Burma: Main Attractions cover

Burma: Main Attractions

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For many years, Burma (Myanmar) was rarely visited by foreign tourists, though it is a gorgeous and very diverse country, rich in both cultural and natural heritage.
Many of its landmarks are little known, or are out of reach to a general tourist. Many of those which are better known belong along side the most surprising and beautiful landmarks in the world.


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Burma: Main Attractions

Lost Land

For many years, Burma (Myanmar) was rarely visited by foreign tourists, though it is a gorgeous and very diverse country, rich in both cultural and natural heritage.

Many of its landmarks are little known, or are out of reach to a general tourist. Many of those which are better known belong along side the most surprising and beautiful landmarks in the world.

Bagan

Bagan

Ruins of Bagan,

Burma, 1999

Image by Nick Kenrick

(CC BY 2.0)

Highlights

Pagodas. These amazing structures are very tall, and often have gold coated bell-shaped structures with spires. They are a Burmese architectural specialty. Many pagodas are adorned with huge amounts of large jewels, precious metals and artworks. The Kuthodaw Pagoda – with the world's largest book - the Shwedagon Pagoda, and the 114 m tall Shwemawdaw Pagoda are all amazing

Historical cities. The capitals of medieval states in Burma were large cities with impressive fortifications, palaces and countless temples. Such abandoned cities as Bagan and Mrauk U have unique skylines thanks to the huge number of temples.

Gemstone mines. The world's best rubies and sapphires are found in Burma; and here are also found gorgeous spinels, jade, amber and many other very rare gemstones.

Natural Landmarks

Geothermal Features

Cheduba Mud Volcano in Rakhine State. This is an enormous mud volcano, which often erupts. It also emits seeps of oil - e.g. it is natural petroleum spring.

Sai Khrone Mud Volcano and the other mud volcanoes of Ramree Island, in Rakhine State. These are enormous, active mud volcanoes with prominent mud cones. Their very strong eruptions make them unique, often emitting gasses, which sometimes burst into flames. It is also the site of many legends about spirits.

Anisakan Falls

Anisakan Falls

Near Pyin Oo Lwin

Image by Paul Arps

(CC BY 2.0)

Natural Landmarks (Cont.)

Waterfalls

Anisakan Falls (Dat Taw Gyaik Falls) - MandalayRegion. Gorgeous, some 320 m tall waterfall with several steps and spectacular travertine formations.

Bala Chaung Falls(Lawbida Falls) - Kayah State. Major falls with many steps. Some 35 m wide river falls some 350 m over the distance of 1.8 km.

Bungtla Falls (Bon Tala Waterfall) - Chin State. Some 460 m tall waterfall, with 9 major cascades.

Natural Landmarks (Cont.)

Caves and Cave Temples

Many natural caves in Burma are used as Buddhist shrines and are adorned with statues of Buddha - thus they are both natural and cultural monuments.

Badah-Lin Caves (Padah-Lin) - Shan State. Two archaeologically important caves. Contain paintings and stone carvings from the Mesolithic and early Neolithic periods. One cave was inhabited in earlier times, 13,000 years old charcoal has been found here.

Kaw Gun Cave

Kaw Gun Cave

Image by Jason Eppink

(CC BY 2.0)

Natural Landmarks (Cont.)

Kaw Gun Cave (Kawgon) - Kayin State. Amazing cave temple from the 7th century AD, adorned with thousands of Buddha images, made of terracotta and plastered on the walls. It is assumed that some 10,000 such images are plastered here. Cave contains undeciphered writing in an unknown language.

Mondowa Cave - Shan State. Longest known cave in Burma, 1770 m long. A Buddhist temple is located at the entrance.

Pindaya Caves - Shan State. Group of three caves, where the southern cave contains more than 8,000 statues of Buddha, mostly from the 18th - 29th century.

Gemstone Finds

Hpakan jade mine(Phakant mine) - Kachin State. Major find of high quality jade. World's largest jade stone has been found here - it is 21 m long and 6 m high.

Maingkwan burmite mine- Kachin State. Best known mine of deep red variety of amber - burmite.

Mogok ruby and sapphire mines - Mandalay Region. In the river beds around Mogok city are found some of the best rubies and sapphires in the world, as well as some 60 other kinds of gemstones - including such beautiful rarities as taafeite, sinhalite, johachidolite and others. Gems have been mined here since prehistoric times.

Mogok Ruby

Mogok Ruby

The former owner referred to this as a "jolt of color" in his case.

This ruby specimen GLOWS with intense color, the color they call "pigeon-blood red" over there. It has also an incredible, waxy but glassy lustre that is hard to describe and I think is unique to great corundums. The sum is, it glows and sparkles in a case, with even minimal lighting to backlight it. The color is also consistent throughout except only a very small crysatl portion; AND you can see the whole specimen is crystallized. Burma rubies of large size are commonly lumpy, but this shows incredibly intricate faces, particularly on the display view.

Image by Robert Lavinsky

(CC BY 3.0)

Gemstone Finds (Cont.)

