Yangon , the former capital city and commercial city , is the main gateway to Myanmar. It was founded by King Alaungpaya when he conquered lower Myanmar in 1755. He built a new city on the site of a mall settlement called Dagon and renamed it as Yangon , which means “ End of Strife “. Yangon had itself only been the capital of Myanmar since 1885. When the British conquered northern Myanmar , the seat of government moved from Mandalay ( the last Myanmar Kingdom ) to Yangon. As the British had long held the city as a main trading port , a wonderful array of colonial buildings-many of which are now crumbling can be seen in Yangon. The biggest concentration of them is on the riverfront Strand Road , around the bottom of Pansodan Street and Sule Pagoda Road. After getting independence of Myanmar in 1948 , many colonial names of streets and parks changed to more nationalistic Burmese names. In 1959 , the current military junta changed the city’s English name “ Rangoon” to “ Yangon “ , along with many other changes in English transliteration of Burmese names.
Yangon had expanded outwards since independence. Successive governments have built satellite town such as Thaketa , North Okkalapa and South Okkalapa in the 1950s to Hlaingthaya , Shwepyitha and South Dagon in the 1980s. The present day Yangon covers an area of 600 square kilometers with a population of over 7 millions. Yangon is the most ethnically diverse city in the country. While Indians formed the slight majority prior to Second World War , today the majority of the population is of indigenous Bamar descent. Large communities of Indians , Chinese , Burmese exist in the traditional downtown neighborhoods. A large number of Rakhine and Karen also live in the city. The Shwedagon Pagoda is the most famous landmark of Yangon. A visit to the union of Myanmar is not complete without visiting the 2500-years-old Shwedagon Pagoda as it is a repository of the best in Myanmar heritage- architecture , sculpture and arts.
Bago is the capital city of Bago Region and lies on the bank of Bago river in lower part of Myanmar. It was once an ancient capital of Mon Kingdom in 13th century and grand capital of Second Myanmar Empire. It is located about 80 Km far away from the north of Yangon.
The legend says that long ago , the place Bago stands today was completely submerged in the water. One day , at a low tikde , a small patch of land appeared above the sea. It was very tiny islet and there was not enough space for two birds to land down. The male Hintha ( Brahminy ) bird landed first and the female bird perched on her male’s back. Believe it or not , it’s said that anyone who marries a Bago lady is sure to be hen-pecked. Thus , the statue of a couple Hintha birds seated one upon is a symbol of Bago.
According to the Mon chronicle two princes Thamala and Wimala from Thahton ( Suwannabumi ) established a new city in Bago in 825 AD. At that time it was known as Ussa & after ruling by 17 kings , Thamala Dynasty came to an end under Bagan Empire in 1057AD.
After falling down of Bagan , King Banya-Oo , a descendant of Wareru Dynasty , moved his capital from Moktama to Bago and founded the first Hamthawaddy Kingdom in 1369 AD. 11 Kings ruled in Hamthawaddy including King Rajadarit , Queen Shin Saw Pu , and so on.
During the reign of Thushintakarupi , the last king of Hamthawaddy Kingdom, King Tabinshwehti of Taungoo conquered to Bago in 1536 AD. After King Tabinshwehti’s death , King Bayint Naung ascended the throne in 1551 and built Kambawzathadi Palace of Hamthawaddy as Second Myanmar Empire.
Normally , the Shwemawdaw Pagoda and the Shwethalyaung Reclining Buddha Image constitute the chief tourist attractions of Bago. Shwemawdaw is one of the largest and highest Pagodas in the country and almost as famous as the great Shwedagon in Yangon. After paying homage to Shwemawdaw Pagoda , another religious place one should visit is Shwethalyaung Reclining Image. It has 188 ft in length and 52 ft in height. The latest addition to Bago’s tourist attractions is the “ Kambawzathadi Palace “ , that was built by King Bayint Naung , the founder of second Myanmar Empire. The meaning of “ Kambawzathadi “ is peaceful and pleasure.
Bago city is popular for cheroots industries and different brands of Cheroots are produced. Other products are rice , salty dry fish , tobacco , rubber , plywood and handicrafts. One of famous traditional food is fermented glutinous rice with fish.
In conclusion , Bago was once the important place for successive kings according to geographical site of Myanmar. One can’t deny that Bago is one of the most popular tourist destinations for not only ancient monument but also the ways of life of the local people.
Pathein ( former name , Bassein ) is the capital city of the Ayeyarwaddy Region , Myanmar with 287,071 population by 2014 census record. It is located on the Pathein River , which is a western branch of the Great Ayeyarwaddy River & It’s one of biggest cities in Myanmar & it’s situated 190 Km ( 120 miles ) west of Yangon.
Although once part of the Mon Kingdom , Pathein has few ethnic Mon residents today. The majority are Bamar , Burmese Indians , Karen ethnicity.
Centuries ago Pathein was known as Cosmin. Ralph Fitch , the first recorded British traveler who visited Myanmar between 1586 and 1588 called it Cosmin. Some authorities argued this word “ Cosmin “ was a corruption of two Mon words “ Kaw “ and “ thamein “. The word “ Kaw “signifies an island and “ thamein “ as a prince.
