Visitors’ Guide to Myanmar
- Yangon, the capital
city, is the main gateway to Myannar. Evergreen and cool with
lush tropical trees, shady parks and beautiful lakfes, Yangon has earned the name of
“The Garden City of the East” Yangon was founded by King Alaungpaya on the site
of a small settlement called Dagon when he conquered Lower Myanmar in 1755. The name
Yangon means “End of Strife” which was anglicized as Rangoon by the Brit/sh. The
present day Yangon covers 400 sq I(m and has a population of over 4 million.
The main attraction of Yangon is the
world-famous Shwedagon Pagoda. The Shwedagon, believed to have been built more than 2500
years ago, is a much-revered shrine whose cultural splendour never fails to enchant.
Towering 100 metres above the green cityscape of Yangon, the Shwedagon is a landmark
visible from afar. Other tourist attractions include: the 70- tre long Reclining Buddha of
Chauk-tat-gyi Pagoda; Kaba Aye (World Peace) Pagoda and Maha Pasana Cave; giant Images of
Buddha’s Earlier Lives at Maila-mu Pagoda; Mahawizaya Pagoda; National Museum; Bogyoke
Aung San Park and Kandawgyi Lake; Peoples’ Square and Peoples’ Park; and Zoological
Pagoda, one of the wonders of the world
Bago, ancient capital of
the Mon Kings of the 14th to 16th century and of second Myanmar Empire created by King
Bayinnaung, is located only 80 km from Yangon. The Shwemawdaw Pagoda, Kalyani Thein
(Ordination Hall),the 55-metre long Shwethalyaung Reclining Buddha, the four giant Buddha
images of Kyaikpun Pagoda and the reconstructed Kamboza-thadi Place of Bayinnaung are some
of the highlights.
Only 30 minutes’ drive
from Yangon across the Bago River, Thanlyin was a major port from the 14th to the century,
until it was displaced by Yangon in 1755, and was briefly controlled by the Portuguese
adventurer de Brito at the beginning of the 17th century. The ruins of a Catholic Church
built by an Italian Barnabite missionary in the 18th century can still be seen in
Thanlyin. Kyaikkhauk Pagoda in Thanlyin and Yele’ Pagoda at Kyauktan are some of the
places of interest.
Twan-te, a small town on
Twan-te Canal is two hours away by boat from Yangon. The boat trip provides a view of life
along the canal while Twan-te itself provides interest as a centre of pottery and
hand-woven cotton cloth.
Allied War Memorial Cemetery
The Cemetery is located
at Htaukkyant, 32 km from Yangon on the road to Bago. Its beautifully kept grounds has
27,000 graves of Allied soldiers who died in Myanmar during World War II.
Located 30 km from Yangon
Tel-khok-kone is the nearest beach and a popular weekend picnic site. It is reached by a
ferry boat ride to Dallah followed by a 3 hours’ drive.
List of Hotels, Motels, & Inns recommended (Ygn)
- Comfort Inn
4, Shweli Rd, Kamaryut Township, Tel: 526872, 526865 Fax:-524256
- Hotel Equatorial Yangon
331 Alanpya Paya Road,Dagon Township, Tel: 250388,- Fax: 252478
- Kay Tu Ma Di Dynasty Hotel
24, 1 4th Street, Lanmadaw,
Tel: 226962, 225714, Fax: 226934
- Mya Yeik Nyo Royal
20, Pale Rd, Bahan T/S,
- Mya Yeik Nyo Deluxe
16-B, Thukha Waddy St, Yankin T/S, Tel: 566529, 663194
- New World Inya Lake Hotel
37, Kaba Aye Pagoda Rd, Tel: 662166 Fax: 665337
- Summit Parkview Hotel
- 350, Ahlone Road, Dagon T/S, Tel:227966,Fax:227993
- Windermere Inn
- 15(A), Aungmin Gaung Avenue, Than Lwin Rd, (Windermere),
- Kamayut T/S, Tel: 553846, 552613
- Classique Inn
- 53(B), Golden Valley, Bahan T/S, Tel: 530964
- Lai Lai Hotel
- 783, Maha Bandoola St, Tel: 225913, 227878
- Imperial Jate Hotel
- 33, Yaw Mm Gyi Rd, Dagon T/S, Tel: 272299
- Jupiter Inn
- 102(A), Dhamrna Zedi Rd, Bahan T/S, Tel: 281846, 291151
- Alfa Hotel
- 41, Nawaday St, Yawmingyi, Dagon T/S, Tel: 240127-33 (7-lines) Fax: 70137
- Gon Shein Myint Hotel
