Mystic and cosmopolite, Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon is the biggest city in Myanmar with its over 5 million population. Explore the streets and the pagodas of this lively city given rhythm by Buddhism.
Due to its history, Rangoon is packed with religious structures from every religion, from Hindu temples to cathedrals, you will even see mosques and synagogues in Myanmar’s former Capital. One of the most famous places to visit in Yangon is the Shwedagon Pagoda. The Golden Pagoda is one of the most sacred Buddhist pagodas in Myanmar as it is known to contain relics of the four previous Buddhas of the present Kalpa.
Yangon is a green city, not due to political will but because of the weather, which, if we evacuated the city one day, would grow a jungle within a few years. Let’s not forget to mention the Kandawgyi park and the two lakes located in the city.
Lastly, do not forget to visit the colonial area of Yangon. The colonial quarter has a lot of gems if you know how to appreciate architecture. The buildings are in bad conditions but do not stop on that fact and make a time leap, imagining yourself back to the colonial era.
If you are looking for something to do during a half-day, try the circular train, it is an authentic and local experience. The circular train is doing around bound around the city and is a good way to discover the diversity of the city.
Former royal Capital, Mandalay is in the north of Myanmar and is the second largest city of the country. The city is large, busy and noisy, but easy to visit as the streets are well organised, and for those who get lost easily, a palace is in the middle of the city and will help you to find your way.
Mandalay has few gems but if you are going there to visit, you better visit its suburbs and mainly its former Capital (Ava, Amarapura …)
But what should you visit in Mandalay?
Such as visiting the Eiffel tour in France or the site of Angkor in Cambodia, visiting the temples of Bagan is a must-do during a trip to Myanmar, not to mention the sunset. Located in the Mandalay’s region, Bagan is a large Buddhist archaeological site of over 50 square kilometres.
The temples of Bagan were built at the begging of the 10th century. Through the years the temples have been deteriorated but the worst devastation they have been subject to was a devasting earthquake in 1975.
Most of the temples located in Bagan are small, but you will be able to see various stately temples from different eras. But the most beautiful spectacle in Bagan is the sunset, but where will you get the best view?
Shwesandaw temple is the best spot to contemplate the sunset. You will be high enough to be able to see the other temples stretching in the horizon as far as the eyes can see, but you will also have some of the important temples of the site, therefore you will see the sun setting down in the perfect axes.
Discover a lake in the middle of a mountainous and refreshing environment. Around the lake are located numerous fishermen and Intha villages, living around the lake in stilts houses.
Explore the floating villages and be amazed by Intha’s ingeniosity and learn about their culture and how they are growing their floating garden. Local ethnicities and markets are giving a unique vibe to this lake.
The Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda also named the golden rock is one of Burma’s most sacred Buddhist sites. The golden rock is an important pilgrimage for Burmese Buddhists. It is a massive stone on the edge of a cliff with a pagoda on top of it enshrining a hair of the Buddha. The rock that appears to be gold is a granite boulder covered with gold leaf applied to the rock by Buddhist devotees.
Once you will arrive around the rock, you will be in an atmosphere of devotion, pictured by the burning candles, the chanting of devotees, offerings and the smell of incense.
One of Myanmar’s most famous beaches, Ngapali is located 7km away from the city of Thandwe (Sandoway). White, soft sand, coconut trees, beach bungalows, nothing’s missing for some farniente during your trip.