Is renowned for the 55-meter long reclining Buddha image, the Shwethalyaung, the beautiful golden Shwemawdaw Pagoda and many more religious monuments such as the old ordination hall built by King Dhammazedi. It has an interesting lively market and just 10 minutes out of town, one can see authentic rural life including water buffaloes yoked in front of a plough working in the paddy fields. Bago can be reached easily by road; the 80-km journey from Yangon takes about two hours. It is situated on the road to the golden Rock Pagoda and to Mawlamyine. Bago remains a quiet and easy-going town with a lot more bicycles than cars. It is, however, constantly expanding.
Walk the streets of Old Yangon to see leafy lanes and byways filled with enormous timber mansions, decorated in unique Myanmar style, where British captains of industry once lived. See century-old buildings with magnificent architecture, reminders of Yangon's past. The number of colonial buildings still standing in downtown Yangon is nothing short of spectacular. Myanmar's isolation from the rest of the world during the years after independence resulted in a unique preservation of many of its old buildings. It is heartening to see that at last, many of them are restored to their former beauty. Yangon's colonial streets are a showcase of the best, or most ostentatious, of colonial architecture - an exuberant display of wealth and designer dexterity. The influence of Victorian and Edwardian architectural details soon made a deep impression on the local and Indian craftsmen who embraced the styles wholeheartedly. Buildings developed an amazing hybrid style that resulted in an array of curlicue trims and turrets along with cupolas and pergolas that adorn so many of the early buildings. Carved wood trims were also popular, all adding together to form an extraordinary architectural style unique to Myanmar. Yangon is perhaps the last authentic example of an Asian tropical city still featuring its former colonial origins, huge parks, shady trees and lakes and its religious monuments. Of those monuments, the most legendary, graceful and majestic of all, is the Shwedagon Pagoda built around 2,500 years ago.
A small town that is well known for its pottery manufacturing and cotton weaving. Another interesting site to visit is an old Mon pagoda. The town is situated at the Twante Canal, which was dug during the time of British rule in Myanmar to provide a short boat ride from Yangon. A ride on the canal offers contrasting images; from the buzzing chaos in Yangon to the provincial calmness of the countryside only a few minutes outside the capital.
PIN OO LWIN
This one-time British hill town hideaway, about two hours drive from Mandalay, offers cool weather, eclectic architecture and stagecoaches. The town dates from the early 20th century and its main street is part of the famous Burma Road, an important route that leads north to the trading town of Lashio and beyond to the Chinese border. The street is an interesting place to walk about, lined with a mishmash of building styles; iron grillwork, balconies, chimneys and wood-carved decorations accent the architecture. The town's clock tower, the Purcell Tower with its Big Ben chime, is said to be a present from Queen Victoria, identical to one in Capetown, South Africa. Close to Pyin Oo Lwin are several natural attractions, waterfalls and caves. Spots of major tourist interest include the Peik Chin Myaing Cave, which houses many Buddha images, and some models of Myanmar's most revered pagodas. The cave lies in a beautiful setting with some waterfalls around. It is a favorite weekend destination for local tourists. Also of interest is the National Kandawgyi Botanical Garden. The garden, founded back in 1915, is home to a large variety of trees and flowers from Myanmar and abroad as well as numerous birds. What really makes Pyin Oo Lwin unique are brightly painted miniature stagecoaches drawn by lively teams of horses, which take the place of trams or taxis.
Situated in the delta of the Ayeyarwaddy River. Pathein is the most important port for trade in the delta region. The region is the heart of Myanmar's paddy cultivation. Pathein is a peaceful little town with a scenic waterfront, many Chinese and Burmese temples and Pathein umbrella workshops. The colorful hand-made umbrellas of Pathein are famous all over Myanmar. The traditional umbrellas for monks and nuns, as one commonly sees in Upper Myanmar, are also manufactured here. Other interesting sightseeing points include the night bazaar and many religious monuments, pagodas and temples; some of them beautifully set outside of town in a natural environment.
