Sitting along the Irrawaddy River, Mandalay is home to Sagaing Fault, which is the meeting point for the India and Sunda tectonic plates. The presence of the plates puts Mandalay at risk for earthquakes. Mandalay experienced a magnitude 7 quake in 1956, also called the Great Sagaing Quake.
Best Time To Visit Mandalay features two seasons - a dry season and a wet season. Travel to Mandalay between November and February, known as the dry season. The wet season covers the months of March through October. April is extremely hot, with temperatures averaging about 87 degrees Fahrenheit.
You Should Know You can visit a variety of pagodas and temples when you climb to the top of Mandalay Hill. The Kyauktawgyi Pagoda was built by King Mindon between 1853 and 1873. King Thibaw Min had the Shwenandaw Monastery or Golden Palace built in 1880. Made of teakwood, the structure displays carvings of Buddhist mythical stories. While most of the Mandalay Palace was annihilated during World War II, the watchtower and Royal Mint survived.
Sitting next to the Irrawaddy River to the northwest of Mandalay is Mingun, a town that is found in central Myanmar. The "Unfinished pagoda," called Mingun Pahtodawgyi, is one of the town's fascinating buildings.
You Should Know The "Unfinished Pagoda" features the highest brick pile in the world.King Bagyidaw built the Myatheintan Pagoda to honor his wife, Queen Hsinbyume, who died when giving birth in 1812. About 100,000 emeralds were used in the construction of the pagoda which was flattened by an earthquake 20 years later. However, the building was restored by King Mndon, a little lover 40 years later, in 1874.
Ava or Inwa
Known for its temples, Ava or Inwa is home to religious structures built from the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries. At that time Ava served as the capital of Burma. The Bagaya Kyaung, made of teak wood, is a well-known monastery built in the 1800s.
Best Time To Visit The best time to see Ava or Inwa is during the dry season, which takes place from November through April. The beginning of the season is cooler, so you may want to travel at that time.
You Should Know The Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery dates back to the 1800s. The monastery's crypts attract bats in the area.
One of the most popular port destinations, Bagan is known for its temples. The archaeological area of Bagan features an approximate 25 square-mile area. The quiet town is a big draw for anyone interested in archeology and Asian history.
Best Time To Visit Visit Bagan during the first part of the dry season, when you can experience cooler temperatures.
You Should Know The Shwezigon Pagoda is known for it intricate gold leaf facings. At least 2,200 temples and pagodas can currently be seen in Bagan. Archeological experts believe about 10,000 Buddhist temples and pagodas once stood in the area.
Regarded as being the portal to Inle Lake, Nyaung Shwe appeals to the backpacker crowd. The main street of Yone Gyi Road boasts economical eateries, stupas, and places where you can gain online access.
Best Time To Visit Visit Nyaung Shwe from November to December, when the weather and temperatures are pleasanter.
You Should Know The biggest pagoda in Nyaung Shwe, Yadana Manaung can be found on Paung Daw Seiq Road. The road runs next to the primary thoroughfare of Yone Gyi Road. Mingalar Market features local produce and souvenir handicrafts.
If you wish to experience village life up-close in Myanmar, Kalaw is your go-to place. Some of the popular sites in Kalaw village include the Thein Taung Monastery, the Hnee Pagoda, which features a massive gold Buddha, and the local Myoma Market.
Best Time To Visit Travel during the first part of the dry season, or in November or December.
You Should Know Find spices and noodles at the central Myoma Market. Visit Hnee Pagoda in the early morning when it first opens to enjoy a little peace before the crowds descend on the site. The temple opens its doors at 8:00 am.
A good place to hike or cycle is Inle Lake. At the lake, you can also observe fishermen rowing their boats with one leg. Floating gardens can also be seen. Along the lake, stilt houses frame the borders of the water.
Best Time To Visit Plan a visit to Inle Lake during November.
You Should Know The Khaung Daing hot springs, in the area, feature dips in private pools. Close to Inle Lake, the village of Khaung Daing is the place to visit for shan tofu and tofu salad.
Yangon is another popular Burma river cruise stop. The largest city in Myanmar, Yangon began as a fishing village called Dagon. It was Myanmar's capital from 1948 to 2005. Yangon is noted as being the place of the "Golden Pagodas." The largest pagoda in Yangon is the Swhedagon Pagoda.
Best Time To Visit Visit Yangon when the temperatures and weather are more moderate, or in November or December.
You Should Know Yangon's high-rise structures do not feature elevators. Instead, baskets are hung out of the buildings with ropes, which people use to pull up items or food. Both men and women wear a piece of clothing known as lonyi. The sheet of fabric ties around the waist and falls at the ankle.