Things to do in Myanmar

Myanmar is the sacred Buddhism land, the land of the ancient, voluminous works, the country of golden pagodas. Coming to this nation, visitors not only get immersed in the space of Buddhism but also admire the masterpieces of humanity; the ancient city is hidden in the fog, the palaces, the beaches bending in the early sunshine; or the peaceful old villages…And, here under is all attractions you must see and all things you should do during your time in Myanmar.

1. Visiting the archaeological city of Bagan – ” Angkor Wat” of Myanmar

2. Strolling around the streets of Yangon

3. Trying Thanakha make up – the ” National Cosmetics” of Myanmar

4. Admiring Shwedagon – the pride of the sacred land of Buddhism

5. Enjoying the sunset on U Bein Bridge

6. Exploring the legendary and foggy land of Mrauk U

7. Swimming in Ngapali – the most beautiful tropical beach in the Bay of Bengal

8. Discovering the local markets in Yangon

9. Moving on a train

10. Enjoying the cuisine in the China Town

11. Visiting the area around Sule Pagoda

12. Shopping at Bogyoke Aung San Market – the biggest market in Yangon

13. Exploring the freshwater Inle lake and attending the traditional boat festival

14. Wearing Myanmar’s traditional costumes

15. Exploring Popa Mountain


1. Visiting the archaeological city of Bagan – “Angkor Wat” of Myanmar

Bagan is a city located in Central Myanmar. Bagan was the capital of the kingdom of Pagan, surviving from 9th century to the 13thcentury in this area. In the period from the 11th century to the late 13th century – the heyday of the Kingdom of Pagan, over four thousand of pagodas, temples, and monasteries were built here.

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Exploring Bagan ancient city by the hot air ballon

With about 2,220 Buddhist temples left in Bagan nowadays (among about 13,000 temples in the peak period), you can be free to visit. Bagan temples are located quite close to each other, so you can depend on conditions to choose the form of movements, such as walking, cycling, buses, tuk-tuk or balloon. Bagan is now considered as a “city of archeology”. For lovers of travel, Bagan is not less attractive than Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

2. Strolling around the streets of Yangon

In such a city with many mysterious colors as Yangon, strolling on the streets here will help visitors discover many interesting surprises.

Walking not only helps visitors can stop at any of area that they like, but is also a great way for you to explore the rich culinary streets of the local. The streets in Yangon are always busy with people regardless of the weather condition, and when you just step out of the hotel door and enjoy yourself in the streets here, your journey of experiencing Yangon will actually start.

3. Trying Thanakha make up powder – the “National Cosmetics” of Myanmar

If you ask those who have traveled to Myanmar what this place has impressed them the most, the answer will always be the brilliant golden pagoda and a friendly smile, the shining faces of Myanmar people with streaks of Thanakha. It is unclear that when this “cosmetics” was invented, people just know that up to now, the faces with Thanakha smiles has become familiar images of the Myanmar people worldwide. Every visitors coming here is interested in Thanakha smile and want to once try this kind of face powder.

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Myanmar girl is painting Thanakha pattern for a tourist

Myanmar people are proud of their special makeup powder. Regardless of age, gender, every people uses it as a kind of cosmetics. Thanakha powder us extracted from Thanakha stem, the trees planted around the country of Myanmar. The trunk is ground and added a little water in a glazed terra- cotta, wood or stone dish making an ivory- white mixture and is applied to the face to avoid the sunshine and beautify the skin.

4. Admiring Shwedagon – the pride of the sacred land of Buddhism

Myanmar has long been considered the sacred land of Buddhism with the gilded temples. This symbol has become the pride of the people of Myanmar, and Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the temples which can not be missed.

most famous temple and pagoda in Myanmar

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon city, Myanmar

Built more than 2,500 years ago, Shwedagon Pagoda is said to be the place preserving 8 hairs of the Buddha. The main tower of the temple is 98 meters high and is covered by more than 30 tons of gold and hundreds of diamonds. Coming to the Shwedagon Pagoda at any time of day, you will be overwhelmed by the golden color. However, in each different time, the color changes according to different levels making an irresistible charm with visitors.

Opened: 4 am – 10 pm every day.

Tickets: 8,000 Kyats (about $ 8).

5. Enjoying the sunset on U Bein Bridge

U Bein Bridge in Amarapura old village is the longest teak bridge in the world (1.2 km long). The wooden bridge of nearly 200 years old crossing the river is the way home of the villagers in Amarapura, the pilgrimage way of monks wearing long robes… The sunset over U Bein bridge is brilliant and impressive that makes visitors who have ever seen it will remember forever.

