The capital city of Magway Region is Magway City. In this region, excavation activities revealed fossils of primates that are more than 40 million years old, which has become the pride of the government. One of the few Pyu cities listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site can be found in Magway. Locals living near the Ayeyarwady River use the river as their main transportation system, but those who live away from the river use the road as their major way of transport. Magway is a region packed with beautiful nature and meaningful heritage. Tourists get to enjoy learning about the country and its main religion (Buddhism) by visiting religious sites that showcase amazing architecture and sculpting work.
Origin: The people in Magway are mainly of Bamar descent accompanied by other ethnic groups like Chin, Rakhine, Shan, and Karen. The locals speak Myanmarese/Burmese and practise Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.
Geography: Magway is bordered by Sagaing Region, Mandalay Region, Bago Region, Rakhine State, and Chin State. This region has a tropical wet and dry climate with a size of 44,820.6 km2/17,305.3 sq mi.
Interesting Facts: The most used transportation system in Magway Region is by road. The region is also well-known to cultivate a variety of sesame seeds and nuts. The region is the largest oil and gas producer in the country.
IMPORTANT RELIGIOUS SITE
Magway plays a significant role in the religious practices of pilgrims and devotees of Buddhism. Plenty of pagodas and monastery are scattered around the region, proving the importance of Magway as one of the most famous religious sites in the country. Monks are highly respected in this region, and they often receive donations from devotees who care deeply for their wellbeing and health. The monasteries in Magway are all carefully built and crafted to reflect Buddhism, the main religion practised by the majority of the locals. The region also has several festivals dedicated to the celebrations of pagodas. Thousands of tourists and locals crowd these places just to donate items, oil lamps, pray and pay their respects to the holy places.
BEAUTIFUL WILDLIFE HAVEN
Magway is also home to two large wildlife sanctuaries that attract thousands of visitors to the region. As the sanctuaries consist of exotic and rare flora and fauna, visitors would flock the place for a close-up experience with the species in their natural habitat. Both sanctuaries are accessible by car and are not far from each other. The sanctuaries are ideal for families to visit as they provide great learning experiences to children and individuals who love nature and wildlife. The landscape of the sanctuaries is picturesque and beautiful. There is a lake surrounded by fallen leaves that would provide great photo opportunities for photography-lovers. Visitors also get to see rare bird species, Burmese star tortoises, golden deers, and other protected species.
EDUCATIONAL TOURISM INITIATIVE
The government has launched a Community-based Tourism (CBT) initiative that serves as another form of tourism activity that is managed by the community. CBT widely contributes to the preservation and awareness of the region’s traditions and heritage as well as its natural environment. Activities in this initiative allow tourists to mingle with the locals and to observe their ways of living in rural areas. They can also cycle around the village, make snacks with the locals and learn about planting and cultivation. The interaction between locals and tourists benefits both sides as locals are exposed to the world outside Myanmar, and tourists learn more about the exotic tribes and traditions of the region.
Myathalon Pagoda This pagoda is the landmark of Magway. Situated on Ayeyarwady River’s steep bank, this pagoda has a significant connection to the Lord Buddha. It is said that the Lord Buddha rested with comfort when he visited the area, and the pagoda has been enshrined the resting place of the Lord Buddha. Visitors are often awed by the beautiful, intricate design of the pagoda.
Nagapwek Mountain Situated right opposite the Myathalon Pagoda, the Nagapwek Mountain is a rare geographical site in Magway Region with an interesting legend passed on by locals for generations. The locals believe that a dragon (Nagar) is living in the mountain. As it breathes, the dragon would cause the mud in the mud volcano mountain to bubble. Nagapwek Mountain can be reached by car.
Shwesettaw PagodaThe pagoda, also known as “Settawya” is famous to be where the Buddha’s footprints are situated. After the Lord Buddha granted Arahat Sicea Vanda and Naga Namanda his footprints, each side of the footprint is placed by them on a hill and a river bank respectively. The pagoda is surrounded by the forest, producing a unique combination of heritage and nature.
Sandal Wood Kyaung Taw Yar Pagoda The Sandal Wood Monastery can be found at Legging Village in the Pwintbyu Township. The Lord Buddha, along with five hundred Arahatas went to the monastery to present a sermon to the disciples. During the Buddhist Era in 1604, King Alaungsithu built the Kyaung Taw Yar Pagoda at this monstery when he was touring the country. The pagoda looks magnificent from afar and up-close.
