Myanmar Proposed Travel Itineraries

Published: 18th June 2012
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In the heart of Asia, there lies a small country called Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). It is the country of Golden Pagodas and rich Buddhism tradition. The article below suggests some possible routes which allow to see all of Myanmar.

Myanmar is called 'Land of Golden Pagodas', of which there are about two thousand here. In fact, the whole state is one vast archaeological reserve, which has well preserved traces of ancient civilizations. Myanmar has been the place of the mighty empires. Bago, Bagan and Mandalay used to be the capitals of this country, and these ancient cities are full of traces of former greatness. In Myanmar, a hundred temples have survived, but even more are in ruins. Collapsed walls and debris of giant statues in jungle make an indelible impression on all tourists. A boat trip on the Irrawaddy river with sparkling golden pagodas on its high banks is one of the most memorable things in life.

The usual route across Myanmar takes only eight days - from Yangon, the present capital of Burma, to the ancient city of Bagan, Mandalay, Nyang-Swe and Lake Inli. Traveling from city to city is usually done by place, but the opportunities for transportation are vast. One can, of course, go by train or bus, or even rent a jeep and go straight through the jungle.

Yangon is called the 'Garden of the East'. This city is like a huge park with ponds and natural lakes, ancient pagodas and colonial mansions. In Yangon, there are a few tourist 'gems' worthy of attention. First of all, one should mention the grand Shwedagon Paya Pagoda, built 2,500 years ago. Its 98-meter spire weighs over 60 tons and is decorated with 1200 diamonds and gold plates. The temple is famous due to the fact it stores as many as four hairs of Buddha, and they are shown to the people. There is still another rarity here - a giant statue of the reclining Buddha, which is at least a thousand years old and used to be hidden in the jungle. When the British engineers worked at railway connection near Yangon, they needed to make a mountain tunnel. On closer inspection, the 'mountain' turned to be a statue, and the hole for the tunnel happened to be the mouth of Buddha. The statue was restored and is now shown to tourists. In Yangon, there are some interesting national museums, which display a golden eight-meter throne, which formerly belonged to the Burmese kings.

Bagan is the ancient city known for 4,000 ancient Buddhist temples, which are all different in their architecture. They were built by about 40,000 monks and an equal number of slaves brought here. Climbing to the 'top' of any of these churches, one can see the panorama of towering steeples, palms and pagodas. Bagan is a constant place of archaeological excavations.

Mandalay is perhaps no less interesting for tourists. There are two shrines of Buddhism here, including Mahamuni, the four-meter statue of Buddha made of metal and coated with gold, and the famous Kuthoda pagoda with the legendary marble book, which is about the size of an adult person and contains the main rules of Buddhism written on 792 pages. Mandalay has many attractions including Shvenando Palace, Mandalay Hill, and ancient cities of Amarapura, Sagaing and Ava located nearby.

In Nyang Shwe, one can see Inle Lake with floating artificial plantations, where peasants grow tomatoes and papaya. In the middle of the lake, there is the Monastery of Jumping Cats, where only six monks live today. The monastery is a popular place of training cats, which then perform various stunts and take part in performances for tourists. Right there, in the center of Lake Inle, floating market is arranged once every five days. Tourists go there by boat to buy souvenirs, papyrus, fruits, mats embroidered with gold and silver threads and other things.

Other cities and towns of Myanmar are no less popular. Rangoon is known for many interesting Buddhist monasteries. For example, Shwe Dagon monastery is one of Buddhist pilgrimage centers. Bagan is a unique ghost town in northern Myanmar, famous for its temples.
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Travelers who plan a trip to Myanmar are advised to look at the list of Myanmar travel agencies or tour operators for Myanmar.


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