Myanmar is country rich in history, culture and tradition. It’s midway between undergoing urbanization so that when you visit, you see an incredible mix of modern and old. Pagodas seem scattered across the landscape and nowhere is this more apparent than in Bagan. They even grace balancing rocks and the center of cities. But, while pagodas are some of the biggest attractions here, the country also boasts stunning natural landscapes and tourist-friendly beaches. Check out our list of places to visit in Myanmar for a look at what this land in Southeast Asia has to offer.
10 Best Places To Visit In Myanmar In 2019
Check out the perfect list of places to visit in Myanmar while you are on your trip. Keep scrolling down and read along!
1. Sule Pagoda
Downtown Yangon is the home of the Sule Pagoda, a place of peace and meditation in the middle of the busy city. It’s believed to be more than 2,000 years old. It figures high on the list of Myanmar destinations especially among devotees because it houses a hair relic of Buddha.
The Sule Pagoda is often overlooked by tourists but it should figure in your Myanmar travels because it’s one of the only points of interest in this part of Yangon.
Ideal for: History
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2. Mount Popa
If you’re in Mandalay, make it a point to visit Mount Popa. It’s one of the best Myanmar points of interest especially if you love to hike. The extinct volcano is not just magnificent to look at in itself but it’s topped by the Popa Taungkalat Monastery that’s perched on an outcrop. 777 steps will take you all the way to the top and reward you with panoramic views of the plains.
Idea for: Hiking
3. Chauk-htat-gyi Buddha Temple
Myanmar is known for its Buddhist temples and the Chauk-htat-gyi Buddha Temple is one of them. It houses a huge 65-meter reclining Buddha. This is one of the best places to visit in Myanmar especially if you’re on a tour of the country’s temples. Even if you’ve seen many reclining Buddhas, the relaxed pose and peaceful expression of this image are extremely calming.
Ideal for: History and culture
4. Shwedagon Pagoda
No Myanmar sightseeing is complete without a visit to the fabulous gilded Shwedagon Pagoda. It’s considered to be one of the most sacred pagodas in Myanmar. Over 2,000 years old, with hundreds of gold plates and more than 4,500 diamonds encrusting the top of the stupa, it’s an architectural wonder that will take your breath away. If there’s only one pagoda you can visit during your travel and tour in Myanmar, this is it!
Ideal for: History and culture
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The ancient city of Bagan is perhaps one of the most interesting places in Myanmar. Over 2,000 Buddhist monuments dot the Bagan Archeological Zone that’s spread across 26 square miles. The best way to take in the entirety of this breathtaking city is to hop into a hot air balloon and fly over it. The rides take place in the wee hours of the morning. Carry a good camera so you can take photos of the monuments from above.
Ideal for: History and hot air ballooning
6. Inle Lake
Next on our list of what to see in Myanmar is Inle Lake, which is the second largest in the country and occupies one of the highest elevations. It’s located in Shan and is home to numerous endemic species of snails and fish. Unfortunately, their numbers have dwindled but that should not be a deterrent. Stilt houses pepper the waterway and the only way to see them is by boat. As you head towards the village of In Dein, you’ll be greeted by two groups of old pagodas, the Shwe Indein pagodas and Nyaung Ohak pagodas. Some are in ruins while others have been restored.
Ideal for: History and boating
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7. Ngwe Saung
Myanmar beaches aren’t exactly the first places you think of going to when visiting the country. But these little known gems are incredibly picturesque and have all the hallmarks of great beaches. Palm trees, blue seas and pale sands offer the perfect place to spend lazy days soaking in the sun. Ngwe Saug or Silver Beach is one of the most popular. There are scuba diving and snorkeling facilities too if you want to explore the water. Cafes and restaurants nearby serve up dish after dish of lip-smacking seafood and snacks.
Beaches in Myanmar are best visited during December-April when spring lends itself to deliciously warm weather. You can also catch the Water Festival (Thingyan) in April where everyone comes out to celebrate.
Ideal for: Leisure
8. Kyaiktiyo Pagoda
It may be small but Kyaiktiyo Pagoda or Golden Rock in Mon State is one of the most striking pagodas because of its location. It’s perched on a boulder that’s covered with gold leaves. The boulder itself seems to defy gravity as it perfectly balances itself on another rock atop Mt. Kyaiktiyo. It’s believed that the boulder remains in its unusual position by virtue of the hair relic enshrined in the pagoda. And, legend has it that the boulder is supported by a strand of hair from Buddha. Whatever the reason, the unusual and dramatic attraction makes it one of the most sought-after Myanmar places to visit. You can get to the pagoda by bus but if you want to get up close with nature, you can hike the 16-kilometer trail. As tiring as it can be, you won’t be alone as pilgrims often choose to walk to the top.
