Myanmar (Burma) is a bewitching land of golden pagodas, natural wonders and smiling faces that are basking in a newly-opened tourism industry. A destination for the curious traveller, a getaway to Myanmar lets you visit an ancient collection of more than 2,000 temples and pagodas that stud verdant plains, witness the perilously perched Golden Rock at Kyaiktiyo or take to the waters to discover floating villages and atmospheric river cruises.
Hospitality in Myanmar is a trademark of the culture. A deep-rooted belief in Buddhism and longtime isolation from consumer culture have both contributed to preserving a kindliness of spirit in the local people that is truly welcoming. With no indigenous word for tourist, travellers are greeted quite sincerely as ‘guests', and if there's only one thing you take with you from your time here, it will likely be memories of its gentle, friendly people – considerate, inquisitive, humorous and helpful.
But there’s much more to Myanmar than a wave of positive ambition; as Kipling once wrote, the country is ‘unlike any place you know about’. Start on a trip through colonial Yangon (Rangoon) where faded architecture frames the magnificent golden domes of the Shwedagon Pagoda, constructed 2,500 years ago as a monument to house eight of the Buddha's hairs. Then, travel north to royal Mandalay’s moated, east-facing royal palace, where a tiered golden spire seems to pierce the sky while the imposing fortress surrounding it projects power and protection far and wide. Then, look to the floating markets and gardens of Inle Lake and Bagan’s (Pagan) grandiose ruins of empires past that stretch for as far as the eye can see.
Find yourself in a luxurious paradise of white sand beaches on Myanmar's coast, and among the 800 or so islands that extend beyond. There is nothing like floating in the clear ocean, without the hectic bustle of other holidaymakers on the beach. You'll also have your pick of spots to enjoy local seafood, caught that day and prepared fresh. Or, for a glimpse of royal life, spend some time in the last royal capital of the country, Mandalay. On a Mandalay tour, you'll be swept up in the cultural mix of Indian temples, mosques, monasteries, pagodas, and a wide range of arts performances and artisan craft workshops.
In Myanmar, you’ll find lofty mountains and mile upon mile of emerald rice paddies, empty beaches and dense forests. But most of all, you'll find yourself touring one of the world's most welcoming nations, as you discover why this beautiful country is one of Asia’s finest treasures.