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Among the most interesting Myanmar tours

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is a river cruise on the mighty Ayeyarwady or Irrawaddy. This great Asian river comes down from the icy mountains, an extension of the Tibetan Himalayas to empty the brown lazy flood into the Andaman Sea through a very wide delta.

All important old and new cities in the country are along the Irrawaddy, such as Shwebo, Sagaing, Mandalay, Ava or Amarapura all the way down to the former capital of Myanmar which is Yangon, still the biggest and most important city in the country.

Myanmar tours are available to all this places and much more including accommodations are also available in those towns, only the quality of the hotels is sometimes not so good. But as usual there is a way out, if you get stranded at travel and the is no hotel around ask for the next monastery, there will be one, there ask the 

abbot or head monk if they allow to stay overnight. This is not the normal tourism but sometimes it's very interesting and you wont need a travel agent with you. A typical example is the monastery of "Jumping Cats" where they allow tourists to stay for a day or more.

In continuous demand is travel into the icy mountains of the north, people climbing this places of eternal snow, often this are Japanese guys. Actually it was also a combined group of Japanese and Myanmar climbers who first conquered Mt. Hkakabo Razi in north, the highest peak in south east Asia in 1997.

One of the best and most expensive Myanmar river tour is from Bagan to Mandalay and vice versa with the river vessel "Road to Mandalay". This is a great journey to get a good visual impression of the country without missing a luxury environment. Unfortunately this is more or less the only stretch on the river which is seriously used by a bigger ship because since the British left maintaining rivers for bigger vessels was more of less stopped and since all this years shifting sandbanks moved in that's a real problem on travel.                                                                               

Bago & Shwetayaung & Kyaikpun Buddha                               Photography Tours Myanmar

A tour from Yangon to Bago or Pegu should be on the travel agenda of everyone visiting Yangon. The Great Shwethalyaung Buddha and The Kyaikpun Buddha just before Bago, coming from Yangon direction are real highlights and give a very good insight what's around with popular shrines.

Bago, formerly known as Pegu and Hanthawaddy is worth to have a look. In Indakaw, there are rubber plantations. The Kingdom of Hanthawaddy - Bago was founded by two brothers, Thamala and Wimala in the 9th century. In the 15th century, only Myanmar Queen, Shin Saw Pu reigned there. She was known for her renovation of the Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon. In the following century, King Bayinnaung, founder of the Second Empire and Conqueror of Ten Directions held his court and unified the whole Myanmar nation.

Bago Picture Tours
Bago Picture Tours and hotels in Myanmar

Famous pagodas here are Shwemawdaw, Shwethalyaung (Reclining Buddha) Mahazedi, Kyaikpun and Kalyani Sima. The most imposing palace built by the great King Bayinnaung was Kanbawzathadi Palace, which is now rebuilt as before.

Myanmar Tour Bagan

Beside of being the countries top tour destination, Bagan is also highly reputed for art and architecture, sculpture and painting, archaeological findings and artifacts and is world-famous for thousand and one pagodas, stupas, religious edifices and buildings. Suffice it to say that, these cultural values can only be appreciated by a personal visit there.

Travel Bagan sunset over pagodas
Myanmar tours
to Bagan

Bagan, more or less on the east bank of the mighty Ayeyarwady - Irrawaddy River, was the splendid capital of the First Myanmar Empire, this is a must see destination on any journey.

Many pagodas and temples are gone with the rain, earthquake, driven away as dust in the wind of the central plains, but there are still enough around to be a real highlight of any south east Asia tour.

Bagan is now a 42 square kilometer area dotted with thousands of ancient pagodas, temples, shrines, ordination halls and sacral monuments. Bagan is one of the richest archaeological sites in southeast Asia with about 2230 monuments still standing and some 1000 in ruins and as many s many as 600 disappeared into the Ayeyarwady - Irrawaddy during the summer flooding. Originally about 4500 sacral monuments gave a unbelievable impression. An hour by air from Yangon, Mandalay or Heho (Taungyi) in an hour or less. Road travel from Yangon is around 700km, buses need about 16 by car its around 2 hours less.

About that time the first historical conquest of the lower Irrawaddy was effected. From the fact that the country was not permanently subdued it may be inferred that the power of the Mon or Peguan people (later called Talaing) was not greatly inferior to that of the Burman.

The Mons, from the affinities of their language, are conjectured to be of Annamitic origin. There is mention of the Bagan kingdom independently of the Burman chronicles, and there is above all the evidence of the ruins of Bagan, probably the mightiest of their kind. They testify to the power of the kingdom and the influence of the religion which actuated the kings to build temples on such a scale.


