Experience the true magic which still shrouds Myanmar. Because it only recently opened up to the world, the country is mercifully undiscovered by mass tourism and has a sincerity that makes it transcendent. Located at the foothills of the Himalaya, yet filled with tropical plains, the teak-filled jungles, the shimmering stupas floating above the treetops, and the Ayeyarwady River running through it, Myanmar has preserved its cultures and traditions more than any other Asian country.
Yangon is Myanmar’s largest and most vibrant city. For centuries, Yangon was a trading post and it still holds a great historical significance as such. It was and still is a melting pot of ethnicities and religions, with thriving cultural and social scenes. In 2005, the government moved to a new capital, Nay Pyi Taw. Still, Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon) remains the cultural and commercial heart of Myanmar, and most visitors begin and end their journey to the country here. When the British conquered northern Myanmar and moved the seat of government from Mandalay in 1885, Yangoon became the capital. >>
Bagan is one of the most significant archeological sites of South East Asia. In spite of this, it is still relatively unknown because of the isolation the country has been in for decades. Bagan is an ancient city that was the capital of the prosperous Bagan empire that controlled most of present day Burma. At the height of empire’s power between the 11th and 13th century more than 10,000 temples and pagodas were built. Today, about 2,200 monuments remain which makes Bagan one of the most dense concentrations of temples and pagodas in the world. >>
Mandalay, the second largest city of Burma with over 1 million people is the cultural and Buddhist center of Burma. The city is located on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River in Central Burma some 400 miles north of Yangon and about 110 miles north East of Bagan. Mandalay, founded in 1857, is a relatively new city; the ancient capitals Sagaing, Inwa and Amarapura around Mandalay are much older. Mandalay was the capital of Burma during the Konbaung era from 1859 until 1885, when Mandalay was brought under British rule. The city and its surrounding towns are known for the hundreds of pagodas and monasteries found in the area. >>
nle Lake in the Shan state of central Burma is a shallow lake is a place of scenic beauty, surrounded by hills and characterized by a tranquil atmosphere. The lake is known for its floating gardens and “leg rowers”, exercising their distinctive style of rowing, standing on one leg, attached to the other leg an oar, which they paddle in the waters. The people who live on Inle lake are the Intha. They grow crops such as tomatoes and flowers in floating gardens on the lake. Their wooden houses are built on stilts because the water level is much higher during the rainy season. >>
The Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, also called the Golden Rock is one of Burma’s most sacred Buddhist sites. A massive boulder on the edge of a cliff with a pagoda on top of it enshrining a hair of the Buddha is an important pilgrimage site for Burmese Buddhists. The huge Golden Rock in the mountains North East of Yangon hanging over a steep cliff is an amazing sight. The rock that appears to be gold is actually a granite boulder that is covered with gold leaf applied to the rock by Buddhist devotees. The boulder is about 25 feet high and has a golden pagoda called the Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda or Kyaik Hti Yo Pagoda on top of it where the Buddha’s hair relic is enshrined. >>
One of the unique sights that capture a traveler’s eye when they arrive in Myanmar, and one that sparks the curiosity is the yellow patterns painted on people’s faces. The yellow circles, squares and lines seen on cheeks, noses and foreheads of people throughout Myanmar is thanaka, a yellow-white cosmetic paste produced by grinding the bark of the thanaka tree on a flat, smooth stone with water. Thanaka is a distinctive feature of the culture of Myanmar. Thanaka cream has been used by Burmese women for over 2000 years. The earliest literary reference to thanaka is a 14th-century poem written by King Razadarit's consort. >>