Traditional ways live strong in Myanmar. Witness the leg-rowers of Inle Lake, the ethnic villages of the north and trishaw and carts in the streets, all watched over by betel-chewing grandmothers.Take a boat ride down the Irrawaddy, contemplate the 4000 stupas scattered across the plains at Bagan, see Shwedagon Paya and Mandalay Hill at sunset and stare in disbelief at the Golden Rock, as it balances precariously on the edge of a cliff. Change is coming to Myanmar but one thing that will remain constant is its gentle and engaging people.
best time to travel
The best time to travel to Myanmar (Burma) is November through February.
places to go
The streets, markets , colonial buildings and temples of the old downtown give Yangon a feeling all its own. Further out, the golden stupa of Shwedagon Pagoda, one of Buddhism's most sacred sites, is the star attraction of Yangon.
Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock)
One of the holiest Buddhist sites in the country, Golden Rock is also one of its most spectacular. The precariously balanced boulder is coated in gold and is at its most magical at dawn or dusk.
Both the sheer size (67 sq kms / 26 sq mi) and the hundreds of temples and stupas at Bagan will impress you, but it is the sweeping vistas - of balloons rising over the plains at dawn and of pink, red and orange sunsets at day's end - that will remain with you forever.
Mount Popa / Taung Kalat Monastery
A centre for spirit worship, the top of Mt. Popa, an ancient volcanic plug topped with a temple, is reached via nearly 800 steps.
A busy congested city and transport hub, people flock here to climb Mandalay Hill, memorable for its beautiful views.
Cruising down the mighty Irrawaddy between Mandalay and Bagan is a great way to watch villages go by, see farmers work their fields and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
For many people serene Inle Lake is the highlight of their visit to Myanmar. Travel by boat or bike and visit local markets, stilt villages, and see the famous leg rowers balance precariously on their crafts as they empty their nets.
Set high on a ridge above a lake, the caverns, caves and tunnels at Pindaya are filled with thousands of gilded Buddha statues.
Mrauk U Ruins
Set in the midst of rice fields, round hills and lived-in villages, you are likely to have the sprawling temple complex of Mrauk U all to yourself.
The beaches in Myanmar are among the best in Asia and certainly the least discovered. Ngapali Beach, with its pristine white sand and clear blue sea is one of the best.
Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago
Located off the extreme south coast of Myanmar, these stunningly beautiful islands are largely uninhabited and pure paradise to explore by sailboat.
Walk across U Bein Bridge
At 1200 metres U Bein is the longest teak bridge in the world and a popular sunset stroll for locals. Join them, or hire a boat to get spectacular photos of the bridge, and the people on it, silhouetted against the setting sun.
Myanmar is dubbed the Golden Land, and while the origins of this nickname are obscure, it may have something to do with the spectacular sunsets. They are at their best at Shwedagon Pagoda, Mandalay Hill, U Bein Bridge, Bagan and Golden Rock.
Row with your legs
While out on Inle Lake you are bound to see the famous leg rowers, often precariously balanced on their crafts as they haul in their nets.
Trek the tribes
Follow centuries-old trading routes and observe the daily life of the local hilltribe villages or witness the harvest n full swing on a trek through minority villages around Kalaw or in the remote Chin Hills.
Hit the beach
The beaches in Myanmar are among the best in Asia and Ngapali Beach, with its pristine white sand and clear blue sea is one of the best. Hit the water or relax on the beach, cocktail or book in hand!
Discover ancient Bagan
With hundreds of temples, stupas and ruins covering an immense area, Bagan will take you a few days to explore. Get around by bicycle, or by horse-drawn cart and let each individual temple work its magic on you.
Visit a temple
Walk along with pilgrims, spin a prayer wheel, let the magic of monks chanting settle in your mind. Find a moment of true serenity at a temple in Myanmar.
Visit a market
A fun way to interact with local people, markets are also great places to pick up an offbeat souvenir or two,. Arguably the best is Bogyoke Aung San Market in Yangon.
Explore by boat
Inle Lake is best explored by boat - approaching the stilt villages from the water's side is a unique experience. Visit temples, markets and workshops as you leisurely cruise the expansive lake.
Cruise the Irrawaddy
Watch farmers work their fields, children play in the water, buffaloes plod along and the sun set over the beautiful Irrawaddy - this is one leisurely cruise you do not want to miss.
Sail the seas
Don your captain's hat and take to the sea to explore the stunningly beautiful uninhabited islands of the Myeik Archipelago.