Enigmatic and enchanting, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is often referred to as the Golden Land. Myanmar’s long-term isolation has bequeathed a corner of Southeast Asia full of traditional culture, spirituality and old-world charm. A visit to Myanmar is like turning back the clock. Phone and internet connections can be erratic in areas so you may peacefully experience a culture which emphasises spirituality and reveres monks and holy men.
One of the highlights of a holiday to Myanmar is a visit to the mysterious and striking plain of Bagan. Situated on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, this 42 square kilometre plain is the largest area of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ancient religious ruins in the world. These date from as early as the 11th and 12th centuries and are particularly atmospheric when viewed from above in a hot air balloon.
In Yangon, once known as Rangoon, you can stroll along tree-shaded avenues and marvel at golden stupas and glittering pagodas. A walk around downtown Yangon reveals the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda, and some of the most impressive colonial era architecture in the region. Mandalay offers the chance to offer alms and food to the monks and novices from the Mahagandayon Monastery before visiting the hundreds of peaceful stupas on Sagaing Hill.
In Myanmar you can journey to colonial hill stations set amongst rolling pine-clad hills. Or drift around Inle Lake with its stilt house villages at the water’s edge. You can feel the power of a Buddhist relic at Kyaiktiyo, also known as Golden Rock, where a huge golden stupa perches precariously on the edge of a hill.