Travel to Myanmar is a triple discovery. First, the discovery of a unique land between the Indian world and the Indochinese peninsula, kept from outside influence and harmful effects of modernity until recently (2011). Then, the discovery of men and women living in a spiritual environment like no other in the world. Finally, the discovery of oneself as this travel is an opportunity to forget about our daily life realities and to go off the beaten tracks.
In Yangon, you can walk through the old colonial district, visit the Sule Pagoda, visit the Reclining Buddha Chaukhtatgy and the Bogyoke Aung San Market (local street market). The most popular attraction in town is the Shwedagon Pagoda (picture above), the spiritual heart of Myanmar.
Mandalay will be a great cultural discovery. Visit the Buddhist temples and the famous statue of Buddha in the Mahamuni Pagoda monasteries (see picture). Discover the crafts of Mandalay and visit different factories making gold leaves or marble Buddhas.
Located a few kilometres north of Mandalay on the opposite bank of the Irrawaddy, Mingun is one of the four ancient cities of Myanmar. The site includes several attractions such as pagodas and a bell.
From Mandalay, it takes 3 or 4 hours drive to go to Monywa, located 130 km north. Visit silversmiths and the Thanbuddhay pagoda. This pagoda was built in 1303 and has been restored several times. The building dates from 1939 and hosts more than 500,000 sculptures, relics and other sacral objects.
To reach Bagan you go down the Irrawaddy River by boat. Once you have arrived in this amazing site, visit the Old Bagan, vestige of the golden age of the Burmese architecture. This archaeological site has over 2500 temples still standing, some of which date back to the eleventh century and as many as 2,000 others more or less in ruins. Visit the famous Ananda temple and that of Thatbyinnyu with its 67 meters, dominating the other temples of Bagan.
Enjoy a beautiful sunset over the Shwesandaw pagoda (see picture below).
2 hours ride from Mandalay are necessary to reach Pindaya but this road cross beautiful mountains all along the way. In Pindaya, visit ancient caves featuring more than 8,000 Buddhas of different materials (see picture) and meet local artisans who manufacture the Shan paper.
An unforgettable stopover in Myanmar is Inle and its lake located more than 800 meters above sea level and surrounded by mountains. Locals (nicknamed “The sons of the lake”) live on the shores or in houses on stilts and grow many varieties of flowers and vegetables on floating islands made up of land and water hyacinths. Visit the Paung Daw Oo Pagoda and the monastery of jumping cats.
Leave by motorized canoe to the southern part of Lake Inle – which had long remained inaccessible – to discover beautiful landscapes surrounded by green hills in Indein, a princely city from Shan in the sixteenth century.