Following years of seclusion Myanmar has recently opened its doors to travellers hungry for new experiences. The 21st century world has barely touched this gentle land, so prepare to be captivated by a strong sense of the old Orient.
Temples appear at almost every turn, particularly in Bagan, where thousands of ancient temples and pagodas are strewn across the sprawling dusty terrain. Hire a horse and cart to leisurely explore these astonishing monuments which include the well-preserved Temple of Anada and gold-domed Shwezigon Pagoda.
Yangon (formerly Rangoon) was the British colonial capital and is noted for a number of famous religious sites, not least the imposing golden Shwedagon Pagoda. The city’s bustling streets and narrow alleys are filled with shops, markets and tea houses where the aroma of spices and freshly-cooked food wafts through the air. Mandalay is Myanmar’s cultural centre, full of craft workshops and tree-shaded monasteries.
At Inle Lake witness a unique way of living as the Intha people live in villages built on stilts over the water, grow vegetables on floating gardens and travel by boat everywhere. Remarkably, they row standing up with one leg wrapped around an oar!
Ngapali is renowned as the country’s best beach. There are no noisy beachside bars and no crowds, all that’s on offer is unspoiled beauty and white sand lapped by deep blue water stretching as far as the eye can see.