Discover 20 beautiful Buddhist Temples in Myanmar that should not be missed from the famous Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon to Golden Rock and the Mahamuni Paya in Mandalay. People make pilgrimages from all over Myanmar and around the world to visit these stunning, sacred Pagodas in Myanmar.
If you’re a lover of temples, Myanmar could be your ideal travel destination. Where ever you go in Myanmar you’ll see amazing golden temples and beautiful Buddhas. At the top of every hill, you’ll find a golden stupa and a beautiful statue of the Buddha in a temple or a monastery. Temples in Myanmar are at the centre of the community. And as well as being a place of worship, they are places where people gather to socialise. There are often markets nearby selling food and clothing. Visiting temples in Myanmar is a major part of life for the local people and will be a major part of a visit to Myanmar.
Make sure you dress respectfully whenever you visit temples or pagodas in Myanmar. Wear modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Never point your feet towards the Buddha as this is considered to be very offensive.
Here are 20 amazing temples in Myanmar that should not be missed.
**Myanmar is now open to foreign tourists who are fully vaccinated. However, due to civil unrest, Myanmar is an unsafe destination for travel at the present time. Check with your government for the latest travel information.
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- 20 Amazing Temples in Myanmar
- Temples in Yangon
- Temples in Bagan
- Temples in Mandalay
- 15. Mandalay Hill
- 16. Kuthodaw Pagoda – Mandalay
- 17. Ponnya Shin Temple – Mandalay
- 18. U Min Thonze Temple – Mandalay
- 19. Mahamuni Pagoda – Mandalay
- 20. Hsinbyume Pagoda – Mingun, Mandalay
- Travel essentials:
- Myanmar Travel Tips & Itineraries
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20 Amazing Temples in Myanmar
Temples in Yangon
1. Shwedagon Pagoda – Yangon
There are amazing Buddhist temples and pagodas in Myanmar wherever you go, but the most revered is the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. I arrived at night and was stunned when I first saw the Shwedagon Pagoda from the rooftop of my hotel. The three golden stupas of the Shwedagon Pagoda were lit up and glowing against the dark night sky.
The three giant stupas of the Shwedagon Pagoda stand 100 metres tall and are layered with gold leaf. The atmosphere at the Shwedagon Pagoda is really special. Monks chant the Buddhist prays continuously over a loudspeaker and this ritual goes back thousands of years. You’ll see many local people praying and lots of pilgrims from all over Myanmar. Monks and Nuns come as well to experience the history and the sacredness of the glittering Shwedagon Pagoda.
2. Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda – Yangon
Of all the temples in Myanmar, the Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda in Yangon has the most amazing Buddha statue I’ve ever seen. It stands five stories tall and is incredibly beautiful and intricately decorated with gold and teak wood carvings. There is a monastery attached to this pagoda and I was lucky enough to meet a young monk who gave me a tour of the monastery grounds.
3. Chauk Htat Kyi Pagoda – Yangon
Across the road is another of my favourite temples in Myanmar, the Chauk Htat Kyi Pagoda. This temple in Yangon has a stunning reclining Buddha that’s 66 meters long. The statue is quite lovely but it’s the feet of the Buddha that are the most remarkable. They are red and gold and intricately carved with sacred Buddhist symbols.
4 . Botataung Pagoda – Yangon
Temples in Myanmar are at the centre of the community and I loved the atmosphere at the Botataung Pagoda and its location near the river in Yangon. Like many temples in Myanmar, there is a bustling market outside the Pagoda on weekends. I went on a Sunday evening and there were lots of local people visiting the Pagoda and the market. I loved feeding the birds at the dock on the waterfront and watching the boats come and go, ferrying people across the Yangon River. I bought some street food and enjoyed the relaxed ambiance.
