Myanmar - Burma Travel Guide


Myanmar Holidays - Tours & Adventures Travel Guide

Pure Travel Says
“At the crossroads of Asia’s most ancient civilizations, Myanmar is a land of the sea, mountains, rivers and virgin jungles all at the same time. Even with its breathtaking charm, Myanmar is still very much unexplored by visitors, having only reopened to tourist in 2009 when the military regime started opening the country and started the slow process to more open government. It offers a taste of Asia twenty years ago. People still wear traditional dress rather than jeans and tee shirts and the feel is of a country with an identity rather than being westernized. Go before it changes. It presents some of Asia’s most monumental and impressive architectural wonders to the visitors, along with exotic beaches, snow-clad mountains and the psychedelic culture of the various ethnic groups residing in the country. Burma, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, has its capital as Naypyidaw, which means ‘Royal City’. Yangon is the cultural, social and economic capital of Myanmar, formerly the capital and also known as Rangoon.”

Myanmar Holiday Highlights

Pagodas - Myanmar has an abundance of beautiful Pagodas like Shwedagon Pagoda, Mywe Daw Kakku Relic Pagoda, the Maha Wi Zaha Pagoda, the Sacred Tooth Relic Pagoda and many others to boast of. Each of these has a unique history attached to them.

Monasteries and Temples - The Bargaya Monastery, Atumashi Kayung, or the Shwe. In Bing Kayung are both places of religious practice and visitor places in Mandalay. In Bagan tourist attractions are Ananda temple, Manuha temple and the Thatbyinnyu temple.

Places of Historical Relevance - Besides the Pagodas and temples, Myanmar also has many forts and palaces, which have beautiful artwork and engrossing histories. The 2 million year old caves in Pindaya, which have been the hub of many religious practices through the centuries, are something you don’t want to miss.

Lakes and Sanctuaries - A visit the Inlay Lake Sanctuary in Shan will offer witness to the exotic aquatic life. There also is the Zoological Garden in Yangon bringing you close with the other life forms of nature.

White River Rafting - The Maykha River on the mountains of the Kachin State is the best spot for the adventures of a wild rafting experience. The river is also well known for its scenic beauty.

Walking & Trekking - Lonkrumadin at 10,450 ft in height from sea level is one of the most difficult and challenging treks in the world. The trek to Mt. Phonganrazi or a trip to the mountains of Kakaborazi can also be fun and exhilarating. Though it is not necessary to trek this stretch of the mountains, it is fun to camp and carry provisions for the two day trip.

Beaches - Since Myanmar is not enclosed in land, the southern part of the country is open to the emerald green sea of the Andaman, while the western section overlooks the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. The beaches are virgin and unscathed and provide a truly relaxing holiday tour.

When to Go

A good time to visit the country is November to February, when the weather is at its best. March to May is an ideal time for visiting the hill stations and the beaches but Bagan and Mandalay are virtually intolerable during this time of the year. The Monsoons arrive generally during May to October.

Top Tips

- The people are happy to help you and don’t expect a tip but it is a nice gesture on your part.
- Drink water from packaged bottles only.
- Your mobile phones will not operate in Myanmar and will be held by the customs department. You can collect them back on your departure.
- If you are allergic to Monosodium Glutamate, MSG, let them know.

Myanmar Holidays In Focus

Currently international flights into Myanmar are limited although you can fly in to Yangon via Bangkok in Thailand, Singapore, Hanoi in Vietnam and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

Yangon

The largest city in Myanmar, you can find here, the Shwedagon Pagoda, built by the King Banaya U in the later half of the fourteenth century. Later, Queen Shin Saw Pu had the pagoda enlarged and draped in gold equal to her own weight. You can also visit Maha Wi Zaha Pagoda, which is in fact a replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda. The Sacred Tooth Relic Pagoda is built around the Sacred Tooth replicas that the Chinese monks presented to Myanmar and are the two pagodas built in copy of Ananda in Bagan.

The sculpture of Lawka Chantha Abhaya Labha Muni image by Mandalay, U Taw Taw also is a popular visitor attraction. The Ah Lane Nga Sint, a five-storey tower, indicates five stages of a metaphysical world. Maha Prasana Guha and the Kaba Aye Pagoda built simultaneously are famous places to pursue higher studies in Buddhism. Yangoon, besides these and many other pagodas, hosts a Gems Museum, the Defense Services Museum, the National Theatre, Nat Shin Naung Memorable Tomb, the Zoological Garden and the Hlawga Park. A ride across Yangoon can show you all the colors of religion and history in this part of the world.

Mandalay

One of the old capitals of Myanmar and home to many pagodas, Mandalay commemorates the history of the land. The attempt to build a pagoda by King Bodawypawa in Mingun can still be seen to date. The Mandalay Palace, also known as the Golden Palace, is famous for the architecture in teakwood and handicrafts of the golden era. A very interesting point about this palace is that the moat of water, which was reddish in color when transferred from a canal became crystal clear and free from lime content.

