4 things you didn’t know you should do in Burma

Increasingly popular with visitors, Burma – or Myanmar as it’s often referred to – is changing fast. Whilst most tourists head for the popular attractions around the country, there’s plenty more that aren’t so well known. Here’s our pick of four of the best surprises Burma has to offer.

Go cycling in Pagan (Bagan)

Most people know about a sunrise hot air balloon ride – and this definitely shouldn’t be missed – but not many people think about cycling round the temples. You can hire a bike from your hotel, or from one of the many shops around Old Pagan, and set off on your own to explore the more remote spots, away from the tour buses and cars. The sandy paths and tracks wind past hidden temples that you can explore, and you’re sure to find a quieter spot for watching the sunset than the popular – and packed out – temples of Ananda and Shwesandaw.

Pagan cycling

Try Burmese wines at Inle Lake

Once you’ve explored the floating villages, markets and communities of Inle Lake, head inland and take a tour of the Red Mountain Estate, one of Burma’s two vineyards. A relatively small producer, you will find the wine in hotels and restaurants across the country, and it is surprisingly good. Take a tour of the winery and follow with lunch and wine tasting overlooking the lake.

Red Mountain wine estate Inle Lake

Treat yourself to a culinary feast in Chinatown

After taking in the exquisite Shwedagon Pagoda at dusk, walk along Maha Bandula Street (or take a taxi) to 19th Street, the heart of Rangoon’s (Yangon’s) Chinatown. At night, barbecue stalls take over the street selling all types of meat, fish and vegetables which are then cooked to order. Join the locals sat around plastic tables and chairs and enjoy a fresh feast. Some of the dishes you’ll recognise, some you won’t. But it’s all tasty.

Chinatown Yangon

Visit a sacred golden rock

A well-known pilgrimage site in Mon State, a few hours’ drive from Rangoon, the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda makes an interesting stop for those heading to Moulmein or as an overnight trip from the former capital. More popularly referred to as the Golden Rock Pagoda, legend says that the rock, which appears to defy gravity, is balanced on a strand of the Buddha’s hair. Other than a long walk up the mountain, the only way up is on shared open vans which whizz you to the top. With the huge numbers that visit each day, don’t expect the experience to be a peaceful one but with striking sunsets over the valley and plain below or a beautiful sunrise behind the mountain, it’s definitely a rewarding one and worth an overnight stay.

Kyatiko pagoda

Katie Cosstick is the PR Manager at Cox & Kings.

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Comments (5)

  1. Suze says:

    The Golden Rock pagoda looks incredible. I didn’t know there were Burmese wines!

  2. Hugo Martins says:

    One of the most beautiful countries of the world. I love Myanmar, been there just once but soon I am going back. Bagan is some that come to my mind when I think in a peaceful place.

  3. I agree Hugo – such a beautiful country.And I wasn’t expecting Burmese wine either Suze, but I was pleasantly surprised! You should definitely try to visit the Golden Rock pagoda. Very interesting place and beautiful scenery!

  4. Juan says:

    Beautiful Myanmar!!! Renting a bike and “getting lost” is always a good way to meet locals and have an amazing time. It’s one of the good things about Myanmar, no matter how tourist a place is, ride a bike just outside the center and you’ll love it! :)

  5. John says:

    Wow, that golden rock is absolutely marvelous and breathtaking.
    The Golden rock looks even more amazing during the sunset.
    And How good is the wine?

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