The origin of the Delta town of Bassein has much to do with the growth of Portuguese imperialism. The Starting point was 1498 , the year Vasco Da Gama discovered the sea route to the East. From then on Portuguese shops began to enter the Pacific Ocean through the straits of Malacca. Within a short time , Portugal became an imperial power. This was the beginning of the encounter between Europe and Asia.
The area are full of rice fields with crops such as sesames , groundnuts , maize , tobacco & chilies. Parasol production is synonymous with Pathein.
Thanlyin And Kyauktan
Thanlyin , formerly known as Syriam , is situated at the confluence of the Yangon and Bago Rivers & it’s on the southern bank of Bago River. It’s one of major port cities in Myanmar.
Thanlyin first came to prominence in the 15th century as the main port city of the Hanthawaddy Kingdom , replacing a silted up Bago port. In 1539, the city became part of the Kingdom of Taunggoo. In 1599, the city fell to the Rakhine forces led by the Portuguese mercenary Filipe de Brito e Nicote , who was made governor of the city. De Brito declared independence from his nominal Rakhine masters in 1603, defeated the invading Rakhine navy in 1604 and 1605, and successfully established Portuguese rule over Syriam or Sirião -as it was called back then- under the Portuguese viceroy of Goa. In 1613, Burmese king Anauk Petlun recaptured the city, and executed Brito by impalement , a punishment reserved for defilers of Buddhist temples.
Main highlights in Thanlyin and around are Thanlyin Kyiak Kauk Pagoda and Yele Kyauktan Pagoda that is located at middle part of river.
Visiting to Dala that is a small town located at the opposite site of Yangon and the south of Yangon River is worthwhile trip.
Mawlamyine is the capital city of Mon State & it’s fourth largest city of Myanmar with the population of 289,388 in 2014. It’s situated 300 Km far from Yangon , former capital city of Myanmar. It’s the main trading center and seaport in South-eastern Myanmar.
It is said to derive from Mot-Mua-Lum, meaning "one eye destroyed". According to legend, a Mon king had a powerful third eye in the centre of his forehead, able to see what was happening in neighbouring kingdoms. The daughter of one of the neighbouring kings was given in marriage to the three-eyed king and managed to destroy the third eye. The Burmese name "Mawlamyine" is believed to be a corruption of the Mon name.
Mawlamyine is first capital of British Burma in 1824. The town's signature landmark is Kyaikthanlan pagoda built in 875 AD and thought to be the site from where Rudyard Kipling wrote his famous poem, 'The Road to Mandalay'.
The Thanlwin bridge, the longest road and railway bridge in Myanmar is the most prominent landmark in the area. It stretches a distance of 11,000 feet over the Thanlwin River connecting the country's south eastern region with Yangon.
Mawlamyine is generally considered to be off the main tourist trail for most travellers to Myanmar but the town does have a charm of its own with its rich history, buildings with colonial style architecture, World War II era wooden buses, and its close proximity to the infamous Siam-Burma "death railway", making it a fascinating place to visit!
Hpa An is the capital of Kayin State ( Karen State ) in Myanmar & It’s 289 Km far from Yangon , former capital city of Myanmar & it takes about 5 hours drive from Yangon. Hpa An is the eastern bank of Thanlyin River that is one of four major rivers in Myanmar. The population of Hpa An is 421,525 in 2014 census. Most people resides in Hpa An are Karen ethnic group ( Karen , Kayin , Kariang or Yang ) , Mon & Burmar.
the people are friendly and the city is the logical base from which to explore the Buddhist caves, sacred mountains and rivers and lakes of the surrounding countryside with Karen typical villages and rice fields. It is opened its door to the foreigners in 2005 which becomes the new travel destinations of the east. It is notable to reach there by road from Yangon crossing over the Thanlwin River Bridge.
Tourist interested sites in Hpa An are Morning Market , Myo Mya Zay Gyi , Sadan Cave , Kyauk Ka lat Pagoda , Mt.Zwegabin , Kawgun Cave , Bayin Nyi Naung Cave , Yathaypyan Cave , Shwe Yin Myaw Pagoda & Kyone Htaw Waterfall.
Overnight at Hpa An & Exploring around city and several caves are worth to do when you are in Myanmar.
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda( Golden Rock )
The Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, today also known as the Golden Rock is located on top of Mt. Kyaiktiyo at 3615 feet (1102 meters) above sea level, in the Mon State and approximately 130 miles (210 km) from the city of Yangon. The pagoda is located nearby Kyaikhto town in Mon State.
The Pagoda was built more than 2500 years ago. Legend has it that the Pagoda was built on a Hair relic that was given to a hermit by Buddha Himself. The hermit treasured the sacred Hair in his hair knot until he found a boulder resembling his own head on which he could build a pagoda to enshrine it.
In the Mon language “Kyaik” means “pagoda” and “Yo” means “to carry on the head” “Ithi” in Pali means “hermit”. Thus the name “Kyaiktiyo” derived from “Kyaik-Thi-Yo” , “ the pagoda carried on a hermit’s head”.
It can also be qualified as one of the wonders of the world by virtue of the fact that it sits uniquely at the apex of a huge, almost egg shaped granitic boulder. This boulder (now completely gilded) is precariously perched on a projecting tabular rock. The gilded boulder and the rock table are two separate pieces, the boulder actually balancing off the extreme verge of the sloping surface of the rock and overhanging it by nearly half its length.
