Innumerable pagodas, magical landscapes, and a traditional culture untouched by Western influence define Myanmar’s best tourist attractions. Since the country has only recently opened to tourism, it is not yet swamped with foreign visitors, providing an opportunity for an authentic Burmese experience. This unique country has no shortage of places to explore, from its enchanting pagodas to its beautiful lakes. In this article we will share with you the top five places to visit in Myanmar.
Besides, Myanmar visa for Canadian citizens has become a very easy process since introducing electronic visas in 2014.
Awe-inspiring Bagan takes the top spot on this list of the best places to visit in Myanmar, and for a good reason. It’s a visual treat, with over 2,000 mesmerizing stupas spread across the endless countryside. The best thing about Bagan is that, unlike other archaeological sites, it is still relatively unexplored by tourists. But it’s catching on gradually.
Aside from pagodas, you can visit one of Bagan’s local markets, like the Mani Sithu Market, ride a bike or e-bike past the temples, and shop for high-quality lacquer products. And if you’re looking for a gourmet experience, Bagan will not disappoint you. There is a plethora of Asian cuisine here—Burmese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, and even Tibetan.
Simply experience the magic of the city from a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. There are so many stupas that it is impossible to appreciate them all from ground level.
Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, rose to prominence during British rule. Ascended with the Raj, Yangon became a patchwork of elegant Victorian townhouses and Georgian structures. Much of that side of town has been preserved, and you can now navigate the tuk-tuk-packed streets to see sights like St Mary’s Cathedral and its Anglo towers.
But the real treat that typically draws visitors to this former Burmese capital has to be the Shwedagon Pagoda. This is the sacred site where the holy lotus buds once appeared to herald Gautama Buddha’s arrival and guide the learned to Nirvana. Visit the site and admire the gleaming gold construction, prayer rooms, and exquisitely carved pilgrim pavilions.
The best part is the energy you get from the hustle and bustle around you. People flock here in droves, but you can really feel the local life at its most raw. People are rushing to work, monks wandering the markets, beer stations teeming with men after work, and the aroma of grandma’s lunch wafting through open windows—it’s an outworldly experience.
Myanmar’s second-largest city, located at the foot of Mandalay Hill, is a charming yet perplexing place. Formerly the old royal capital, it is now home to bustling markets, monasteries, Indian temples, mosques, and hillside pagodas, firmly establishing it as the cultural epicenter of Burma.
There’s a lot to see in Mandalay. But if you have time, spend a few hours exploring the Royal Palace of Mandalay, which is home to 40 different buildings. Climb at Yankin Hill, see the world’s most giant book at Kuthodaw Pagoda, and experience a show at the Mandalay Marionettes.
But the best thing to experience in Mandalay is the mighty Shwenandaw Monastery glimmered with its gold leaf coverings. And it’s quite evident why the very name of this mysterious temple-topped town in the depths of central Myanmar has inspired poems and lines by perhaps Asia’s most prolific English eulogizer: Kipling.
Mount Popa is an Instagrammable vision of Myanmar, with some of the best views in the country. It is unquestionably one of the top places to visit in Myanmar.
Mount Popa, located near Bagan and easily accessible from Mandalay, offers some of the best views in the country from a monastery perched atop what was once a volcano. Golden stupas bulge up into the sky, mischievous monkeys wander here and there looking for a snack, and some of Myanmar’s most powerful Nats go about their days of devotion — a whole new world to see.
You’ll have to climb 777 steps to get to the top of Mount Popa, but it’ll be worth it when you’re welcomed with breathtaking views of the surrounding areas. Below, lush valleys stretch out, and small villages and pagodas glimmer in the distance.
Hpa An is a quiet, peaceful, and serenely beautiful city in the south of Myanmar. Rise early to observe locals exercising, women carrying baskets, and monks walking the streets with their collection bowls in hand.
There are so many exciting things to do in the city. You can visit the city’s lake, hike up Mount Zwekabin to visit a monastery or watch a sunset, and wander through Lumbini Garden, which is home to more than 1,100 Buddha statues.
One of the exciting things about Hpa An is that it is surrounded by natural caves just waiting to be explored. Sadaar Caves is one of the most spectacular, and you can return to the starting point by wooden boat after exploring the intricate network of natural tunnels.