Mawlamyine is a busy commercial port mainly exporting rice and wood. It is the fourth largest city in Myanmar, located 270-km southeast of Yangon. As it was the administrative center of British Burma from 1827 to 1852, many old colonial buildings remain. Interesting points in the city center include Zeigyi Market and the Mon Cultural Museum. Up in the hills above Mawlamyine there are several monasteries and shrines that are interconnected by walkways from where one has fine views of the harbor and other parts of the city. Mahamuni Pagoda (not to be mixed up with Mandalay's Mahamuni) is a good example of Mon Style and well worth a visit. Mawlamyine is also the starting point for excursions to 'Shampoo Island', so called because of the annual royal hair washing ceremonies of the Ava period, which were held by using water from a spring on the island.
KYAIKHTIYO / golden ROCK
The golden Rock of Kyaikhtiyo is one of the most revered pilgrimage sites for Myanmar Buddhists. The gold-plated boulder is said to maintain its balance thanks to a single hair of the Buddha being enshrined inside the pagoda. To reach the top of the mountain, one can either make a 13 km climb (which will take around 7 hours or more) or sit on the loading area of open trucks that take passengers to a so-called middle camp through a steep and winding road. From there all visitors have to walk up the remaining 4 km (500 meters in altitude) on steep tracks. An easy alternative for those who can't manage the way on foot is to sit on sedan chairs, which are carried by four porters to the top. Once arrived at the pagoda, one can enjoy a spectacular view, which is particularly beautiful at sunrise or sunset. The whole site has a magic charisma and is famous for meditation.
NGAPALI (THANDWE / SANDOWAY)
Balmy days spent lolling on the golden sands of Ngapali make a fitting end to a rigorous tour of Myanmar's upcountry region. Languorous palm trees, soft waves, excellent cuisine and comfortable chalets make Ngapali the preferred new destination. Get there before the crowds! Ngapali is the sort of resort that beach lovers dream about; quiet and idyllic without too much to do besides enjoying the sea, sand and the quiet rural surroundings. It now offers two beach resorts of international standard with water activities and many facilities such as international restaurants, pool bars and a Beauty Spa. Evenings are spent enjoying fresh seafood at magically cheap prices at one of the local restaurants. There is regular airline service between Ngapali and Yangon. Do not miss the telephone exchange - a chance to see golden Myanmar at work. The exchange is manual and the girls wind up dynamos to keep the exchange operating. The lights go out at 10:00 PM so the girls have to hold candles to the clock to time the guest's phone call. A colorful local touch for anyone desperate to speak to missed loved ones.
SITTWE AND MRAUNK OO
Arriving at Sittwe makes you step back in time where the airport consists of just one room with ceiling fans. It is a port city and served as a major trading point with India during the time of the British. Sittwe boasts several interesting pagodas and a very exceptional monastery that has a wonderful collection of Buddha images, some dating back to the 15th century when Mrauk Oo had reached its peak. Sittwe's main importance lies in the fact that it is the gateway to the archaeological site of Mrauk Oo, the historical temples of the 15th and 16th centuries. At that period, Mrauk Oo was a prosperous trading town and highly developed culturally. King Minbin, a very powerful Rakhine King, built the most famous Shittaung Temple in 1535 and it remains the main attraction of Mrauk Oo temple site. Some experts even compare it to Borobudur. Additional interesting sightseeing points are the ruins of the royal palace and the remains of the city walls.
A small town on a bend in the Ayeyarwaddy River. Pyay is very close to what was the seat of the Pyu Kingdom called Sri Ksetra from the 5th to 9th centuries. In the surrounding areas there are the ruins of this ancient capital. The Thayekhittaya Site, dating back to the 5th century, features a quite different architectural style than other periods and represents one of the most interesting historical and archaeological sites in Myanmar. Pyay lies 290-km northwest of Yangon and is comfortably accessible by car (5-6 hour journey).