As you probably already know, Myanmar is one of the most devout Buddhist countries in the world. From south to north and east to west there are thousands and thousands of temples scattered along the fields, valleys and mountains.
After backpacking Myanmar for one whole month, I’ve put together a list with the most incredible temples around the country. Be prepared to be amazed!
How to dress when visiting temples in Myanmar
When visiting temples in Myanmar, you have to dress conservatively in order to respect the local culture. This means that you will have to cover your shoulders and knees. You can wear t-shirts as long as they cover your shoulders.
Both women and men should follow the same dress code. If you want to wear shorts for the day but you also want to visit some temples, just bring a scarf with you and tie it around your waist when entering a temple.
Fore more details about the dress code in Myanmar, click here.
1. Shwedagon Pagoda – Yangon
The pearl of Myanmar temples, the Shwedagon Pagoda is definitely a sight to remember. This religious and cultural melting pot is a once in a lifetime experience meant to fascinate any tourist.
The main stupa is plated with gold and the top of the pagoda is decorated with 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies. If you’re not impressed yet, you should know that at the very top of the stupa sits a 76 karat (15 grams) diamond. The Shwedagon Pagoda is a true wonder and jewel which should be on any traveler’s itinerary.
Read more about the differences between temples, stupas and pagodas here.
2. Tooth Relic Pagoda – Yangon
Also situated in Yangon, the Tooth Relic Pagoda is one of the off the beaten path temples. The beautiful symmetry and golden details place this temple among the most beautiful temples in Myanmar.
Apart from being an important pilgrimage site, the Tooth Relic Pagoda is also one of the must see attractions in Yangon.
3. Golden Rock – Kyaiktiyo Pagoda
This golden balancing rock seems to defy the gravity laws. According to the legend, the Golden Rock is perched on a strand of Buddha’s hair. True or false, one thing is sure – the Golden Rock is an unusual sight and a chance to explore the Burmese culture more.
Check out Myanmar’s hidden gems here.
4. Ananda Temple – Bagan
This incredible white temple is unlike any other temples in Bagan. Its big, imposing structure combined with beautiful details and golden towers make this temple one of the must see temples in Myanmar. Don’t forget to explore its interior where you’ll find four amazing Buddha statues, each facing one cardinal direction.
5. Shwesandaw Pagoda – Bagan
Take your e-bike and head to the Shwesandau Pagoda. This five-storeys high pagoda is one of the most popular temples in Bagan and for good reason – its jaw-dropping structure never fails to impress anyone.
To read more about renting an e-bike in Bagan, click here.
6. Dhammayan Gyi Temple – Bagan
Although this temple was never finished, the legend says that the Dhammayan Gyi Temple was supposed to be the biggest temple in Bagan. The Burmese chronicles state that during the construction of this temple, the king was assassinated and thus the temple was never finished.
7. Mount Popa – near Bagan
Mount Popa is an iconic pilgrimage site in Myanmar. With countless golden stupas, sitting on an extinct volcano, Mount Popa is one of the most impressive temples in the country. If you’re brave enough to climb the 777 stairs to the top of the mountain, expect to meet many monkeys along the way.
8. Hsinbyume Pagoda – Mandalay
Another temple you have to visit in Myanmar is the Hsinbyume Pagoda in Mingun, Mandalay. This round-shaped temple, built in terraces is one of the most impressive temples in Mynamar. Its white terraces look like waves and you can even climb on top of the pagoda and enjoy the views around Mingun.
For my full Mingun guide, click here.
9. Mandalay Hill – Mandalay
Enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets at Mandalay Hill. Although the climb is not an easy one (you’ll have to climb barefoot), you will be rewarded with an incredible view over the city.
Read about all the amazing things to do in Mandalay here.
10. Kuthodaw Pagoda – Mandalay
The Kuthodaw Pagoda in Mandalay holds the record for the world’s biggest book and is one of the most interesting temples I’ve ever seen. Inside the temple there are 730 tables inscribed with Buddhist teachings. This temple in Myanmar is definitely worth visiting for its beauty.
11. Win Sein Taw Ya – Mawlamyine
This is not an ordinary temple. Holding the record for the biggest reclining Buddha in the world, Win Sein Taw Ya looks surreal. The statue is 180 meters long and 30 meters high and it watches over a complex of monasteries, stupa, shrines, temples and statues.
To read my complete guide to this incredible place, click here.
12. Kyeik Than Lan Pagoda – Mawlamyine
This beautiful pagoda watches over the entire city of Mawlamyine and offers some of the most amazing views in the area. If you are looking for the perfect sunset spot, a trip to the Kyeik Than Lan Pagoda is a great idea!
To read about more awesome things to do in Mawlamyine, click here.
13. Kyauk Kalat Pagoda – Hpa An
Situated on a tiny island, in the heart of Hpa An, the Kyauk Kalat Pagoda is one of Myanamar’s best temples. The pagoda is situated on top of a limestone pinnacle which appears to break any second. It is definitely an incredible sight!
14. Kawgun Cave – Hpa An
Hpa An is well known for its caves turned into temples. Kawgun Cave is particularly beautiful due to its well-preserved Buddha statues. Once you,get inside this cave, you will be mesmerized by all the carvings and thousands of statues around. If you want, you can climb on top of the hill near the temple for some of the best views in the area.
For more amazing things to do in Hpa An, click here.
15. Inn Dein Pagoda – Inle Lake
Another beautiful temple in Myanmar is the Inn Dein Pagoda at Inle Lake. The temple consists of hundreds of stupas, some left in disrepair, some well preserved. Climbing to this temple will offer you the chance to watch over all these stupas and the incredible scenery at Inle Lake.
For a full guide about Inle Lake, click here.
May the travel bug bite you!
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