BurmaDiscover The Golden Land of Burma

Burma is famous for the thousands upon thousands of Pagodas that belong to the bygone era.  There are more than 4,000 of these pagodas that are scattered all throughout this country.  Shwedagon Paya glitters golden bright in the heat of the day.  When the sunsets, this temple turns into crimson gold and orange.  This is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites that every Myanmar Buddhist wishes to visit at least once in their lifetime. Shwedagon Pagoda is actually made out of 4,531 diamonds sitting on top of the stupa.  The largest of this is the 72 carat diamond.  This is clearly one of the wonders of the Buddhist world.

Rudyard Kipling had not been thoroughly accurate when he described Burma (Myanmar) as a mysterious place where there are undiscovered treasures.  At this time, Burma is no longer afraid to show to the world the treasures that they have as a nation.  Explore the riches of Ananda Temple, which is one of the biggest as well as the best preserved temples in Bagan.  This Buddhist temple was built in 1091 by King Kyanzittha of the Pagan Dynasty.  This temple is also a museum decorated with stone, wood carvings and metal.

Experience Mandalay which is the cultural center of Burma.  There are various places of interest to see in this city.  In the courtyard of the Payagi Pagoda near the Maha Muni there stand six Khmer bronze statues that are composed of three lions, three headed elephants and two warriors.  These are the original guardians of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple.  The statue of the warriors are said to have healing qualities.  Legends say that rubbing a body part on any part of these statues can cure any illness.  The portal to the sacred hill of Mandalay Burma is guarded by two huge dragons’ sculptures.

The world’s largest book can be found on the grounds of the Kuthodaw Pagoda at the foot of the Mandalay Hill.  It has 730 leaves and is composed of 1460 pages.  Each stone tablet has its own roof and a cave like structure that has a precious gem on the top.  The slabs were carved from white Sagyin Hill marble a few miles from Mandalay.  Kuthodaw temple clearly depicts oriental architecture at its finest.  King Mindon built this structure in 1859 the same time he was building the Royal Palace.

Burma is famous for its traditional marionette theater.  In the olden days these puppets were used as entertainment for Myanmar Kings.  Male and female puppeteers will only manipulate puppets of the same gender.  Marionettes have a greater degree of freedom in terms of movements because these are controlled by strings.  The process of manipulating these puppets needs the skills of a good puppeteer.  A Burmese marionette troupe replaces the actors during those times.  These puppets are known locally as Yok Thei Pwe.  If in Mandalay, the best puppet show is from the Moustach Brothers Troupe.

More adventurous travelers can explore the ancient cities of Burma taking a hot air balloon ride.  The prices for these trips are from $300 to $350.  These hot air balloon adventures can be arranged for either sunrise or sunset so that guest can see the majestic views of the Burmese temples and scenery.   If this is simply not enough then catch a ride on top of an elephant and feel like royalty.  It is a nice way to interact with these gentle and magnificent beasts.  Elephants are use for harvesting timber and are always a part of the Burmese economy.  Prepare to spend $5 for this out of a kind ride.

Burma offers a wide collection of 350 different species of birds.  This includes several rare and endangered species.  Hlawga Wildlife Park and Moeyingyi Wetland Bird Sanctuary offers 1 day bird watching trips.  Special discounts are offered for small group bird watching tours.  For those who are not satisfied with just a 1 day bird watching adventure, Nat Ma Taung National Park offers longer trips.  This park offers about 280 species of birds which includes the White Browed Nuthatch which can only be found in this area.  Burma also offers trekking tours.  These tours are in the hilly regions of the upper part of the country.

At the center of Yangon lies the Karaweik Palace which is awesomely beautiful.  Tourists and locals agree that the best time to visit this palace is either at sunrise or at sunset.  Shows are offered but you will need reservations.  These cultural performances are offered at $20 to $25.  The best park to visit when in Yangon is Kandawgyi.  Guests will only pay $2 as entrance fee.  Near this area is a floating ship that offers buffet servings.  Anyone can take off their shoes to walk in the park.  This place offers serene calm and peace.

Floating gardens can be found when in Taunggyi.  This is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in Burma.  These gardens really float!  Plants are held in place by bamboo sticks that go all the way down to the floor of the lake.  This is a bid of the Burmese government to preserve the lake so no new gardens are added.  They just replace “old” ones.  Still in Taunggyi stands the Indein village.  These are small villages of Inle lake where a Buddha image is enshrine at a white washed stupa sitting on top of the hill.

Burma has its own wine tasting vineyards on the Red Mountain Estate.  A nice way to go around the vineyards is by riding a bike while seeing the nice landscape.  This winery is just 20 minutes away from the town.  This is a beautiful location to sit and watch the sunset while sipping a delicious glass of wine.  Visitors must bring torches since it gets too dark once the sun goes down.  This wine tasting adventure is just less than $3.  A nice place to see traditionally built huts on the mountain slopes is in Kyaing Tong.  Since this place sits near the golden triangle various ethnic groups inhabit this area.  This is what a traveler can expect to see when in Burma.