Ideal for: History and leisure
9. Kakku Pagodas
A visit to Kakku Pagodas, believed to date back over 2,000 years, makes you feel like you’ve stepped into another world, one that’s filled with stupas and little else. Almost 2,500 of them dot the hills near Inle Lake. Some of them have fallen into ruin but many are well-preserved. You can also see a few restored stupas.
Ideal for: History and leisure
10. Mahamuni Buddha Temple
Our list of where to go in Myanmar ends with the Mahamuni Buddhist Temple, an important pilgrimage site that houses one of the most revered Buddha images, a 13-foot tall sculpture. It’s covered in gold leaves so much so that parts of the sculpture appear distorted. The temple complex is also home to the Mahamuni Museum that educates visitors on Buddha’s life. There are also shops selling offerings in case you come without.
Ideal for: Culture
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If visiting Myanmar is solely to calm your adventurer inside, Kalaw is the place you need to be in. This place was one of the least explored places around in Myanmar but has gradually crept its way through the tourist scene because of its amazing trekking trails and beautiful picturesque destinations. The eastern mountains of the country are what is currently taking up on the overall seam of every trekker’s dream around in Myanmar. It is located atop the beautiful and majestic stature of the Shan Hills which was initially considered a mountain town under the British rule back in the initial days. Owing to the altitude it was located in, it was considered as an amazing spot to beat the scorching Myanmar heat. It is packed with resorts and hotels alongside an amazing food market and the best part is that you can hike all the way through without any kind of permit whatsoever.
Ideal For: Trekking and relaxing
Mandalay is one of those towns in Myanmar that is known around the world for its rich culture and heritage owing to the contributions made by some of the dynasties that existed back then. The place highlights the doings of the mighty Shwenandaw Monastery and all in all is considered around for its plethora of not just prose but poetry pieces too. This temple has been considered to be one of the most important influencing factors when it comes to the rich history and literature of the place around. This is the second largest town in Myanmar and is best for pilgrimage and people who love visiting temples and amazing picturesque destinations around. Maha Myat Muni, otherwise known as the Royal Palace is also one of the most visited sites of pilgrimage around.
Ideal For: Pilgrimage
Yet another of the must visits around in Myanmar is Ngapali. This is possibly the most popular sand stretch around in Myanmar and does make up for one of the most popular relaxing spots in the entirety of Myanmar. The combination of the yellow-white sand is what makes it one of the most beautiful spots that you can sit and tan yourself and let loose of the thoughts that do intrigue you. It is located around the Bay of Bengal, the vibrant hues of the blue of the waves adding to the beauty of the place even further. The salt washed boats often come ashore, in and out of the bay, making it one of the most amazing spots to enjoy the freshly caught seafood in. Apart from the relaxing experience, you can also sign up with a tour organizer around the place and get into some of the most popular water sports like scuba diving, jet skiing, sea kayaking and the whole lot.
Ideal For: Relaxing on the seaside, Watersports
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Myanmar is known vividly around for their religious beliefs and Pindaya is one of the off the beaten track sites that you will possibly come across. Even this is located in the rise of the majestic Shan Hills, predominantly in the eastern Myelat region and does make up for one of the sites infiltrated by the tourists. It is predominantly known around to provide a glimpse into the Buddhist histories in the nation. The entire landmark has completely formed from a series of deep caves and alone is home to over 8000 images of Lord Buddha. The statues and images are adorned in beautiful hues of gold and brass with the glimmering effect under the shadowy caverns. Apart from the spots around celebrating the religion, you will also find an amazing influx of tourists visiting the lake beside Pindaya. You can also trek through the region and cross mountains from Kalaw to Boot.
Ideal For: Trekking, Pilgrimage
As hard to spell as the name is, Hsipaw is an enthralling location which is loved and adorned by the tourists the entire year around. This is every adventurer and trekker’s dream destination in Myanmar owing to the amazing range of trekking trails they sport. It was the royal capital of the kingdom of Shan back in the days which then slowly became a trekking spot for the tourists over the course of years. It is even fighting off to take the place of Kalaw as one of the most loved trekking spots around in Myanmar. The mystique views of the sun-scorched forest along with the rich cultural traditions can often keep you locked with its beauty longer than you could have possibly imagined. Check out the town’s Central Market around for an amazing experience and to get along some gifts.
Ideal For: Trekking
Hpa-An is a very popular traveler town around in Myanmar which is not necessarily a lot visited around by the tourist but does make up for providing you with an amazing experience altogether. The rugged and rustic vibes from this specific town are what makes it unique and loved by the majority of the tourists who visit it. It is nestled across the tranquil and reflective waters of the Thanlwin River. One of the most important and popular spots to visit around in Hpa-An is the Zaydan Road which is littered around with coffee joints and amazing spots to just sit down and have a relaxing day. The lakeside of Kan Thar Yar is yet another of the amazing spots to be around in and make sure to enjoy the reflective transparency of the water when you walk along it. The other important site to visit around is the Mount Zwegabin and the monastery that is located there.