It is now well known as Miracle Golden Rock, which is the biggest pilgrimage site in Myanmar. An endless stream of pilgrims comes annually to admire the sight and to pay homage, and to apply gold leaves on its surface. The Golden Rock is a truly extraordinary natural feature visited by more than 1 million pilgrims the whole year round.
Here’s a little song that used to be sung all over the country in the days of the last two Myanmar kings. “ If you want to live long , Take the shelter in the shade of Mandalay Hill , Surrounded by the dark waters of the emerald Nanda Lake. With bells peeling sweetly. And the royal golden drum booming , it’s so free from harm here.” It’s so tranquil and free from harm here. That little song epitomizes Mandalay , which truly represents quintessential Myanmar. Mandalay is the city of Myanmar characters , the city of last monarchs and the second largest city of Myanmar. It’s regarded as the center of Myanmar culture and Buddhist learning. It’s the home and guardian of the best traditions of Myanmar Music and Dance. The city was founded by king Mindon in 1857. At the same time King Mindaon built the city with seven major projects. They are the royal palace , the moat , the Atumashi monastery , Kuthodaw pagoda , the Sudhamma rest house , the ordination hall & the Pitaka library. Being a city newly built at the command of a powerful king , Mandalay is well-planned and laid out with straight roads and streets.
The official name of the city was “ Yadanarbon Naypyidaw “ which means treasure-heap capital. But, the people simply called it Mandalay as it lies near Mandalay Hill. The name may have derived from the Pali word “ Mandalar “ which means abroad , flat plain or the Sanskrit word meaning circle or representation of the universe. The construction of the city was completed in 1859. King Mindon shifted his palace from nearby Amarapura city in 1861. The palace formed a perfect square shape and rounded by the four side of the strong wall and the moat. The walls are 2 kilometer long. The city Mandalay was very short-lived. On November 29 , 1885 , the country and Upper Myanmar , Mandalay was annexed into British Empire , during the reign of King Thibaw , the last king of Myanmar. The southern and middle parts of the country has been occupied earlier after the first and second Anglo-Myanmar wars respectively. Having been the capital of the last two Myanmar Kings , Mandalay has remained to this day the center of Myanmar culture and traditional arts and crafts. It’s also the only place where the Buddhism shines brightest with a large number of pagodas and monasteries. About the 60% of the total monks population of Myanmar live in Mandalay area. One’s pursuit of Buddhist studies is considered incomplete until and unless one has studied in Mandalay. A lot of Myanmar arts and crafts such as sculpting images of the Buddha , making very thin gold leafs and the weaving of silk and cotton are still centered in Mandalay. Mandalay had also produced great dancers , song-writers , singers and writer and traditional musicians. The artist from Mandalay are the best in the country. Their craftsmanship is very nice and delicate. Mandalay is accessible and linked by air , rail , road and river with Yangon and other principle towns of Myanmar. Mandalay lies in the center of the country and surrounded by former capitals of Innwa , Sagaing , Amarapura , One can make a lot of short trips to historical and other interesting sites. It’s been transformed from a medium-sized , sleepy city into a booming city. But, it still maintains much of it’s Myanmarness. To visit Mandalay is to touch the heart of Myanmar and to experience its quintessence.
Ava ( Inwa )
The name Ava , the most common Western transcription , comes from Awa of former Upper Burmese pronunciation. But, the modern standard Burmese pronunciation is “ Innwa “. The name Innwa literally means “ Mouth of the lake “. Another theory states that Innwa is derived from In-na-wa , meaning “ nine lakes “ in the area. The classical name of the city in Pali is “ Ratanapura “ , which means “ City of Gems “.
It is located about 21 Km south of Mandalay and on the way from the Mandalay to International Airport near Sagaing City. It is surrounded by Ayeyerwaddy River in the north and Myitnge River in the east. It is popular day-trip tourist destination from Mandalay.
It’s an ancient capital of successive Burmese Kingdoms from 14th century to 19th century. It was officially founded in 1364 by King Thadominbya on a man-made island created by connecting by Ayeyerwaddy and Myitnge Rivers. The construction of the artificial island involved filling in the swamp-lands and lakes. The kingdom with the capital founded by King Thadominbya at Innwa became known as Awa Kingdom.
It came under siege in 1404-1405 during the Forty Years’ Civil War ( Mon-Bamar War of 1384 to 1424 ). In 1527 , the city finally fell to the repeated attacks by the confederation of Shan State and Prome (Pyay) kingdom. It then became the capital of the unruly coalition until 1555 when it was captured by King Bayint Naung of Hanthawaddy. The city came to an end for 190 years. In 1599 , King Nyaungyan restored the kingdom which had temporarily been disintegrated and King Thalun also moved the capital back to Innwa from Bago ( Pegu ) in 1365 as Nyaungyan dynasty. The dynasty lasted for about 152 years from 1599 to 1751. But , the city was sacked again in 1752 , and subsequently burned down in 1753 by the forces of Restored Hanthawaddy kingdom. King Hsinbyshin began the reconstruction of the city in 1764 and moved the capital from Shwebo to a newly built Innwa as Konbaung dynasty , the last dynasty of Burma. King Bodawpaya , one of the Kings from Konbaung dynasty moved the capital of Amarapura in 1783 but his successor , king Bagyidaw moved it back to Innwa for the last time.
