UNFORGETTABLE WAYS TO EXPERIENCE MYANMAR
Home to atmospheric cities and breathtaking mountainous landscapes, Myanmar has firmly asserted its place on the Southeast Asian tourist trail. It’s a destination where you can trek to meet ethnic minority villages that continue to live according to ancient principles or gaze up archaeological wonders that have stood the test of time. If you’re still in need of inspiration to travel to this beguiling country, here are just a few experiences not to miss...
Witness sunrise over Bagan from a hot-air balloon
With more than 4,000 ancient pagodas and temples scattered across its plains, Bagan is one of Southeast Asia’s most impressive archaeological sites. It sprawls on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River in the center of Myanmar, with gilded stupas and ochre-colored temples that are a sight to see. While you can explore its ornate sculptures and mural paintings by bicycle or horse-drawn carriage, taking to the air for a sunrise hot-air balloon flight is one of the most breathtaking ways to experience this UNESCO World Heritage-listed wonder.
'Looking across the pagodas of the Bagan Archaeological Zone at sunrise'
Meet ethnic villagers on a trek through Chin State
For a long time, the largely undeveloped western Chin State was off-limits to tourists but now you can secure a permit to hike through this remote and spectacular region. It’s dotted with ethnic Chin villages where people still live according to long-established customs and exhibit the facial tattoos that were favored by their ancestors. Hire a guide and embark on a multi-day trek through the mountainous surrounds or tackle the peak of Nat Ma Taung, with exceptional birdwatching opportunities that lure twitchers from around the globe.
'Sharing a road with local villagers on a trek through Chin State'
Cruise to the ancient ruins of Mrauk U
While the Bagan Archaeological Zone is well and truly on the tourist map, the ancient stone temples and pagodas of Mrauk U see far fewer visitors. They’re situated in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State and scattered between peaceful rural villages where life hums along in their shadow. You can journey by boat along the Kaladan River from the capital Sittwe to Mrauk U, then spend a day or two learning about the traditional architecture and intricate stone carvings of the Arakanese Kingdom (1430 to 1785).
'Sunset over the Kaladan River in Myanmar'
While away the days on tranquil Inle Lake
If you’re looking for somewhere to kick back and relax, then the peaceful waters of Inle Lake will do the trick. Situated part way between Yangon and Mandalay, the lake is home to countless floating villages where local handicrafts are produced, not to mention floating vegetable gardens and colorful markets that attract ethnic people from across the region. While away your days watching the fishermen who exhibit a unique foot-rowing method or stretch your legs on a multi-day trek across the surrounding Shan Plateau.
'An umbrella making artisan workshop in a floating village on Inle Lake'
Experience the comings and goings of Shwedagon Pagoda
Situated in the north of Yangon, the diamond-encrusted, gold-leafed Shwedagon Pagoda is one of Myanmar’s most sacred landmarks. It’s said to house Buddha relics that include the staff of Kakusandha, the water filter of Koṇāgamana and a piece of the robe belonging to Kassapa, as well as eight strands of hair from Gautama Buddha himself. The streets surrounding the pagoda are always a hive of activity and a destination in themselves as local devotees come to buy floral offerings while nearby Kandawgyi Lake boasts some of the most photogenic views of Shwedagon.
'The gilded spires of Shwedagon dominate the city skyline of Yangon'
Something for the road….
Peace of mind. That’s what having a lock on your luggage is all about. Knowing that whatever was in your bag before you checked it in for that flight (or threw it on the roof of a bus for a long-haul journey) will be in there when you arrive. It might be small in size, but it acts as a big deterrent for anyone who’s thinking they might be able to prize something out of your luggage without you knowing about it.
Aside from its strong zinc alloy design, the best thing about these padlocks is that they’re TSA approved. That means airport screeners can unlock, inspect and re-lock your bags, without causing damage to your padlock or your luggage. And with just three digits to remember for the code, they couldn’t be simpler to use.
You can buy me here!