If you’re looking for a break somewhere new that you can boast to your friends about and tell them it’s the ‘next big thing’, consider Myanmar, better known as Burma. Located in Southeast Asia and neighbouring Thailand, the Burmese tourism industry is slowly but surely becoming a top holiday destination for anyone looking for something a little different. The potential in Burma for unforgettable experiences and a great holiday is huge, you just need to know where to go: and that’s what we’re here for.
The ideal, and most popular, location to start your journey is in the former capital of Yangon, if not for some of the most delicious food in the country (more than enough reason for us), then for the Shwedagon Paya site of Buddhist pilgrimage, a breathtaking place of beauty and spiritualism and considered the most sacred pagoda (or house of worship) in Burma. Another popular starting point for a Burmese get-away is Mandalay, as the cultural and spiritual centre of the country with more than 700 pagodas, and cheap flights from Bangkok to Mandalay providing convenient transport links. For outstanding views of traditional temples within the landscape of rural Burma, Bagan in the region of Mandalay is the place to visit, with more than 2200 ancient temples still strewn across the terrain. If you’re searching for a spiritual awakening, these locations could very well do the trick.
For those who need a break from the architectural and spiritual beauty of the country and want a beach nirvana, west of Yangon lies Ngapali, arguably the most popular in the country, with white sand and turquoise water, it’s everything you’d imagine from a Burmese beach: postcard perfection. While you may be tempted to stay there and never leave, leading the life of a more glamorous Tom Hanks in Cast Away, the beach resorts of Chaung Tha and Ngwe Saung could be a cheaper alternative to consider, without losing much in the way of sun, sea and sights.
Found in the Shan Hills west of Mandalay is Inle Lake, a primary tourist attraction in the country which can be trekked to from the city of Kalaw. Most inhabitants of the lake, called Intha, live in wooden houses on stilts on the lake itself. Between September and October the Hpaung Daw U festival is in full swing, and is succeeded quickly by the Buddhist festival of lights, Thadingyut, with the locals dressed to the nines in their finery to celebrate the Buddhist equivalent of lent.
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Are you looking for spiritual awakening, beautiful views, idyllic beaches and ancient architecture? If so, look no further.