U Bein bridge in Myanmar is the world’s longest teak bridge connecting the two banks of Taungthamna River and is a familiar location watch the sunset of the locals and the Buddhists. This wooden bridge was voted as one of the beautiful sunsets in the world by CNNGo, a tourist specialized site.

6. Exploring the legendary and foggy land of Mrauk U

Mrauk U ancient city the 2nd largest temples center in Myanmar. At this point, you will see the temples built with bricks in the fifteenth century nestled in the hills and small villages. Specifically, you will feel like this place is a land of myth, by the whole city is covered by haze in the morning. You can also visit the riverside villages for a better sense of adventure.

sightseeing must see in Myanmar

Stand from the Shwetaung Paya Hill to see the sunrise overview of Mrauk U the ancient city

7. Swimming in Ngapali – the most beautiful tropical beach in the Bay of Bengal

Ngapali is the most visited beach in Myanmar. This beach is seen as the most beautiful tropical beach in the Bay of Bengal with white sand beaches and beautiful cottages and hotels around.

For visitors who has the romantic soul, look for pristine beauty and tranquility, Ngapali beach is the most appropriate destination. Ngapali beach is the most famous one in Myanmar with unspoiled natural beauty, sparkling white sand in brilliant sunshine, the winding green coconut lines. Besides swimming, walking, exploring the surrounding natural landscapes, guests can indulge in excursions such as visiting the small fishing villages and local market or discovering the countryside with a small bike.

8. Discovering the local markets in Yangon

For tourists, there is no better way to experience the life of local people than by taking a culinary discovery through the local bazaars. Exploring the colorful bazaars when traveling to Yangon will bring you more exciting experiences.

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A local market in Yangon

Beside the famous Bogyke Market the biggest market in Yangon, there are many other attractive markets, especially the markets located right on the sidewalk. Although they are the curb markets, here, you’ll find a full range of food items, from meat, fish, eggs, cheese, and also Thanaka cream – a cream that local people often apply to their face for sunscreen.

9. Moving on a train

The train is a quite common means of public transport in Myanmar, and in Yangon, there is railway going around this city built by the British, and was repaired and began operations again in 1954. Trains moving on this railway line only run on the 50km long way, stop at all 39 stops, and it will take about 3 hours to be able to finish this route.

You might feel uncomfortable, time-consuming, and even be late due to the rail system in Myanmar has a long- standing and old. However, there is an opportunity for you to meet local people, the monks, the woman selling sundry items and more importantly, you have the opportunity to feel the rhythm of daily life of the local.

Ticket price: 300 Kyats/ticket.

10. Enjoying the cuisine in the China Town

“Extremely busy” are the words that travelers favor for Chinatown in Yangon. Here, visitors will be immersed in the shopping paradise with a diverse variety of goods such as clothing, electronics, souvenirs, antiques, musical instruments, …

However, the most distinctive feature of China Town in Yangon is food section where are always crowded with customers and tourists, it even opens all night. In this area, you can enjoy snacks specialty of Myanmar such as pies, coconut cake with quail eggs, Shan noodles… or enjoy tropical fruits such as watermelon, durian, mangosteen, …

11. Visiting the area around Sule Pagoda

Sule Pagoda temple not only has religious and historical meaning with Yangon but is also seen as a milestone for the city, by the Sule Pagoda is located in the center, is the intersection of the largest and most beautiful streets of the city.

Therefore, after visiting the temple, visitors can stroll along the streets nearby and feel, enjoy a nostalgic, peaceful Yangon, where still retains many vestiges of colonial time with buildings with ancient architecture, European style such as City Hall, Independence Monument, Mahabadola park …

Opened: 6 am – 8 pm every day.

Entrance ticket: 3 USD/ ticket.

12. Shopping at Bogyoke Aung San Market – the biggest market in Yangon

Bogyoke Aung San, the biggest market of Yangon, was built in 1926 carrying British architecture. The market is always busy, and customers in this market are mostly foreigners. Bogyoke Aung San market is like a miniature Myanmar because visitors can find every item of Myanmar characteristics culture here. However, most of the travelers visiting Bogyoke Aung San do not ignore to buy handicraft items, and especially the jewelry with sophisticated design sold here.

