A must do in Asia’s list of travel sites
By June Franco
There are various kinds of travellers in the world. There’s the beach-lover, the mountain-climbing enthusiast, the history-absorber, the adventure-addict and others. However, rarely enough will you find a country that allows all these types of travellers to be satisfied – Myanmar, the golden land has something for every kind of traveller. From the snow-capped Himalayas in the north to the turquoise blue waters down south, Myanmar gently nurtures its natural attractions to offer a quaint experience to visitors.
Convenient and affordable are two words that best describe Myanmar as a tourist destination. It is not overly packed with tourists, and though you will still meet fellow travellers you will not be disturbed by the crowds.
Myanmar has a rich history that dates back to 13,000 years. The earliest-recorded settlers were a group of Tibeto-Burman speaking people who established the Pyu city-states located in the far south of the country and adopted Theravada Buddhism. The people of Myanmar are extremely proud of their rich history and hence have taken extra care to preserve it. You will find traces of history almost everywhere you go. Consider Yangon, the posh city of Myanmar; while the southern side is swanky with high rises and modern amenities, downtown Yangon has its carefully maintained colonial style buildings showcasing the hallmarks of British architecture. One of the most well-known historic cities of the country is Bagan where 2,000 historic temples are waiting to be explored.
No matter if you are a brave-hearted or a less adventurous traveller, Myanmar has something for you. If you are looking for a leisurely trip, you can take a balloon ride in Bagan for a sunrise view. The experience is worth cherishing a lifetime as you witness some of the most beautiful sunrises of the world. If you prefer something more action-packed, venture into the innumerable hiking routes available in the country. You can also head south and immerse yourself into the aquatic adventures on offer – kayaking, snorkelling, and deep sea diving.
Myanmar is all about experience. The moment you set foot in this beautiful country, you will be welcomed with experiences that you can’t get anywhere else in the world. Head over to Inle Lake to see the unique one-legged rowing technique of the boatmen and the man-made floating gardens where people grow crops on water. Take a train from Pyin Oo Lwin to Lashio and pass through the Gokteik Viaduct, a bridge constructed in 1899, which is a well-known engineering marvel. Travel to Amarapura from Mandalay and walk on the longest wooden teak bridge in the world (They say that if you walk the entire bridge from start to the end with your special someone you will be married someday).
Myanmar’s food is a culmination of different cultures and influences from neighbouring countries. Even if you are not a foodie, you will not be able to escape the charm of the delicious food here. Enjoy the mouth-watering fragrance of spices and fresh ingredients that litter the streets on your nightly walks. Last year, CNN published a list of top foods to try in Myanmar. It included tea leaf salad, known as the most unique salad in the world. Then there’s Shan-style rice, Burmese curry, Shan style tofu noodles and Shan noodles, the Nangyi Thoke and Mohinga, and not to forget the experience of having a drink at an authentic Burmese tea stall.
Myanmar people are some of the most humble and lovely people you will ever meet. They welcome you with genuine smiles and honest friendliness as they truly want you to enjoy their country. As the country is not too tourist packed just yet, locals are not business oriented. Instead, they make every effort to ensure that visitors have a great time. Myanmar’s government has implemented a Community-Based Tourism project where travellers visit villages, stay in local homes and get an exclusive peek into the lives of the people. This helps locals be a part of the tourism efforts that are ongoing nationwide.
Nature like you have never seen before
Most of Myanmar’s natural attractions are located away from the general crowd, ensuring they are pristinely clean and well-maintained. Myanmar’s government takes special care in maintaining its natural resources to avoid over-exploitation, leading to some of the most popular destinations to be serene as they are beautiful.
Exploring Asia is incomplete without setting foot in this beautiful country. The wonders of Myanmar await you!