It's the dawn of a more democratic era (since 2015 only) in this extraordinary land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.

You will feel Myanmar’s energy, and the hope of exiles come back to their country to take up the challenge of bringing it to the 21th century, yet preserving the best of its past. For tourists, it’s a place where they can enjoy the simple pleasures of holidays.

Drift down the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River in an old river steamer or luxury cruiser. Stake out a slice of beach on the blissful Bay of Bengal. Trek through pine forests to minority villages scattered across the hills. You’ll encounter locals who are gentle, humorous, engaging, considerate, inquisitive and passionate – they want to play a part in the world, and to know what you make of their world. Now is the time to make that connection.

Modern travel conveniences, such as mobile phone coverage and internet access, are now common, but largely confined to the big cities and towns, where the economic and social improvements are most obvious.

In a nation with more than 100 ethnic groups, exploring Myanmar you will encounter men wearing skirt-like longyi, and both genders smothered in thanakha (traditional make-up).

“This is Burma”, wrote Kipling. “It will be quite unlike any land you know about.” Amazingly, over a century later, Myanmar retains the power to surprise and delight. Be dazzled by Shwedagon Paya. Contemplate the 4,000 sacred stupas scattered across the plains of Bagan. Stare in disbelief at the Golden Rock at Mt Kyaiktiyo, teetering impossibly on the edge of a chasm. These are all important Buddhist sights in a country where pious monks are more revered than football stars.


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