12 Marvels of Myanmar

From the endless pagodas in the Lost City of Bagan to the leg-rowing fisherman on Inle Lake's floating gardens, take a look inside Myanmar’s deeply spiritual and exotic world that has been shrouded in mystery for so long.
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Myanmar’s Tourism Doors Are Open

Myanmar was closed off to the rest of the world while under a military dictatorship. Now with democratic reform and tourism doors reopening, this Southeast Asian nation is welcoming Westerners once again to areas that were previously off-limits.

Shwedagon Pagoda

Myanmar’s most visited and sacred Buddhist shrine, Shwedagon Pagoda, is one of the most mystical marvels in Myanmar, and seeing it all lit up in its gilded glory at night makes for an unforgettable experience.

Lost City of Bagan

A visit to Myanmar isn’t complete without exploring the Lost City of Bagan. Over 2,000 pagodas make up the 26-square-mile Bagan Archeological Zone. The ancient metropolis is best seen in the warm light of dawn or dusk, and for unrivaled views, hot air balloons are available from October to March.

Devout Buddhists

Around 90 percent of Myanmar’s population are Buddhists, and their deep devotion permeates every part of their daily life. Myanmar also has the highest number of people in the monastic order – more than any other country in the world. Around half a million young Burmese men are monks and around 75,000 women are nuns.

Buddhist Nuns

One of the most striking images in Myanmar is the splash of color on the streets as the pink-robed Buddhist nuns collect their daily alms. Just like their orange-robe monk counterpoints, Myanmar’s Buddhist nuns shave their heads and take ordination vows.

Glimpse Into Monastic Life

Visit a nunnery in Sagaing on a Trafalgar Tour of Myanmar to get an inside look into Buddhist monastic life for women in Myanmar, which includes strict daily routines centered around prayer and meditation.

World's Largest Book

Resting at the foot of Mandalay Hill, Kuthodaw Pagoda’s white-washed Buddhist stupas (729 in total) contain carved stone slabs of sacred Theravada Buddhist scriptures that collectively form the world's largest book (that only takes a lifetime to read).

Leg-Rowing Fisherman of Inle Lake

Take a long-tailed boat tour of Inle Lake to see the iconic leg-rowing fisherman perform what looks to be ballet on water. This unique fishing style consists of standing on one leg while rowing with the other leg wrapped around the oar. This frees up the fisherman’s hands to hold their cone-shaped bamboo nets and gives them a better vantage point of the shallow lake.

Floating Gardens on Inle Lake

The Intha tribe’s entire lives are lived on the water, from their stilt houses to their incredibly designed floating gardens that are anchored to the bottom of Inle Lake by bamboo poles.

Longest Teak Bridge in the World

Walk alongside monks and market vendors on U Bein Bridge, the longest teak bridge in the world that reaches almost a mile across Amarapura Taungmyo Lake on the outskirts of Mandalay.

Distinct Flavors of Myanmar

Myanmar’s cuisine is as unique as the country is itself – it’s full of an array of spices and intense flavors that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Take a hands-on cooking class on a Trafalgar Tour of Myanmar that includes preparing various local dishes. Myanmar’s must-try dish? Mohinga, a fish broth noodle soup that is commonly eaten for breakfast.

Pagodas Everywhere

While skimming Inle Lake on a long-tail boat, you will see glistening golden pagodas in the remote villages. And tucked behind a covered walkway full of market stalls, lies Shwe Inn Thein Paya, an astonishing compound of over 1,000 stupas. Some are weather-beaten and crumbling from the 17th and 18th centuries and some newly constructed from donors.