredibly talented leg rowers of the Inthas, the native lake-dwellers practice their traditional art of catching fish. 

Good to Know: Their unique way of controlling their fishing boat and how they effortlessly paddle the waters is a fascinating sight for all ages.

Catch a Sunset at U Bein Bridge U Bein Bridge
Credit: U Bein Bridge by bigstock.com

Catch a Sunset at U Bein Bridge

What Is It? The world’s largest teak bridge, the U Bein is a narrow 1-mile bridge that dates back to 1784. 

Why Do It? One of Myanmar’s most photographed spots, this wooden wonder provides a perfect silhouette at sunset or sunrise where visitors can catch glimpses of local farmers, fishermen, monks, and nuns as they cross this ancient landmark. 

Good to Know: Cross the bridge on foot or rent a boat and soak in a panoramic view of locals commuting back and forth.

See the World's Largest Book at Kuthodaw Pagoda Kuthodaw Pagoda
Credit: Kuthodaw Pagoda by bigstock.com

See the World's Largest Book at Kuthodaw Pagoda

What Is It? Located in Mandalay, the Kuthodaw pagoda is an awe-inspiring sight to see with hundreds of gorgeous shrines. 

Why Do It? Named after the 729 marble slabs housed in shrines and inscribed with Buddhist teachings, here visitors can explore the site of the “world’s largest book”. The entrance of the pagoda’s gate is a magnificent piece of artwork with the sculpting of deities from mythology, with murals from the second half of the 19th century adorning its walls. 

Good to Know: In addition to the expansive grounds offering stunning views of the Mandalay Hill, this solid gold spectacle is worth a visit.

Explore the Pindaya Cave Pindaya Cave
Credit: Pindaya Cave by bigstock.com

Explore the Pindaya Cave

What Is It? Boasting more than 8,000 images of Buddha from a variety of different time periods, the Pindaya cave is a unique attraction. 

Why Do It? With an overwhelming amount of Buddha figures covering the walls, corners, and ceilings of the cave, many visitors walk through the area slowly and silently to soak in the unique views of this stunning labyrinth. 

Good to Know: An important pilgrimage site for Burmese Buddhists, the cave is situated on a limestone hill near Inle Lake.

Climb to the summit of Taung Kalat Taung Kalat
Credit: Taung Kalat by bigstock.com

Climb to the summit of Taung Kalat

What Is It? Located 30 miles from the ancient city of Bagan, Taung Kalat is a Buddhist monastery perched dramatically on top of the towering, but extinct, Mount Propane. 

Why Do It? Resembling a giant rock castle, this monastery is one of the most sacred places in Myanmar. 

Good to Know: Visitors can climb the 777 steps to the top to explore a picturesque complex of stupas and shrines, and of course, soak in the breathtaking panoramic views from above.

See the Golden Rock at Kyaiktiyo Pagoda Kyaiktiyo Pagoda
Credit: Kyaiktiyo Pagoda by bigstock.com

See the Golden Rock at Kyaiktiyo Pagoda

What Is It? Known as the Golden Rock Pagoda, Kyaiktiyo boasts a gravity-defying boulder with a touch of golden splendor. 

Why Do It? Serving as a centerpiece of the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, visitors can gaze at this surreal shimmering rock that sits 3,615 feet above sea level. Legend says that it stays afoot because it is perched on a strand of Buddha’s hair, making it one of the most important Buddhist sites in Myanmar. 

Good to Know: Built more than an incredible 2,500 years ago, it is best to see Kyaiktiyo at sunset.

Watch a Cultural Show at Karaweik Palace Karaweik Palace
Credit: Karaweik Palace by bigstock.com

Watch a Cultural Show at Karaweik Palace

What Is It? One of Yangon’s many iconic landmarks, the Karaweik Palace looks like a massive golden barge glittering in the sunshine from afar. 

Why Do It? A golden stupa with magical reflections in the waters of Lake Kandawgyi, the complex boasts a variety of reception halls, conference rooms, buffet restaurants, and theaters. 

Good to Know: Visitors come to dine on regional cuisine while being entertained by traditional Burmese performers, including a puppet show, elephant dance, and traditional dancing.

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