Introducing Myanmar (Burma)
‘This is Burma’, wrote Rudyard Kipling. ‘It is quite unlike any place you know about.’ How right he was: more than a century later Myanmar remains a world apart.
Surreal & Traditional
To travel here is to encounter men wearing skirt-like longyi, women smothered in thanakha (traditional make-up) and betel-chewing grannies with mouths full of blood-red juice – and that’s just at the airport! One of the most fascinating aspects of travel in Myanmar is the opportunity to experience a corner of Asia that, in many ways, has changed little since British colonial times. Myanmar, for instance, has yet to be completely overwhelmed by Western clothing. It’s also a country of many incredible and sometimes surreal sites. Contemplate the 4000 sacred stupas scattered across the plains of Bagan. Stare in disbelief at the Golden Rock teetering impossibly on the edge of a chasm. Ride a horse cart past colonial-era mansions. Meet multitalented monks who have taught their cats to jump, or feisty elderly Chin women, their faces tattooed with intricate designs.
Turn back the clock with a trip to this time-warped country where there’s no such thing as a 7-Eleven or an ATM, and people still use horse and cart to get around. Liberate yourself from your mobile phone (it won’t work here) and the internet (you can get online, but connections are sloooow) and discover a culture where holy men are more revered than rock stars. Drift down the Ayeyarwady in an old river steamer, stake out a slice of beach on the blissful Bay of Bengal, or trek through pine forests to minority villages scattered across the Shan Hills. Dig into the myriad dishes of the local cuisine, from a hearty bowl of mohinga noodles for breakfast to the fermented tea-leaf mixture that’s a popular finish to a Burmese meal. Swap cocktails and canapés for snacks and tea sweetened with condensed milk at teahouses where you can shoot the breeze with locals.
The Ethical Dimension
You no doubt know that Myanmar is a troubled land. In 2011, following the previous year’s election, a quasi-civilian government was sworn in and Aung San Suu Kyi, at the time of research, had been released from house arrest. The tourism boycott that persuaded many to steer clear of the country for over a decade has been lifted. It’s still up to you to decide whether it’s time to visit. Keep in mind that the long-suffering people are everything the regime is not. Gentle, humorous, engaging, considerate, inquisitive and passionate, they want to play a part in the world, and to know what you make of their world. Yes, this is Burma – come with your mind open and you’ll leave with your heart full.
Best places to stay in Myanmar.
Myanmar (Burma) travel guide
Now in its 11th edition, the most comprehensive guide to Myanmar (Burma) on the market returns.
Voluntourism tips: is it ethical to visit orphanages?
For an increasing number of travellers, going on holiday doesn’t mean lazing on a beach or touring sights. Instead, it involves spending their vacation time volunteering in local communities.
Exploring Myanmar's cultural diversity
Handicrafts in Myanmar
Myanmar - Planning (Chapter)
Your journey to Myanmar starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus in-depth info on sacred temples and drifting down the Ayeyarwady on an old river steamer.
How to visit Inle Lake, Burma
In Myanmar/Burma’s Shan State, Inle Lake is an iconic destination - and for good reason. Despite hosting large numbers of tourists, the lake’s rural charms remain authentic and alluring.
Boat trips in Myanmar
Creaky high tones and aspirated consonants have never been so easy! With our easy-to-use phrasebook to guide you'll be talking up a storm with the locals in no time.
Best of Burma (Myanmar)
Travel to Burma and discover a country of mythical landscapes, ancient treasures and some of the friendliest folk you’ll ever meet. From golden-gilded Buddhas in Yangon and the magical temples of Bagan to the tranquillity of Inle Lake, Burma will excite, impress and intrigue you.
Classic Burma Adventure
As a relative newcomer to adventure travel, exploring the mysterious nation of Burma (also known as Myanmar) often feels like setting foot on a foreign, untouched planet. With few other travellers to contend with, the natural and man-made wonders of this underexplored part of South East Asia often feel like they’ve been placed here just for you.
The world's best sunrises
Kicking back on a beach, cold beer in hand while watching the sun go down is one of travel’s finest pleasures. But there’s something far more rewarding about heaving yourself from bed in the pitch black and blearily traipsing to the top of a mountain or the edge of a cliff to see the sun rise in all its glory.
Myanmar (Burma) Bundle
Save 30% when you buy the Bundle! Plan the perfect trip to Burma with three great titles for one great price. Bundle includes the Myanmar (Burma) travel guide, Southeast Asia phrasebook and Asia & India: Healthy Travel Guide.