When you hear of people visiting Asia for a holiday they all mention Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Yet Myanmar is slowly starting to turn up in more and more people’s bucket lists. If you are planning a trip to Asia in the near or distant future make sure you consider Myanmar because it is unique in what offers to the world.
Formally known as Burma, the country became Myanmar in 1989. The country has been involved in one of the longest civil wars in history. The conflict started in 1948 when the country gained its independence from the U.K and is still going on in some parts today. Yet despite this, in recent years it has opened its borders to tourists and now is generally a safe place to travel. Although we always advise you to check the current political environment before traveling.
While some areas of Myanmar are still not possible to visit there are many places you can still explore. Myanmar truly offers an insight into the life of Asia without western influence. The most beautiful place to visit is Bagan. It has the highest concentration and density of Buddhist temples in the world. You can take a hot air balloon ride through the temples and it is likely one of the most beautiful experiences that this world has to offer.
From there you can experience a quiet life in the countrysides of Myanmar. Take a bike and cycle through the valley of the Chindwin River. If the bike keeps you on the roads for too long then the country also offers some incredible hikes. Shan State is the best place for hiking and it is best to join a tour group (for safety and to ensure you see the best places).
If biking, walking, and balloon riding are not enough then you can take some incredible river cruises as well. You can take a longboat cruise on Lake Inle and see some of the small fishing settlements that dwell there. The best cruise is one from Mandalay to Bagan is gives you an enriching insight into much of Myanmar. If you want to get off the tourist path and see some real authentic areas of Myanmar this is the best option.
If you are a movie buff then you will know the movie Bridge on the River Kwai. One of the locations was filmed at Thanbyuzayat. You can get a train to this location and see its beauty or if you are a lover of rails then there is a 17 rail tour option that will wind through Myanmar as well.
Myanmar is a country emerging from a long period of isolation. This means it is a place that is one of the last authentic experiences left in the world. While that does mean that many things will be not up to the facilities you are used to, it is an opportunity to see another side of the world. Embrace your adventurous spirit and take a trip to magical Myanmar.