Mystical, Magical, and Wonderful: Myanmar
For much of its history, Myanmar, otherwise known as Burma, was not an easy place to travel to. For several years, the military junta in power refused entry to tourists and outsiders, and before that the minimal infrastructure made travel within the country frustrating and difficult. However, in recent years, the country has opened its borders and started to welcome backpackers, families, and solo travellers. Despite the rise in tourism to this beautiful and outstanding country, it is still a relatively unknown part of Southeast Asia, which makes this the perfect time to visit Myanmar.
The town of Bagan is without a doubt Myanmar’s tourism jewel. Often compared to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, Bagan is a wonderland of temples and pagodas. Unbelievably, there were once 10,000 temples constructed over a period of 250 years, and an estimated 2,200 temples and pagodas are still standing today. Unlike the crowded and popular Angkor Wat, tourists are only now learning of their existence.
The stunning structures are scattered over a relatively large area, and are a great place for exploration and adventure. However, to truly appreciate the architecture and history of these ancient wonders, booking a Myanmar tour is encouraged. There are few plaques or sources of information at the sites; therefore, a tour guide is able to offer invaluable facts to visitors.
If the majesty of Bagan does not enough to entice a traveller, the natural beauty of Myanmar will surely do the job. There is a wide range of landscapes and features with beaches, bright green countryside, and Inle Lake being the highlights. The small hill town of Kalaw is the starting place for the most famous trek in Myanmar. The two or three-day adventure from Kalaw to Inle Lake traverses rolling hillsides and green rice fields that leave ready adventurers breathless.
Inle Lake is a massive body of water nestled in eastern Myanmar. The large lake has fed and sustained a number of small towns along its banks, and many people even live in huts over the water. The lake is life here, and that is apparent upon arrival. Also immediately apparent is the outstanding beauty of this area. Inle Lake should not be missed while you are on a tour of Myanmar.
Incredible Culture and People
While Myanmar is blessed with natural and historic places of importance, the best reasons to visit this country are the culture and people. In terms of friendliness and kindness, there are few places on the planet that could beat the Burmese people. Language can still be a barrier in parts of the country, even in parts of busy Yangon (yet another reason to go with a tour group), but the Burmese people will help all they can. Whether you are lost among Bagan’s temples or wanting to snap a photo of a fisherman at Inle lake, the Burmese are happy to oblige.
Finally, the cultures of Myanmar are fascinating. Even travellers who have been to other parts of Southeast Asia will find the Burmese unique. From the food to the family relationships to the markets of Yangon, there is so much to discover in Myanmar.