Our top 10 things to do in Myanmar
We've thought long and hard about our top 10 places to visit in Burma; Inle Lake, the Irrawaddy River, the temples of Bagan, Rangoon… echoes of a bygone era steeped in colonialism, immortalised in the works of Kipling and Orwell. This is Burma (Myanmar) – a magical land of golden pagodas, hill stations, tribal villages, rivers, mountain ranges and stunning beaches.
Wander idly through the vibrant and bustling tree-lined avenues of downtown Yangon and the decaying elegance of British colonial buildings, then visit the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda, a huge golden Buddhist stupa that dominates the skyline.
2. 2000 PAGODAS OF BAGAN
The plains surrounding the ancient city of Bagan are home to over 2,000 Buddhist temples, some dating back more than a millennia. For the most spectacular views of the temple-studded landscape and the snaking Irrawaddy, stand on the platform of a gilded pagoda at the break of dawn or float across the sky in a balloon as the sun sets…
3. INLE LAKE
Explore the stilt house villages and floating gardens of the Intha people of Inle Lake, by long tail boat and watch the leg rowing races at the Phaung Daw Oo Festival in October.
4. TAUNGGYI BALLOON FESTIVAL
Marvel at the sight of hundreds of differently-shaped huge painted paper balloons, which are decorated at night with candle lanterns, during this four day festival.
5. NGAPALI BEACH
Lie on the palm-fringed white sands of the beautiful Bay of Bengal. The azure waters off Ngapali Beach provide a bounty of culinary treasure and local restaurants here serve some of the best food in the country.
6. HILL TREKKING
Trek into the hills in the east of the country surrounding Keng Tung, to meet several culturally distinct peoples, among them the Lahu, Akha, Lisu, Enn, Palaung, Wa and Shan, each with their own ceremonies and rituals, clothing and ornamentation.
7. THINGYAN WATER FESTIVAL
The Thingyan Water Festival in mid-April is celebrated with music, singing, dancing, processions and feasting – and water throwing – over four or five days culminating in the Burmese New Year.
8. MERGUI ARCHIPELAGO
Mergui Archipelago, located in southernmost part of Myanmar (Burma), comprises over 800 beautiful islands. Due to its virtual isolation, the islands and surrounding seas are alive with an amazing diversity of flora & fauna and very beautiful underwater scenes and marine life.
9. KALADAN RIVER VOYAGE
Voyage up the Kaladan river from Sittwe to explore the ancient city of Mrauk U, an archaeological gem with its abandoned temples and palace ruins.
10. CHINLONE FESTIVAL
Part dance, part sport, the non-competitive game of Chinlone is celebrated by traditional wicker ball players from all over the country, in a month long Summer contest at Mahamuni Pagoda compound, Mandalay.