Myanmar is a land of thousand pagodas, but you only need to visit one or two to see and be amazed of the mystical beauty that is uniquely Myanmar’s. If you have time to visit three of the country’s many ancient structures, make sure to include the Maha Wizaya Pagoda in your list. It is found on Dhammarakkhita Hill, which literally means “Guardian of the Law Hill”, and facing another important shrine, the Shwedagon Pagoda.
Although these centuries-old places of worship are the main attractions of Myanmar, this Southeast Asian country has plenty more up its sleeves for you to enjoy. Myanmar beaches are among the most pristine in the world, and the most popular of which are the Ngapali Beaches and Ngwe Saung Beaches. Like the top beach destinations in Asia that you may have already visited, Ngapali and Ngwe Saung offer fine, powdery white sands, clear blue waters and rows of picturesque palm trees. But unlike its Asian counterparts, Myanmar beaches are free from persistent hawkers and noisy beach-side bars. They offer a truly tranquil beach paradise for perfect peace and relaxation. In addition to the beaches, Myanmar is also blessed with picturesque lakes, waterfalls, gardens and mountains.
You may have heard about the past political turmoil that has beset this enchanting country for so many years. Those are all in the past. Today, this beautiful country is opening up its natural resources and ancient treasures to international tourism, although tourists are still prohibited to enter a number of locations in the country. Today, Western tourists are steadily pouring in, despite the fact that there are no direct flights to the country from the United States or Europe. Tourists typically pass by China, Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore. Myanmar or Burma was best known for its capital city, Rangoon, which used to be an important city of commerce in Southeast Asia. It is now known as Yangon, and best known for its many tourist destinations, including the Maha Wizaya Pagoda.
Constructed completely from people’s donations, this popular pagoda is known to enshrine an important image of the Buddha that was a royal gift to Myanmar from the King and Queen of Nepal. It is a very young pagoda, constructed only in 1980 to commemorate the successful convening of all sects belonging to the Buddhist monastic order. Inside and around the temple are beautiful decorations, relics and shrines including the guarding lions at the entrance gate, the iconic southern gate and the colorful circular heart of the pagoda. Maha Wizaya comes alive with a crowd of devotees, worshippers and tourists for the Myanmar New Year celebrations in April. The pagoda is open every day from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. for tourists and worshippers.
In addition to Maha Wizaya Pagoda, leading tourist attractions in the city of Yangon include
the Allied War Memorial Cemetery (with 27,000 graves of soldiers who fought in the Myanmar Campaign during World War II), Bogyoke Aung San Park (with playgrounds, picnic areas and a lake), Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda and its huge Reclining Buddha, Hlawga Wildlife Park, Kaba Aye Pagoda and Kandawgyi Garden, which is not far from Maha Wizaya Pagoda.