Myanmar is a country with a long history and culture, that attract millions of tourists each year to explore, in which, Taunggyi city – the capital of Shan state is one of the most attractive places for visitors that should not be ignored when coming to this country! Let’s explore the beauty of this city through the following article!
I/ Things to know about Taunggyi
Taunggyi is the capital town of Shan State – the largest state in Myanmar. Its name means “big mountain” in Burmese, named after the mountain slopes to the east of the city. This is the fifth largest city of Myanmar and has an estimated population of 380,665 in 2014.
1. Geographical location
Taunggyi is located just 10 kilometers southeast of Mandalay and about 500 kilometers north of Yangon. This city is situated on a high plateau, about 4.712 feet above the sea level and surrounded by the high mountains. This is also the main gateway of the arterial route from Tachilek, where has the border between three countries: Thailand – Myanmar – Laos. It is also known as the Golden Triangle. Era – the kingdom of opium. Due to that special geographical conditions, Taunggyi is quite bustling as the ancient capital Mandalay or the economic capital Yangon.
The Geographic location of Taunggyi in Myanmar
Taunggyi is located in the subtropical humid region. The climate is divided into two distinct seasons:The winter, also the dry season begins in December and ends in March next year. The city is warm throughout the year. But in winter, the weather becomes mildest, that’s so ideal for the outdoor activities so most of the tourists choose this time to visit Taunggyi.
While the summer lasts from April to November, during this period, it is the rainy season. It usually rains especially from June to November and average annual rainfall is 32.68 inches. That’s why very few tourists come here at this time.
3. The people
Although it is the Shan’s capital, it is also home to a large number of traditional tribes, including Intha and Pa-O. Even these tribes are more numerous than the Shan – owners of this land. This helps visitors to experience a variety of different cultures and customs of Myanmar people while visiting this city.
II/ How to get to Taunggyi?
1. By air:
From other places in Myanmar such as Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan … You can move to Heho airport, which is about 40km away from Taunggyi. Then you can move to Taunggyi by car or bus easily in about 30 minutes.
By plane, you will save considerable time and ensure the health. However, domestic airfare in this country is expensive and the booking is not convenient. Currently, only 1 to 2 airlines allows online booking. In addition, you will have to ask the travel agent to book a ticket.
2. By express bus:
Bus transfers are very popular and are often chosen by visitors to Myanmar. You can also be assured of the quality and safety of the buses in Myanmar. Each cabin has its own flight attendant, passengers are prepared with blankets, drinking water, toiletries (face towel, toothbrush).
The express bus is the best means to move to Taunggyi
From most of the main tourist provinces of Myanmar such as Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, you can use the bus to come easily to this place with the saving price.
– Mandalay – Taunggyi: JJ Express bus departs at 10 pm daily and arrives in Taunggyi at 5 am for a fare of 11,000 kyats. The distance is just 250km, travel time from 4 to 5 hours.
– Bagan – Taunggyi: At this point, you can ask the hotel or hostel to book Bagan Minthar bus ticket for 11,000 kyats. There are two departure hours for you to choose: at 7:30 or 19:30. You do not have to go to the bus station because the car will go to the hotel to pick up guests. It takes about 7 hours to move to Taunggyi.
– Taunggyi – Yangon: From Taunggyi to Yangon, you can continue to travel by JJ Express. It departs from 5:30 pm in Taunggyi, for a fee of 18,500 kyats inclusive of dinner. This is the longest journey, you will be on the bus for about 12 hours and arrive in Yangon early in the morning. Although this road passes through the mountain pass, but the car runs very smoothly and you can rest assured to sleep well until morning.
III/ What to explore in Taunggyi?
1. Shan State Cultural Museum
Shan State Cultural Museum is exactly one of the must-visit locations in Myanmar if you want to learn about the culture and people of this country. This museum is located at Eintawshay Road and Bogyoke Aung San Road in Taunggyi, Shan State, Myanmar (Burma). In the Cultural Museum (Taunggyi), there are 4 galleries that display 808 items and 5998 exhibits in the museum’s collection.
– In the exhibition hall No. 1 And No. 2, they display traditional costumes and musical instruments of Shan people. In Shan State, there are more than 30 Shan ethnic groups and they have different cultures. Visitors can have a chance to see their crafts products such as textiles, lacquerware, glaze and Shan paper.