Finally , the capital was abandoned after it was completely destroyed by a series of major earthquakes in 1838. It lasted as the seat of powerful capital for over 400 years. It , therefore , has a lot of historical monuments and Pagodas , some of which are already in ruins. Currently , the most popular tourist attraction sites of the city include Bagaya monastery with splendid Myanmar architecture , The Maha Aung Myae Bon Zan or Me’ Nu Oak-Kyaung ( Brick Monastery ) and the Watch Tower which is about 30m high. The massive fort walls and moat of the splendor of the past can still be seen. Visiting with horse-drawn carts and countryside landscapes would be your fantastic and enjoyable sightseeing.
The name Amarapura comes from Pali , meaning “ City of Immortality “. Sometimes , the locals call it Taungmyo ( Southern City ) to distinguish it from Mandalay , the last capital of Burmese kingdom.
It is the former capital of Burma , and now a township of Mandalay. It’s 11 Km south of Mandalay and famous for its traditional silk and cotton weaving and bronze casting. It’s a popular tourist destination from Mandalay.
Amarapura was the capital of Burma twice during the Konbaung Dynasty. The city was founded by king Bodawpaya as his new capital in 1783. The new capital became a center of Buddhist reforms and learning. King Bodawpaya died in 1819 and his grandson , King Bagyidaw shifted the capital back to Innwa ( Ava ) in 1821. But the palace was moved back to Amarapura for the second time in 1842 during the reign of King Tharawaddy. In 1857 , King Mindon of Amarapura moved the capital from Amarapura to Mandalay , accepting the title of “ The founder of the new city and the builder of the new palace “. The palace buildings & city walls were dismantled and moved to the new location.
The old city of Amararpura have already ruined. Although there are little remains of the old palace , one can still see two masonry building- the treasure building , the old watch tower , the tombs in which the dead bodies of King Bodawpaya and King Bagyidaw were buried. Amarapura is a spread-out suburb of Mandalay and one of famous places around Mandalay. Its tourist attraction sites are : U Bein Wooden Bridge with a length of 1.2 Km , Mahagandayon Monastery where over 1000 monks are residing and studying Buddhism , and Pahtodawgyi pagoda ( White-washed stupa ) built by king Bagyidaw. For the enthusiasts in traditional silk and cotton weaving , there are many weaving cottage industries that produce the best of occasional attire and dress.
Sagaing , the former capital of Burma , is one of the most interesting places around the vicinity of Mandalay. While Mandalay is known as a cultural city and Bagan is called an ancient city , Sagaing is said a religious city with a large number of pagodas , monasteries and nunneries.
Sagaing is the capital of Sagaing region in Myanmar. It’s located on the western bank of Ayeyarwaddy River and 20 Km southwest of Mandalay. It’s famous as an important religious and monastic center , possessing the breathtaking panorama of pagodas scattered on the numerous hills along the ridge running parallel to the river.
Sagaing was once the capital of small kingdom that ruled a part of central Burma from 1315 to 1364. It was founded by king Athinkhayar Saw Yun of Burmanized Shan king and one of the many petty kingdoms that emerged after the fall of the Bagan Empire in 1287. Altogether 9 kings ruled the kingdom for 49 years and the kingdom collapsed in 1364 after it was sacked by Shan raiders from Mogaung , northern part of Burma. After that , Sagaing briefly the royal capital again for the last time for 2 years during the reign of King Naung Daw Gyi ( 1760-1765 ). The most rewarding thing one can do in the city is to climb the hill on foot or by car. It will make one relaxed and feel peaceful and quiet because of the temperate climate of the effect of the hill. On the hill top , One can visit Soon U Pon Nya Shin pagoda that the Buddha’s hair relics are enshrined and U Min Thone Ze Pagoda , probably the most finest and beautiful one overtaking the river view. After climbing down the hill , one can continue to the city center to the Kaung Mu Daw Pagoda built by King Tharlon in 1636. And for those who like shopping , there are a lot of silverware industries at Ywahtaung Village. And other highlights , such as Yadanar Zedi , Sinmya-shin Pagoda , Tilawkaguru Cave monastery , pottery village , Asaykhan fort are also interesting places of the city.
The name “ Mingun “ is supposed to have become after the king Bodawpaya resided in a small village. If it was not King’s residence , the village wouldn’t have became the grand place and would have remained an obscure hamlet nesting quietly. Mingun itself means “ Residence of the King “.
It is located on the western bank of the Ayeyarwaddy river and 11 Km up the river from Mandalay. One can get there by ferry boats across the river and it’ll take one hour for upstream. And there is a motor way that cross the river by the bridge. It will also take one hour from Mandalay via Sagaing.