Mong Hsu ruby mines - Shan State. Richest find of rubies in the world, many stones have very high quality. Some 95% of faceted rubies in the world are mined here.

Namya ruby and spinel mines - Kachin State. Find of high quality rubies and spinels.

Pain Pyit mine - Mandalay Region. One of the numerous Mogok mines, unique due to finds of extremely rare gemstone jodachidolite, as well as the rare hackmanite.

Man Made Landmarks

Cities

Bagan

Bagan Temple City -Mandalay Region. An ancient temple city with 2217 temples (initially more than 5000) built mainly in the 9th - 11th centuries, and was once the most important center of Buddhism in the region. More than 300 temples contain frescoes. It served as a capital of several ancient kingdoms. Although most of the temples are not in active use, locals continue to use them for some religious activities. These numerous high and beautiful buildings create a unique skyline.

Bagan

Bagan

Image by Marc Veraart

(CC BY 2.0)

Cities (Cont.)

Inwa (Ava) - Mandalay Region. Ruins of the ancient capital, founded in 1364. It was rebuilt several times throughout history, and was abandoned after earthquakes in 1839. Here lie ruins of pagodas, stupas and a palace.

Mrauk U - Rakhine State. Temple city and the capital city of the Rakhine kingdom in 1430 - 1785. More than 200 impressive temples and other structures have been preserved here. Also found here are diverse stone carvings and other monuments.

Sagaing temple city - Sagaing Region. The foormer capital of Sagaing Kingdom from 1315 - 1364, and the royal capital of Burma from 1760 - 1763. Numerous pagodas are located in the city.

Cities (Cont.)

Sri Ksetra (Thaye Khittaya, Tharay-Khit-taya) - Bago Region. These are the ruins of the largest capital of Pyu state, founded in 5th - 7th centuries and abandoned before 1057. This was the largest Pyu city, even larger than Bagan and Mandalay. The city was encircled with13 km long, 4.5 m tall walls made from brick. In the center was located an enormous palace complex.

Ywama village - Shan State. A village built on stilts above the Inle Lake. This village can be travelled by boat, but there are built also walkways. Several similar villages in the lake are - Iwagyi, Intha amongst others. Also interesting are the endless floating gardens on the lake.

Ywama Village, Inle Lake

Ywama Village, Inle Lake

Image by 3coma14

(CC BY-SA 3.0)

Buddhist Monasteries

Bagaya Kyaung monastery- Mandalay Region. This monastery was built from dark teak trees in 1838. The buildings are embellished with exquisite wood carvings.

Ohn Don Monastery - Magway Region. Beautiful monastic complex, built in 1742 AD. This complex of wooden buildings is ornamented with woodcarvings, and it has gilded and lacquer decorations.

Popa Taung Kalat - Mandalay Region. This beautiful monastic complex sits on top of an extinct volcanic plug, rising 170 - 180 meters over the surrounding area.

Sale Monastery - Magway Region. A well-preserved monastic complex, built from wood, with outstanding woodcarvings. It now serves as a museum.

Shwenandaw Monastery

Shwenandaw Monastery

Shwenandaw Monastery - Mandalay Region.

This monastery was built in the 19th century from teak wood. Buildings are very ornate, adorned with woodcarvings. The only remaining historical building of the Mandalay Palace complex.

Image by Thomas Schoch

(CC BY-SA 1.0)

Temples And Pagodas

Ananda Temple - Bagan,Mandalay Region. Well preserved, 51 m tall Buddhist temple, built in 1005. Temple has unusual architecture - a blend of Mon and Indian architecture styles. Contains many valueable artworks.

Bawbawgyi Pagoda - Bago Region. A prototype of the unique Burmese pagodas, this 47 m tall pagoda is built before the 11th century AD by the Pyu culture.

Dhammayangyi Temple - Mandalay Region, Bagan. This massive temple is the largest in Bagan, and was built in the late 12th century.

Temples And Pagodas (Cont.)

Gawdawpalin Temple - Mandalay Region, Bagan. A Giant temple, the second tallest in Bagan. Constructed in 1227.

Hsinbyume Pagoda - Mandalay Region. Beautiful, shining white pagoda, built in 1816. This is an unusual pagoda, with seven concentric terraces. It represents a model of the mythical Mount Meru.

Kuthodaw Pagoda - Mandalay Region. This gilded stupa is 57 metres high, with other 729 stupas with stone inscriptions. These buildings comprise the world's largest book and were constructed in 1857.

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda - Mon State.

This small pagoda on an enormous, gold covered boulder is located on the edge of a cliff. According to legend it is held in its place by a strand of the hair of Buddha.

Image by Arian Zwegers

(CC BY 2.0)

Temples And Pagodas (Cont.)

Mahamuni Pagoda - Mandalay Region. One of the most sacred places in Burma, this ornate monastic complex was built in 1785 and rebuilt in the late 19th century. It contains the statue created after the likeness of Buddha during his lifetime.

