By Georgina Parkinson
Also known as Burma, Myanmar is starting to make a splash on the tourist scene. This intriguing country is an excellent choice for those eager to explore areas of the beaten track and experience a blend of culture and adventure in a truly stunning setting. If you’re planning a personalised Myanmar holiday, here are some highlights you won’t want to miss.
Shwedagon Paya, Yangon
This is one of the most historic and influential Buddhist sites in the world. Steeped in gold and precious gems, this temple is a breathtaking sight to behold. The famous pagoda dominates the skyline and there’s a beautiful terrace, which affords you spectacular views of the surrounding scenery. The temple dates back around 2,000 years and it’s a must-see for anyone who appreciates architecture and art, as well as a religion.
While you’re in Yangon, take a trip to Scott’s Market (also known as Bogyoke Aung Sun Market). Here, you’ll find bright colours, friendly locals and all kinds of weird and wonderful stalls.
The tranquil waters of Lake Inle are an idyllic spot to relax and unwind. Watch the local fishermen as they use a unique action involving their legs to direct their boats to shore. Take in the views and have a wander around the stilt-house settlements. Take a trip to Nga Phe Kyaung and watch the leaping cats, expertly tutored by monks. If you’re lucky enough to visit in September or October, you can catch the Hpaung Daw U Festival, a celebration of the water, which involves incredible processions of ornate golden barges. Don’t miss the excitement of the annual leg rowing race.
If you’re looking for a trip that will catapult you back in time, make sure you include the ancient kingdom of Bagan in your travel plans. Traditional pagodas pierce the air, popping up from the verdant pastures of the expansive plains. This area is vast and incredibly beautiful. For the best views and a romantic adventure, book a hot air balloon ride.
No visit to Myanmar is complete without a day at the beach. Ngapali Beach is a pristine stretch of white sand beaches lined with swaying palms with views of languid azure waters. Laze around in the sun, take a kayak out or try windsurfing. This is a beautiful place to unwind and relax after a busy week of seeing the sights and travelling around.