Myanmar, also known as Burma, was long considered a pariah state, isolated from the rest of the world. This country of 60 million is rapidly emerging from more than 50 years of military dictatorship, blossoming into as worthy a stop as its popular neighbors. Travel to Burma and discover a country of mythical landscapes, ancient treasures and some of the friendliest folk you’ll ever meet. From golden-gilded Buddhas in Yangon and the magical temples of Bagan to the tranquility of Inle Lake, Burma will excite, impress and intrigue you. A visit to Burma is to experience the South-East Asia of twenty years ago, full of rarely seen sights and generations of stories just waiting to be told. Here are top 8 reasons why Myanmar should be on your travel list:
Traveling back in time
Burma is an absolutely massive country and there are many hidden gems in this astounding country which only the locals will know about. It is extremely easy to get off the beaten track and to have temples, ruins, mountains and caves all to yourself. When backpacking in Burma, you feel like you have stepped back 100 years in to the past, like a proper explorer.
Burmese are the kindest, most friendly people who are willing to go above and beyond to make friends with you, help you out and make sure you are having a great time in their country. They will welcome you warmly; some might even invite you into their homes.
Insane Temple Ruins
When most people think of lost cities they immediately think of Angor Wat in Cambodia or maybe Hampi in India but the ruins of Bagan in central Burma are without a doubt the most stunning, least touristey, ruins you will ever see.
Most backpackers opt for a two day trek around the stilt villages of Inle Lake but for a real experience; head deep into the Shan highlands or South to Hp-Pan. Here you can summit jungle clad limestone peaks, many of which are topped by small monastries, and soak in some spectacular views.
Stunning Islands & Beaches
Now is the perfect time to travel to Burma and hunt for your dream island; think coral blue waters, coconut cocktails and perfect sandy beaches, the opportunities are endless. There are over 800 islands in Burma’s Mergui archipelago which are currently empty, making this the perfect opportunity to head out on a kayak or boat and discover paradise in the ocean.
Discover cavernous underground temples filled with Buddha images. Explore some of the huge caves which pockmark the country. Many of these are not covered by any guidebook; it’s simply a case of asking around and seeing if there are any cool caves and amazing rock formations nearby.
Spicy curries, giant chili-soaked prawns, and piquant salads help you beat the heat. The food is better than ok. Burmese cuisine is some of the best in Asia.. The food is an eclectic mix of Thai, Chinese and Indian cuisine and basically includes all the best bits from Thai, Chinese and Indian dishes.
It’s changing fast; Now is the time to go!
Burma is well and truly back on the backpacker map and in 2014 it has become THE place to go. These days, more and more backpackers are tagging Burma on to the classic Thailand – Laos – Vietnam – Cambodia route, and rightly so! However, as the country continues to open up it is only a matter of time before some of Burma’s most enchanting attractions become diluted. Luckily, the country is so big that there is plenty of room and plenty of wild places left for backpackers to explore. Do not hesitate; visit this incredible land now, meet the wonderful people and explore till your heart’s content.