20 Top Sights in Myanmar

At least 9 should be written down in your itinerary

Myanmar is, as BBC Travel describes “uniquely linked with magic”, ever alluring to many travelers who want to peel off its isolated, laid-back and somehow chaotic layers. You don’t want to miss out these amazing must-sees.

Home > Myanmar > 20 Top Sights in Myanmar (9 Musts)

Why These Attractions Make the Cut…

  • With so many attractions super-imposed on Buddhism, these certain attractions are simply provable for the essence.
  • The accessibility to foreign travelers makes it possible to be composed of a trip, no matter you are traveling independently or using a private service.
  • Getting to know Myanmar involves much more than just seeing in naked eyes; all these attractions allow you to be linked with them by experiences.

20 Top Attractions in Myanmar

For such a large country in Myanmar, it's quite a pickle to make the list short. Stunning sights are literally all over the place, pagodas, monasteries, city streets, local markets, villager's houses, lake, mountains and you name it. Time is limited so we only narrow the country's spectaculars down to 20. Select at least 9 that interest you the most and you are good to go!

shwedagon-pagoda-under-the-night-sky-in-yangon

Yangon: Shwedagon Pagoda

It goes without a saying as this pagoda is the symbol of Myanmar and a primary venue to witness Burmese’ religious practice.
Gatsby’s Tip: Visit at sunset and afterwards you can get to a rooftop restaurant nearby to overlook the city under the pagoda’s glistering.

statue-of-general-aung-san

Yangon: Aung San Suu Kyi's House

The place where General Aung San raised Aung San Suu Kyi, also the same place for her 15-year some home arrest. Stories are to be told.
Gatsby’s Tips: Some background learning would bring more insight; we suggest the movie The Lady and the book Freedom from Fear.

ananda-pagoda-at-night

Bagan: Ananda Pagoda

Fully restored after 1975’s earthquake, the temple is visible from afar and lit up at night. You simply just can cross this beautiful masterpiece off.
Gatsby’s Tip: An important festival celebrating the traditional lives of farmers of Bagan will be held here during late December and early January.

novices-with-candles-at-shwezigon-pagoda

Bagan: Shwezigon Pagoda

The local worship center and the original model of Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, this pagoda is located in the humble village of Nyaung U and good for an afternoon trip.
Gatsby’s Tip: Photographers would love to shoot inside the pagoda with candles lit up by novices.

a-local-woman-at-nyaung-u-market

Bagan: Nyaung U Market

Most locals have been moved to New Bagan and if you want a taste of a traditional Burmese village, Nyuang U is the best bet. Check out the bustling market and Thanaka workshop.
Gatsby's Tip: Ethnic minorities from Bagan and around would dress up for the big market days.

face-washing-ritual-at-mahamuni-pagoda

Mandalay: Mahamuni Pagoda

At 0400am, the daily ritual of face-washing begins at Mahamuni Pagoda, introducing you to local monks' daily pratice. Mahamuni Festival is held in early February.
Gatsby's Tips: Female visitors are not allowed to enter the main hall but there is live video chamber.

monks-at-mahagandayon-monastery

Mandalay: Mahagandayon Monastery

Every day before lunch time, monks, nuns and novices will gather in line waiting for the locals to distrube their food. Nobody talks, what a scene!
Gatsby's Tips: Lunch time comes at 1000am, so you need to set off before 0800am in order to get a nice spot for watching .

fisherman-on-inle-lake

Inle Lake: One-Leg Rowing Fisherman

The unique rowing technique is not for everybody to grasp but Inle Lake's fishermen are absolutely masters of balance.
Gatsby's Tip: Fishermen always set out for fishing at the early morning or evening and we will put you on a close-up at their evening fishing.

bathing-an-elephant-at-kalaw-green-hill-valley-elephant-camp

Kalaw: Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp

No riding, no circus tricks and no cages, this elephant camp is devoted to improving elephants' natural habitat by rebuilding the local eco system.
Gatsby's Tip: A less-visited yet quite family-friendly place, it can be reached from Inle Lake on a day trip or included in a multi-day trekking trip.

