Myanmar:Must-see Places in This Underrated South-east Asian Paradise

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Myanmar:Must-see Places in This Underrated South-east Asian Paradise

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Myanmar:Must-see Places in This Underrated South-east Asian Paradise

Full of ancient temples from a once powerful kingdom and extravagantly beautiful golden pagodas dotted around the country, Myanmar is a gem of South-east Asia that most tourists tend to overlook in favor of the more developed tourism mecca of Thailand. Myanmar offers a similar experience and more than its popular neighbor however, with a vibrant culture not changed by the modern influence of the western world, a rarity in today's society. Here are some of the sights that show just how underrated Myanmar is.

1. Bagan

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Ancient temples and pagodas stretching as far as the eye can see, this historical wonderland is one of the most fascinating archaeological sites on earth. Once the capital of the mighty Pagan Kingdom, over ten thousand pagodas and temples were believed to have been built here following the wealth and success of the rulers there. Today over 2,200 of the beautiful ancient structures are still standing and the view over the plain of temples is one of the most incredible sights in the world.

2. Sanda Muni and Kuthodaw Pagodas (Mandalay)

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Built as a memorial to several assassinated princes, Sanda Muni Pagoda is a beautiful stretch of hundreds of stark white stupas. The sight is incredible especially when viewed from above, which you can see from the nearby Mandalay Hill. From the hill you'll also get stunning panoramic views of the surrounded area including Mandalay Palace. After checking out Sanda Muni, head across the road to Kuthodaw Pagoda, known to be the world's largest book. The 729 stupas in this complex each contain a huge marble tablet inside with text from Buddhist scriptures.

3. Karaweik Palace (Yangon)

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One of the most picturesque views in the city of Yangon is of the Karaweik Palace, a replica of a Burmese royal barge sitting majestically on the Kandawgyi Lake. The barge is used as a restaurant and for cultural Burmese performances. While the traditional dances and performances are quite interesting, the food is usually not so great so it's best to find somewhere else to eat instead. The view of the barge from the lake is spectacular however, especially at sunset when the light glistens off the royal barge and the waters.

4. Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (Mon State)

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Also known as the Golden Rock for fairly obvious reasons, Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is a spectacular feat of gravity, precariously balanced on the edge of a cliff the stone looks like it would fall off with just one push. A sacred Buddhist site, pilgrims from around the country visit the rock to pray and place gold leaf on it, giving it the golden color it's famous for. With it being at the top of a mountain, the views around the rock are fantastic too,

5. Pindaya Caves (Shan State)

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Pindaya Caves are a network of three limestone caverns famous for the 8000 images of Buddha with inscriptions dating back to the 18th century. In the caves, you'll also find other unique images of the Bhisakkaguru tradition. The caves are located near to Inle Lake, an area famed for its beautiful scenery and water-dwelling tribes.

6. Mergui Archipelago

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Compared to the neighboring beach tourism mecca of Thailand, Myanmar is still relatively unknown as a beach destination. However, like Thailand, the country has a huge amount of beautiful beaches stretching along its coastline and around the hundreds of islands of paradise in the Mergui Archipelago. These gems of the Andaman Ocean are relatively untouched by the woes of tourism, resulting in beautifully preserved pristine beaches that are mostly deserted apart from the few travelers who make it there each year.

7. Mandalay Palace

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The royal palace of the last monarchy of Burma, it occupies a vast area in the north part of Mandalay. The grounds are surrounded by a moat and wall with picturesque stupas that reflect into the waters around it. Make sure to head to the watch tower in the center of the complex for breathtaking views over the palace area and its buildings.

8. Shwedagon Pagoda (Yangon)

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The most spectacular and oldest in the plethora of pagodas dotted around Myanmar, Shwedagon is a beautiful and sacred structure that towers above the city of Yangon. Surrounded by a sea of pagodas covered in gold and encrusted with gems and diamonds, the splendor of this complex is an unmissable sight in the country.

9. Taung Kalat (Bagan)

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Just over an hours drive from the sea of ancient pagodas in Bagan, Taung Kalat is a highly unique looking hill with a temple and shrines built on the top. One of the most famed sights in Myanmar, the temple is a popular pilgrimage spot for Buddhists in the country. The site is often wrongly referred to as Mount Popa, which is actually the name of a nearby volcano, however be sure to hike up the volcano for stunning views over Taung Kalat.


A country full of unique traditions, ancient ruins, breathtaking landscape and beautiful beaches, by rights Myanmar should be one of the most popular destinations in the world. Not to complain however, as the rare absence of crowds means this country is able to preserve its image as a serene land of paradise.