Mingun Pahtodawgyi (Mantalagyi Stupa, Unfinished Stupa) - Mandalay Region. Ruins of giant, incomplete stupa. Eccentric king Bodawpaya started construction in 1790. It was planned to build a 150m tall temple, but it was left unfinished intentionally, due to a superstition. Now this is the largest pile of bricks in the world.

Temples And Pagodas (Cont.)

Phowintaung - Sagaing Region. Complex of Buddhist caves, consisting of 947 decorated, artificial caves. Many caves have beautiful frescoes and statues. Created mostly in the 14th - 18th centuries.

Shite-thaung Temple - Rakhine State. Large and much revered temple, built in 1535 - 1536. The main hall of the temple is surrounded by a maze of corridors, lined with countless reliefs of religious themes.

Shwedagon Pagoda - Yangon Region. Gilded and 98 metres tall, this stupa is richly adorned with jewels. It is the most sacred pagoda in Burma. Initially built in 6th century, it has been rebuilt and extended, and is one of the most impressive architecture monuments in the world.

Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Shwemawdaw Pagoda

Shwemawdaw Pagoda - Bago Region.

An enormous gilded pagoda that is 114 metres in height. It was originally built in 10th century and rebuilt several times.

Image by Vera & Jean-Christophe

(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Temples And Pagodas (Cont.)

Shwemokhtaw Paya - Ayeyarwady Region. Very old pagoda, first built (reportedly) in 305 BC. Rebuilt several times, it is now 47 m tall. The upper part is coated with 6.3 kg of pure gold, the middle part with silver, and the lower part with bronze. It is adorned with 829 diamonds, 843 rubies and many other precious stones.

Shwe Myint Zu Pagoda - Kachin State. This gilded pagoda is built in Indawgyi Lake and is accessible by a long footbridge.

Shwesandaw Pagoda - Bago Region. One of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Burma, guilded, 99 m tall pagoda. Built in 1057.

Temples And Pagodas (Cont.)

Shwezigon Pagoda - Bagan, Mandalay Region. Gilded pagoda, one of the prototypes of Burmese pagodas. Completed in 1102, believed to enshrine a bone and tooth of Buddha.

Sule Pagoda - Yangon Region. Reportedly more than 2,500 years old pagoda, coated with gold. Central place of the city.

Thambuddhei Paya - Sagaing Region. Very ornate pagoda, resembling Borobudur in Indonesia. Built in 1303, rebuilt in 1939, and contains more than 500,000 images of Buddha.

Thatbyinnyu Temple - Bagan, Mandalay Region. The tallest temple in Bagan, 61 m tall. Built in the middle of the 12th century.

Shwethalyaung Buddha

Shwethalyaung Buddha

Image by Christopher Voitus

(CC BY-SA 3.0)

Statues of Buddha

Laykyun Setkyar - Sagaing Region. Giant statue of Buddha, with 116 m height it is the second tallest in the world. Built in 1996 - 2008.

Shwethalyaung Buddha - Bago Region. Giant sculpture of a reclining Buddha, 55 m long and 16 m tall. One of the largest monuments of Buddha in the world. It is believed that this Buddha was built in 994 AD, rediscovered in 1880.

Bridges

Bridges

U Bein Bridge

U Bein footbridge - Mandalay Region. The longest bridge from teak tree, 1.2 km long. Built in the early 19th century from unwanted teak wood from a dismantled palace.

Goteik Viaduct - Shan State. Very impressive railway viaduct, built over a gorge in 1900. Viaduct is 682 m long, 102 m high.

Image by Ralf-André Lettau

Sites Of Legends

Mount Popa - Mandalay Region. Forest covered mountain, a site of legends. Many locals believe that here live the most powerful Nats in Burma and thus it is important Nat worship center. Special rituals should be obeyed when visiting this mountain.

Tamanthi forest of were-tigers - Sagaing Region. According to multiple legends and stories of many local people, in the Tamanthi Wildlife Reserve live were-tigers; beautiful girls in the day time and dangerous tigers in the night. Vast primeval forests have been preserved in this area, with a very high biological diversity. The forests extend for hundreds of kilometers.

Man Made Landmarks

Kyardor megaliths - Chin State. The Kyardor village has many megalithic structures, made from rough stones and still in use.

Mandalay Palace - Mandalay Region. The last royal palace in Burma, built in 1857 - 1859. This palace is of great symbolic importance to Burmese and, although much of it was destroyed in World War II, it was rebuilt in 1990ies. Palace complex is 413 ha large, surrounded by 2 km long and 6.86 m tall walls.

Mandalay Palace

Mandalay Palace

The main palace was destroyed by fire during World War II, but the walls and temple remain.

Image by calflier001

(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Mingun Bell

Mingun Bell

Mingun Bell

Mingun Bell - Mandalay Region. Second largest existing bell in the world. Weight - 90,178 kg, diameter 4.95 m, height 6.31 m. Made in 1808 - 1810.

Supreme Court of Burma - Yangon Region. Enormous, ornate building in Neo-Baroque style, built in 1905 - 1911.

Image by Hintha

Public Domain