Visiting Shan State Cultural Museum, you can see the Shan’s traditional costumes
– In the exhibition hall No. 3, visitors can witness the Pinlon agreement that’s displayed here. This agreement marks an important milestone in the history of the Shan state as well as Myanmar. In addition, you will also learn more about the traditional culture of nationalities in Myanmar through the colorful illustrations.
– Coming to the exhibition hall No. 4, visitors can discover the literature of Shan State such as paper parchments and palm leaves manuscripts. Photos and biographies of famous writers and poets here will also be on display In addition, coming to this exhibition room, you can see the small Buddha statue that is made of wood, copper, clay, and lacquer.
2. Some must-visit pagodas in Taunggyi
Myanmar is a Buddhist country. Wherever on this land, there are pagodas and temples with unique architecture. Taunggyi is no exception. If you are a Buddhist or passionate about exploring the culture and architecture, when you come here, do not ignore to visit the following temples:
– Yat Taw Mu Pagoda: The prominent Buddhist temple in the southwest of Taunggyi, is dominated by a 60-foot tall Buddha.
– Sulamuni Pagoda: This is a huge white temple complex located in the southern outskirts of town. It has a gilded corncob stupa to pays tribute to the Ananda Pahto in Bagan.
– Min Kyaung Temple: This is a prominent Buddhist temple in Taunggyi with gaudy statuary, different from other temples in Myanmar. It was built according to the style of Mahabodhi temple, Bodhgaya, India.
– Shwe Phone Pwint Pagoda: This is a temple you can’t miss when coming to Taunggyi, located to the east of this city. Here, you can not only show respect to the Buddha but also have chance to see the panoramic scene of the entire city, and further the Inle Lake.
– Sikh Temple Taunggyi: This is a prominent religious monument of Taunggyi. They built it in 1994 to celebrate the 100 years of this city. Visitors will be overwhelmed by a huge white stupa, which has similarities with Ananda Pagoda of Bagan.
Unique beauty of the white stupa Sulamuni in Taunggyi
3. Inle Lake
Inle Lake is a prominent tourist spot located in Nyaung Shwe town, Taunggyi, Shan state. This is the second largest freshwater lake in Myanmar, located at an altitude of over 800m above the sea level, so the climate here is cool all year round. Thanks to the privilege of nature, this place is exactly a poetic and extremely charming landscape. If traveling to Taunggyi without visiting to Inle Lake, it is considered as you have never been here.
In Inle, visitors can rent a boat to explore the beauty here from 9am to evening with the price of 15,000 kyat. The boat will slowly take you to the middle of the lake to see the wild beauty here. Surely you will have unforgettable experiences, such as:
Encounter the boatmen use a feet to paddles while fishing. This is an impressive travel icon in Inle, Taunggyi.
Visit ancient villages with countless fertile silt fields, gardens hanging on the lake, houses floating on the water and the mountains far away. Inle villages all have their own unique and different characteristics, so try to go as much as possible.
Witness the daily life on the lake surface of the local people here, join the fair to experience their unique culture and buy some souvenirs.
Visit the cat jumping monastery – a famous place in Inle Lake, Taunggyi, where cats jump over wooden rings. That looks so funny and lovely.
Inle Lake is a prominent tourist destination, you should not miss it
5. Fire Balloon Festival
If you travel to Myanmar in November, the Fire Balloon Festival in Taunggyi is really an interesting event that you can’t miss.
This traditional festival is derived from Buddhism, while the hot air balloon originated from British colonialism in the late 19th century. Taunggyi festival often attracts 50,000 visitors each year to admire the spectacular performance of the light bright and colorful from hot air balloons. The celebration in November also makes sense to mark the end of the rainy season in Myanmar.
During the time, local people created unique artwork from traditional Shan paper and the award will be given to the most beautiful air balloons. At night, the sky is full of balloons featuring ducks, dragons, pigs and elephants.. Several hot air balloons carry burning candles, others carry a basket of fireworks.
The brilliant image at Taunggyi’s Fire Balloon Festival
Besides admiring the sparkling scenery from the hot air balloons, you can shop to buy the handmade woven fabrics of Intha, Pa-O, and Shan people in Taunggyi. There are also a lot of interesting souvenirs like the famous Burmese cloth bags, towels, and skirts.
*Note: This is one of the most beautiful and unique festivals in Asia and attracts many domestic as well as foreign tourists. However, you should take measures to ensure your own safety, keep a safe distance from the hot air balloon, and be very careful to prevent fire falling while watching!
Hopefully, this sharing will help you have a beautiful experience when coming to Myanmar, especially Taunggyi city – a place worth visiting!