According to historical records , in late 1790 , King Bodawpaya left his capital Amarapura , which he founded , and took up his temporary royal residence on the Nan Taw Kyun island in the river facing Mingun village. During the king’s stay on the island , he intend to set and counstruct prominent big four-a huge stupa , a big lake , a pair of big guardian lions and big bell- in Mingun. In 1791 , the king started the construction of huge stupa , also known as Pathodawgyi. But, nearly one-third of the stupa was finished with measurement of 50 m in height and the square bast of 135 m. If the king’s dream came true , the great stupa would have had a height of 160 m. The king has a thousand of prisoners of war working on the construction of the stupa , and the king personally supervised the building of the stupa for 15 years. But, While the stupa was being built , there appeared a prophecy ( Tabaung ) that predicted “ the fall of the kingdom under the completion of the great stupa “. Thus , construction was slowed down to prevent prophecy’s realization and when the king died , the project was completely stopped. The stupa have been partly damaged by the severe earthquake of 1838. Just a few minutes of walking , from the great stupa lies a gigantic Mingun bell cast to go with great stupa. It was cast on the Nan Taw Kyun island in 1808 and transported to the present site near the great stupa. It have a height of 3.9 m and the diameter of the mouth was 5 m , weighing about 90 tons.
Furthermore , there is an imposing pagoda , known as Hsinbyume , that will make all visitors wonder after seeing its distinctive architectural style. It was built by king Bagyidaw in 1816 as a memorial to his wife. And depending on visitor’s desire , the Mingun Home for the Elderly and visiting inside the village are also interesting.
Pyin Oo Lwin
Pyin Oo Lwin ( former name , May Myo that named after the English Colonel May ) is situated 42 miles ( 69 Km ) at the east of Mandalay & it’s 1070 m ( 3510 ft ) high above sea-level. It’s been the summer resort of the Governor during Colonial Period.
The town has various names ; the tower of terrace city , the city of flowers , the city of the hill station , May Myo and Pyin Oo Lwin. Today it is famous for damson , coffee , pine trees , orchid , cherry , aster , strawberry , sunflowers and colorful flowers.
Main Highlights are National Kandawgyi Gardens , Pyi Chit Pagoda ( Maha Ant Htoo Kan Thar Pagoda ) , Maha Nanda Wun Cave ( former Peik Chin Myaung ) , B.E Waterfall , Dattawgyaik Waterfall & old colonial buildings.
Monywa is a worthwhile trip for temple enthusiasts or some other tourists who would like to go where there are few travelers. It lies 136 Km north-west of Mandalay & it’s situated at the eastern bank of Chindwin River. Monywa is the second biggest city in upper Myanmar and it’s main regional commercial city with 372,095 population in 2014.
As Monywa is a major trade center for agricultural produce from surrounding Chindwin valley , it produces especially beans , pulses and palm sugar , cotton. Monywa is one of the hottest places in Myanmar in April and May , when it gets 40 Degree are not uncommon.
Some highlights around Monywa are Hpo Win Hill & Caves and Shwe Ba Hill that is situated in the western bank of Chindwin River , Thanbuddhay Pagoda , Bawditataung , Shwe Tha Lyaung ( Reclining Buddha ) & Lay Kyun Set Kyar Standing Buddha.
Mogok is famous for its surrounding natural beauty , and for its brilliant rubies and sapphires. At 1170 meters above sea level , the mountain basin surrounding “ Rubyland “ enjoys a fairly temperate climate. Tourist needs permit to enter and explore at Mogok and its area.
It’s 207 Km ( 129 miles ) far from Mandalay & it takes more than 6 hours by mountainous road along Pyin Oo Lwin that is famous hill station. The mountain ranges of Mogok are a part of the great Shan plateau but the town itself is in Mandalay Division. The residents are mostly Lisus and Shans who make their living by mining and cutting , polishing and marketing gemstones.
The most famous gems markets are running in the morning and evening about 3 hrs each. The famous Bernard’s gems market is running once in a 5 every day. When you visit to Bernard’s gems market, you can continue to see the 120 years old British mausoleum and old cache which line at YWA THAYA village. Local people called gem market “ Htar Pwe “.
Trip to Mogok is not only just for discovering World famous Ruby but also natural environ of region.
Nay Pyi Taw
Nay Pyi Taw ( sometimes spelt as Naypyidaw in Burmese ) , means “ abode of the Kings “ , is the administrative capital of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Centrally located , it is 391 km from Yangon and 302 km from Mandalay , being easily accessible from all parts of the country. The capital of Burma (Myanmar); population 333,536 in 2014 census, Situated in a previously undeveloped area of relative isolation, the city was founded in 2005 to replace as the nation's capital. Former Capital city of Myanmar was Yangon & Present is “ Nay Pyi Taw “. The environs of Nay Pyi Taw comprise eight townships viz ;Zeyar Thiri , Pohbba Thiri , Uttara Thiri , Zabu Thiri , Dekina Thiri , Pyinmana , Lewe and Tatkone Townships. Nay Pyi Taw Airport that is constructed in 2009 and officially opened it in 2011 , is about 30 minutes drive , 16 Km far from Nay Pyi Taw. All domestic carriers operate daily flights from Nay Pyi Taw to the commercial capital, Yangon, and the cultural capital Mandalay. There are flights via Nay Pyi Taw to tourist destinations such as Bagan, Heho, Sittwe, Myitkyina, Kyaing Tong and others. Tourist attraction sites in Nay Pyi Taw are Uppatasanti Pagoda , Nay Pyi Taw Water Fountain Garden , The Gem Museum , Thatta Thattaha Maha Bawdi Pagoda , The National Museum , Defense Services Museum , Zoological Gardens.
Mt. Popa is about 50km away from Bagan & It takes about one hour drive from Bagan. Mt.Popa is an extinct volcano that is estimated to have erupted for the final time, over three hundred and twenty thousand years ago and it’s 1518 metres (4981 feet) high above sea level.
