Not so long ago, Myanmar was called Burma, and under this name it is better known to admirers of culture, architecture and traditions of Southeast Asia. Despite its proximity to Thailand and Cambodia, the former Burma is strikingly different from its neighboring countries in its unique flavor and its own outlook on life. Burmese seem to be full of their own dignity, but at the same time they do not forget to smile at the rare tourists. If you're flipping through travel guides looking for what to see in Myanmar, be prepared for an avalanche of information! The country is exceptionally rich not only in the world's best Mogok rubies, but also in architectural landmarks that sparkle in Burmese landscapes no less than stones of the first magnitude.
TOP 15 attractions in Myanmar
The heart of the country is called the Shwedagon stupa in Yangon, called the cultural capital of Myanmar. The gilded structure soared into the sky to a height of 98 meters, along the perimeter it is surrounded by a palisade of pagodas and smaller stupas. Of particular value to the Shwedagon Pagoda is not even the diamonds that adorn the famous structure of Myanmar, but the relics stored in it. According to legend, eight hairs of Gautama Buddha and several other items significant for believers are hidden in the stupa. About 60 tons of pure gold were used to gilt the huge temple complex, and the number of sculptural images of mythical animals that adorn the Shwedagon and neighboring stupas is simply impossible to count. The building is dated to the 15th century.
The entrance ticket costs $ 5.
Another magnificent example of Burmese architecture, the Sule Pagoda is located in the heart of Yangon. Its peculiarity is an octahedral stupa, and the number of edges does not decrease even after the roof passes into the spire. The height of the stupa is just under 50 m. The Sule Pagoda is known for the fact that the British colonizing Burma used the building as a starting point for numbering streets.
The name of the sacred stupa in the Mon language sounds like "Chak Athok", which means "Pagoda with the sacred hair". Residents of Yangon are sure that this stupa also contains the hair of the Buddha. It is believed that the structure was founded more than 2000 years ago.
Entrance - 2 $.
Yangon National Museum
Another interesting tourist attraction in Myanmar is the National Museum in Yangon. In its halls you can see the Lion Throne of the last king from the Konbaun dynasty that reigned in the country. The ceremonial armchair has a very solid size, and its eight-meter-high back, like the seat, is entirely made of gold.
Other magnificent exhibits await you in the museum - a box inlaid with precious rubies, robes embroidered with diamonds, chairs skillfully carved from ivory, weapons and ancient coins.
Chaittiyo Gold Stone
The famous Buddhist shrine in the vicinity of Yangon deserves special attention. The peculiarity of the pagoda is that it is built on top of a huge granite block, balancing on the edge of a cliff. The stone is covered with gold leaf, like the five-meter stupa standing on it. Residents of Burma claim that the spirits put the stone on the rock and it happened 2500 years ago. A huge boulder can even be slightly swayed and at this moment a rope can be dragged under it. Only men can do this, but the fair sex is not allowed to approach Chaittiyo closer than 10 m. How the structure rests on the edge of a steep cliff is a mystery, but the legend says that the balance helps to preserve again the hair of the Buddha, walled up in the wall of the pagoda.
When asked what to see in Myanmar, people who know this country will first of all name Bagan. The ancient capital of the kingdom of the same name, this city is an archaeological region, where thousands of buildings of amazing beauty are located. In Bagan, you will see pagodas and stupas, monasteries and Buddhist temples. Most of the buildings are made of red brick or white stone. Some of them are covered with gold, and the approaches to them are landscaped and equipped with some objects of tourist infrastructure.
Pagodas usually have four altars with Buddha statues in each direction of the horizon. Many are decorated with frescoes, meditation niches and even keep the most valuable relics. For example, in the Shwezigon and Lokananda Chaun pagodas, monks take care of the Buddha's teeth.
Most of the buildings in Bagan were built in the 11th-13th centuries.
Not far from the center of the city of the same name, there is a complex of religious and cultural structures, where hundreds of pilgrims from different parts of Myanmar go up every day. To reach the top of Mandalay Hill, you will have to overcome more than 1,700 steps, but along the way you will encounter a lot of interesting and informative things. Climbing the hill, you can take panoramic photos of Mandalay, visit the U-Kanti hermit hall with relics from Peshawar and buy souvenirs in small shops. The main shrines of the hill are fragments of the bones of Buddha Gautama, which have been kept in U-Kanti for almost 2000 years.