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Textile store in Bogyoke Market the biggest one in Yangon City, Myanmar

13. Exploring the freshwater Inle lake and attending the traditional boat festival

The special thing about Inle Lake is not only being a charming beauty of mountains and water, it also is the habitat of Inthar (a minority of Myanmar). In Myanmar language, Inthar means “people who live on the lake”. For thousands of years, Inle Lake has been the place where all activities of a social life of the Inthar group taking place. Inthar people live entirely on the lake, they build houses and architectural works on the lake. The idea which is considered the greatest invention of the Inthar is that they cultivate on the lake’s surface by forming floating “fields” using the dead water- fern, water- plants and mosses and fixing them by pitching the bamboo stakes to the reservoir. Thus, the “floating fields” will rise and fall according to the water level in the lake.

sightseeing must see in Myanmar

Inle Lake a charming beauty of mountains and water as well as the habitat of Inthar (a minority of Myanmar)

Although Inle Lake is not the largest freshwater lake in the world, but the freshwater Inle lake is a wonderful place to see the sunrise in Myanmar. The lake is also the place where the longstanding traditional boat festival takes place, a lot of boat teams flock to the lake to attend the festival. These boats are very eye-catching decorated, they carry hundreds of Myanmar men dressing in traditional costumes dancing and soaking up the music. For lunch, you can enjoy excellently delicious local cuisine nearby.

14. Wearing Myanmar’s traditional costumes

In many countries in the world, the traditional costumes are worn only on holidays. However, for the people of Myanmar, they wear this dress every day. The reason is that this costume is appropriate with hot weather in this nation.

Myanmar people has distinctive costumes for men and women. The traditional outfit of men is called Longchy (a kind of pants) in harmony with the shirt or Taipon (traditional clothes). Whereas, the traditional costume of women is Thummy, which is similar to Lao or Thai skirt. Longchy and Thummy are quite simple, they are a self- colored or plaid clothes of about 2m for men and a colorful patterned one for women.

Myanmar traditional clothes

The clothes of novices in Myanmar

Obviously, the beautiful country of Myanmar has plenty of interesting things waiting for you to explore and experience. This is a peaceful and hospitable country, and a trip to Myanmar will definitely give you unique and unforgettable experiences.

The country with the Buddhist philosophy presented everywhere, friendly, quiet people glossy monks every morning on the street, noisy and busy Indians street, the delivery tricycle full of goods and Thanakha smiles of the girls… are like discreet charms creating a really fresh, attractive look for this land.

15. Exploring Popa Mountain

Popa has never been the protagonist of the legendary Burma stories. People come to Popa for faith, some come here because of their curiosity, some come here because of the planned arrangement, others people even do not know what Popa is. People come and go, do not want to come back. Popa does not know what to do besides standing there, embracing the sacred heritage, nourishing the faith of the miserable followers and challenging the tolerance of the unstable pilgrims.
PoPa Mountain is 1581m high above sea level and located in the center of Myanmar, about 50km to the southwest of Bagan. In the beautiful blue days, visitors coming here can also see the mountain when standing in the Ayeyrwady River.
Taung Kalat Monastery is one of the most beautiful Buddhist sites in Myanmar. To reach the Taung Kalat monastery, visitors must climb up to 777 steps and the people who reach the top will have an extremely spectacular panoramic view of the scenery. One can see the ancient city of Bagan and the huge cone-shaped peak of Popa Mountain.
Many of the myths are associated with this mountain of Popa, including its inconsequential creation, from a great earthquake, and the mountain erupting off the ground around 442 BC. The presence of the shrines dedicated to the deities of Nat, the locality shows the presence of an animistic creed, based on the localization of Buddhism in order to harmonize with the Burmese people. According to Burmese Buddhist beliefs, the gods are a group of different gods from protection gods, humanoid figures to the Forest Gods..
It is legendary that before the reign of Bagan under King Anawrahta (1044 – 1077) hundreds of animals had died here as part of customs to worship the Nat.
Another legend tells about Popa Meday (Popa’s royal mother), who, in the past, was called Mother Wunna, lived on Popa Mountain and ate only flowers. She fell in love with Byatta, a royal soldier gathering flowers from Popa to offer to King Anawrahta of Bagan (1044-1077). Byatta disobeyed the King’s orders, their children were taken to the palace. Wunna died with Byatta and became a Nat. Two of her children became heroes when serving the King, but were later blamed for building a temple in Taungbyone near Mandalay and were executed. They became two very powerful Nats, but their body was sent back to Taungbyone, where the main festival is held in Wagaung month (August) annually.