The Popa Taungkalat shrine is the favoured home of 37 Nats. “ Popa “ means “ Flower “ in Sanskrit & Mt.Popa means Mt.Flower. As it’s the main center of Nat Worship , Mt.Popa hosts two huge Nat festivals yearly , one beginning on the full moon of Nayun ( May / June ) and another on the full moon of Nadaw ( November / December ). Before King Anawrahta’s time , thousand animals were sacrificed to the Nats during these festivals , but this practice has been prohibited since the Bagan era.
Climbing up by 777 steps to the summit of Taungkalat gives you great pleasure and panoramic view of Mt.Popa surrounding area. When you are in Bagan , Mt.Popa is worth to visit for a while.
It is a lovely and rustic town about 32 km south of Bagan, The Sale Yok Sone Kyaung is entirely made from teak , the monastery is a major tour destination with magnificent teak carving figures, traditional motifs tell the previous life stories of Buddha-hood and folkloric of the local people during his many past life times. The travelers could see the rural life on the peanut plantation winged by palms trees to delimit the individual champs over the dry lands. Slay is seemed to be the most rustic town in Myanmar, very arid supported by the summer brooks to the east, only the monsoon that can provide water for the fields. The rest of the time it is sandy banks. The other attractive visits are scattered around the dusty plane such as U Pone Nya Museum, exhibits antique lacquer wares, wooden relief and a large standing gilded Buddha image and nunneries just near by the teak monastery compound. If the time permit, Tha-ta-na Kyaung (Keythar Monastery) is worth to visit where the Tipitaka texts are housed in the large red lacquered cabinets, the monastery was surrounded by the verdant tamarind trees and satellite pagodas white washed.
Pakokku is a prosperous trading town in central Myanmar, near Bagan. Located on the western bank of Ayeyarwaddy river and it is well-known for the production of Tobacco. Other than Tobacco plantation, it also produces palm sugar , thanakha ( Myanmar traditional makeup ) , longyis ( Myanmar sarong ) and blankets called “Anyar Saung”. In the olden days , Pakokku Blankets are very important role in Myanmar society. Pakokku is accessible from Mandalay by car and Bagan by ferry boat. After new river-crossed bridge ( longest Ayeyerwaddy River Bridge with 3.4 Km long ) , Pakokku is easy to access from almost every corner of the country.
Famous Shin Ma Taung Thanakha comes from nearby Pakokku. According to the oral history of the natives of Yesagyo and Pakhan, legend has it that during travels of Bagan King AlaungSithu on his royal barge he came to the Taung Ni hill, a little distant from Pakhan-gyi town, and his queen spilled Thanakha paste from her make-up box. To this day the Thanakha tree, grown in the areas around Taung Ni and Shin Ma Taung hills, is more blessed with the sweet aroma than those grown in other parts of the country.
With over 300,000 population , Pakokku is the biggest city in the western part of Ayeyerwaddy River. Main highlights in Pakokku are Shwegugyi Pagoda & Thihoshin Pagoda that Pagoda festival is celebrated annually at Nayon ( May / June ).
Inle Lake is located in the heart of the Shan Plateau & it’s the second largest lake in Myanmar after Indawgyi lake in Kachin State in the North. It is a beautiful highland lake, 900 meters above sea level. The lake is 22km long and 10km across, and inhabited by many different ethnic nationals of the area. The Intha people are the Lake dwellers who are unique for their leg rowing. Leg rowed traditional boats are the main ceremonial attractions of the Inlay Lake. The Intha people ("sons of the lake" or “ Residents of the lake ) are members of a Tibeto-Burman ethnic group living around Inle lake. They speak an archaic dialect of Burmese and are believed to have come from theDawei area. They often live on Inle lake and support themselves through the tending of vegetable farms on floating gardens. Also, the Intha are known for their leg-rowing techniques and are traditionally Buddhists. The entire lake area is contained in the township of Nyaung Shwe and supports a population of 189,407 in 2014 that consists of Intha , Shan , Taungthu , Taungyo , Pa-O , Danu , Kayah , Danaw and Burmar people. One of the best times of the year to be there is during Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival that celebrated in every October which lasts for almost three weeks. Main Highlights of Inle lake are Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda , Shwe Indein Pagoda that is over 30 minutes boat ride from main lake , Nga Phel Kyaung Wooden Monastery , Ywa Ma Village , Inpawkone Village , Floating Gardens , 5 days rotating market.
About 40 Km north of Aungban is the town of Pindaya , noted for its extensive limestone caves and picturesque Bote-ta-lote lake.
Mainly famous for its limestone caves called Pindaya Caves ( Shwe Oo Min Pagoda Cave ) where eight thousands of Buddha images have been consecrated for worship over the centuries, it is also one of the towns that host an itinerant market every fifth day.
The ancient caves are about one mile southwest of the town and The caves are supposed to be 200.00 million years old and since ancient times they have been places of worship and veneration with 8.094 Buddha images made from various materials like teak wood , marble , alabaster , brick , cement and lacquer and all enshrined in the nooks and corners of the winding caverns. At the entrance to the main cave there is a pagoda 50 feet in height. This pagoda is called Shwe U-min Hpaya or the Golden Cave pagoda. The Cave named by this entrance papoda.
