Just set foot in Myanmar and you will easily encounter the sparkling golden temples. Among them are luxurious and sacred Yangon with Shwedagon Pagoda, the jade Buddha statue LawkaChantha Abaya Lahba Muni; mysterious Bagan with hundreds of stupas side by side, the peaceful Irrawaddy from afar; Mandalay with temples and monasteries carrying a gentle beauty as the soul of the people of this Buddhist land.
The journey to the legendary land of Myanmar with the famous golden temples is very suitable for middle-aged and elderly travelers who want to experience the feeling of calm and peace.
As the largest city and once the capital of Myanmar, Yangon is not so busy as a modern metropolis. This place still retains its unique tradition, suitable for those tourists who prefer slow travel to experience the breath of life and Myanmar culture. From Mingaladon International Airport, you may go to Lawka Chantha Abaya Lahba Muni, one of the most famous destinations with the sitting Buddha statue carved from marble. Legend has it that paying tribute to the statue will bless you with happiness, health and wealth. To get to the Buddha statue, you have to go through a large corridor with multiple steps. The statue is carefully preserved in transparent glass.
The highlight of Yangon is Shwedagon Pagoda, a Buddhist center that has the special appeal for Myanmar people and Buddhists from all over the world. It is renowned for a 99 meter tall gilded stupa, with the top covered by 8,688 gold plates and the body 15,153 plates. This is probably the place with the most treasures for decoration in the open that no one dares to touch, with a total of 5,448 diamonds, 2,317 rubies and 1,065 gold bell rings. The very top is tipped with a 76 carat diamond, making the stupa immensely brilliant. If you are here early in the morning until late, you always see queues of Buddhist worshipers. It is most beautiful when the moonlight is blended with the candlelight, the sound of the bells and the fragrance of flowers.
In Bagan, there are two things you should experience: one is shopping, the other is visiting temples. You may find yourself surprised at the fact that the markets here looks just like those in Vietnam a few decades ago. Visiting Nyaung U Market, you shall see agricultural products hung up high or laid massively on the ground. Bundles of oil woods are also found here. Both men and women are dressed in long skirts wrapped in different ways. This is the national dress even that people wear when receiving guests. And there will be also the items you see for the first time such as beans of a meter long, or thanaka, the ingredient for a natural make-up cream for women.
Leaving Nyaung U Market, you will enter the sacred world of Buddhist architecture over an area of 42 square kilometers with about 2,000 ruins. You may feel like getting lost in another world, with historical stories associated with each temple, each stupa, completed or unfinished, which are today a witness to the dazzling dynasty of Bagan. First of all is Shwezigon, the oldest pagoda in Bagan. Shwezigon first impresses visitors with its gold tower whose base is pyramid-like. The main tower is like a giant gold bell. The pagoda was built under the reign of King Anawrahta, the founder of the kingdom of Bagan. This is where the relic of the Buddha is kept. The pagoda was completed in 1102 during the reign of King Kyansittha. Around the stupa are small bells, which resonate with each wind passing through breaking the silence. It can be said that this is the model for later pagodas on the territory of Myanmar.
Next is Ananda, famous for its four gilded statues situated on the four sides of the temple. Ananda was built in 1105 under the reign of King Kyansittha, the kingdom of Bagan. The temple is an intact and magnificent architectural complex in Bagan. Despite the impact of the earthquakes, the temple was quickly restored with unique and sophisticated architectural traits.
Above the space of red bricks, Thatbyinnyu rises high, setting the peak in the Bagan population with a block of white architecture intermingled with rows of trees. The entrance to the temple is a paved road, and you may ride an ox cart to feel the sound of time.
Dhammayangyi is a temple built by King Narathu in 1170 as a way to make up for his sin of taking over and murdering his father and brother. However, the structure could not be completed as King Narathu was killed after three years in power. The temple is shaped like a pyramid with many statues and paintings on the wall. Among them are two statues believed to be the figures of Narathu’s father and brother.
Bagan seems to be still veiled in many mysteries. Especially when you are standing on the top of a tall stupa watching sunset, Bagan sinks into the night with spiky highs. The Irrawaddy keeps flowing and Bagan is still there with its ruins and unending stories.
You will feel overwhelmed when standing in front of the unique Shwenandaw Kyaung made of teak wood. It was once a royal monastery and still exists today. The building is naturally black. Climbing up the stairs, you will get to the space of extremely sophisticated carving art. Outside the corridor are the figures of the deities and the monkey king Hanuman decorated with flowers and leaves, making the door a work of art. The entire block of architecture is a testament to the extraordinary skills at that time. At every corner, from the interior to the roof decorations, there are small Buddha statutes.
Mandalay also has a number of well-known pagodas for you to visit such as Kuthodaw, known as the world’s largest stone pagoda, splendid Kyauktawgyi built with an Indian design, the oldest temple Soon Oo Ponya Shin located on the top of Sagaing Hill, where the Buddha is worshiped, Kaung Hmu Daw Monastery standing out with its golden dome, said to be a replica of Mahaceti Temple in Sri Lanka.
The last journey in Mandalay is the experience of the life of the people in the ancient capital of Inwa. You will take a boat ride across the river, have a horse ride to enjoy the peaceful life along the way. Walking on the U Bein Bridge during sunset, you will feel the cool breeze from the Taungthaman River. This is considered to be an ancient wooden bridge linking the two banks of the Taungthaman, with the most beautiful sunset view when the bridge reflects itself onto the river in the space full of colors and the splashing sounds of the waves.
Myanmar is like that, the reddish brown of the land mixed with the gold of the gilded temples and the smiling faces with thanaka make-up that have brought much nostalgia. Myanmar is not easy to come, nor easy to leave. It is a chance of destiny and when you have the opportunity, set out immediately.
- From 8:00 - 18:00 Mon - Fri
- From 8:00: 12:00 Saturday