Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a country with a troubled but intriguing history, and the site of a fascinating clash of cultures. The country is bordered by India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos and China, and incorporates over 100 different ethnic groups. Myanmar was only recently liberated from military rule, which held sway between 1962 and 2011.
Much of Myanmar’s appeal lies in its humble, welcoming people and its unspoiled natural beauty. The nation has world-class diving sites that you can have entirely to yourself, as well as beautiful tropical beaches that lack the crowds and tourist traps of its neighbouring countries.
Sights to See
No trip to Myanmar would be complete without visiting some of the many temples and other religious sites scattered around its lush forests and plains. Myanmar’s culture is an interesting mix of Buddhism, ancient Indian culture and Chinese traditions, all of which can be seen in its architecture.
Myanmar’s largest city is Yangon, where you can find the huge Shwedagon Pagoda that positively shimmers in gold. The stupa stands at almost 100 metres high and is the most sacred Buddhist stupa in the country.
Mandalay is Myanmar’s former royal capital that sits along the Irrawaddy River. It’s a bustling hub of concrete, interspersed with hidden pagodas, mosques and Indian temples.
What’s For Lunch
Did you know the Myanmar people eat the most onions per-capita in the world? For this reason you must try a spicy onion curry!
If You Only See One Thing
At the heart of Mandalay sits the restored Mandalay Palace, the last remaining palace of the final Burmese monarchy. It is perhaps the most well known symbol of Burma, with over 40 spectacular buildings, and dates back to the Konbaung Dynasty from 1752 to 1885.
The local greeting – Mingalaba – doesn’t change between morning, afternoon and evening so it’s a good one to learn!
Myanmar is great for older items, gems and silverware. If you’ve enjoyed your time exploring the country’s temples then a silver or brass temple offering bowl makes a nice keepsake.