Myanmar’s history can be summed up by visiting its capitals. And there are lots of them! The most recent change occurred in 2005, when Myanmar moved its capital to Naypyidaw. The previous capital, Yangon is still the country’s largest city and main economic hub. That is just one of the former capitals you’ll be visiting. Others you’ll visit include Mandalay, Amarapura, Ava, Sagaing and Bagan.
Most Burmese tours start off at Yangon. And why not? It is the country’s biggest city after all. And it’ll ease you into the Burmese way of life. First stop, Shwedagon Pagoda. See what all the hype about this structure is by seeing Burma’s most important and iconic site yourself. Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda must also be visited. A huge 70-meter reclining Buddha awaits your presence there. You’ll also notice that Yangon is pretty quiet and laid back. That should set the tone for the rest of the trip.
Next up is the charmingly sounding town of Mandalay. The name itself evokes images of Burma old but you’ll be surprised to know that the city was only established in 1857. That doesn’t mean that the city lacks history and character. See what the city has to offer at Mahamuni Pagoda, one of Burma’s main pilgrimage sites. Legend speaks of only five likenesses of the Buddha that were made during his lifetime; two were in India, two in paradise, and the fifth is the Mahamuni Buddha right here in this temple. Continue on to Kuthodaw Pagoda, home of the world’s largest book, separated into over 700 huge stone tablets. And check out the beautiful woodcarving technique over at Shwenandaw Monastery, the only remaining building from the 19th century Royal Palace.
Mandalay is also your opportunity to explore several nearby former capitals. These are Amarapura, Ava and Sagaing. Your experiences at these three towns will vary, ranging from an over 1000 monk alms ceremony, a walk over the world’s largest teak bridge, a city exploration on horse carriage and visiting hundreds of white-painted pagodas and monasteries on Sagaing Hill, among others.
And now it’s time to be in the presence of history once again. We’re talking about Bagan, the town with the most temples and pagodas in the world. And a marvel of a sight it is! And it becomes even more fabulous in a hot air balloon. And when it’s time to come down, enjoy a walking tour and a sunset horse carriage ride around these magnificent historical marvels.
Return back to Yangon for some last minute experiences there before concluding your Ancient Kingdoms experience. If you are looking for more Burmese experiences, see what’s in store for you over at our Myanmar tours page.
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