Ideal For: A relaxing day, Lakes, Mountains, and Monastery
If you are done with the rustic countryside and small towns, Mawlamyine can be quite a good change in those terms. It provides you with a break from the same and does contribute to your city demands. It is situated in the deep territory of Mon, very close to the borders of Thailand and is known and appreciated around for its amazing cultural forefront. Apart from the hustling of the city, you can also visit the pagodas like that of the Mahamuni Paya which is famous for its architectural creativities. Apart from that, you can also visit the Uzina Paya stupa which is one of the most popular sites for the pilgrims. If possible, charter a boat and visit the mysterious Shampoo Island t get to know the place even better and witness the Buddhist shrines with your own eyes.
Ideal For: Pagodas, Shampoo Island
The Mergui Archipelago is known around the globe with its pool of the destinations it showcases. Some of its scattered parts around in the Andaman Islands are often regarded as the Myeik Archipelago and the Pashu Islands. Each one of these places has a unique character of its own which is what sets it apart from the others. The beautiful sand that glistens under the direct rays of the sun further adds to the beauty of the place. Not just a relaxing day in there but even a good chunk of the activities around in here include that of the amazing sailing expeditions. More and more people are relegating to the yachts to have an even better time on this piece of land.
Ideal For: Sailing, Relaxing day
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Next on the list of the amazing places to visit around in Myanmar includes the authority and delegates it as the capital of the place owing to the mesmerizing beauty of the place around. It is not a destination like every other one that you will come across. The place was announced as the capital of Myanmar back then by the Burmese military leader Than Shwe back in 2005. The decision was made rightfully so because of the littered presence of a wide range of government buildings and nationalist monuments that are found around the place. While there, make sure that you visit the parliament complexes along with the infamous Uppatasanti Pagoda to add to the already vivid experience you will have there.
Ideal For: Visiting the Government Buildings and Landmarks
20. Mrauk U
Yet another one of the picturesque and popular sites of attraction around in Myanmar is the off the beaten track destination of Mrauk U. It is often considered as one of the best alternatives to visiting Bagan because of the kind of similarities both of these places inflict on the geography of Myanmar. It is located between the majestic hills of the Rakhine State, in the far western reaches of the country. The place is rich of a wide range of stupas and temples which is what makes up for the primary source of attraction in that specific tourist site. You must also visit the age-old Arakanese religious building which is situated there. It grew to become a popular site of being a powerful merchant center during the late Middle Ages, trading between India, Portugal and several other places.
21. Shan State
While you might often come across destinations to visit in and around the Shan State, you won’t necessarily come across someone suggesting you explore the Shan State itself. Once you are done exploring around the popular sites of attraction in and around Shan, make sure to keep a day or two to simply and casually stroll around the Shan State and get engrossed in its beauty altogether. The place is known around for its picturesque landscape, immaculate sceneries and the best part about this place is the wide range of delectable cuisine you get to try around in here. The tiny villages around in the Shan State add to its beauty and authenticity even further. One of the most popular sites to visit while there is the Keng Tawng Falls that often go unnoticed by the majority of the tourists because of the fact that it is often a lot less unexplored.
Ideal For: A wholesome tour around the place with amazing tourists and sightseeing spots
22. Gokteik Viaduct
If the history of Myanmar and just history, in general, is something that intrigues you, you definitely want to visit Gokteik Viaduct. The best way to reach this bridge ride is by taking the train ride across the longest railway bridge in Myanmar. The entire bridge was completed building around in 1901 which further adds to the overall excitement and the history of the place around. The entire bridge is around 2300 feet in length and is situated around 30 miles away from Pyin Oo Lwin. You will encounter this bridge on the way to Mandalay and the overall experience riding through is something you would be a complete fool to miss out on. The stunning gorge and the mystique beauty of the greenery around while traveling on the train is something you would be a fool to miss out on.
Ideal For: A long train ride.
23. Macleod Island
While you must need a recluse from constantly visiting the places of pilgrimage around in Myanmar, Macleod Island is actually a good enough place to visit. It is situated in the far southern end of Myanmar and is one of the 800 untouched islands in the Andaman Sea. Not only do you get to witness an amazing view all around, but the island is also rich in a vivid variety of flora and fauna which further makes up for the overall experience of visiting this place. If tropical weather is something you wanted to experience while in Myanmar, visiting Macleod Island is an ideal option for you to venture into.
24. Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda
Last but not the least on the list of sightseeing spots is the Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda which is located nearby Hpa An. The limestone tower of the Kyauk Ka Lat Pagoda is what leaves every single one of the tourists speechless and in awe. Apart from the Pagoda itself, you also get to experience the beauty of the lush greenery surrounding the place which further adds to the beauty even further.
Clearly, Myanmar is a complete package when it comes to a fun filled and interesting holiday. What do you think? Do you have anymore places to add? Do let us know in the comments section below. Plan a trip to Myanmar to visit these 10 places now.
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