Beginning on the full moon of Tabaung ( February / March ) , Pindaya hosts a colorful Pagoda festival on Shwe Oo Min. Visiting to Pindaya cave and study the ways of life of Da Nu , Pa-Oo people along the way is very interesting and impressive with beautiful landscapes.
Kalaw was founded as a hill station by British civil servants fleeing the heat of the plains. The town still feels like a high-altitude holiday resort: the air is cool, the atmosphere is calm, the streets are tree-lined, and the surrounding hills are the only place in Myanmar where travelers can trek overnight without prior permission.
One of the few destinations in Myanmar that genuinely caters for backpackers, rather than tour groups, Kalaw is an easy place to kick back for a few days. The town is also notable for its significant population of Nepali Gurkhas and Indians, whose ancestors came here to build the roads and railway during the colonial era.
Kalaw stands high on the western edge of the Shan Plateau. It is 70 km west of Taunggyi , about halfway along the Thazi-Taungyi road. This was a popular hill station in the British days and it is still a peaceful and quiet place. At an altitude of 1320 m it is also pleasantly cool and a good place for hiking amid gnarled pines , bamboo groves and rugged mountain scene.
Kalaw is one of the best spot to start famous trekking in Shan State.
Taunggyi is in the southern Shan State & it’s the capital city of Shan State , Myanmar. As of Taunggyi is at an elevation of 4,712ft (1,436m) above sea level, it is hill station and gate way to Kakku Historical Zone.
Once a year, to coincide with the Tazaungmone (November) full-moon festival, the famous hot air balloon festival is held in Taunggyi. Tens of thousands of people come from all over Myanmar to watch, as they do on Inle lake. The Thadingyut and Tazaungmone full-moon festivals are held throughout South East Asia in honour of Lord Buddha and commemorate his return form Tarwateintha heaven, when he was accompanied by a large number of heavenly beings who lit the way for him. The festivals of light, symbolizing these heavenly lights, reach their climax with the long night of the candies at the Tazaungmon full moon, when the monks are given new robes and provisions.
Taunggyi is biggest city in the eastern part of Myanmar with population of over 380,665.
One of the Asia's largest and most spectacular ancient monuments is a wonderful Pagoda named Kakku. It contains over 2,000 stupas with origins dating back many centuries. Its exists not only as an outstanding example of tradition art and architecture but also as a testament to the religious devotion of one of Myanmar's many ethnic minorities , the Pa-Oh. For many centuries , the Pa-Oh has lived in peace , cultivating their land and devoting much of their energy and limited wealth to creating monasteries and pagodas.
The legend says that the first stupas were created by King Alaungsithu. the 12th century King of Bagan. The decorative sculptures and figures are 17th or 18th century but some of the structures are clearly much older.
Kakku Pagoda Festival is usually held in the March ( full moon day of Tabaung ).
Mrauk U is situated in the Rakhine state , at the Western part of Myanmar , it was the capital city of 48 kings for 355 years and was founded by King Mong Saw Mon in 1430. Mrauk U was once , one of the most powerful kingdom in history. Mrauk U lies roughly 11 kilometres ( 6.8 miles ) east of the Kaladan River on the banks of its minor tributaries. The town is located on a small outcrop of the Rakhine Yoma ( Rakhine Mountain Range ) on the eastern side of the Kaladan's alluvial plain. Thus, the surrounding countryside is hilly yet also contains a great deal of marshes, mangroves and lakes. Mrauk U was also known as "Myohaung" means the olden city in Burmese. The name Myohaung was given by the British when they shifted their seat of administration to Sittwe in 1826. The original name was restored in 1979 and also it became the lost city. The city is just 40 miles away by river from Sittwe and the trip takes 3 to 4 hours. There are daily flights to Sittwe from Yangon which take 2 hours via Thandwe. The boat departs from a jetty of Sittway in the early morning is much better to set sail to Mrauk U, the boat pass by a tributary creek of the Kaladan River and Lay Myo Myit River might offers travelers some beautiful view on the way, there are many places of interest to be seen along the two rivers. In this ancient city, today, there are about 70 known and named ruined pagodas, whereas there are many more remaining unknown. Discovering to one of ancient cities in Myanmar gives you great pleasure for your happy holidays.
Ngapali Beach , It is famous for its natural and unspotted beauty up to this day. The beach stretches about 3 km with soft white sand fringed by coconut palms. Ngapali Beach is one of the loveliest places in Myanmar. Do you like peace and tranquility, and visit places "far from the madding crowds?" As many of us now live in crowded cities with the stress and strain of over-population, we need periods of relaxation away from urban areas, and go back closer to nature. Situated about 7 km away from Thandwe (Sandoway), one of the ancient Rakhine (formerly Arakan) towns. It is said to have been named after the Naple of Italy by a homesick Italian. It is famous for its natural and unspotted beauty up to this day. The beach stretches about 3 km with soft white sand fringed by coconut palms. It serves as the best ground for sunbathing and recreation such as beach strolling, cycling and so on. Unlike today's beaches of Asia, it is free of noisy beachside bars, crowded people and hawkers persuading you to buy their things. There are only natural scenic beauty of the blue sea, white sand and the lovely sun. The sea is cobalt blue, without any dangerous marine animals and clean. The water here is transparent and the sea is tranquil. Bicylce tours are arranged to visit the nearby villages. The villagers usually sun dry their fish, shrimp and coconut. These products are transported to Yangon and and over the country. The best time to visit this beach during October and May of every year.