- 98-A, Kaba Aye Pagoda Rd, Bahan T/S, Tel: 550397
- RichLand Hotel
- 17, Thin Mingalar Rd, Kamayut T/S, Tel: 533070, 525220
- Three Seasons Hotel
- 83/85, 52nd St, Pazundaung T/S, Tel: 293304
- Bright Corner Inn
- 38, Bawdi Yeik Tha Rd, Bahan T/S, Tel:531958, 531838
- Best Executive Suites
- 69, Pyay Rd, 6� Miles, Tel: 525795
- Lace Inn
- 26, Khay Mar St, Sanohaung T/S, Tel:222669, 222056 Fax: 227254
- Welcome Hotel
- 93-4, Thanlwin Rd, Kamayut T/S Tel: 525962, 525966
- Arnandar Inn
- 21, University Avenue, Aungzeya Lane, Bahan T/S, Tel: 531251 Fax: 35018
- Hotel December
- 89-A, Pyay Rd, Dagon T/S, Tel: 221943, 223922 Fax: 227223
- Central Hoating Hotel
- 1-2, Wah-Dan Jetty, Tel: 227433, 227422, Fax: 227577
- Kandaw Gyi Palace Hotel
- KanYeiklha Rd,Tel: 282255, 282327
- Sedona Hotel
- 1, Kaba Aye Pagoda Rd, Yankin, Tel: 666900 Fax: 666911
- Hotel Nikko Royal Lake Yangon
- 40, Natmauk Road, Tamwe T/S Tel: 544500 Fax: 544400
- Yoma Hotel I & II
- (1)1 46,Bogyoke St. Pazundaung T/S Tel:297725,299243 Fax: 297957
- (II) 24/A, lnya Road, Kamayut T/S Tel: 521065,525482 Fax: 297957
- The last capital of the
third Myanmar Empire, Mandalay is situated in central Myanmar 668 km due north of Yangon.
It is the largest city after Yangon and is both a bustling commercial centre and a
repository of ancient culture. With the remains of the old Royal City and with many old
monasteries, Mandalay is a showcase for Myanmar art and architecture of the 19th century.
It is also noted for woodcarvings, silverware, tapestries, silkcloth, and other
traditional craft products.
Myanansankyaw Golden Palace, Mandalay Hill,
Shwenandaw, and Atu-ma-shi Monasteries, Mahamuni, Kuthodaw and Kyauktawgyi Pagodas are
some of the tourist attractions of Mandalay.
& Inns Recommended (Mdy)
- Garden Hotel
1 74, 83rd St, Bet: 24th & 25th Sts, Tel: 02-27657, 251 84.
- Sedona Hotel Mandalay
- Tel: 02-36488, Fax: 36499
- Mandalay Swan Hotel
- Corner of 28th & 68th Sts. Tel: 02-22499, 22568
- Myit Phyar Ayer Hotel
- 568, 80th St. Bet. 33rd & 34th Sts. Tel: 02-27242, 25234
Sagaing lies 21 km
south-west of Mandalay on the opposite bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. The Sagaing Hills
are noted as a religious retreat and has over 400 monasteries and nunneries. About 10 km
from Sagaing is the Kaunghmudaw, an enormous dome-shaped pagoda built by King Thalun in
1636. At the near by village of Ywataung, one can see silversmiths making
silverware by traditional methods.
Pagoda, the magnificent dome of Sagaing
Situated about 11 km
south of Mandalay, Amarapura is one of the capitals of the third Myanmar Empire. A
1208-metre long wooden bridge built by Alderman U Pein spans Taungthaman lake and
at its farther end is Kyauktawgyi Pagoda.
In-wa, built in 1364, is
another ancient capital, and for a time, Myanmar was known to early travellers as In-wa.
It is noted for the Maha Aung Mye Bonzan (Ok Kyaung),one of the few monasteries built in
Located about 11 km
upriver on the western bank of the Ayeyawaddy River; Mingun has a gigantic unfinished
pagoda, 50metres high, overlooking the river; and the 90-ton Mingun Bell, the largest
ringing bell in the world.
About 136 km to the west
of Mandalay is Monywa, the commercial center of the northwest Bodhi-ta-taung (one thousand
Bo trees), Thanbokde Pagoda, Po-win taung Hills and Kyaukka village are some of the
interesting places to visit.
The principal hill
station and summer retreat of the colonial period: Pyin-Oo-Lwin is 67 km away from
Mandalay. It is over 1000 metres above sea level and has a pleasantly cool weather all
year round. The 142-hectare Botanical Garden, Pwekauk Waterfalls, and Chinese Temple are
places worth visiting. Nearby are Peik-chin-hmyaung Cave and GokTeik Rail Bridge.
