View of National Museum

©David Eimer/Lonely Planet

National Museum

Myanmar (Burma)

Though the building and its empty corridors feel much too large for the contents within, this museum has some beautifully displayed works, particularly from the Bagan period, with lovely 11th-century jewellery, replicas of colourful mural paintings and models of architecturally stunning temples.

Exhibitions cover a huge swathe of history: important fossils (such as 40-million-year-old anthropoid jawbones that lend credence to the theory that human ancestors evolved from primates in Asia rather than Africa); Stone Age tools; small figurines of minstrels from Sri-Ksetra (early evidence of musical culture in the region); and intriguing landscape paintings and portraits by 20th-century Myanmar artists.