In times of globalization nowadays, it is getting quite difficult to find authentic destinations where people are not familiar to tourism and the travelers can have, if that is what they really want, an experience to merge themselves into the local culture. Myanmar can be still one of those places. However, do not wait long to make your holidays in Myanmar, because of its greater openness to tourism in the recent years has put the country on the path of becoming another famous tourist destination in South East Asia.
U Bein Bridge - Mandalay
After the elections in November, 2015 that have led to the NLD of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to power, the international openness of Myanmar must be accentuated and more and more tourists will come to contemplate the great beauties of the country. In 2011, there were just around 350,000 foreigners who arrived each year which now that number had multiplied by ten. And Myanmar has so much to offer to those who are looking for beautiful landscapes, great monuments, unique culture and incredible people. It is really a destination for everyone. The ideal time to be able to walk unhurriedly the current habitual route is about 3 weeks. This is what you can’t miss on your Myanmar private tour.
Between the chaos and the apparent dirt rises a living city that is worth living. It is usually the point of arrival for most international flights and many people run away from it as soon as they arrive, but the advice is really not to do so. It is not just for the Shwedagon Pagoda, which is the most important monument of Buddhism. Beyond the pagodas and a building of the British colonial era, the best thing about Yangon is to take the pulse of its frenetic daily activity.
Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
Do not forget to take the circular train that starts every morning from the train station. For 3 hours, travelers will have a chance to travel through the suburbs of the city. Without getting out of the train (because you never know how long it will stop and it also does not announce the departure, so you may stay on the ground without wanting to), you can observe the daily life of thousands of Burmese. Houses and shacks, outdoor barber shops, markets, farmers working hard on fields, people carry vegetables and fruits in large bales or the urbanites who are engrossed by the screens of their smartphones. The scenes give a realistic experience for travelers on a trip in Myanmar to start immersing themselves into the local life.
Mandalay is the last great capital of Burmese Kings that was conquered by the British in the mid-nineteenth century without firing a shot.
Today, Mandalay is a great center of commerce and industry but still remains a certain colonial aura. However, the most interesting places of Mandalay are in its surroundings. The old Burmese capitals like Ava, Amarapura (with the famous U Bein Bridge, the largest teak bridge in the world) or Sagaing make you easily spend several days of your Myanmar tour for entertaining.
Particularly the beautiful Ava, which is suspended in the Ayeyarwardy River, offers its treasures of temples, pagodas, palaces and fortifications to those who visit it. Rent a buggy and discover it without hurry.
Without a doubt, Bagan is the most special (or visited) place in Myanmar. During the “short” space of two splendid centuries, more than 3,500 pagodas and temples were built here. The old Bagan is an endless network of roads and paths that connect temples of all possible sizes. The tourist boom in Bagan recently had meant that more and more Burmese are leaving the countryside to Bagan and dedicating themselves to the hospitality and travel business. Even so, there are still beautiful fields in the surroundings, creating a great combination of colors and traditions that will leave you really absorbed.
The best time to visit Bagan is, contrary to what many people think, during the rainy season (or just at the end). Bagan is a region in Myanmar that receives the least amount of rainfall during those rainy months, and even if it rains, it is more than compensated when you can see the picture of thousands temple hidden among fields and green meadows. The sunset and sunrise in Bagan are truly magical. The options to observe from the air is still provided by companies that have hot air balloons during the dry season months.
Inle Lake is another obligatory stop of the route on private Myanmar tours. Life on Inle Lake is built on bamboo and wood, on pylons that are embedded in the bottom of the lake. The best way to visit the lake is certainly by boat, but try to impose your guide and convince him to show you the daily life of one the floating villages, unless you are very interested in shopping for handicrafts.
That is the most beautiful part of Inle Lake, but it happening that tourism has begun to arrive in potentially dangerous waves. The workshops of handicrafts like silver, silk, paper products, cigars are not bad but after a couple of hours visiting, tourists can be tired. However, the markets of the villages that rest on the shores of the lake, do have a great cultural interest. Remember to visit Inthein, even if it is not a market day, the journey to its pier is already worthy.
Although the town itself has nothing special, it is worth trekking around Kengtung. It is a good idea to visit the area after the rains to see it at its very best. The surrounding mountains are inhabited by several different ethnic groups that profess religions as opposed to Buddhism, Christianity or Animism and coexist in peace and harmony. The Pao, Palaung and An are some of the groups. When traveling here, travelers can admire the green mountains, extensive fields, and rice terraces dotted by small wooden and bamboo houses. There are villages where people still wear traditional clothes, make their own handicrafts and trade with their neighbors.
The best part of traveling to Myanmar is there are still few tourists visiting this area. Because of the greater openness currently, it is becoming easier to organize your Myanmar Holidays and Nadova Tours will always be happy to kindly help you whatever you need on the ground. Do not wait much longer to start your trip in Myanmar as tourism will not stop growing in this country and you may not find the same as describing in this article. You are just a click away from having the trip of a lifetime in Myanmar!
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