This is why you should visit Myanmar

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Date: January 17th 2018
Traveller: Carla Rijnders
Myanmar, which was known as Burma until 1989, shares its borders with China, India, Laos, Bangladesh and Thailand. The country has countless temples, which were all mainly built during the 12th and 13th century under the Pagan Empire. The gilded Shwedagon Pagoda is probably one of the most known temples and one of the most sacred sites for Buddhism, as it is believed to preserve eight hairs of Gautama Buddha. There is a cave – called the Shwe U Min Natural Cave Pagoda of Pindaya – that is filled with more than 8,000 statues or images of Buddha! And atop a volcanic plug a Buddhist monastery called Taung Kalat is built, a sacred site that is home to 37 admired spirits.

If all if this isn’t enough to make you travel to this exciting country, then here are some of the most beautiful places we know:
  • Yangon: The previous capital of Myanmar is known for the incredible Shwedagon Pagoda. A visit to this magnificent pagoda is a must when here. Especially going after dark will give you a real sense of calm. At some points around the main stupa, the moonlight reflects through the large 76-carat diamond on top, reflecting different colours when you walk around it!
    The city also has an incredible colonial past, which can be seen by the elegant Victorian townhouses and Georgian buildings of which much remains intact. In downtown Yangon, you can navigate the roads to see masterpieces such as the Secretariat Building or St. Mary’s Cathedral.
    Enough of the city? Why not take a bike and explore the Yangon River Island. Once you’re on the island you’ll be transported back in time, while visiting small villages and monasteries hidden in the bamboo forests!
  • Bagan: The best part of Bagan might not be the part of getting up early, but it will be the sight you see when you do. Temples as far as the eye can see, in all shapes and sizes! And while the sun is rising the morning mist disappears, but not before painting the sky with rainbow colours. A unique way to experience this is by flying over Bagan in a hot air balloon!
    The temples are not all Bagan has to offer, just think about the incredible Mount Popa – the 777 steps on this extinct volcano, bring you to the beautiful Taung Kalat Monastery and its powerful Nats (spirits).
  • Inle Lake: This magical place is mostly known for one of its kind fishermen  – rowing their boats with one leg while balancing on the back of the boat on the other – and the beautiful floating gardens along the lake. But this area has a lot more to offer, such as Kakku where you can find thousands of stupas, a true Shan State hidden gem.
  • Mandalay: some people are not too interested in Mandalay, as they only see a dusty city. But there is so much more to explore here! Such as the amazing U Bein Bridge, the largest teak structure on earth that is amazing to see at sunset while floating on the river, you can witness the morning alms at dawn, visit Myanmar’s 2nd holiest shrine, the Maha Muni gilded Buddha, or take a look at the Kuthodaw Pagoda where you’ll be able to find the world’s largest book!  As dusty as it may seem, Mandalay is definitely a place to visit!

And if you think – hey those places if seen before, why not explore some more off the beaten track places such as:
  • The Golden Triangle – where you can still visit tribes that hardly ever see foreigners.
  • Hpa An – a truly magical landscape, where you’ll be surrounded by karst mountains – offering amazing scenic treks –, seas of green rice paddies, and the immense Saddan Cave with its secret lake!  Mergui Archipelago – love to dive? Then this is the best place to visit, offering the most amazing coral reef you can think of!
  • Shan State – delicious food and the incredible scenery is what you’ll find in the Shan State. This is the place to discover the incredible Keng Tawng Falls, beautiful tiny villages and breathtaking landscapes

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