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Wonders of Burma (Myanmar)

Bagan, Burma
Bagan / Nicholas Kenrick, / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

Comparatively seldom visited by foreign tourists, Burma (Myanmar) though is a gorgeous, very diverse country with rich cultural and natural heritage.

Many little known landmarks are out of reach to general tourists and – possibly – not discovered yet, but some of those which are known better, belong to most surprising landmarks in the world.

Highlights of Burma are:

  • Pagodas. These amazing structures – very tall, often gold coated bell-shaped structures with spires – are Burman architectural "specialty". Many pagodas are adorned with huge amount of large jewels, precious metals and artworks.
  • Historical cities. The capitals of medieval states in Burma were large cities with impressive fortifications, palaces and countless temples.
  • Gemstone mines. World’s best rubies and sapphires are found in Burma, here are found gorgeous spinels, jade, amber and many very rare gemstones.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Burma

Architecture wonders


Mandalay Region

Ruins of a magnificent, enormous city. Bagan served as the capital of several ancient kingdoms. The city flourished in the 11th – 13th century AD. Here were built more than 5000 pagodas, now 2217 remain. These numerous high and beautiful buildings create a unique skyline.

Bagan, Burma
Bagan / Marc Veraart, / CC BY 2.0
Shwedagon Pagoda

Yangon Region

Gilded and 98 meters tall, this stupa is richly adorned with jewels. It is the most sacred pagoda in Burma. Initially built in the 6th century, rebuilt and extended, one of the most impressive architectural monuments in the world.

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda

Mon State

This small pagoda on an enormous, gold-covered boulder is located on the edge of a cliff. According to legend it is held in its place by a strand of the hair of Buddha.

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, Burma
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda / Arian Zwegers, / CC BY 2.0
Mrauk U

Rakhine State

Temple city, the capital city of the Rakhine kingdom in 1430 – 1785. More than 200 impressive temples and other structures have been preserved here, found also diverse stone carvings and other monuments.

Thambuddhei Paya

Sagaing Region

Very ornate pagoda, resembling Borobudur in Indonesia. Constructed in 1303, and rebuilt in 1939, contains more than 500,000 images of Buddha.

Shwemokhtaw Paya

Ayeyarwady Region

Very old pagoda, first built (reportedly) in 305 BC. Rebuilt several times, now 47 m tall. The upper part is coated with 6.3 kg of pure gold, the middle part – with silver, and the lower part – with bronze. Adorned with 829 diamonds, 843 rubies, and many other precious stones.

Kuthodaw Pagoda

Mandalay Region

This gilded stupa is 57 meters high, with other 729 stupas with stone inscriptions. These buildings comprise the world’s largest book and were constructed in 1857.

Mingun Pahtodawgyi (Mantalagyi Stupa, Unfinished Stupa)

Mandalay Region

Ruins of a giant, incomplete stupa. Construction was started by eccentric king Bodawpaya in 1790. It was planned to build a 150 m tall temple but it was left unfinished intentionally, due to a superstition. Now, this is the largest pile of bricks in the world.

Shwezigon Pagoda

Mandalay Region

Gilded pagoda, a prototype of glorious Burmese pagodas. Completed in 1102, believed to enshrine a bone and tooth of Buddha.

Shwemawdaw Paya

Bago Region

An enormous gilded pagoda that is 114 meters in height. It was originally built in the 10th century and rebuilt several times.

Shwemawdaw Pagoda, Burma
Shwemawdaw Pagoda / Vera & Jean-Christophe, / CC BY-SA 2.0
Shwesandaw Pagoda

Bago Region

One of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Burma, a gilded, 99 m tall pagoda. Constructed in 1057.

Thatbyinnyu Temple

Mandalay Region

The tallest temple in Bagan, 61 m tall. Constructed in the middle of the 12th century.

Popa Taung Kalat

Mandalay Region

This beautiful monastic complex sits on top of an extinct volcanic plug, rising 170 – 180 meters over the surrounding area.

Taung Kalat, Burma
Taung Kalat, Burma / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Inwa (Ava)

Mandalay Region

Ruins of the ancient capital, founded in 1364. Rebuilt several times throughout history, abandoned after earthquakes in 1839. Ruins of pagodas, stupas and palace.

Sule Pagoda

Yangon Region

Reportedly more than 2,500 years old pagoda, coated with gold. The central place of the city.

Gawdawpalin Temple

Mandalay Region

Giant temple, the second tallest one in Bagan. Constructed in 1227.

Yokesone Monastery (Sale Monastery)

Magway Region

Well-preserved monastic complex, built from wood with outstanding woodcarvings. Now serves as a museum.

Mount Popa

Mandalay Region

Forest-covered mountain, a site of legends. Many locals believe that here live the most powerful Nats in Burma and thus it is an important Nat worship center. Special rituals should be obeyed when visiting this mountain.

Mount Popa with Taung Kalat to the left, 1987, Burma
Mount Popa with Taung Kalat to the left, 1987 / Wagaung, / CC BY-SA 3.0
Kaw Gun Cave (Kawgon)

Kayin State

An amazing cave temple from the 7th century AD. It is adorned with thousands of Buddha images, made of terracotta, and plastered on the walls. It is assumed that some 10,000 such images are plastered here. The cave contains undeciphered writing in an unknown language.

Mandalay Palace

Mandalay Region

The last royal palace in Burma, constructed in 1857 – 1859. This palace is of great symbolic importance to the Burmese and, although much of it was destroyed in World War II, it was rebuilt in the 1990s. The palace complex is 413 ha in size and is surrounded by 2 km long and 6.86 m tall walls.

Mahamuni Pagoda

Mandalay Region

One of the most sacred places in Burma, this ornate monastic complex was built in 1785 and rebuilt in the late 19th century. Contains the statue created after the likeness of Buddha in his lifetime.

Shwethalyaung Buddha

Bago Region

A giant sculpture of a reclining Buddha, 55 m long and 16 m tall. One of the largest monuments of Buddha in the world. It is believed that this Buddha was built in 994 AD, and rediscovered in 1880.


Sagaing Region

The complex of Buddhist caves. It consists of 947 decorated, artificial caves. Many caves have beautiful frescoes and statues. Created mostly in the 14th – 18th centuries.

Hsinbyume Pagoda

Mandalay Region

A beautiful, shining white pagoda, built in 1816. This is an unusual pagoda with seven concentric terraces. It represents a model of the mythical Mount Meru.

Bawbawgyi Pagoda

Bago Region

A prototype of the unique Burmese pagodas, this 47 m tall pagoda was built before the 11th century AD by Pyu culture.

WorldYellow Recommended books

Burma: A Journey Across Time

Burma, also known as Myanmar, has held an allure for adventurous travelers since it was opened up to tourists after decades of isolation and oppression. Many have said that a visit to the country was like traveling back in time. Now after the country has had its first fair election in 25 years, former political prisoner and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi appear poised to lead the country out of its dark past and into a modern future.

The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma

What do we really know about Burma and its history? And what can Burma’s past tell us about its present and even its future? For nearly two decades Western governments and a growing activist community have been frustrated in their attempts to bring about a freer and more democratic Burma―through sanctions and tourist boycotts―only to see an apparent slide toward an even harsher dictatorship.

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