5. Sule Pagoda – Yangon
The Sule Pagoda is an ancient Myanmar temple located right in the centre of Yangon. This famous Pagoda has a golden stupa that is more than 2,600 years old and it’s an important landmark in the heart of Yangon. The Sule Pagoda is a bit more touristy than other temples in Myanmar but still very impressive. I had a very interesting conversation with a young Myanmar man who was a guide at the temple and was approached by some young novice monks who were carrying their alms bowls and looking for donations of food and money. It’s a tradition in Myanmar that the community supports and feeds the monks.
TIP: Carry some cash in small amounts so you can donate to the temple or to the monks if you’re asked.
Temples in Bagan
6. Dhamma Ya Za Ka Pagoda – Bagan
With its stunning golden stupa glowing brightly in the sunlight, the Dhamma Ya Za Ka Pagoda is a beautiful Myanmar temple to visit. It was full of pilgrims when I was there, including a group of monks and young nuns who had come to pray.
The Dhamma Ya Za Ka Pagoda is one of more than two thousand ancient temples in Myanmar located on the plains of Bagan and dates back to the 11th century. There are thousands of ancient temples in Bagan and the massive scale of this UNESCO World Heritage site is truly astounding and should not be missed.
TIP: Book a hot air balloon flight in Bagan and float above the temples at sunrise. From the air, the view is incredibly beautiful and you can truly appreciate the huge number of temples that were built on the plains of Bagan. I flew with Golden Eagle Balloons and loved every minute. It was an unforgettable experience and a highlight of my Myanmar trip!
7. Ananda Temple – Bagan
Another impressive Myanmar temple is the Ananda temple in Bagan. Dating back to the 11th century, the Ananda Temple is among my favourites in Bagan. It has impressive terraces, four standing Buddhas, and a golden Hti. In the grounds of this lovely Myanmar temple, I came across some young monks playing with their reflections in a pond.
8. Sulimani Temple – Bagan
The ancient Sulimani Temple sits in the middle of the plains of Bagan. This impressive Myanmar temple was built in 1183 by royalty. There is a viewing platform next to the Sulimani Temple that’s in a perfect location to watch the hot-air balloons floating over at sunrise.
9. Shwezigon Pagoda – Bagan
The golden Shwezigon Pagoda overlooks the Irrawaddy River in Old Bagan. It’s the oldest temple in Bagan and has an impressive gold-plated Paya. You’ll get the best view of this lovely Myanmar temple at sunset from the river bank when the stupa is lit up and is reflected perfectly in the still waters of the Irrawaddy River.
10. Lawkananda Pagoda
Located on the banks of the Irrawaddy river in Bagan, the Lawkananda Pagoda is lit up at night and its golden reflection can be seen in the River below. Of all the temples in Myanmar, the view of the Lawkananda Temple at sunset from the river bank is the most memorable.
11. Golden Rock – Mount Kyaiktiyo
The Golden Rock Pagoda is unique among the temples in Myanmar. It’s a major pilgrimage site and people travel from around the country to pray here. At the top of Mount Kyaiktiyo, the Golden Rock Pagoda is built around a huge rock covered in gold leaf. The rock balances precariously on the side of the mountain and it’s said, a strand of the Buddha’s hair stops the rock from rolling down into the valley.
Golden Rock is one of the most unique temples in Myanmar and visiting the Golden Rock Pagoda was one of my favourite experiences. The rollercoaster ride up the mountain in the back of a turbo-powered pickup truck full of pilgrims is an experience in itself.
The view from the top of Mount Kyaiktiyo is stunning and the atmosphere is vibrant, especially after dark. There are shelters behind Golden Rock where the pilgrims gather with their families to eat, sleep and enjoy the special occasion. There is no transport up or down the mountain after dark. I stayed in a hotel at the top of the mountain so I could experience the atmosphere and see the sunrise and sunset from Golden Rock.
