Situated only about 80km (two-hour drive) north of Yangon, Bago is renowned for the 55-meter long reclining Buddha image, the Shwethalyaung, the beautiful golden Shwemawdaw Pagoda and many more religious monuments such as the old Ordination Hall. You can visit on a day-return trip from Yangon or on your way to the Golden Rock (Kyaikhtio) Pagoda and to Mawlamyaing (Moulmein). Bago remains a quiet and easy-going town with a lot more bicycles than cars.
Thanlyin is 45 minutes by ferry across the Bago River or about 30 minutes ride from Yangon by car across the Thanlyin Bridge. Thanlyin was an important trading centre in the 17th century under the Portuguese. Places of interest include Old Portuguese buildings, Kyaik Khauk Pagoda and Yele Pagoda on a small island at Kyauktan, 12km south of Thanlyin.
Well known for its pottery and cotton weaving and for an old Mon paya complex, Twante is situated at the Twante Canal which was dug during the colonial era for a short boat ride from Yangon. A ride on the canal offer contrasting images, from the buzzing chaos in Yangon to the provincial calmness of the countryside only a few minutes outside the capital.
Located on the Eastern bank of the Ayerwaddy River, it is known for the nearby ancient Pyu capital of Thayekhittaya (Sri Ksetra). In the surrounding areas, there are the ruins of this ancient capital. The high lights are Pyay Shwasandaw Pagoda, Baw Baw Gyi Paya and Mawzar Museum.
KYAIK HTEE YOE (THE GOLDEN ROCK)
The Golden Rock pagoda which is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites of Myanmar, located about 160km from Yangon. Rising 1100 meter above sea level, this small golden stupa stands on the top of a huge gold-gilded boulder. This Golden Rock is precariously perched on the edge of the hill and is place of important pilgrimage for Buddhists and the legend says that maintains its precarious balance due to a Buddha hair placed in the stupa.
Hpa An is the capital of Kayin State. The city is connected to other towns like Kawkareik, Hpapun and Myawaddy by roads and waterway transportation. The singularly distinctive limestone pinnacle forming the Zwegabin Mountain provides a dramatic backdrop for Hpa An. The Kayin people are very fond of the color red, which can be seen on most of the men and women clothing. But nowadays, colourful dresses for both men an women are available giving attractive sight and comfort.
Mawlamyaing is a busy commercial port mainly exporting rice and wood. It is the fourth largest city in Myanmar, located 270km southeast of Yangon. As it served as capital of British Burma from 1827 to 1852, many old colonial buildings still remain. Places of interest in this area include the Mahamuni & Uzina Pagodas, Kipling's Kyaikthanlan Pagoda and the Mon Cultural museum.
Rising to 737m from the flat, Mt Popa, an extinct volcano is described as the Mt Olympus of Myanmar and it is considered the abode of Myanmar's legendary 37 "Nats" (spirits). Mt Popa is about 50km from Bagan and one can visit there by day-tripping from Bagan or as a stop-off between Bagan and Mandalay or Inle Lake.
Salay is 36km south of Bagan. Today Salay is known as an important centre of Buddhism with many working monasteries. But throughout its past, its own unique style of Bagan era architecture still can be seen in Salay till today. Highlights include Payathonzu, Hkinkyiza Kyaung, Yougson Kyaung. Sites of the British colonial past can still be found.
Either on an excursion by boat from Bagan or on the way by car from Monywa to Bagan, Pakokku and its surroundings offer the travellers a unique glimpse into the typical village life in the area. The nearby 19th century town of Pakhangyi has one of the oldest wooden monasteries in Upper Myanmar, with 254 teak pillars. Pakokku is famous for tobacco, jaggery (palm sugar), thanaka (Linoria acidissima) logs, longyis (sarongs), and saung (checked blankets) made from cotton and wool.
Situated 70km south west of Taunggyi, at an altitude of 1320m, Kalaw sits high on the western edge of the Shan Plateau. This was a popular hill station in the British days, and it's still a peaceful and quiet place with an atmosphere reminiscent of the colonial area. From Kalaw there are good trekking and hiking possibilities to the neighboring hill tribe villages which still function the same as they did centuries ago.