Ancient City with largest number of Pagodas in Myanmar
- The main tourist destination in Myanmar is Bagan, capital of the
first Myanmar Empire; one of the richest archaeological sites in South-east Asia. Situated
on the eastern bank of the Ayeyawaddy River, it is reached by a 90 minute hight from
Yangon. The 42 sq km area of Bagan contains over 2000 edifices, the well-preserved pagodas
and temples representing the rich cultural heritage of the 11th – 13th century. Among the
significant temples and pagodas are:-
- Ananda Temple
Built by King Kyansittha
in 1090, the Ananda Temple is the masterpiece of early style temple architecture. There
are four huge Buddha images in the standing position at the four faces and a series of
eighty reliefs depicting the life of the Buddha.
Over 66 metres high: the
Thatbyinnyu Temple, built by King Alaungsithu, in the middle of the 12th century, overtops
all other monuments and its terrace affords visitors a magnificent panorama of the Bagan
Gubyaukgyi Temple (Wetkyi-in)
A 13th century temple
with a spire resembling the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodha Gaya in India: the Gubyaukgyi is
noted for its wall paintings, depicting scenes from the previous lives of the Buddha.
Built by King Nadaungmya
in 1211: the 50 metres high Htilominlo is one of the largest temples of Bagan; and is
noted for its fine plaster carvings.
This massive temple:
built by King Narathu in the 12th century, displays the finest brickwork in Bagan.
Built by King Anawrahta,
founder of the first Myanmar Empire, and finished by King Kyansittha in 1084; the
Shwezigon was held in special reverence by successive kings and became the prototype for
later Myanmar pagodas.
- Some Pagodas
About 67 km southeast of
Bagan is Mount Popa, an extinct volcano over 1,500 metres high, rising out of the plains.
It is famed as the abode of the Mahagiri Nats or Spirit gods to whom the Kings of Bagan
paid annual homage and their shrines can be seen at a nearby rocky crag.
Travelling to Bogon by road
Bagan, the ancient city
in Central Myanmar is accessible by road, by train and by air. The distance between Yangon
and Bagan is 684 kilometres by road. The road passes through the plains, mostly
cultivated. The crop land on either side is part of the 8.8 million cultivated hectares of
Myanmar. Along the road, travellers can see emerald green paddy fields of varying sizes.
Occasionally, they will notice a white-washed pagoda or two on hill tops. They will also
pass some cities and towns.
The first stretch of the road is from Yangon to
Bago, 80 kilometres long. The road passes through the Bago plain. Paddy fields are on
either side of the road. Bago Division is a major producer of paddy, the staple food of
the nation. Indagaw lies 58 km from Yangon. It is located at the southern edge of the Bago
Yoma mountain range and it is the base of the Rubber Plantations Development Project.
According to the slogan, “We shall cover the Yoma with white gold”, the
plantations stretch northward along the base of the Bago Yoma.
Bago is an ancient capital of the Mon Kingdom
of Hanthawady. There are many places of interest such as Shwemawdaw Pagoda, Shwethalyaung
reclining Buddha image, Mahazedi Pagoda, Kyaikpun Image, Kalyani Sima and the
reconstructed Palace of King Bayintnaung.
Next major town after Bago on the way is
Toungoo, 200 km away. It is also an ancient capital. Vestiges of the city wall, and the
moat stand witness to the town’s past. From Toungoo, a road extends to Shan Yoma in the
east reaching the northern part of Kayin State and Kayah State. Thandaung, a hill resort
in Kayah State, is also accessible by this road.
Toungoo is famous for its products bananas,
tea, coffee, betel nuts and cardamom. Then, comes Pyinmana, 110 km from Toungoo.
Just beyond the town, there lies the Yezin Dam. The Yezin Agricultural Institute and the
Institute of Animal Husbandry are also located in Pyinmana Township.
After Pyinmana, the road enters the Meiktila
plain. The rain is scarce in the area. The rainfall in the area is recorded less than 125
cm a year. So, vegetation and crops in the area are different. Travellers will not see
paddy fields; they will see the fields of groundnut and sesamum, traditional oil crops.
There also are fields of beans and pulses, export items.
The next major town in Central Myanmar is
Meikila, 150 km drive From Pyinmana. Meiktila Lake, which is situated in the centre
of the town, is Famous. It provides peaceful atmosphere and fresh air. The town serves as
the point of access to Shan State in the east, the capital of which is Taunggyi. The
highway from Yangon goes on to Mandalay in the north. Bagan-bound travellers will have to
follow the road extending to the west. The next town is Kyaukpadaung, 96 km away from
Meiktila. They will see a lot of toddy palms on either side of the road. Then,
Kyetmauktaung Hill will come into view. There is Kyetmauktaung Dam which irrigates the
crop-land in the surrounding areas.