12. Pindaya Cave Temple – Kalaw
The most surprising of the Temples in Myanmar is the cave temple at Pindaya. Halfway up a cliff face, there’s a cave filled to the brim with golden statues of the Buddha. Every nook & cranny has a statue and it’s a truly extraordinary sight. To get to the cave there’s a steep staircase to climb and a lift to the cave entrance.
Pindaya is around 50km from Kalaw (1 hour by car) and about 75 km from Inle Lake (1.5 hours by car). I visited on a day trip and hired a taxi for the day from Inle Lake.
13. Sadan Cave Temple – Hpa-An
Of the many cave temples in Myanmar, Sadan Cave near Hpa-An is the most impressive. The cave is huge! Inside the cave, you’ll find the temple with a golden stupa, a reclining Buddha, gold monk statues and intricate wall carvings. After wandering through the cave barefoot for about 15 minutes you come to a secret lagoon. A small boat with an oarsman will row you across the lagoon back to the entrance of the cave. Sadan Cave is about 30km southeast of Hpa-An in Mon State.
14. Kawgun Cave – Hpa-An
Of the ancient temples in Myanmar, the Kawgun Cave is one of the most remarkable. It’s known as the “Cave of the ten thousand Buddhas” and can be found near Hpa-An. The cave walls are covered in crumbling artwork that dates back to the 10th century AD. It’s a sacred place for the ethnic Mon People of Myanmar and is truly amazing to visit.
Temples in Mandalay
15. Mandalay Hill
At the top of Mandalay Hill is another Myanmar temple that’s lovely at sunset. Climb the covered stairs to the platform near the temple and there’s a beautiful view of the mountains and the royal city of Mandalay. Friendly Monks from the monastery nearby like to come here to chat with tourists and practice their English. Talking to a monk is a great way to find out more about the fascinating culture of Myanmar.
16. Kuthodaw Pagoda – Mandalay
At the base of Mandalay Hill is another fascinating Myanmar temple, the Kuthodaw Pagoda. It houses the world’s largest book, an ancient manuscript consisting of 1,460 stone tablets inscribed with Buddhist texts. The tablets are held in 729 white stupas set around a central golden pagoda.
17. Ponnya Shin Temple – Mandalay
Many Temples in Myanmar are located at the top of a hill and the beautiful Ponya Shin Temple at the top of Sagaing Hill has a lovely view. This Myanmar temple has a viewing platform covered in brightly coloured tiles and below the temple, the hillside is dotted with golden stupas. The Irrawaddy River flows past Sagaing Hill. Myanmar people love to visit the temple to pray and to socialize and it was very busy when I was there. Also enjoying the view, were a large number of monks, taking photos like other tourists.
18. U Min Thonze Temple – Mandalay
Nearby is another interesting Buddhist Myanmar temple with a beautiful view. The U Min Thonze Temple is an artificial cave built into the side of Sagaing Hill near Mandalay. It has 45 golden Buddha images in a semi-circular row and there are 30 entrances to the narrow temple.
19. Mahamuni Pagoda – Mandalay
Southwest of Mandalay is the Mahamuni Pagoda, one of the most important Temples in Myanmar. It’s Mandalay’s most famous pagoda and is central to the community in Mandalay. A large lake outside the pagoda reflects the beautiful golden spires of the temple and inside the temple is the Mahamuni Buddha, one of the most highly revered Buddha images in Myanmar. The Mahamuni Pagoda is a major pilgrimage site, comparable to other famous temples in Myanmar like the Shwedagon Pagoda and Golden Rock in importance.
20. Hsinbyume Pagoda – Mingun, Mandalay
The beautiful and distinctive Hsinbyume Pagoda is a Myanmar temple that is often seen on Instagram. Of all the Pagodas in Myanmar, this temple is unusual in that it is completely white. The Hsinbyume Pagoda is located near the ruined Mingun Pahtodawgyi. A visit to this unique Myanmar temple makes a lovely day trip from Mandalay. To get there catch a river ferry to Mingun from the Mandalay wharf.
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