In recent years Myanmar, also known as Burma, has really opened itself up to the world. Much of its industry remains to be developed and Myanmar holds great tourism potential with beautiful places to visit, including breathtaking landscapes and some of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world.
With the introduction of the new Myanmar electronic visa system (the Myanmar eVisa), Myanmar Government aims to promote tourism and the country’s main attractions making traveling to Myanmar easier than ever. Holidaymakers can now apply for their Myanmar visa entirely online and simply print out a PDF copy of the eVisa to show the authorities once at the airport.
The Myanmar eVisa is available to eligible tourists who might enter Myanmar through the following 3 international airports: Yangon, Mandalay, and Nay Pyi Taw. These are the only airports accepting the eVisa.
This article includes a list of attractions that can be visited in Myanmar and that are worth the traveler’s time.
Sule Pagoda, Yangon
Foreigners and locals alike agree that the Sule Pagoda in Yangon can be considered a hidden treasure. Right in the middle of chaotic city life, the pagoda is a place of quiet contemplation and peaceful meditation.
Believed to be over 2,000 years old, the temple is an unmissable visit in this part of Yangon. eVisa holders won’t have to go too far from their first point of entry, making it an ideal spot for those with limited time.
Few places are as vibrant and colorful as Yangon’s ChinaTown. A typical itinerary starts with a stroll down 19th street, where travelers can find mouth-watering street food and barbecue stands and get a sense of the buzzing local nightlife.
ChinaTown makes for a fun and entertaining night out. It’s the perfect place to taste some of the most authentic (and affordable) Chinese food one can find in the city and blend in with the locals.
The Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple, Yangon
Visiting the Chaukhtatgyi temple is considered an unforgettable experience by most tourists. This religious site hosts one of the largest reclining Buddhas in the country.
Longer than 217 foot, the statue is to many, the finest Buddhist image in Myanmar due to the precision of its details and its serene facial expression (in fact, the Buddha’s face had to be reconstructed after the first expression had been judged as too severe.)
Mount Popa, Mandalay
Nature lovers will find Mandalay to be a convenient point of entry. Nearby Mount Popa (part of the UNESCO World Geopark of Myanmar) offers a pleasant hike and one of the most breathtaking sights to enjoy in Myanmar.
As they start walking towards the top of this extinct volcano, visitors soon realize that there’s more than just the gorgeous mountain nature to explore. The Popa Taungkalat Monastery sits right at the top (after a 777-stair climb) and is the most panoramic spot in the area.
The Shwenandaw Kyaung Monastery, Mandalay
Mandalay hosts a unique spot, as many say that there’s nothing quite like the Shwenandaw Kyaung (or Golden Palace) and its incredibly detailed teak carvings. Buddhists will be able to recognize some of their favorite myths and legends in the monastery decorations. The Shwenandaw Kyaung Monastery can be found near Mandalay Hill.
Mahamuni Pagoda, Mandalay
The most revered representation of Buddha is also hosted in Mandalay at the Mahamuni pagoda. Believers flock to Mandalay from all over the country and the world to visit this stunning buddhist pilgrimage site.
It’s important to remember that only men are allowed to enter the site and place a golden leaf on the Buddha. Women are asked to observe from a distance.
The U Bein Bridge, Mandalay
The U Bein Bridge in Mandalay is one of the most iconic places to see in Myanmar. Most visitors come at sunset in order to observe the Buddhist monks cross the bridge as they return to the monastery for the night.
This is one of the most photographed sites in the country, so crowds are to be expected.
The Irrawaddy River
After exploring Mandalay, travelers may decide to leave the city behind and explore the countryside for a true taste of life in Myanmar.
Cruising the Irrawaddy river from Mandalay to Bagan is, according to many, one of the best ways to travel between the two popular cities while observing rural villages and local fishermen and enjoying the view of the banks of Myanmar’s longest river. Several types of cruises are on offer and there’s something for every taste and budget.
Museums and Temples in Nay Pyi Taw
Most people will focus on Mandalay and Yangon when describing the best places to visit in Myanmar. The country’s capital Nay Pyi Taw is often overlooked and most tourists don’t realize all that it has to offer.
But a number of time-worthy activities open to those who land in or travel to Nay Pyi Taw. For example, the national museum hosts 11th-century jewelry, mural paintings, artifacts and models of the country’s most stunning temples.
Pyinmana (once an ancient town now absorbed by the capital district) is the most densely populated area of the city. Even a short visit will give international tourists a true sense of city life in Asia. Travelers will be able to find anything from schools and ancient temples with monks in training to fortune-tellers and street vendors.