Yangon, the capital city and gateway to the Union of Myanmar, is one of the most attractive cities in the East. Its fringes are beautiful with pagodas, spacious parks gardens and its atmosphere cooled by the Kandawgyi Lake and Inya Lake. Most of the major Myanmar and foreign companies are located in Yangon. The city is the point of entry for visitors from abroad to Myanmar by air and sea. About 2,500 years ago, there was probably a coastal fishing village or a trading colony called “Okkala”. After the construction of Shwedagon Pagoda, the settlement grew in fame as Dagon. King Alaungpaya of Konbaung Dynasty founded Yangon when he took the village of Dagon in 1755. He called the settlement as Yangon or “End of Strife”. It becomes a port city and a centre of commercial functions since pre-colonial and colonial days. The Yangon River or Hlaing River gives it color and peninsular look (from aerial view) touching the city in the east and south flanks and the Pazundaung Creek in the west.
Mandalay was the capital of the last Myanmar Empire and is the second largest city after Yangon. It is about 620 km north of Yangon and is reachable by land, waterway and flight. It is also the gateway to upper Myanmar. It is the seat of Myanmar handicrafts and culture. King Mindon built the present Palace City in 1858. Before that time, it was known as Yadanabon, or the City of Gems. The highlights in Mandalay are Zaygyo Market, The old Royal Palace, surrounded by a moat of four square miles, the Maha Muni Shrine in the city center, the Kuthodaw Monastery where there is the world's largest book of 1774 slabs and Mandalay Hill from the top of which you can enjoy the panorama of the city. The three most impressive are handicraft–makings, the gold-leaf making and the bronze casting in Myanmar way and Myanmar style. To know Mandalay is to know Myanmar. Most-visited tourists spots and its environs are Mingun, Inwa (Ava), Amapura, and Pyin Oo Lwin.
"He who has not visited Bagan has not visited Myanmar yet."
Bagan was the first imperial capital of ancient Myanmar. The end of the 13th century witnessed the fall of Bagan dynasty in the reign of King Narathihapate or King Tayotpaye. Bagan had been ruled over by 55 kings 12th century. The ruins of Bagan cover a tract of country, measuring about 16 square miles along the east bank of mighty Ayeyarwady. The monuments which are now in all stages of decay were erected mostly from the 11th - 13th centuries AD, during which Bagan was in its heydays. Nowadays, Bagan is the ideal site for historical, cultural and archaeological studies.True! Myanmar people used to say regarding Bagan of which they are much proud. Bagan is the cradle of Myanmar history and Buddhist culture. King Thamudrit built Bagan at the very place of the settlement called Paukkan. The mighty King Anawrahta (1044-77) welded into one kingdom a group of formerly independent states and became king of the Ayeyarwady River in the 11th century. He extended his sovereignty down to the south. He was the first unifier of Myanmar and the introducer of the Theravada Buddhism in Myanmar. The air of Bagan is filled not only with the fragrance of vachellia, but also with war-cries of spear-slinging heroes on horsebacks. The study of the history and culture of Began means the study of the history and culture of Myanmar. Thanks to the good irrigation system of Bagan kings, the wealth of Bagan increased rapidly and the people of Bagan erected about 10,000 pagodas and temples in Bagan area. But today they are ruined except some famous pagodas and temples. However, Bagan succumbed to the onslaught of the Mongols in 1287, and Myanmar split up into small principalities. Bagan period was the period of affluence, creativity and glory---- the period the rained gold and sliver, as Myanmar people usually put it. It was a period like that of the renaissance period in Italy.
Inle Lake is on the plateau of Shan State. It is in Nyaungshwe Township, not far from Taunggyi. It is 22 km long and 11km wide. It can be reached by car or flight via Heho from Yangon. The people are virtually Inthas who are pious Buddhists. Inle Lake is really indolent, surrounded by blue mountains. It is noted for floating market at Ywama village, floating gardens, leg-rowers, traditional method of fishing, the Nga Phe Chaung Monastery with wonderful jumping cats, and the Phaungdaw U Pagoda festival, which is very spectacular, usually held in the month of November. A visit to Myanmar would be meaningless without visiting Inle Lake.
The name itself is queer and mysterious. Nobody has yet known why it is called Ngapali. It is only conjectural that it is named after the Naples of Italy or a local fish. But one thing sure is that the beach is really beautiful with unspoiled setting, crystal and blue sea, snow-white sand and gradual slope, among other things. It scratches about five miles up to the St. Andrew Bay, where there is a lighthouse and a quay. There is a nine-hole golf course close to the beach. Swaying coconut palms, green Alexandrian laurels and shady casuarinas trees fringe and embellish the beach. Ngapali's sunset against the western horizon is really breath-taking, nostalgic and welcoming. The best time to visit Ngapali is between April 13-15 or 16 so as to enjoy Myanmar most boisterous New Year Festival. There are some fishing hamlets near Ngapali. The beach is fringed by coconut palm groves, casuarinas trees and Alexandrian laurel trees. Ngapali is Myanma premier beach, an ideal place for sun, sea and sand. The beach stretches out to eye's end. Tourists usually say, "Au Revoir, Ngapali! Shall be back soon. "Seeing is believing!