Myanmar

Myanmar contains some of the most evocative place names in the world. Mandalay. Pagan. Rangoon. Places that conjure a vision of Asia, of travel and the mystic East.

From the crumbling Victorian mansions lining the charming streets of central Yangon, to the pristine new beach resorts of Myanmar’s uncommercial coast, Myanmar, like a rare butterfly, is beginning to emerge from a troubled past and to spread its wings – a true undiscovered gem of the Orient.

The sweeping panoramic vistas and fabled destinations are ready-made for adventure. Your mobile phone won’t work here and a credit card doesn’t get you far but old-school charm is what makes Myanmar such a treat. See Bagan’s ancient Buddhist pagodas at sunrise from a hot air balloon, stay on the shores of picturesque Inle Lake and journey to Ngapali for deserted white sand beaches.

Myanmar, or Burma as it is traditionally known, has recently opened up to the world after decades of political isolation. While technically open for the whole time, until a few years ago a visa was valid for only one week and allowed access to only certain, limited areas. Now, while restrictions still apply to certain tribal areas, the country is open once more for exploration, and what a fantastic holiday destination it makes. The isolation of recent years has preserved the culture as few Asian countries have been able, keeping the creep of jeans and cola at bay.

That is changing fast, so visit soon.


When to Go

Myanmar's monsoon starts at the end of May and continues through until mid October. During this time everywhere gets a certain amount of rain, some areas up to 5 metres worth! Even so its possible to travel during this time as the rain tends to come in the form of heavy downpours.

The peak time to visit is from November to February as this is the coolest time of year, coinciding with the driest. The heat builds as the next monsoon approaches, making March to May the hottest time, albeit without much rain.

With many mountainous areas, the weather does vary from province to province, so some areas are inaccessible while others are fine.

Attractions in Myanmar

Bagan

The most famous of all Burma’s attractions lies downstream of Mandalay. Bagan is the ruined capital of a civilization that thrived from the 9th to the 13 centuries, rivaling the Khymer Civilization of modern day Cambodia. The houses, roads and huts of the everyday people have long disappeared, leaving the remains of hundreds of Buddhist temples and thousands of ruined pagoda, covering an area of over 100 square kilometres.

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Attractions in Myanmar

Mandalay

The other main city that most people visit is Mandalay, sitting on the banks of the Irrawaddy River to the north of the country. It is not particularly old having been founded in 1857 and suffered great damage during the Second World War. It is a modern, bustling place with a large Chinese population and is an excellent place to purchase local gem stones if you are looking for a traditional souvenir.

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Attractions in Myanmar

Wildlife and Conservation in Myanmar

Myanmar has a network of nine National Parks and over 20 Nature Reserves that cover a myriad of landscapes, ecosystems and geological formations. They cover wetlands, coastline and mountains and also encompass the two types of indigenous forest - monsoon and tropical. Such diverse habitats means a huge array of flora and birdlife. The mammals have been under more pressure but recent surveys have brought hope that several endangered species still have small but viable populations. These include the Asian elephant, with an estimated population of 2,000 split between the north and south of the country, the Indochina Tiger and clouded leopards. The animals are however very hard to see and classified as endangered or critically endangered.

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Attractions in Myanmar

Yangon

Most visitors start their visit in Rangoon, or Yangon as it is known locally. It is a large bustling city, the commercial and financial heart of the city. Many of the old areas of Chinese and colonial buildings have been cleared as the city has developed but still boats the largest number of colonial buildings of any South East Asian country.

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