Myanmar opens its doors to unveil its gilded pagodas, ancient stuppa-strewn plains, relaxed rivers, unspoilt beaches, colourful ethnic villages, a proud tradition of Buddhism, and a charming people enthusiastic for interaction. Now is a moment like no other to come explore the incredible country that is Myanmar. Formerly known as Burma, this old British colony is opening its doors to travellers and revealing amazing sights and a tremendously warm local people who are eager to connect and share their lives. Myanmar is an ethnically and culturally proud nation where Buddhism dominates daily life and culture. Magnificent temples and pagodas are located in every part of the country, from the golden peak of Shwedagon in Yangon to the 4000 ancient stuppas of Bagan. Add to this the old atmospheric colonial architecture, former British hill stations, romantic river journeys, pristine beaches, and enduring traditions, and you have a country both willing and able to satisfy the needs of even the most well-travelled observers.



All the above reasons to visit Myanmar are equal to unforgettable visits to the temples. Ancient pagodas in Bagan will rank right up there with more modern temples where colorful tiles and flashing disco lights illuminate Buddha in a gaudy multi-colored celebration. Incense-filled monasteries give a meditative glimpse of a life that's equal parts tranquil and disciplined. Gold leaf dome ceilings, carved wooden doors, and mirrored facades create a myriad variety of decorative styles. While images and statues of Buddha may have similarities, the variety of the temples housing them run the full visual spectrum.


All over Myanmar you'll see monks. Monks on the street, monks in the temples, these studious gentlemen young and old add burgundy-robed grace to daily life everywhere from the bustling cities to remote villages. They're usually open to chat with visitors and to practice their English, and a common visit to many monasteries includes viewing their lunch procession. The key thing to remember is to be respectful of their lifestyle and tranquility. This means don't shove your camera in their face without politely asking first. They are monks and not a tourist attraction so be respectful of them and their space.


If it’s gold you covet, come to Burma! You’ll never see a country so adorned with glittering golden temples. Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is a prime example but there are many more around the country. Women sell gold leaf at temples which are rubbed on certain Buddha statues for luck or health.


The food in Burma is different to the rest of South East Asia. It has elements of Thai, Chinese and Indian palates but is very much it’s own cuisine. It’s hard to find Burmese restaurants in other parts of the world so expect some interesting tastes! Mohinga is the national dish and it’s delicious – a soup flavoured with lemongrass, banana tree stem and ginger served with fish and rice noodles topped with crispy chickpea bits. You’ll get it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other culinary highlights curries cooked in claypots, biryani-style rice dishes and big, fluffy coconut street pancakes. Yum!


Bagan will blow your mind. From the 9th to the 13th Century, over 10,000 temples and pagoda were constructed on the flat plains of Bagan with 2200 surviving today. The structures range from large red stone towers you can climb, smaller stone ones you can explore from the inside and of course golden stupas. If you’re really flush with cash, hot air ballooning over Bagan should be on your bucket list.


Without a doubt, the people of Burma are the warmest and friendliest I’ve encountered on my travels. While little English is spoken by most, the smiles I received said more than a thousand words. I had many wonderful experiences from renting a boat, complete with family, for a short river trip to taking tea with a monk escaping a thunderstorm. Precious moments with people are what makes travel special.

Myanmar on the go

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