A diverse and interesting landscape full of promise and wonder, Burma has so many rivers, hills and temples to explore. It may not be that well known to mainstream tourists but Burma has incredible depths of culture that are as yet undersubscribed. Walk the lesser-trodden paths of this beautiful country with our simple guide to Burma holidays.
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What to See
This archaeological zone in the central region of Burma is home to many thousands of pagodas, built between the 11th and 15th Century to honour the Buddha. You pay a $10 price when you arrive in Bagan and then you can explore the ruins by bicycle, pony and trap or for real adventure seekers by hot air balloon. The vast plains of verdant pastures are pancake flat and make for fantastic sunrise and sunset vistas. Balloon rides leave before the sun is up to take in the best of the ascending sun rising over the silhouetted spires.
To the south east of Mandalay this vast lake has provided sustenance and livelihood to the people of Inle for centuries. The lazy water villas that open directly onto the water make it a popular rest spot for tourists. Take a boat out into the calm motionless lake to watch the Intha fishermen as they use their unique brand of leg rowing to navigate the many reeds hidden below the depths.
Arguably one of the most impressive buddhist monuments in the world, the Schwedagon Pagoda is the largest in Yangon and its gold bell-shaped stupa can be seen from all over the city. You enter into the grounds of Schwedagon by way of two enormous chinthe dragons and up the many steps into the inner complex of the temple. A circular walkway made of marble slabs surrounds the stupas, which are a vivid gold. It’s an active place of worship for buddhists from around the country, so the utmost respect must be adhered to when inside, not wearing shoes and covering shoulders is mandatory.
There are a number of places to cruise the straights and twisting bends of the Irrawaddy River, which carves a path through the whole country before splintering into the Irrawaddy Delta that leads off in tributaries to the sea. One of the best places to catch a full day of river activity is to leave from Mandalay with the dawn chorus and to wend lazily down the river for 11 hours to Bagan. The old teak cruisers move snail-slow along the wide sluggish river. You can sit on the top deck during the morning, but during the afternoon the blistering sun chases cruisers below deck, where you can sit with your feet dangling over the edge of the boat watching the floating houses, fishing boats, temples and wildlife glide soundlessly by.