Chaung Tha Beach
Chaung Tha Beach is located 40 km to the west of Pathein (Bassein) in Ayeyarwaddy Division. It is a very convenient drive from Yangon via Pathein taking about 5 hours. There are bungalow type hotels along the beach with modern facilities.
Myanmar owing to its natural environmental diversity is rich in many sites that feature untouched coastal areas , calm and peaceful ocean waters and wide stretches of unpolluted sandy beaches.
While listening to the whispering of the wind in the trees and among the palm fronds and to the regular sleep inducing beat of the ocean breakers as you relax in your rattan chair amidst the balmy breezes you will find yourself visibly relaxing and your cares and tensions slipping away.
Those who wish to engage in play activities on the beach may wish to take a dip in the ocean and ride the ocean waves or take a traditional bullock cart ride along the extensive stretches of the sandy beach.
Others may prefer to stroll along the seashore and visit nearby villages to sample the local cuisine and buy trinkets and ornaments fashioned from sea shells , cowries , mother of pearl , huge rock-shrimp and crabs , fossilized marine flora and unusual coral formations etc , to take back as souvenirs or presents upon their departure.
There are 15 top class hotels in Chaung Thar to cater to their every need. Some of the well-known ones are Max Hotel , Lai Lai Hotel , Ambo Hotel and Khine Chaung Thar. Those who find the atmosphere of cities stifling , the pressures of work stressful and the responsibilities of modern life becoming burdensome may shed their manifold worries for a while by visiting and enjoying a restful holiday interlude at Chaung Thar Beach.
Ngwe Saung Beach
Ngwe Saung Beach Resort , opened in the year 2.000 , is one of the loveliest and most pleasant beach resorts in Myanmar. Located in the Ayeyarwady Division , some 48 km from the town of Pathein. Ngwe Saung , with a beach frontage on the Bay of Bengal with its clear blue waters , its white crested waves , sandy beaches and unspoiled and pollution-free natural surroundings , is indeed one of the best places to select for a holiday interlude of rest and relaxation. The beach stretches for 15 km.
Ngwe Saung’s natural attractions are its blue waters , its extensive beaches , its silvery sands , its scenic and occasionally rocky shoreline , all set against a backdrop of tropical rain forests and the towering Rakhine mountain range.
These bungalows provide quality service to foreign tourists and domestic visitors and provide a quiet haven of peace and relaxation. For those wishing to engage in fun and games on the beach or in the ocean , life-buoys and speedboats are provided as well as facilities for speedboat trips , bicycling along the shore and horseback riding.
Ngwe Saung Beach extends its warmest welcome to all visitors who wish to relax amidst the waving palms and balmy breezes of a truly memorable ocean resort.
Myitkyina ( “ Myitkyi “ means “ Big River “ & “ na “ means “ near” , Myitkyina is the city nearby Big River ) is the capital city of Kachin State in the Northern Part of Myanmar. It is the northern most railway terminal, 919 miles from Yangon and 487 miles from Mandalay. Visitors can tour the Myit Sone , the confluence of Maikha and Malikha Streams. Ayeyarwady, the most useful river in Myanmar has its source from this confluence and flows 1325 miles ( 2170 Km ) throughout the country. The water over here is crystal clear. Myitkyina is home to Kachin ethnic people such as Kachin , Jinghpaw , Lisu , Lashi , Burmar , Indian & Chinese with population of 306,949 in 2014. The panoramic view of Myit Sone with the unspoiled beauty of nature is beyond the expression of words and will definitely be a fine attraction to tourists. Myitkyina can be reached by road , rail , river and air. Different tribes of national races live in harmony with their own cultures , customs , dialects , dances and lifestyles. The overland trade route to India and China and World War II supply line to China along the Ledo Road pass through Myitkyina. For mountaineering enthusiasts , expeditions to Mount Khaka Bo Razi and Mount Gam Lan Razi would be an adventure. Kachin Manaw Festival celebrates at Myitkyina at every January.
Katha is the small riverside town in the Sagaing Division & it is located at the western bank of Great Ayeyarwady River & it was model for Kyauktada in George Orwell’s novel “ Burmese Days “.
Katha is 12 hours by rail north of Mandalay through the railroad junction town of Naba which is 23 km (14 mi) to the west of Katha. A small branch of railway runs east from Naba to Katha. Katha can also be reached by ferries that run on the Ayeyarwaddy River between the upstream town of Bhamo down to Mandalay. There is also direct bus service from Mandalay to Katha, but it is a bumpy ride.
In 1926 and 1927 , Katha was briefly home to British colonial police officer , Eric Blair ( known by his pen name , George Orwell ).
Tourist attraction sites in Katha are George Orwell’s house , Deputy Commissioner’s Home , Fire station , Kan Thar Tennis Club that is constructed in 1923 , St. Paul’s Anglican Church , Government Anglo Vernacular High Scholl ( 1925 ) , British club & Nat Pauk Elephant Camp.
Although Orwell modified the plan of the town a little, it’s possible to seek out several of the colonial buildings that played a part either in the novel or in Orwell’s life in the town.