Buddhism permeates in every corner of Myanmar and becomes an indispensable part of Burmese spiritual life. As a result, Buddhist sites are always interesting attractions in Myanmar sightseeing tours. Among a multitude of pagodas, temples, and stupas in this country, we recommend 5 typical ones you should not miss in your Burma tours.
1. Shwenandaw Monastery
Being originally the personal apartment of King Mindon, this is only surviving structure from Mandalay’s Royal Palace. After the king’s death in 1878, his son dismantled the structure and transported it to a nearby monastery as he worried that his father’s ghost still resided there. In spite of several repairs since that time, the original woodcarving is persuasive enough to show how skilled the royal artisans were. You may see the entrance fee is a little high, but it not only for the monastery but also Mandalay’s Archaeological Zone which includes Mandalay Hill and the Royal Palace. In your Myanmar sightseeing tours to Mandalay, make a visit to Shwenandaw Monastery for admiring its splendid gilded interior and royal-styled sophisticated architecture.
Address: 62nd Street, Mandalay
Getting there: take a taxi
Opening times: daily, 8am-6pm
Price: Ks 10,000
2. Botataung Pagoda
Included in Myanmar sightseeing tours as one of the most popular tourist sites in Yangon, the pagoda famous for its interior lined with gold-leaf, a hair of the Buddha and mysterious legends. The main stupa is rarely open to tourists; nevertheless, you have many other interesting parts to visit. Taking some food for a lot of terrapins in the pond outside and watching the water boil are also moments of relaxation. The most intriguing part of the pagoda may be the entrance lane at the shrine to Mya Nan Nwe, the Lady of the Emerald Palace. She is a treasure spirit, based on a real woman who died in Mogok in 1955, who is said to confer wealth and prevent ruin. Every day, you can see a stream of worshippers taking fruit baskets, flowers and expensive suits of clothes for her image. The sacred atmosphere makes a number of visitors are so affected they fall into a trance.
Address: Strand Road, Botataung Township
Getting there: walk or take a taxi
Opening times: daily, 6am-8pm
Price: Ks 3,000
3. Shwedagon Pagoda
The pagoda is called the jewel of Yangon, not to be missed in all Myanmar sightseeing tours to the largest city of Burma, and the most important Buddhist shrine in the country. Surrounding the main gilded 95-metre stupa topped with a thousand diamonds is a wide platform filled with shrines and pavilions. Here visiting nuns, monks and pilgrims from all over the country pray, chant, eat and snooze beneath beautifully carved eaves.
After walking around the pagoda, you can watch the Burmese pour water over the shrine associated with their birthday of the week. Notice that visitors in shorts and vest tops are not allowed to enter the pagoda, and removing shoes and socks is required before climbing the stairways.
Address: Dagon Township
Getting there: walk or take a taxi
Opening times: daily, 6am-9pm
Price: Ks 8,000
4. Kakku Pagodas
For anyone with an interest in Burmese temple architecture, a trip to Kakku Pagodas is a must in their Myanmar sightseeing tours. The journey takes two hours driving with a stop in Taunggyi to register with the tourism office and buy entrance tickets. On the way to Kakku, you will go through an almost Tuscan landscape, formed by the hard-working residents of Pa-O tribe. There are relatively few tourists come to see this extraordinary forest of elegant stupas mostly built in the 16th century. The stupas are well-preserved, decorated with plaster figures of musicians, angels and guardian spirits.
Address: South-west of Nyaungshwe
Getting there: take a taxi from Nyaungshwe, around Ks 50,000
Opening times: daily, dawn to dusk
Price: $8 including guide
5. Ananda Temple
Being one the itinerary of all Myanmar sightseeing tours to Bagan, the pagoda built in 1100 have both the spirituality and an elegant design that is lacking in many of the others. Ananda Temple is a structure of symmetry. At its core are four 9-meter-high Buddha images made of wood. The ones on the north and south sides are original, caved with better skill than the 18th-century replacements at the east and west sides.
Address: Old Bagan
Getting there: cycle or hire horse cart
Opening times: daily, 4am-midnight
Price: included in Bagan Archaeological Zone fee, $15
Splendid and majestic, these religious attractions will be kept in your mind as an extremely beautiful imprint of your Myanmar travel.