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MYANMAR –  An intrepid traveller’s dream!

Dramatic Myanmar (Burma) is an intrepid traveller’s dream. This is a land where monks clad in traditional longyi are revered, thousands of religious stupas rise out of flat plains and floating-village life ebbs and flows upon Inle Lake. For a glimpse of old Southeast Asia, there isn’t a more eye-opening destination than this mysterious country, which only began allowing Western travellers into its borders in recent years.

The best time to visit is during the cool, dry season between November and February. Days remain very warm but it can get chilly at night in the hills. In March, the thermometer can leap from highs of around 28C in central Burma to over 40C, with debilitating levels of humidity. The monsoon rains start in late May and often continue into October, though the wettest month is August.

Try to time your visit to include a Full Moon day as this is a popular time for street parades and festivities in monasteries. Avoid the Maya Thingyan Water Festival (April 13-16 in 2015) when a lot of businesses close, sometimes for ten days.

Yangon, the country’s largest city, is a beguiling mix of British, Burmese, Chinese and Indian influences, from its timeworn colonial architecture to its unique cuisine. In this deeply Buddhist country, pagodas pockmark the land, and some of the most impressive ones can be found in Yangon, including the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Sule Pagoda.

The ancient Bagan temples are a sight to behold – take an early morning hot air balloon ride for extraordinary views over the ruins of hundreds of Angkor temples, which emerge from the thick jungle. Back on solid ground explore the temples by horseback. Travel to Mandalay, and explore sites such as the monastery-studded Mandalay Hill, a pilgrimage site for Buddhists for nearly two centuries. Perhaps the best way to experience both the romance of the colonial era and see the Burmese people’s day-to-day realities is by cruising on the Irrawaddy River — aboard new ‘Sanctuary Ananda’ — all the way to Bagan, disembarking at temples and viewing life along the river.

Where to go in MYANMAR

Inle

Yangon

Bagan

Beaches Myanmar

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