Myanmar is often called “The Land of Pagodas”, as there are numerous temples and pagodas right across the country, so many that no one knows exactly how many! They will form one of the main highlights of our trip, as we will visit various different temples, pagodas, and stupas every day.
Whether gilded, whitewashed, or made of crumbing brick, pagodas dominate Myanmar’s skyline; but you won’t need to fear being bored by the same sights every day, as each of the temples and pagodas has its own unique characteristics and varies in its architecture and significance.
We can also tailor itinerary according to your interests and time. Below is information about some of the main temples you may visit, categorized by location.
|Yangon||Shwedagon Pagoda||The most sacred and majestic pagoda in Myanmar|
|Mandalay||Shwenandaw Monastery||Known for its unique classical Burmese architecture and teak carvings|
|Kuthodaw Pagoda and the World’s Largest Book||Golden stupa surrounded by 729 smaller stupas which house marble stones inscripted with the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism|
|Mahamuni Pagoda||Home to a 4-meter-tall bronze Buddha|
|Sagaing Hill||Common day-trip destination, dating back to the Sagaing Dynasty of the 14th century|
|Bagan||Ananda Temple||Perfectly-dimensioned architecture|
|Shwezigon Pagoda||Prototype of Burmese style golden stupa, enshrining Buddha’s bone and tooth|
|Inle Lake||Indein Stupa Complex||Cluster of stupas being consumed by nature, can be reached by a scenic boat ride in the rainy season|
|Mon||Kyaiktiyo Golden Rock Pagoda||Iconic gravity-defying golden rock|
What Our Customers Said
Excellent planned and executed Myanmar excursion
Asia Highlights and their local Myanmar partner "mAsia" did an excellent job in planning and execution of a one week trip to Myanmar.The various tour guides and drivers had good knowledge and good command over English.More
Gerd, Jan 2018
Excellent planned and executed Myanmar excursion
They never failed to be at the agreed locations and on time. Cars provided spacious and in very good condition. Hotels booked met our expectations - especially Yangon, Bagan, Lake Inle.More
Gerd, Jan 2018
In good hands with Sam
Sam Ol took very good care of us - lots of information, listened to and answered all our questions, was passionate about the places we visited and about his people and country. He was kind, had a great sense of humor, and made sure we felt safe and comfortable at all times. He helped us to fall in love with Cambodia in 3 short days.More
Carol Jones, Feb 2023
Best tour guide in Cambodia
When we first arrived at the airport in Siem Riep it was so nice to be greeted by Mr Sam Ol. We instantly fell at home when we saw his friendly smile. We were impressed by his great English and knowledge of the temples. On the tour to the temples Sam took care of us every step of the way. He took awesome pictures of us. It felt like we were on a tour given by our brother who is also a professional photographer. Also, we appreciate his humor as well as the fact he had an answer for every question we had. I give Sam 5 stars, best tour guide ever :)More
Len S, Feb 2023
Mr. Sam our guide in Cambodia, he and the driver out standing service they went above and beyond touring, my wife so amazed beautiful country, we're planning back here near the futures. Thank Mr. Sam,We'll feedback the whole trip next week when we be home in USMore
Pho Lover, Feb 2023
We are still in the middle of our trip, but we are just finishing up our time in Cambodia and our guide, Borin, has been AMAZING!!! He has truly made our time here unforgettable and I plan on referring all of my friends and family to come visit this beautiful country! Thank you, Borin, for everything you did to make our trip so fantastic!More
Danielle Blount, Feb 2023
Excellent service and Wonderful Guides
All of our guides have been terrific. Mr. Sam in Siem Reip was especially wonderful. Both he and our driver were polite, safe knowledgable and informative. Sam made our trip memorable and enioyable. We will definitely recommend Sam and Asia Highlights to our friends.More
Kaaren, Feb 2023
Great tour guide Charity at Siem Reap
Our experience in Siem Reap could not have been any better thanks to our outstanding and cheerful guide, Charity. Her very good English speaking made it so easy to learn so much from her. She understood and answers all of our questions.She was relaxed and very knowledgeable. She went out out her way to help us make amazing pano photos of the cotton trees at Siem Reap and on our sunset cruise. She also advised us on Chanrey Tree restaurant—what we found to be the very best vegan restaurant on our first three weeks of our Asia tour. So glad to have vegan meals with very little oil!!! We are not supposed to have oil and is very hard to find vegan with no oil. Went went back the next night.More
Barbara Cornyn, Jan 2023
Yangon was the capital city from the start of the British colonial period until 2005, and even now it is the best-known city in Myanmar, and its commercial center.