The last stretch of the road from Kyaukpadaung
to Bagan is 48 km. Travellers will see Mount Popa in the distance. As it is over 1,500
metres high the area gets rain when the rain clouds pass over it. Mt. Popa is important
for the area.
In addition to the scenic view along the road
to Bagan, the roadside is of interest with local products and delicacies.
- Taunggyi, the capital
city of Shan State in the eastern part of Myanmar, is known for its scenic beauty and
pleasantly cool climate. Situated over 1,400 metres above sea-level; Taunggyi is a popular
The prime attraction of
Shan State is Inlay Lake; located about 30 km south of Taunggyi. This vast, picturesque
lake, surrounded by hazy blue mountains, is 900 metres above sea-level. It is 22 km long
and 10 km wide with hoating islands. Inlay Lake is famous for its Inthas (native
lake-dwellers) with a unique way of rowing with their legs and a colourful hoating
market.At the northern end of the lake is Nyaungshwe, a small town 27 km from Taunggyi;
and gate-way to the Inlay Lake.
About 70 km west of
Taunggyi is Kalaw; a peaceful summer resort nestled in pine-clad mountains. Nearby are
villages of Palaung and other hill tribes who come to Kalaw market in their colourful
costumes, adding to the quiet attraction of Kalaw.
Pindaya, 45 km from
Kalaw, is a small picturesque town at the foot of Mene mountain range. It is famous for
its Caves in which thousands of Buddha images have been placed or carved for many
Journney to Taunggyi by car
Taunggyi is situated in
the southern Shan State and is the capital of Shan State. It is 1,400 metres above
sea-level and has a moderate climate.
Taunggyi and its neighbouring areas such as
Kalaw, Pindaya, Nyaungshwe and Inlay Lake can be reached by road. The distance between
Yangon and Taunggyi is 731 km. From Yangon, one has to branch off at Thazi, a few miles
away from Meiktila.
On the way to Taunggyi, travellers will arrive
at a village called Yinmabin before reaching Kalaw, a wellknown hill station. From
Yinmabin, it takes about two hours to reach Kalaw. It is a scenic route which is
reminiscent of the Swiss ALps. Travellers will have to pass the plantations as well while
climbing the Shan Hills.
Kalaw is situated on the western edge of the
Shan Plateau and the area is pleasantly cool. It is a good place for hiking amid pines,
bamboo groves and undulating mountain range scenery. The plateau near Kalaw is inhabited
by people of the Palaung and Pa-O nationalities.
About 45 km drive from Kalaw, there lies
Pindaya, which is noted for its extensive limestone caves and picturesque lake. The scenic
road between Pindaya and Aungban passes through Pa-O and Danu villages. Along the way,
travellers will see fields of dry cultivated mountain rice. The road from Kalaw to Pindaya
is a breath-taking beauty of the region. Enormous wide spreading banyan trees which are
said to be more than a thousand years old line the way to the Pindaya caves. The caves at
Pindaya are set deep in the hillsides and there stands at the entrance the 15 metre-high
The 93 km drive from Pindaya to Nyaungshwe
takes about two and a half hours. Travellers will get to Shwenyaung after passing Aungban,
Heho and Shwenyaung. It is a small town which lies at the northern end of Inlay Lake. The
route from Pindaya to Nyaungshwe is also very picturesque with panoramic mountain views.
Along the scenic mountain route, travellers
will see water buffaloes, some working, some grazing and some being ridden by kids, pony
carts, ducks, lotus howers in water pools and farmers at work in the paddy fields.
The famous Phaung-Daw-U Pagoda in the Inlay
Lake can be reached by boat from Nyaungshwe Jetty. The Lake itself is 900 metres above sea
level, 22 km in length and 10 km in breadth. It is sheltered amongst hazy blue mountains .
The distance between Nyaungshwe and Taunggyi,
the capital of Shan State, is about 30 km. It is about an hour’s drive from Nyaungshwe.
The road to Taunggyi is full of bends and zigzags. Seen from above, it resembles a snake.
The surrounding areas are covered with pine, cherry and eucalyptus trees making the whole
area green and pleasant.
It is truly a delightful journey by car to
Taunggyi in Shan State which is decked with misty blue mountain ranges, thick forests,
crystal clear lakes and fabulous landscapes.