Pindaya lies in an altitude of 1,200 meters surrounded by hill tribe villages. Its main attraction is the natural limestone cave that branches out widely, displaying more than 8,000 Buddha images made of wood, marble, lacquer, brick, stone and bronze. Many devoted Buddhist pilgrims have placed them there over the centuries. The collection of these images in such a setting is unique and worth seeing. Pindaya also features the picturesque Boutaloke Lake, beautifully set amongst huge old trees. A major handicraft industry in Pindaya is umbrella manufacturing. The making of these pretty hand-made paper umbrellas can be seen in several workshops in town.
KYAING TONG (KENGTUNG)
Lashio is the trading centre for northern Shan State at the beginning of the famous Burma Road leading into China. From Mandalay you can reach Lashio by road or by train in a day. Lashio has one of the most colourful markets in Myanmar. Each morning Chinese, Wa, Shan, Myanmar, Lisu and Palaung nationalities gather for their daily shopping. It is a mountain town at 855 metres. Quan Yin San Chinese Temple, hot springs and New Pyi Lon chan Tha Paya are among some of the places to visit.
Once the capital of the powerful Rakhine kingdom and an important free trade port in the 16th century, Mrauk-U is now an archaeological site with several interesting temples and buildings. The most important temple is the massive Shittaung (the shrine of 80.000 images) built in 1535 by King Minbin and its interior walls are engraved with over 1.000 Buddhist figures. Additional interesting sightseeing points are the ruins of the royal palace and the remains of the city walls.
Sittwe (known as Akyab), with atleast a 2000 year history of habitation, sits at the mouth of the Kaladan River where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. It can be reached by air, approximately one hour flight, from Yangon. Sittwe boasts several interesting pagodas and a very exceptional monastery that has a wonderful collection of Buddha images, some dating back to the 15th century. Sittwe's main importance lies in the fact that it is the gateway to the archaeological site of Mrauk-U with the historical temples of the 15th and 16th centuries.
The story tells the beach was named after an Italian, who lived here for a while, reminded him the coastline of Naples. Most probably it comes from the pronunciation of its Burmese name that means some like “Inveigling Fish”.
The beach is located in the state of Rakhine or Rakhaing (Arakan in Bengalese) in Western Myanmar facing the Bay of Bengal. Thandwe (Sandoway during British colonial period) is about 25 minutes drive and the airport about 15 minutes.
Ngapali is a 3 km long white sandy and unspoilt beach overlooking the clear blue-water of Bay of Bengal, backed by swaying coconut palm and casuarinas trees. After sunset the sea in front of the beach is enlightened by the several lamps of the fishermen boats until morning. Before dawn on the shore other fishermen begin setting and drawing drift nets until late morning when they load their catches in baskets.
The surroundings are plenty of small villages that you can reach by bicycle or by walking along the beach. Thandwe, the most important town of the area, has an interesting market set in a former British jail where traditional medicine herbs, clothes, textile, hardware and food are sold.
CHAUNG THA BEACH
With fine, beige, sand backed by coconut palms Chaungtha beach lies 40 km west of Pathein. It is about 5 hours’ drive from Yangon. Visitors can add up Chaung Tha Beach before they wind up their trip to Myanmar. It saves both time and money. Chaung Tha Beach is mostly travel by local visitors so it is recommended for the person who would like to enjoy the lively beach. It is newly opened beach about 48 km from Pathein.
NGWE SAUNG BEACH
It is newly opened beach about 48 km from Pathein. Ngwe Saung can be reached by car from the capital Yangon in approximately six hours. The journey takes travelers on a partly bumpy and potholed road across the alluvial Ayeyarwaddy Delta Region. As an alternative to road travel, it is now possible to travel from Yangon to the Pathein River by boat, a journey of approximately 16 hour overnight sails through picturesque scenery passing homesteads and typical villages dotted along the riverbanks. This unspoiled beach stretches 15 km of white sand and blue sea. There are newly constructed bungalows with local flavor, but equipped with modern facilities. With its sandy shore free of mud and clay, transparent and clean sea water, pretty islands nearby and rows of palm trees, is really an irresistible attraction for beach lovers.