Top 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Myanmar

Even before the days of British colonialism and the ‘exotic east’ writings of luminaries like Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham and George Orwell, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) had long been a place of mystery and allure.

With its legendary kingdoms, gorgeous landscapes, diverse people and fine examples of architectural and archaeological marvels, how could it not?

These days, having re-joined the global community after 50 years of infamy at the hands of a ruling military junta, the Golden Land finds itself jumping onto an ever-increasing number of traveler’s bucket lists. Here are the most beautiful places to visit in Myanmar…

1. Yangon

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Oddly anglicized to ‘Rangoon’ under British rule, Yangon is one of the great unsung cities of the world, and certainly the friendliest! The ‘Garden City of the East” is most famously known as the home of Myanmar’s holy of holys – the 2,500 year old Shwedagon Pagoda.

At 325-feet in height & covered in 60 tons of gold, Shwedagon’s shimmering glory dominates the city skyline. Although Yangon is much more than Shwedagon.

There are a host of fine exotic hotels and restaurants, a burgeoning arts scene, rare antique shops, fascinating markets, and even the nightlife is surging with new energy, Yangon is truly an urban experience quite unlike anywhere else.

2. Bagan


The vast Buddhist temple-scape of Bagan, a legacy of devotion and monuments to power built by the Pagan Kings over several centuries, is not only a place of surreal wonder, but is without a doubt one of the greatest archaeological sites on earth.

The 2,220 surviving temples (13,000 at its apex) can for the most part be explored quite freely. Modes of transport around the 40 square mile temple zone, include bus, car, bicycle, foot and hot air balloon!

3. Mandalay

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Don’t believe what you read on certain travel review sites. Sure, the city is a dusty trading hub, but there is much more to it than meets the average tourist’s eye. On his photo tours, National Geographic‘s Steve McCurry spends more time here than anyplace else.

The Mandalay Array, as Luminous Journeys has dubbed it, is culturally and photographically rich indeed. Highlights include Myanmar’s 2nd holiest shrine, the Maha Muni gilded Buddha, the picturesque U Bein Bridge (the largest teak structure on earth), the massive, never completed temple of Mingun, the 600 monasteries and nunneries of the Holy Hills of Sagaing, and a whole lot more. Mandalay – as dusty as it maybe – should not be overlooked.

4. Lake Inle

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One of the most popular and beautiful places to visit in Myanmar, Lake Inle is best known for its unique fishermen, who row their dugout canoes standing with a single leg wrapped around a single oar.

Despite the rise in tourism and the changing waterscape of expanding ‘floating gardens’, (the lake provides 70% of Myanmar’s tomatoes), Inle, with its wonderful water bungalow hotels and welcoming people, still maintains its palpable, yet indescribable magic.

5. “The Golden Rock” of Kyaiktiyo

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Located about five hours by road from Yangon, The Golden Rock is Myanmar’s 3rd holiest shrine, behind Shwedagon Pagoda and the Maha Muni Buddha.

The true history of this gilded wonder resting precariously on the precipice of a mountain outcrop is as shrouded in mystery as Myanmar itself. Legend has it that what keeps it from tumbling a thousand feet into the gorge below, is a single hair of the Buddha!

6. The Lost City of Mrauk U

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Mrauk U was the seat of power of the Arakan Empire that ruled vast coastal regions of western Myanmar and into India as far as the Ganges River.

At its height, the city was as wealthy, diverse and influential in the East as Amsterdam was contemporaneously in the West. The Arakan kings thought enough of their own well-being to enlist Japanese Samurai as personal bodyguards!

Mrauk U today, with its great temple fortresses serving as little more than exotic backdrops for a collection of small rural villages, has a surreal feel to it, especially when shrouded in the morning mist. That the only access is by river adds even more of an adventure feel of visiting this lost dynastic capital.

7. Kyaing Tong & the Golden Triangle

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While well-trodden Thailand has seen its tribal areas become over-touristed, this is far from the case in Myanmar. It is still quite possible to visit villages that very rarely, if ever, see foreigners, and some tribes are unique to Myanmar.

It should be noted that during high season these days, the easier-to-reach villages will be expecting you! So, if you are looking to get seriously authentic, plan well, and make sure you have a guide who understands what you’re after.

8. Hpa An

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Hpa An is the photogenic capital of Kayin State on the Thanlwin River. About a 7-hour drive southeast from Yangon, the town is surrounded by Karst mountains and is great place for short, scenic treks. Outside of town there are seas of green rice paddies backed by Karst rock formations.

Mt. Zwegabin is the most prominent “rock”, and can be climbed in a couple of fairly strenuous hours, but the views are a spectacular reward. The biggest draw of Hpa An for many, are the limestone caves in that serve as amazing natural Buddhist temple shrines.

9. Putao & the Eastern Himalaya


The Myanmar Himalaya is virtually virgin territory, at least as far as foreign visitors go. The region is one of most bio-unique in the world, with an average of 30 to 40 new species of flora and fauna discovered each year.

