Top 10 wonderful reasons to visit Myanmar
Thanks to the historic elections in 2015, Myanmar (also known as Burma) has opened up to the outside world for the first time and officially made it an end to being one of the most isolated countries. As much as more travellers started venturing to this fascinating country, it is still a little known and strange destination for many else. If you are confronting your hesitation, below is really some food for thoughts. Besides, don't forget to check out our best Myanmar tailor-made tour packages to choose an itinerary which suits you the best.
1. The world's largest reclining Buddha
Among countless Buddha statues in different shapes and sizes all around the world, the crown is currently held by Win Sein Taw Ya Buddha at 30 meters high and 180 meters in length that can be seen from miles away. Inside the giant Buddha are numerous chambers with thousands of real-sized sculptures offerings scenes from a previous life of Buddha until he got to the hell.
On the way to the gigantic statue, you will have to pass by 500 life-size stone monks walking towards the statues with alms bowls on their hands. All together make instantly sacredly thrilling scenery for any visitors.
2. They use their self-produced sunscreen
Thanaka remains proudly standing out as Myanmar’s ancient beauty secret for all the time regardless of the recent arrival of imported beauty products. It is the yellow paste simply made from the bark of the Thanaka tree – the popular plant growing in most places in the country. Burmese people like their sunscreen too much that they wear it on daily basis. While women and girls use it more often not only to protect them from the sun but also to gain better look as makeup, men and boys prefer to use in a lesser extent. It also distinctively tightens the skin and prevents oiliness without the need for any chemical elements. What magic from nature?
3. Their amazing people
In Myanmar, people are normally very polite, generous and accommodating to foreigners who became the highlights to many foreign visitors’ memory. The special thing is they are not just doing it with visitors, they respect and be kind with each other as much the same as the way Buddha teaches them to do so. Even though it is fighting its way out of impoverishment that the whole country is facing too, it doesn’t affect the way they believe in Buddha, follow his lessons and live a happy life while preserving their beautifully unique culture and practices at the same time.
4. The world's oldest teak bridge
Situated in the outskirt of Mandalay (Myanmar’s last royal capital), U Bein Bridge is believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. The historic structure was built in the middle of 19th Century with over 1000 posts curving through the serene lake of Taung Tha Man. It may really look like an endless railway from a distance.
A great time to visit the bridge is just after sunrise or sunset time when the light is often best to create iconic scenery and moment of a lifetime.
5. One-Leg Rowing of Inle Lake
As Myanmar always has something to boast its uniqueness, when a visit to Inle Lake, the most remarkable feature of leg-rowing Intha fishermen is worth mentioning. As Intha people live in the floating houses for generations, earn their living by fishing on the vast lake. Since they need hands to throw the nest, take care of their floating gardens and obtain better vision over the reeds, in particular, they trained themselves to drive their flat-bottom boats by standing on the stern with one leg and using the other leg with the oar to row. It is truly a special rowing technique, which is rarely found in other parts of Myanmar and even the world.
6. The world’s greatest archaeological site
It will be a mistake to skip the archaeological wonders of Bagan, a massive and magnificent historic site to compare with Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat. The vast land is home of the largest and densest concentration of imposing Buddhist temples, pagodas and stupas in the world, with thousands of artistic structures dating back to the 10th–14th centuries, when the ancient city was the capital of the powerful kingdom of Bagan. From the higher terrace of pagodas, there offers a panoramic view of the landscape filled with a jungle of pagodas and toddy palm trees scattered across the misty plain to the bend of lazy-flowing Irrawaddy river.
7. Balloon over Bagan
If you ever dreamed of a unique way to experience the most scenic site in Myanmar, you can do it up from the air with a hot air balloon ride, a sunrise journey over the 2000 temples and pagodas spreading across the vast plains of Bagan. There are various choices for balloon sightseeing over the world but there is no better way to take in the incredible history while floating across the horizon as the first light comes out. It is promising an ultimate experience watching one by one monument in the massive temple plain coming out from the mist.
8. Holy rock that can defy gravity
Up into the mountain top of Mount Kyaiktiyo, it stands the Golden Rock pagoda with a sacred gold leaf-decorated boulder hanging over a steep cliff, seemingly defying the law of gravity for at least 2500 years. According to the legend, this is one of the four most important pagodas in Myanmar where the Buddha’s hair relic is enshrined.
After dark, the Golden Rock is a place with a mystical atmosphere of devotion with burning candles and the small incense sticks coming along with the chanting of devotees. For tourists, sunset is the best time to capture the gleaming rock shining through the night sky.
9. Shwedagon pagoda
The glittering Shwedagon Pagoda is Yangon’s most famous landmark, also considered one of the oldest in the world. The massive 99-meter high gold plated pagoda with the diamond-studded spire set on top of a small hill in downtown Yangon dominates the area and is visible from almost anywhere of the city. The main stupa enshrines sacred relics of the Gautama Buddha as well as the three previous Buddhas.
The pagoda is accordingly no doubt the most-visited destination for not only local devotees and monks but also curious international foreigners.
After dark, there is a mystical atmosphere hovering inside with candlelight, flowers, wind chimes while the pagoda is becoming dazzling up by spotlights.
10. The most fascinating ethnic groups
Minority ethnic communities are estimated to count for at least one-third of Myanmar's total population who inhabit half the land area. As their little contact with the outside world for a long time, much of cultural diversity and historic traditions are well preserved up to now.
Along with Shan people in Inle lake, for a real adventure, join a further land and boat trip to visit long-neck Kayah women in Loikaw or sailing up to the remote Chindwin river where tattoo-faced Chin people settle for hundreds of year. They may wear different traditional clothes, using different ethnic languages and live different cultures but all are on their way with excitable welcoming.