Yangon, the capital city, is the main gateway to Myanmar. Evergreen and cool with lush tropical trees, shady parks and beautiful lakes. Yangon has earned the name of "The Garden City of the East". Yangon was founded by King Alaungpaya on the site of a small settlement called Dagon when he conquered Lower Myanmar in 1755. The name Yangon means "End of Strife" which was anglicized as Rangoon by the British. The name of this city has changed along the history: first Dagon, then Yangon, and Okalapa Aung Myae Yan Hnin, then finally back to Yangon. The present day Yangon covers 400 sq m and has a population of over 5 million.
Mandalay & surrounding
When one speaks of handicrafts and cottage industries, Mandalay, the city of the last Myanmar kings and heart of Myanmar's culture, artistry and religion, surely is the place. There is unique gold embroidery, hand-weaving of silk and cotton, the incredible process of making gold leaves, wood and stone carving and bronze casting. The river jetty at Mandalay is a beehive of activity with small boats going up and down the river, bamboo rafts and cargo boats with huge logs from the teak forests upriver. Here, the water buffaloes are the beasts of burden, hauling the logs from the river up to the lumber storage areas along the river bank.
Bagan, one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, is also regarded by many as one of the three most impressive Buddhist sights, along with Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Borobodur in Indonesia. This former capital of the first Myanmar Empire is of course the main tourist destination as it offers one of the richest archaeological sites in South-east Asia. Situated on the Eastern bank of the Ayarwaddy River, there are thousands of temples, pagodas, stupas and shrines. During its heydays one could count up to 13000 temples - nowadays 'only' about 4,000 remain as a testament to the religious fervor of the ancient Burmese kings.
This vast and picturesque lake is situated in the hilly Shan State in the eastern part of Myanmar. With an elevation of 900 meters above sea-level, it is one of the main tourist attractions in Myanmar. The lake, 22 km long and 10 km wide, has a population of some 150,000, many of whom live on floating islands of vegetation. Inle Lake, natural and unpolluted, is famous for its scenic beauty and the unique leg-rowing of the Inthas, the native lake-dwellers. Moreover, floating villages, colorful daily floating market and Inle Spa are places worthy of visit. The festival of Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda in Inle Lake held during October is full of pageantry and colorful splendor.
Kayin State is mostly known as Karen State. The capital city is Hpa-an. The Karen people in Myanmar are Christian, Bhddhist and animist. Most Christian Karens are Baptists. It's population is about 1,057,505.
Mon State stands along the upper part of the Tanintharyi coastal strip. The total area is 4, 747 square miles. There are islands, hills, equatorial forests, crop land and plantations. Mawlamyine, the third largest city in Myanmar, is the capital of Mon State. The famous Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda is located in north of Kyaikhto. Thaton is the capital of ancient Mon Kingdom, much earlier than Bagan. There are many beautiful sea resorts such as Kyaikkami and Setse. There is a War Memorial in Thanbyuzayat, connected with the Bridge on the River Kwai.
Rakhine, once known as Arakan, lies on the long and narrow western coast of Myanmar, divided by high mountain ranges from the mainland called Rakhine Yoma. This long and narrow state with many islands and unspoilt beaches faces the Bay of Bengal. Highlights are the breathtaking beach at Sandoway (Ngapali Beach) and Mrauk Oo.
Nay Pyi Taw is the new capital of Myanmar, located in Kyatpyae Village of Pyinmana Township of Mandalay Division. Nay Pyi Taw means "Royal City". The administrative capital of Myanmar was officially moved to a greenfield site 3 kilometres west of Pyinmana on 6 November 2005. Nay Pyi Taw is approximately 320 km north of Yangon. The capital's official name was announced on Armed Forces Day in March 2006.
Kachin State lies in the northernmost tip of Myanmar with snow-capped mountain ranges and temperate forests. Places of interest in this state consist of Myitkyina, Myit Sone (confluence), MoGaung, Indaw Gyi Lake, Bamaw and Putao.The state is sparsely populated; Jinghpaw-speaking Kachins constitute the largest group. They maintain tribal forms of organization under chiefs, practice shifting cultivation, and are mostly animists or Christians.
Kayah State, formerly Karenni State is bordered by Shan mountains to the north, Thailand's Mae Hong Son province to the east and Kayin (Karen) State to the south. It is the smallest among the seven states of Myanmar. The terrain is mountainous and is traversed by the Thanlwin (Salween), the principal river. The inhabitants of the state are Karens. The state is fairly well provided with Kyun (Teak wood) and other hard woods such as Pyinkado (Ironwood), Padauk and Ingyin. Other forest products are lac, resin and honey. Tin is found in the southern state. Marble is also a product of Kayah. Agriculture is one of the main economy of people. Rice, wheat, maize, millet, ground nut, sesame, cotton, soy bean, chilies, onions, garlic, tobacco, orange, banana and vegetables are grown. Myanmar's largest and most important hydro-electric power plant has been constructed at BaluChaung Waterfalls at LawPita some 12 miles south of Loikaw, capital of Kayah state.