cattle-dealers-in-putao

Putao: Myanmar Himalaya

The Himalaya Mountain Range stretches out to the norther tip of Myanmar in Kachin Region. A trekking trip takes 2 to 3 days and gets you to the least-touched natural terrians.
Gatsby's Tips: It can be reached from Mandalay and foreign travelers must be accompanied. .

streets-of-yangon-colonial-district

Yangon: Colonial District

Not just for the history buffs, this collective range of colonial-style buildings depicting the past of the country. Walking is the best way.
Gatsby’s Tip: Plan an hour for afternoon high tea at The Strands where you can kick back with your informative guide and learn about the backstories.

locals-worshiping-the-golden-rock

Kyaiktiyo: Golden Rock

Those who’d venture so far to Kyaiktiyo definitely want to see more than just a giant rock — how pilgrims contribute their worship stuns the most.
Gatsby’s Tips: Stay one night upon arrival at the mountaintop hotel facing to the rock, you will get the first bright sun ray the next morning.

watching-balloon-flight-at-sulamani-pagoda

Kyaiktiyo: Golden Rock

Famous for its delicately grazed ceramic, Sulamani Pagoda is situated in the central of Bagan Plains, an ideal place to watch sunrise.
Gatsby’s Tip: Save up the money for a balloon flight, you can watch balloons floating over your head while standing on top of this pagoda.

balloons-over-dhammayangyi-temple

Bagan: Dhammayangyi Temple

Locals call this pyramid-shaped temple Mama of mamas, indicating its imposing standing as one of the most impressive sites linked with a brutal royal court murder.
Gatsby's Tip: Sunrise, pano view and balloon watching spot, be there early!

irrawaddy-dolphin

Irrawaddy River: Cruising on the River

The most popluar cruising route is between Mandalay and Bagan, featuring riverside villages, natural landscapes and chance to spot endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins.
Gatsby’s Tip: Most cruises are sold as package tours through agents, ranging from 1 day and up.

kuthodaw-pagoda-in-mandalay

Mandalay: Kuthodaw Pagoda

Boasting as the world's largest book, Kuthodaw Pagoda in downtown Mandalay is actually a cluster of white chambers containing Budhism teachings.
Gatsby’s Tips: Early morning and evening are the best time for photography. You can get a great view from the top of Mandalay Hill, too.

a-sunset-photo-of-u-bein-bridge

Amarapura: U Bein Bridge

The world's longest teak wood brigde, U Bein Bridge, has made tons of post-card shots. Take a boat ride in the lake and watch the sun slowly sets.
Gatsby's Tips: For photographers, it's advisible to be there at least one hour before the sunset. During the dry season,you can stand on an islet in the lake.

pagodas-and-monastery-in-inle-lake

Inle Lake: Flaoting Gardens & Villages

Unlike the fishermen observation that requires some certain arrangement, the lake itself comes as a boundless realm for exploration: floating gardens, private house of the Intha people, floating restaurants, monasteries and pagodas and don't forget the 5-Day Market!

farmers-working-on-the-field-in-kalaw

Kalaw: Villages, Valleys, Hills and More

Being one of the most popular trekking destinations in Myanmar, Kalaw offers trekking routes varying from easy-peasy one-day to strenuous multi-day ones. The scenery and friendly ethnic minorities along the way make it all worthy.
Gatsby Tip: Staying in the village is pretty basic.

a-local-fisherman-at-ngapali-beach

Ngapali: Maung Shwe Lay Village

A day trip to Maung Shwe Lay Fishing Village is a delightful spice to your beach free days, offering you insights of Burmese traditional fishing, chance to snorkeling and kayaking in the crystal sea.
Gatsby's Tips: Boat ride can be booked at your hotel but be sure to be back before the tide comes.

Plan it Right with Gatsby Insiders ...

The more you learn about this amazing country, the better you will understand how impossible it is to select only 20 attractions in our top picks. Ambition to take it all is understandable. Focuse on the most important experiences that you flight all the way to embrace and mix up something on the side, which is the key to make your trip to Myanmar full of variety. You may chat with our team to find out more...

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