Visitors’ Guide to Myanmar (Major Tourist Destinations)

Visitors’ Guide to Myanmar

Major Tourist



        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 (Pegu)

        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.

Thanlyin (Syriam)

        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.

Let-khok-kone Beach

        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.

U Pein



        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.

Pyin-Oo-Lwin (Maymyo)

        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.



Bagan, the

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.

Thatbyinnyu Temple

        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.

Htilominlo Temple

        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.

Dhammayangyi Temple

        This massive temple:

built by King Narathu in the 12th century, displays the finest brickwork in Bagan.

Shwezigon Pagoda

        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

in Bagan






Mount Popa

        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

summer resort.





Inlay Lake

        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

Shwe-U-Min Pagoda.

        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.