Putao is the gateway to Himalayan trekking for true adventure types, and is reachable only by air. For the luxury-minded, river rafting, short treks and bike jaunts are all available from the beautiful Malikha Lodge. Nothing like a delicious cocktail and a massage after a long day exploring.

10. The Beaches – Ngapali & Ngwe Saung

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Ngapali is more than Myanmar’s most visited beach. Yes, it’s a lovely tropical beach on the Bay of Bengal, with requisite white sands, swaying palms, sashay masseuses, and beachfront bungalows, but what really puts it over the top, is the spectacular seafood.

Most of Myanmar’s sea gastronomy chefs are gathered here, all vying to win the affection of your taste bud arrays.

Next you should head to Ngwe Saung. What this up-and-coming budget to luxury resort area has over Ngapali, is that it’s nine miles longer, has more locals than foreigners, and is within driving distance of Yangon.

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6 thoughts on “Top 20 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Singapore”

  1. Thank you for sharing the list of 10 most beautiful places one can visit in Myanmar. This article has every detail that is needed to plan your trip. Keep up the good write up & we will wait for more such informative blogs.

  2. I am Myanmar citizen and welcome all to come and visit my country. Some of the places are more wonderful that are not mention in above.

    • That right. Myanmar is a beautyful country more than above mention. I always pround of a myanmar citizen . welcome all our country

  3. Love this post, especially the photos of the three children playing and the monk praying at the rock. Wonderful!

  4. One of my favorite countries! Made a tough choice between exploring more of Thailand or doing Myanmar in 2014. I made the right decision and loved every minute!
    Need to go back and do more – especially Putao and the Golden Triangle, I didn’t know about that tribe!

  5. Why “oddly” Anglicized to Rangoon (top photo under Yangon)?

    “Yangon” is actually spelled “Rangun” in Burmese/Myanmar. This is because the earlier pronunciation sounded something like “Rangoon”. Sometime in the 19th century the “R” shifted to a “Y” sound and “goon” became “gon”. The English “Rangoon” preserves the older pre-20th century pronounciation.

  6. You had a great Myanmar Tours, Becky. I appreciate these are great places to visit. But also “Pindaya” and “Kalaw” are great places. Pindaya famous for cave housing and Kalaw is a hill town.

  7. This place has been on my list for a while – especially Yangon and Bagan; for some reason I still have not made it. Maybe one day…

  8. Would love to go there, I have been to Cambodia and Thailand but I think I need to add this to my list. What a gorgeous looking country!

  9. I have been out of the loop recently due to a big event at work. So much to catch up on on your blog. This article especially caught my eye.
    Like Catherine it has been on and off my list.
    But those pictures are so amazing it is now on!

  10. absolutely gorgeous photos! haven’t thought much about visiting myanmar in the past, but this might be enough to sway us…

  11. Myanmar has been in and out of my list of countries to visit in SE Asia like a yo-yo, but it’s right back in there again after reading this post!

    Love all the photos, especially the one looking through the fishing basket for the lake, that’s beautiful!

    • Thanks Catherine sadly we can’t take credit for these photos but I’m pleased you’re thinking about a trip – it’s a very beautiful country!

  12. Myanmar is on my travel bucket list, it seems such a magical & spiritual destination. The photos featured in the post are absolutely breathtaking, especially love the one with the brightly dressed people drinking from the flask. Amazing. 🙂

  13. Thanks everyone for the positive comments, which are always great to hear.

    To Jean – it’s going to be a good while before Myanmar gets over-touristed. Barely 1 million actual tourists – not just visitors – will come to Myanmar this year. Compare that to over 20 million for neighboring Thailand. Just the same, the sooner the better!

    To Ashley – snakes are not an issue, though you can visit a 29 foot python who is worshipped like a god.

    To The Guy – you are absolutely spot on! Such wonderful people…when their tours are up, most all of our guests don’t want to leave!

    To Rebecca – Easy on that stuff!:)

  14. Yeaaa, another list as you know I love them, Becky! My one to pick this time would The Lost City of Mrauk U! I love the mystique and the picture having it slightly shrouded in mist only adds to that! Another terrific post! 🙂

  15. Wow, such beautiful places! My husband and I are planning a trip to Thailand
    In January but I think we should seriously consider Burma. Does. The author answer question here? What about snakes? Thanks, Ashley

  16. There is little doubt Bennett that you’ve provided a very compelling case and visuals for a visit.

    Myanmar (or Burma as it is still referred to in the UK) is undiscovered by many due to its recent history. It is good to see it come back in the fold of the tourist route and hopefully the local people, who have suffered in the past will receive the benefit of more global connections.

  17. Myanmar is on my list to visit .. I hope it remains its mystical, serene atmosphere (from the photos anyway) and don’t become too touristy. Amazing shots as always!

  18. What a dream to travel so far and to experience such a different culture, even the colors and light are so unique!

  19. Thanks for a truly inspirational post Bennett! Myanmar has been on my radar for a while as it seems to be such a beautiful country with nice people!


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