Holidays to Myanmar (Burma)
Still known to much of the world as Burma, Myanmar has been off of travellers’ destination lists for too long. The country has a collection of stunning Buddhist monuments, bucolic Southeast Asian countryside, and a capital irresistibly unsullied by tourism. For decades Myanmar’s hard-line government left the country isolated which in turn restricted its development, but recent political changes, and a new democratic government, mean that Myanmar is now on the rise and changing rapidly with infrastructure, hotels and airlines improving all the time.
As a relative newcomer to travel, exploring the mysterious nation of Myanmar often feels like setting foot on a foreign, untouched planet. With few other travellers to contend with, the natural and man-made wonders of this underexplored part of Southeast Asia often feel like they’ve been placed here just for you. And what wonders they are:
Bagan is Myanmar’s answer to Angkor Wat or Machu Picchu, drawing people from across the world to admire its 3,800 ancient temples. Other famous sights include Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda, its gilded stupa topped with a massive diamond, and Golden Rock, a much-loved Buddhist shrine. Beyond these, Myanmar brims with impressive heritage, from the colonial-era buildings of Yangon to the regal palace of Mandalay.
Myanmar’s diverse mix of people makes the country both fascinating and infamously conflicted. Your travels will include many opportunities to meet the locals. Sit down in a local tea house or hike up to a mountain village, and you’ll glean a far broader sense of life in Myanmar than you can possibly get from the news.
Combine a strikingly beautiful natural landscape with ancient temples, active monasteries and remote communities, and you’ve got some really interesting trekking. Several great routes lead from and around Inle Lake.
Myanmar has never been considered a top destination for beaches in Southeast Asia, especially given the previous tourist-ban around coastal areas. However, as the country opens its borders to tourism, many hidden coastal treasures have been discovered. Whether you’re admiring it from your beachfront veranda or the basket of a hot air balloon, Myanmar’s shoreline is largely undeveloped and ruggedly handsome. Ngapali beach on the Bay of Bengal coast is a real highlight. You can also find truly sustainable island resorts in the beautiful Mergui Archipelago, in Myanmar’s far south.