Go Pagoda crazy
The classic picture of Burma is one of gilded cones rising out of the mist, stretching into the haze of the horizon. Once in Burma, you won’t need to go far to take your own similar travel snap. The “Land of the Golden Spires” is literally packed with pagodas, temples and stupas – conical or burial mound-type structures, filled with relics, jewels and offerings to Buddha.
But not all pagodas are created equal, and to avoid the ever-present threat of “pagoda fatigue”, you should pick and choose which ones you want to see, rather than running after every shiny peak you see. Yangon’s Shwedagon is the country’s most iconic and sacred; the 99m-high structure contains eight strands of hair from Gautama – the historical Buddha. The pagoda is covered in gold; pilgrims from across Burma donate gold to add to it.
The stupa atop the Golden Rock wins the most precarious pagoda award; while Bagan is fascinating for their sheer quantity. With over 2,000 structures of all shapes, sizes and styles, this is for hardcore pagoda fans only. Cycle away from popular spots and find your own secret, favourite stupa.