Located in Southeast Asia, Myanmar is an ancient and wondrous place. Some call it Burma or the “Land of the Smile.” Whatever name you choose, it’s no secret that the country is full of hidden gems for travelers and visitors to explore. From centuries-old ruins to islands tucked away from the public, Myanmar is both mysterious and stunning to the traveler’s eye. 

Another unique aspect of Myanmar is that it borders China, Bangladesh, India, Laos, and Thailand. It’s easily accessible from these destinations so travelers can fly over to explore the ancient ruins and travel jewels while visiting other Asian countries. Here are a few hidden gems to discover and explore when traveling to Myanmar.

See The Buddhas At Hpa An

Photo credit: Horst Joachims

Considered the most underrated city in Myanmar, Hpa An is a nature lover’s haven. Travelers won’t find many tourists there. Instead, the capital of the Kayin State has an abundance of caves, golden pagodas, and Buddha statues to explore. The city sits within the karst mountains and beautiful landscapes can be seen from every angle. Many come here to hike the city’s intricate cave system. The most popular is the Sadan Cave. After exploring the cave, visitors will find an abundant cavern full of beautifully carved Buddha statues. Adventurers can take a cruise down Thanlwin River or even wait around until sunset to see the bats emerge from their caves. 

Explore The Temple Ruins Of Mrauk-U

Thousands of years ago, the Mrauk-U Kingdom was a major force in religious and economic pursuits in Southeast Asia. Today, the city has been reduced to ruins; a relic of what once existed in Myanmar. Travelers can visit the ruins of Mrauk-U and wander through the abandoned streets. There are still hundreds of temples to explore in this forgotten, ancient city. 

Sail Away At The Mergui Archipelago

Photo credit: Datingscout

Those with a love for sailing and other water sports should check out the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar. There are over 800 little islands in this cluster on the sea. Travelers will find a ton of wildlife here both on the land and out in the water. It’s the perfect destination for scuba diving, evening sailing, and beach lounging away from more crowded areas. The archipelago is home to some of the oldest mangrove forests on Earth and incredible coral reefs beneath the water. 

Visit The Country’s Many Elaborate Pagodas

Myanmar is best known for the abounding number of pagodas scattered throughout the country. The structures date back to the beginning of civilization in the Asian region and symbolize the long-lasting history of Burmese and Buddhist culture. With more than 150 pagodas throughout Myanmar, it’s impossible to see them all on one visit. Some traveler favorites to check out include the beautiful all-white Hsinbyume Pagoda, the charming Ananda Pagoda, and, the most famous of them all, the Shwedagon Pagoda. 

Ride The Circular Train In Yangon

Photo credit: Zaonar Nyaninda

Yangon is considered to be the most beautiful city in Myanmar. It’s a tourist hotspot and there are many things to see. However, the best way to tour the majestic city on a budget is on the circular train. The ride lasts about 3.5 hours and takes travelers through many hidden gems in surrounding neighborhoods. There are always locals on the train so it’s a great way to experience the local culture of those who live in the city.