It therefore served the double purpose of being potable water and saving the palace from the attack of the enemies. The Thabyedan fort was the last fort that was built to protect the honor of Mandalay during the third Anglo-Myanmar war. The Mya Nan San Kyaw Golden Palace in the center of the city boasts of breathtaking wooden buildings carved and covered with gilt. Mandalay was and still is one of the best places where Buddhist monks practice religion. With beautiful monasteries like Oke Kayung or the Atumashi Kayung, it surely makes you fall in love with Buddhism. The most attractive spot of Mandalay is, however, the Mandalay hills, which offer you a panoramic view. No footwear is allowed on the hill walkways and the climb on foot is really something you will cherish.

Bagan

Bagan is the land of pagodas. The capital of Burma between the 11th and the 13th Centuries, its rich and nobility competed to produce the best and most expensive pagoda. Now the houses and shops are gone, leaving over 3,200 pagodas and stupas scattered over several square miles of fields, scrub and forest. You can explore by bike, many of which are available for hire for a few dollars, and get well of the beaten track, exploring overgrown and ruined pagodas that seem to have been little touched from the moment Ghengis Khan swept down on the civilization and ended its rule.
There is Shwe Zi Gon Pagoda to celebrate the victory of Anawrahta and Kyansitta for protecting Buddhism, the Bupaya Pagoda which is a structural landmark for travelers on foot by the riverside and the Alodaw Pyi which was built in prayer of peace in Bagan. There are also some temples like the Thatbyinnyu temple which is a mark of the wisdom gathered from Lord Buddha’s conscience and the Manhua Temple built to commemorate the conquer of Thanton by the king Anawrahata. The Dhammayangyi is a structure, which almost is a replica of the Ananda Pagoda and can be seen from all directions.
From here its possible to strike out by jeep (permit required) to visit the Chin State, a mountainous area that includes Natma Taung or Mt. Victoria, the second highest mountain in Burma at just over 10,500 feet. You stay in the hill towns of Kanpetlet or Mindat, the latter founded by the British as a hill station during their colonial rule. Cloud forest and thick rhodadendrum trees make the scenery spectacular, with the local Chin women displaying their traditional tattooed faces.

Shan

Shan boasts of the Buddhist Cave, the Pindaya, which is about 2 million years old and has been the spot of worship since time began. The Wish-Fulfilling Bamboo Reed Phaya is a pagoda built in bamboo hut, from a distance looks like it is made in gold. It was built by the monk, Uplan between 1118 AD and 1120 AD, to pursue his wish.

The lake of Inle Phaungdaw Oo with floating villages, leg rowers and astonishingly colorful markets is definitely something worth a visit. At the Kakku village, which in itself is a relic village is the Mywe Daw Kakku Relic Pagoda with relic structures of Lord Buddha. Besides the memoirs from history, Shan also is the home to many aquatic species, which can be found in the Inlay Lake Sanctuary. There are more than 14 species of migratory birds that come in to this sanctuary coupling with its own 37 species of birds and over 40 species of otters, turtles and fish.

Kachin

Kachin is definitely the spot that will excite adventurous visitors the most. Besides the Kaung Moo Lon Golden Sambur King Pagoda and the Kakaborazi National Park, visitors can enjoy their holidays with white water rafting and trekking trips. The Maykha River, in the heart of the best snow-clad peaks of Asia, is by far the best place for white water rafting. Here is the confluence of the Maykha and the Malikha rivers which besides being a hotspot for rafting, is also a visitor sport because of the picturesque sights.

The Phonganranzi Trip on the Mt. Phonganrazi 61 miles from Putao, is made 14 miles by a motor vehicle and then on foot, trekking. A round trip takes about 12 days and if the weather is on your side, you could stay on the top of the mountain for about an hour. Lonkrumadin is another famous and adventurous trek at a height of 10,450 ft above sea level. Even the experienced trekkers take about eight days to even reach the destination. Mt. Kakaborazi is one of those peaks where you can travel to it by motor vehicles but you have to carry your supplies of food and drink for a couple of days on the journey.

Beaches

Beautiful virgin beach resorts on the southern beach of Tanintharyi like the Jone Jone Kya, Set Se, Maung Magan and many others overlook the emerald green Andaman Sea which is very relaxing during a holiday trip. The western beach resorts on the Rakhine Coast give you a magnificent view of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.

Classic Itineraries

- Trek to Mt. Phonganrazi.
- Trek to the Chin State and Mt. Victoria.
- Relaxing on the long, deserted beaches.
- Visit to Yangoon.
- Visit to Mandalay.
- Tour of Bagan.
- Holiday trip to Shan.

Public Holidays in Myanmar

4 January - Independence Day
12 February - Union Day
26 March - Full Moon of Tabaung
2 March - Peasants Day
27 March - Armed Forces Day
13–16 April - Thingyan Festival/Burmese New Year
17 April - Burmese New Year
1 May - Labour Day
24 May - Full Moon of Kason
19 July - Martyrs' Day
22 July - Start of Buddhist Lent / Festival of Lights
19 October - End of Buddhist Lent / Festival of Lights
17 November - Full Moon of Tazaungmon
27 November - National Day
25 December - Christmas Day

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