This is Burma and it is unlike any land you know about – wrote by Rudyard Kipling. Today after over a century after he wrote this quote, Myanmar retains the power to surprise and delight the travellers. Myanmar was known as Burma prior to 1989; the name was changed during the Military rule. In the year 2015, Myanmar got its first Democratic governor in more than half a sanctuary.
Myanmar consists of over 100 ethnic groups bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. Yangon (Formerly known as Rangoon) is the country’s largest city and home to bustling markets, numerous parks, lakes and the gilded Shwedagon Pagoda which contains Buddhist relics and dates to the 6th century.
Once the democratic government took charge of the country, the country has seen international investors interested to do business in Myanmar. Myanmar has also seen social and economic changes since the new government took over. Modern travel conveniences such as mobile phone coverage with internet access, domestic flights connecting tourist places, modern hotels are now getting common. The new Myanmar is very much a work in progress country.
Old World Charm of Myanmar
Myanmar consists of multiple ethnic groups and even today Myanmar does remain a rural nation of traditional values. Local men will be seen wearing a Longyi – like a sarong and chewing betel nut and spitting the red juice on the ground, women are seen with faces covered with thanakha (a natural sunblock) and cheroot-smoking ladies. Drinking tea is very common and tea houses serving traditional savouries and tea are seen all over the place.
Myanmar – is rich with over 2,600 years of Buddhist civilization and posses many golden treasures across the country. Myanmar offers different travel option for different travellers from a rich cultural and historical experience with golden temples and pagodas in Yangon and Mandalay to vestiges of Bagan or a spectacular sunrise & sunset in Bagan or Mandalay.
Temples of Myanmar are distinct in design and patterns and temples or relics combine with spectacular surrounding scenery will leave an unforgettable impression of the rich and spiritual life leads by the locals.
Inle Lake offers extraordinary leisure along with a rich insight of local life and floating villages, floating gardens and markets. The Inle Lake also connects to some of the famous trekking routes or one can Drift down the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River in an old steamer or luxury cruiser or visit a beach on the blissful Bay of Bengal. Trek through pine forests to minority villages scattered across the Shan Hills offer a true glimpse of the local life of the Myanmar villages.
Thankfully, the pace of change is not overwhelming and has left the simple pleasures of travel in Myanmar intact. Best of all, you’ll encounter locals who are gentle, humorous, inquisitive and passionate. Now is the time to make that connection.
Jay Kantawala from WIYO Travel visited Myanmar in May / June 18 and felt that people are by far the best part of Burma; he was welcomed with smiles and kindness everywhere he visited. Now is the best time to travel to Myanmar as the new democratic government is working hard to improve the country’s image and uplift tourism. Myanmar today remains one of the world’s mysterious and untouched destinations.