By: Parallels and Meridians
Myanmar also known as the ‘Golden land’, was off-limits to many wanderlust travellers, until recently. After five decades of military rule and a consequent democratic reform, Asia’s formerly Junta-controlled land has opened its shores to nirvana seekers and has become a favorite holiday destination in Asia.
This ancient land has visitors throughout the year, exploring its majestic temples, primeval jungles, unspoilt beaches, which for so long have remained concealed and gloriously untouched.
Here are 10 reasons to absolutely love Myanmar!
- Beautiful Shwedagon Pagoda- A visit to the beautiful Shwedagon Pagoda is a must. You wouldn’t want to have an incomplete trip, would you? This is a 2,500 gilded stupa which sits at an impressive 360 feet high and encrusted with 4531 diamonds; the largest of which is a 72 carat diamond! It is the most sacred and impressive Buddhist site for the locals as it contains the relics of the four previous Buddhas of the present kalpa. One among the four relics is the hair strands of Gautam Buddha!
- Golden Rock defies gravity- When in Myanmar, do experience something as incredible as this. This 2400 year old miracle Golden rock is called Kyaiktiyo Pagoda. Windy cyclones have blown. Earthquakes had disturbed. But this balancing pagoda on top this golden rock at the very edge of the cliff, survived for several years! According to legends, the golden rock used to be flying in the air, centuries ago at the same spot.
- Amazing floating islands and a boat ride in the highest and largest lake in South East Asia- Have you heard of an island floating above water? Is it even possible? The answer is yes! In these amazing islands, people grow vegetables on them and they sell them along with a boat!
- Watch a Python give blessings- Amusing right? There is a monastery in Bago where an enormous Burmese python lies stretched out in the room. It is believed that it’s the reincarnation of a monk. You may present an offering of money which it will apparently bless, with a flickering tongue!
- Read the largest book that man could ever have created- The whole Buddhist bible was engraved on 729 white marble stones. It was set up in a square, each being protected by small white temples. The 730th pagoda is a conventional temple occupying the center of the square. Each marble tablets are about 3 feet wide and 4 feet high. It’s known as Kuthodaw Pagoda and it lies at the foot of Mandalay Hill, Mandalay.
- Ring the largest ringing bell in the world- Ever heard of the largest ringing bell in the world? Well, you can literally ring it! The Mingun Bell is hung in Sagaing and still makes sound when rang. It is 26 feet high and weighs 90.55 metric tons!
- Living mummies- There are approximately 20 Buddhist monks around the country, who had died decades or some centuries ago, but their bodies never decayed! Some of their bodies could not be burnt or cremated! Buddhists believe it is because of their supernatural powers. Some are covered with gold today. And few are still growing nails and hair, even today! Now, would you call them living mummies?
- Animal Balloons- The Taunggyi Hot Air Balloon Festival, takes place around the Inle Lake between November 20-25, during which you’ll see giant paper balloons, often in the shape of animals, floating up into the sky in a series of competition. Also, in the same month on 25th, the Tazaungmon Festival takes place countrywide. It’s a one day full-moon festival with robe-wearing competitions and parades of community donations to monasteries, including kyat notes pinned to giant wooden frames.
- Tasty food and cheap beer!- Burmese food is not only healthy but also, very delicious. As a cuisine, it hasn’t quite made to the menus outside the country. Given its geographical location, the cuisine is a mixture of Thai, Indian and Chinese ingredients. Traditional dishes include Mohinga- rice noodles in an orange fish sauce; Shan noodles- traditional noodles stir-fried with chicken in bean sauce, vegetables and peanuts. Curries and spicy soups are favorites among the locals. Also, it’s a haven for beer lovers! The beer in Myanmar is good and cheap, so eat some tasty food and drink some lovely beer while touring the country!
- The People- Last but not the least, the people in Myanmar are not only kind and polite, they are very warm and helpful. Believed to be shy, nonetheless, they are always ready to help you out and make new friends.
These are a few reasons why this country makes such a lovely holiday and travel destination – there are many more but that’s for you to find out!