With ancient temples and gleaming pagodas, lush landscapes and an emerging culture that is slowly opening up to the world, Myanmar is now a coveted tourist destination. While it was known as a country that has endured decades of military dictatorships behind closed doors, Myanmar is rich in cultural history and tradition. There is so much to learn and discover about this country. Here are some of the must-do activities when visiting this vibrant place.
Visit the sacred Shwedagon Pagoda
No visit to Yangon is complete without visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda. It’s like the Eiffel Tower of Yangon, as the massive golden pagoda takes center stage in Yangon’s skyline. The 99-meter high gold-plated pagoda with a diamond-studded spire is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site. It is said that the main stupa enshrines the sacred relics of the Gautama Buddha as well as the three previous Buddhas. We highly recommend a visit to the pagoda after sunset as the pagoda will light up and illuminate everything around you!
To learn more about the pagoda, book a Shwedagon Pagoda tour with Traveloka.
Admire the breathtaking Hsinbyume Pagoda
Famously called the Taj Mahal of India, the Hsinbyume Pagoda will take your breath away at first sight. It received its nickname from the story of how it was built which is similar to that of the Taj Mahal — a tragic love story. Located in the north of Mingun, the all-white pagoda rises up above the landscape, creating a striking image against the backdrop of the blue sky. What sets the pagoda apart from others is its architecture which has a tiered base that looks like waves. Walk around the pagoda on each terrace and remember to snap some photos for the ‘gram!
Cross the world’s longest teak bridge
Built in 1850, the U Bein Bridge is the world’s longest and oldest teak bridge. It stretches approximately 1.2 kilometers over Taungthaman Lake near Amarapura, a driving distance from Mandalay. Take a break from all the pagodas and temples to enjoy a magnificent view of the lake at sunset and you might catch a sight of the monks. You’ll also have a chance to interact with the locals and witness their tranquil daily life around the lake.
Explore the temples of Bagan
When planning for a trip to Myanmar, make sure to squeeze a few days in Bagan. There are thousands of ancient Buddhist temples, which were built between the 11th and 13th centuries, that could rival Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat. Sunrises are unbeatable here, so wake up early and climb a stupa to get the best view. For a more effortless and unforgettable experience, we recommend riding a hot air balloon to see the temples. If you want to explore the temples and pagodas at ground level, hire a bike, or hop into a horse cart, or for a more comfortable experience, enjoy a Bagan Temple Tour with Traveloka.
Drink your tea and eat it too
Tea plays a very important role in Myanmar’s society and cuisine. It’s served at all times of the day and everywhere you go. The people not only drink tea, but they also eat it! Pickled tea leaves (lahpet) are usually eaten as a salad. One of the famous snacks in Myanmar is the lahpet thoke (tea leaf salad) — it’s spicy, nutty and salty. In other words, it’s perfect.
Sail away to Myanmar’s best beaches
Had enough of the temples and the countryside? Time to head over to the beaches. Located on the west of Myanmar facing the Andaman Sea, the beaches here promise breathtaking sunsets. One of the best spots in Myanmar is the Mergui Archipelago, where you can run wild amid white-sand beaches, swim with manta rays, dugongs, and thriving coral reefs. The archipelago is also where the indigenous Moken people — who are known to be able to hold their breath underwater as inhumanly long as possible — live. Mergui is one of the few places in Southeast Asia that has not yet succumbed to mass tourism and if this isn’t obvious, the best time to go is sooner rather than later.
Shop til you drop at Bogyoke Aung San Market
Located in Pabedan in central Yangon, the Bogyoke Aung San (Scott Market) is the best place to get souvenirs to bring home. It’s easy to lose yourself in hundreds of stores selling Burmese handicraft, jewelry, accessories, artwork and clothes. Wanna bring home famous Myanmarese items like longyi and Shan paper umbrellas? Here’s where you can find them!
Swim in the blue lagoons of Dee Doke Waterfall
Get off the beaten path and discover what Myanmar has to offer other than gleaming pagodas and white sandy beaches. Located high in the mountains just outside of Mandalay, visit the incredible blue lagoons of Dee Doke Waterfall. To reach the blue lagoons, you’ll have to hike for about 10 minutes, but we promise, it’s all worth it! The color of the water is an impressive fluorescent blue, as it gets the color from the towering limestone cliffs surrounding the lagoon. So, make sure to bring your swimsuits and a camera!
Have a hassle-free trip and book a Dee Doke Waterfall and Mandalay Hill tour on Traveloka!