If you’ve been planning a trip to South East Asia for awhile, chances are you have already put the old standby of Thailand on your list of ‘must sees’. While Thailand does have some seriously impressive things that should be seen, much of it has become somewhat seedy and attracted a rather party element to it. Don’t take this the wrong way – there are many places in Thailand that are worth a visit, just know where you’re going and what you want out of your trip. But Thailand isn’t the only place you should consider heading to, and in fact you should check out the newly opening up country of Burma (Myanmar). Read ahead for the top three places to check out in this blooming country that people are only just starting to head to en masse, so get in while you can!
Bagan was a former bustling city in the Mandalay district of Myanmar. In its heigh between the 9-13th centuries the kingdom of Bagan helped to unify the regions of greater Myanmar that eventually led to the creation of the country. Likewise during this time, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and other buildings were erected in the area, of which around 2,200 survive today. The region not only is comprised of these remaining impressive religious temples and structures, but the mountains nearby and the vast, flat plains make for some impressive photo opportunities at sunset and sunrise when the temples peek from the jungle with shadowy silhouettes. For an extremely unique look at the area, consider exploring by hot air balloon, which is usually only available in the dry season due to sometimes turbulent weather in the monsoon season.
This large lake is the second largest in the country and is located in the south west in Shan province. The lake is home to around 70,000 residents who reside in four cities primarily but there are numerous villages dotted around its shores as well. The people who live around the lake are primarily self sufficient farmers who either make a living growing their own food or fishing – or a combination of both! The Intha, as they like to be called, have devised a system for growing food on the the waters of the lake in floating gardens. The lake has become one of the hottest places for tourists to Myanmar, which means that there are a number of great accommodation options, including luxury ones!
Yangon and Mandalay
The cities have a few attractions such as temples like the Shwedagon Golden Pagoda in Yangon which is 2,500 years old. This impressive structure and complex absolutely dazzles in the sunlight and is a must for any visitor to the area. Trips outside of Mandalay and Yangon can be arranged and there are numerous to choose from such as a trip to Sagaing-Ava and Amapura monastery and temples is worth a trip. There is a gemstone market worth a visit in Yangon where some of the worlds cheapest Jade, including white Jade can be found for rock bottom prices.
So there you have a couple of great reasons why you should head to South East Asia’s newest opened up country – Myanmar. With so many corners still closed off to tourists, it’s easy to see why this is an alluring and curious country, so come and check it out while it’s still relatively wild for a taste of real Myanmar.