Pyin-o-Lwin Botanical Gardens
Huge pine and eucalyptus trees, swan ponds and flower sculptures that are refreshed as the seasons change are not the only attractions in the botanical gardens near Mandalay. The park is called Pyin-Oo-Lwin and is famous for its collection of orchids. In the greenhouses of the garden, more than 40 rare varieties of representatives of this family and dozens of other types of orchids, which are more common on the planet, are grown.
In addition to the diverse flora, the park attracts the attention of tourists with children's playgrounds, enclosures with animals, the Butterfly Museum and a mini-museum with fossilized plant fragments dating back millions of years.
Maha Muni Pagoda
Once in Myanmar and arriving in Mandalay, do not forget to look at the Maha Muni Pagoda and ask the Buddha for well-being and prosperity. This stupa contains bronze statues of warriors in the image of Shiva, mythical lions and the elephant Airavat, which, according to local believers, are able to heal any disease and bring good luck. To consolidate the effect, it is important to touch the sore spot on any of the six sculptures or, if you can do that, to get in touch with it with the power of thought.
The main relic stored in Maha Muni is a golden sculpture depicting the Buddha himself. The four-meter statue was brought along with six healing ones from the Arakan kingdom several centuries ago.
Mandalay Palace and Fort
A dozen gates, nearly nine dozen huge ceremonial rooms and dazzling luxury of interiors - this is the Mandalay Palace, built in the middle of the 19th century by King Mindon. The palace complex is often called the Kremlin because of its regular quadrangular shape and fortress wall. It is surrounded by a moat with four bridges over it.
Pagoda of Great Merit
The Kuto do Paya temple complex consists of 729 graceful small white stone pavilions, each containing one page of Buddhist text. The letters are engraved on marble steles, and from all 729 pages one can add the full text of the Tripitaka - a set of sacred texts written in the 5th-3rd centuries. BC NS. at the First Buddhist Cathedral. To read a book in its entirety requires doing it continuously for 450 days. The text printed on paper occupies 38 volumes of four hundred pages each.
Shopping is an important part of any trip. Especially if a tourist is looking for souvenirs made by the hands of local craftsmen in order to preserve the memory of the trip as long as possible. In Myanmar, you can go shopping at the Mandalay Jade Market.
There are more than 1170 shops and shops in the bazaar, where various jade products are presented: beads and rosary, figurines and dishes, medallions and mythological figurines.
Jade market address: corner of 38 and 86 streets.
The Uppatasanti pagoda in the capital of the country, copying the Yangon Shwedagon, was built in 2009. Despite the status of a "remake", it is popular among pilgrims and tourists who come to Naypyidaw. In the inner hall of the stupa there are four sculptures depicting the Buddha made of jade, and the main treasures of the temple are Buddhist shrines and relics preserved from the reign of King Mindong. The name of the pagoda in translation means "Protection from disasters".
Popa Daung Kalat
An extinct volcano with a funny name for the Russian ear, Popa, is a well-known natural landmark of the country. It is located not far from Bagan, and you can climb to its top and look at the breathtaking views of Myanmar opening from a height of one and a half kilometers. The list of interesting objects of Mount Popa includes more than two hundred springs with clear water and a Buddhist temple with images of 37 spirits of nature. Believers believe that an extinct volcano near Bagan is the habitat of otherworldly forces responsible for the perfection of the surrounding world.
While relaxing on the beaches of Ngapali, you can go to the ancient Burmese city of Mrauk-U, which was built in the 15th century. King Minsomon. A century later, the city became an important shopping center in this part of Southeast Asia, and today on the territory of the complex you can see architectural sights in the Buddhist style. Mrauk-U even resembles Bagan in miniature, because on its small territory there are many stupas and pagodas.
The most famous and interesting object of the old city is the Shiteton temple, built in the first half of the 16th century. It is called a pagoda with 80 thousand images. The road to the old buildings is no less interesting: you can get to Mrauk-U only by boat.
At the Elephant Camp near the beach resort of Ngapali, tourists are presented with real shows. Four-legged giants obediently fulfill all requests of trainers, demonstrate remarkable intelligence and show various acrobatic tricks. Elephants are trained by trainers of the local Karen tribe. It is worth noting that elephants in Myanmar are beloved and revered animals, and therefore a trip to the Elephant Camp leaves only positive impressions. Wishing guests are given the opportunity to ride a four-legged giant and take a photo with elephants.