What to do in Mandalay, Bagan, and Naypyidaw

Mandalay and Bagan are two of the most essential stops on any Myanmar agenda. Regarded as one of the world’s most spectacular temple complexes, Bagan deserves its status as arguably Myanmar’s top draw. Located on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, it is home to the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas, and ruins in the world. The former royal capital of Burma, Mandalay is one of the country’s most storied cities and is one of the most evocative names in Asia.

The longest teak bridge at 1,300 yards, the 200-year-old U Bein’s Bridge is just outside of Mandalay in Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma. The best times to go are sunrise and sunset. When I was there--at sunset--I strolled across the railing-less bridge along with a small handful of tourists and a bevy of Buddhist monks who were on their way to give alms.
Naypyitaw, Myanmar (Burma)
Built on scrub ground amid rice paddies at great expense (some reports have it at around $4billion), Naypyidaw has been Myanmar’s seat of government since 2005. Despite all the investment, it is not what you would call an enthralling city. Nevertheless, the vast, empty highways, grandiose government buildings and sights such as a giant gilded pagoda and a zoo and safari park make it a worthwhile stop on the road from Yangon to Mandalay.
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