Myanmar's attractions lie largely in the area of the spiritual. Temples, pagodas and historical sites boasting so many attractions that it would be impossible to take them in during a single visit. With friendly locals, a tropical climate, cheap transportation and truly awesome sights, Myanmar is a fascinating and bewitching destination.
Officially known as Rangoon, this is the capital of Myanmar with over five million inhabitants, and surrounded by water on three sides. Yangon is also home to many evergreen parks and picturesque gardens, perfect for picnics and strolls. Those who opt for a spiritual and enriching trip will enjoy the several ancient pagodas to be found and meanwhile, those who are after a glimpse into the country's history and culture will definitely be interested in the museums around the city. Tourist attractions of Yangon include the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, the Botahtaung Pagoda, the Sule Pagoda situated at the heart of the city center, and the Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda. The national museum, the biggest marble Buddha Image at the Kyauktawgi Pagoda and white elephants in the Yangon zoo are a few more interesting places to stop over when visiting. If one prefers culture, the five-storey national museum displays literature, culture, history, ethnic group arts and crafts.
Shwedagon Pagoda, synonymous with Myanmar, is probably the most famous tourist attraction in Myanmar. Considered to be the oldest pagoda on Earth, it is the centre of Buddhism in Myanmar. The pagoda is believed to be covered in 30 tons of gold (some say 60 tons, no body knows the exact amount), with a large number of jewels buried inside the pagoda. There is also a collection of best Myanmar arts and crafts in Shwedagon as most of the shrines are decorated in best Myanmar sculptures and wood curving.
Botahtaung Pagoda, considered one of the three major worship sites in Yangon (the other two being Shwedagon and Sule Pagoda), features quirky charms and peculiarities. Located on the bank of the Yangon River, Botahtaung is a typical gilded dome that tapers gradually to the top and is capped by a symbolic fan-shape spire. Unlike many pagodas (known as zedi in Myanmar), Botahtaung is hollow inside allowing visitors to walk through to admire what is considered the highlight of any pilgrimage - a glass case containing a sacred hair relic of the Buddha.
Sule Pagoda, smacking right in the centre of a busy commercial district, on the thoroughfare between two major roads, has historical and cultural significance. The 2,500-year-old temple is believed to have been built during the time of the Buddha Guatama. It contains a single hair relic of the Buddha. Sule Pagoda is a typical dome-shaped structure or stupa, found in the neighboring countries of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. The main Pagoda, a curious octagonal bell shape, is surrounded by minor stupas, bronze bells, and shrines containing eight Buddha images representing each day of the week (Wednesday represents two days). A short stroll away admires the typical colonial-style buildings at the City Hall, the High Court and the Independence Monument.
Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, located northeast of Shwedagon, houses an impressive Buddha image of 65 meters long and 16 meters high. Also known as the Sweet-Eyed Buddha, the statue's porcelain face has expressive large eyes, vermillion lips, blue eye shadow and red nails. Resting on his right, the Buddha's staggered feet are decorated with 108 sacred Buddhist symbols. Surroundings are small shrines devoted to Buddha of each day of the week. Visitors should first pay homage to the main Buddha and then worship at the shrine of the Buddha of their birthdates. Visitor should also take a look at an exquisite Ngar Htat Gyi Pagoda containing a large seated Buddha with an elaborate armor-like golden robe and the clever three-dimensional artwork of the Buddha.
National Museum has stunning exhibits including the Lion Throne of the last Burmese King - Thibaw Min; the Mandalay Regalia, a collection of gem-studded swords, jewelry, bowls; and many other cultural exhibits.
Yangon Zoo beside Kandawgyi Lake is a good place to escape from the heat and hustle of the city, especially for families with young children. Established in 1901, it was called Victoria Memorial Park and Zoological Gardens in honor of Queen Victoria. At that time, the highlight of the opening was the auspicious white elephant belonging to King Thibaw, the last king of Burma. Renamed Yangon Zoological Gardens and Parks in 1951, the spacious 70-acre establishment now boasts over 1,100 animals, representing 200 species that include rare and endangered breeds such as Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, clouded leopards, hornbills and marsh crocodiles, among others. It also houses a rich variety of Southeast Asian flora including trees, shrubs, bamboo, palms and seasonal flowers.
Situated 80 km north east of Yangon, Bago makes a perfect trip to Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda. It is home to a big reclining Buddha image and the golden Shwemawdaw Pagoda, a notable landmark in Bago. There is a noted monastery where an end is made to take photos of Buddhist monk’s position in queue in the late morning for their last meal of the day.
Htaukkyan War Cemetery,located on the road to Bago, is a beautifully kept cemetery. The Allied War Memorial Cemetery in Taukkyan commemorates over 30,000 British Commonwealth soldiers who died in Burma during World War II. There are 6,374 beautifully well-kept graves in all. A further 27,000 names of fallen soldiers with unknown graves are engraved on the Rangoon Memorial. Every attempt was made by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to bring in the remains of those who died in different parts of the country, and the graves are grouped into different battles, namely Meiktila, Akyab (Sittwe), Mandalay, and Sahmaw.
Shwetalyaung Pagoda is a huge reclining Buddha, over 55 meters long and 16 meters high. It is said to be one of the largest and most lifelike of all reclining Buddha's.
Shwemawdaw Pagoda, with the height of 114 meters, completely dominates the town with over 1,000 years old.
Mon State, situated Southern Part of Myanmar, is close boarders with Bago Division, Kayin State, Thailand, Thanintharyi Division, Adaman Sea and Motama. The most interesting place to visit in Mon State is the Golden Rock Pagoda.
Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda - The Golden Rock, located 180km south of Yangon, is a large natural rock, covered in gold, which stabilizes itself on the edge of a natural rock pillar 1,100 meters above sea level. Kyaiktiyo is regarded as a legend, a sacred site that any devout Myanmar must visit once in their lifetime. The rock itself is 5.5 metres high and is topped by a small pagoda. It is covered in gold leaf and contains a hair relic of Buddha Gautama. Many Buddhists, not only Burmese, but also Chinese, Thais, Laos and many other foreigners, believe the Rock holds magical power. A small pagoda was built on top of the Rock. It is open to visitors mainly during the cool season.
|YANGON AREA AND THE MON STATE|