You will probably begin and end your journey here, and while there are many pagodas around the area, Shwedagon is by far the most significant and magnificent.
Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is the most sacred pagoda in the country because it is believed to enshrine eight strands of Gautama Buddha’s hair.
This glorious 2,500 year-old pagoda, which stands 100 meters tall and is decorated with numerous golden plates and diamonds, is a reflection of Myanmar’s past glory, when the country was referred to as the “Golden Land”.
Now, the pagoda not only attracts tourists, but also pilgrims from right across the country, coming to worship and offer their prayers.
Before British colonization, Mandalay was the capital city of the kingdom. It is now the second largest city in Myanmar, located in Upper Burma, about 75 minutes’ flight from Yangon.
Shwenandaw Monastery in Mandalay
Shwenandaw Monastery was built in the style of classical Burmese architecture, and was originally part of the Royal Palace at Amarapura.
In 1878, King Thibaw Min dismantled and relocated the building to its current location in Mandalay because he believed it to be haunted by his father’s spirit.
The monastery is distinguished from other monasteries by the teak carvings describing Buddhist myth on its walls and roofs. It now functions mainly as a tourist attraction, and no longer serves spiritual purposes. People no longer go there to pray or burn incense.
Kuthodaw Pagoda and the World’s Largest Book in Mandalay
Kuthodaw Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa containing “the world’s largest book”. It was modeled after Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan and completed in 1868, making it almost 150 years old.
The golden stupa in the middle is surrounded by 729 kyauksagu, or stupas containing marble slabs inscribed with the entire Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. “The world’s largest book” actually refers to these 729 white stupas.
Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay
The Maha Muni Pagoda is considered the second most significant pagoda in the country, due to the four-meter bronze Buddha statue enshrined within it. Some even believe the Buddha himself resides in the statue.
The statue is believed to have been made in Rakhine State (western Myanmar) by a king who was very impressed by the Buddha’s teaching.
You will be able to see some local craftsmen in workshops on the steps leading to the temple, working on crafts including stone and marble carvings and gold-leaf making.
Sagaing Hill in the southwest of Mandalay
Sagaing Hill is an area with numerous pagodas, located along the Irrawaddy River, 20 km southwest of Mandalay. Sagaing was the capital of the Sagaing Kingdom, one of the minor dynasties in the 14th century, after the fall of the Pagan Dynasty. It is now a common destination for day-trippers.
Bagan is an ancient city in the Mandalay region, about 30 minutes by flight from Mandalay city. It was the capital city of the Kingdom of Pagan from the 9th to the 13th century, the kingdom that unified much of Myanmar, making it what it is today.
During its golden era, over 10,000 temples were built on the Bagan plains, and even now more than 2,200 remain.
Ananda Temple in Bagan
Ananda Temple was built in 1105 AD during the Pagan Dynasty. Its architectural structure is a fusion of Mon and Indian styles, and it is perfectly dimensioned. It was damaged in an earthquake in 1975 but has since been fully restored.
Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan
While Shwedagon is believed to enshrine 8 strands of Buddha’s hair, the Shwezigon Pagoda is believed to enshrine his bone and tooth. It was also built during the Pagan Dynasty.
Indein Stupa Complex at Inle Lake
Indein is a small village west of Inle Lake, which is about 35 minutes by flight from Mandalay. There are two groups of numerous ancient pagodas in the village, which can be reached by boat through a long narrow canal.
The scenic 8 km boat ride can be made only in the rainy season, when the water level is deep enough. The complex is regarded as comparable to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, in being slowly consumed by nature.
Kyaiktiyo Golden Rock Pagoda (not a typical pagoda, but a golden rock with important religious significance)
After Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and Mahamuni Temple in Mandalay, Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is next in significance. It is both a pilgrimage as well as a tourist site.
The site is well-known for its iconic gravity-defying golden rock, with a golden pagoda on top. Unlike other major sites for temples and pagodas, Kyaiktiyo Golden Rock Pagoda is located in Mon state, in southern Myanmar, about 160 km from Yangon.
Myanmar has too many temples and pagodas to count, never mind visit. The 9 sites above are our recommendations as the most significant ones worth visiting. Please bear in mind, however, that our tour service can be tailored to suit your interests.
The temples are spread out over a wide area, but this will not be a problem, as we’ll arrange a suitable itinerary and transportation, including air-conditioned private cars for land-transportation.
A knowledgeable local guide will provide an insider’s view, revealing stories behind each site. So, bring your camera in anticipation of some good photographs, and enjoy.
Visit Myanmar with Asia Highlights
We provide tailor-made tours to Myanmar. Tours typically start or end in Yangon or Mandalay and last approximately 9 days; visiting Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake.
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