Myauktaysin Yoke Sone Monastery The monastery’s magnificent architecture consists of 245 pillars. At 30 metres tall and with an area of 1,240 metres, the monastery has visitors from all over the world gather to see its intricate and complex handiwork and sculptures made of wood. Built in Salin in 1868, this monastery is one of the many pagodas found in Magway that boasts beautiful designs and architecture.
British War Cemetery The cemetery has an interesting history involving the British army and the soldiers of Myanmar. In 1886, Major Atkinson led the British Army to fight with Myanmar patriotic soldiers. The fight lasted for four days and resulted in the deaths of 150 British soldiers including Major Atkinson. 19 gravestones belonging to the British soldiers could be found in this cemetery.
Beikthano Acient City This ancient city is one of the three Pyu cities listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2014. Over the course of 40 years, the Archaeology Department excavated more than 50 mounds in Beikthano. The city site and palace remained untouched and the structures are preserved and protected. The entire city stretches up to 900 hectares and is located 64 kilometres from Magway.
Thayet War Cemetery The memorial ground is the final resting place of Myanmarese soldiers who were sent into war labour camps by the British Army. More than 12,000 soldiers of Myanmar were taken prisoners by the British Army in World War 1. They were made to work endlessly in railroad and bridges construction, as well as making artificial lakes. About 1,600 soldiers died due to overworking and harsh treatments.
Min Hla Fortress Myanmar’s youth engineers cooperated with foreign engineers (French and Italian) to construct Min Hla Fortress. The construction was led by Comoto Peree and Mole Norie while being guided by Crown Prince Kanaung (1860-1861). The sturdy fortress is 62 metres long, 57 metres in width and 9 metres tall. Located on the west bank of Ayeyarwady River, the fortress can be reached by car.
Gwechaung Fortress This fortress is also constructed by the same group of engineers who constructed the Min Hla Fortress. Situated diagonally across from Min Hla Fortress, tourists can visit both fortresses in a day. It has 150 fine holes bored into the thick walls for soldiers to shoot from inside the fortress. There are barracks, office quarters, rooms, and a tunnel used to keep elephants for battles.
Yoke Sone The monastery is a cultural heritage site near the Ayeyarwady River. The famous woodcarvings on the buildings beautified the monastery, providing a spectacular sight from afar. Tourists and locals alike highly admire the designs hand-carved carefully on each surface of the monastery, making the monastery a must-visit place in Magway Region. It is in Salay, the native town of a famous dramatist in the Kongbaung Dynasty.
Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary Easily accessible by car, the wildlife sanctuary is a great place for families to visit. The vast area of the sanctuary (553 km²) is home to many types of flora and fauna, including rare bird species, Burmese star tortoises and golden deers. It is divided into two sections (Dry-upper forest and Moist-upper forest), allowing tourists to enjoy a unique forest experience in the sanctuary.
Wetthekan Wildlife Sanctuary To the joy of nature-lovers, this place is not far from the Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary. Located in Salin Township, visitors get to enjoy the scenic view of the sanctuary that is close to the Ayeyarwady River with a wide lake (162 hectares). The wetland area, decorated with fallen leaves from the dry and deciduous forest surrounding it looks quaint and undisturbed.
Sithu Shin Pagoda Pilgrims come to this place to conduct prayers and meditation. The pagoda houses a centuries-old Buddha image. The precious image is made of scented woods. It is kept safe in a gold cup inside a sturdy glass case. Devotees donate jewellery and rings during their visit to the pagoda, and the donations are then hung on the cup with gold wires.
Shwegu Pagoda The entire pagoda took years to complete, with different groups of people contributing to its unique designs. King Alongsithu first built a stupa at the religious site but was damaged as time goes by. Later on, donors repaired the place, built prayer halls, added shrine rooms, and built pavillions around the stupa. The donors’ contributions completed the Shwegu Pagoda visitors get to see today.
Mann Shwe Sattaw Pagoda Festival: This festival plays a huge significance to the people living in Upper Myanmar. People would gather around the pagoda to pay their respects. Mid-February to mid-April would be the busiest time of the year for the location as tourists and locals would crowd the area to celebrate the festival.
Myathalon Pagoda Festival: The festival takes place at Myathalon pagoda. Devotees and locals would pass nutritious food to the monks in that place. They would also offer oil lamps to be placed on the pagoda. At night, the lit oil lamps illuminate the pagoda, providing a pleasant view of the beautiful pagoda.
Thingyan New Year: Celebrated in the middle of April, this Buddhist festival is highly cherished by the locals. The whole country celebrates this festival to welcome the new year. Locals would throw water on each other to ‘cleanse’ their body and mind from evil and negativity. They would then exchange good wishes with family and friends.