In 300 A.D. the power of the Bagan Kingdom exhausted
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in a great degree owing, as the people believe, to the drain of the temple building. But the force of the religion was unabated. Burma fell a prey to Shan invaders, who snatched the dominion for nearly two hundred years but failed to consolidate it, splitting up into principalities like those of their native hills. The weakness of Burma allowed the Mon power to develop. The sixteenth century saw the rise of Pegu - Bago and the establishment of a shifting empire over Burma. Exhausted.. by wars, Pegu - Bago in turn declined and lay at the mercy of Siam ( Yodaya) when Paung (Taung - ngu) came to the rescue. In the seventeenth century the Peguan dynasty brought the Mutt umpire to its zenith, from which it waned in the eighteenth. Towards the middle of the latter century the Emmaus under Alaiung Paya rose against the Mum garrisons, overthrew Pegu and finally established the empire of Burma. Arakan - Rakhine was incorporated, Siam was subjugated and made tributary for a time. The empire directed its ambition to the west. Manipur was overrun and the Arakanese pretensions inn 1571 the country was in a state of chaos. High officials plotted against King Mong Phaloung. Astrologers advised the king to build the Htukkant Thein Temple with the help of the plotters as well as governors, land-lords and common people.

Htukkant Thein Temple at Mrauk U
Tourism at Htukkant Thein Temple at Mraung-U or Myohaung Rakhine or Arakan

They acted according to a saying common at that time, “when the city is worn, support its ceiling.” The temple was built on a 70 metre by 80 metre platform. The structure is built of stone
blocks with brick pagodas on top of the hall and on the four corners.Inside the temple there are two pavements with many images and carvings picturing the various donors. It is a very interesting collection of different costumes and ornaments. Sixty four varieties of coiffure, forty different head-dresses, twenty different bracelets, eighty-one rings, sixteen types of pendant and various other body decorations are a creative showcase.

Tours to Mrauk U, Arakan or Rakhine
 
a great place to visit in
Mrauk U or Myohaung at Arakan or Rakhine, is the Temple of Eighty Thousand Images, the structure was erected in 1536. The building was funded by a donation from King Mong Ba Gree to commemorate the victory over the twelve provinces of Bengal and the Portuguese marauders who came to assault the capital. The basic structure is a hall topped by a main stupa surrounded by 26 smaller stupas. The temple is 53 meters long, 41 wide and 29 high. There are several passage ways with galleries throughout the inner temple. The temple is richly decorated with statues of Buddha as well as images of the animals or persons which Gautama Buddha occupied in his 550 previous lives. People in native costumes with faded colors are shown wrestling, boxing and dancing. This beautiful landscape with the Sakyamanaung pagoda in the centre is typical of the Mraunk U area. The hills and valleys are dotted with dozens of pagodas, temples and lakes. This tours could be extended all the way up to Chittagong in Bangladesh as it was during the British power over India.

 The Ayeyarwady  or Irrawaddy River

is the lifeline of the Burmese people. It springs forth from the Himalayas coming down to two rivulets, Mae Kha and Mali Kha (Myitsone) in the Kachin State, in the far north. It runs from north to south and eventually emptying out into the Andaman Sea. Ayeyarwady’s name has been curved in stone inscriptions in the days of yore just as the name Myanmar is mentioned in the same. Ayeyarwady has fed the country with water and sustenance and has witnessed the water -sheds and landmarks of golden Myanmar all along its colorful course.

The road from Yangon to Mandalay is 693 km long and is shorter than 935 km long river way; and is longer than 617 km long railway. The passage passes through cultivated plains, green groves of trees and glistening array of pagodas and stupas.

Taungoo

This is another old city on the travel route , 200 km from Bago. It bestirred nostalgic memories of Natshinnaung, warrior poet whose love for lovely Princess Yazadatukalyar knew no bounds. A notable spot nearby

is  Thandaung, a hill resort. Nearby is the Mawchi Mines which produces tin and wolfram. Famous products here are bananas, tea and coffee.

Pyinmana near the new capital of Naypyidaw, beyond is the Yezin dam and a complex of teaching institutes on agriculture, animal husbandry and forestry.

Meikhtila The rain is scarce here less than 125 cm a year. There are no more paddy and rice fields but crops as groundnuts, sesamum, beans and pulses are thriving products. Meikhtila Lake is well-known and prominent. There are songs eulogizing peace and beauty of the lake. There is a nursey rhyme which runs:

“ Please pick up a small frog from
Lake Meikhtila,
If you have caught one,
Kindly offer me a small creature
with pouting small eyes and thin body.”
Meikhtila’s location is strategic. It is the point of access to the Shan State in the east, with Taungyi, its capital, 170 km away. To the west lies Kyaukpadaung, where there are oilfields and the Ayeyawady valley.


Mandalay

From Meikhtila to Mandalay it stretches 152 km. Before reach in Mandalay, one will come across Kyaukse, the ancient home and granary, the rice bowl of successive kingdoms. Here, famous Bagan King Anawrahta started to build his First Empire that lasted more than two centuries.

It is too well known to dwell at length about Mandalay, the royal capital of the last two Kings of Konbaung dynasty. It is the hub and heartland of culture, arts and crafts and the seat of Theravada Buddhism. These culture heritage still lingers

Bago Girls at Work
 
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