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Myanmar

In the South/West, it enjoys the same beaches and Andaman Sea which has made its neighbour Thailand such a tourist hotspot - but it has a fraction of the visitors. It boasts the majestic Ayeyarwady River which starts in the Himalayas, cuts through richly wooded hills and down into a wide fertile valley which possess some of the most extraordinary and extensive temples and pagodas in the world. As it spills via a delta into the Andaman Sea, it is extraordinary that the journey of a river of its size and celebrity has taken place in one country.

In Myanmar there are over 130 ethnic groups and a variety of different languages and cultural features, many of them found only in the remote mountainous regions.

Let yourself be inspired by stately processions of monks robed in saffron and purple, shaven-headed nuns seeking alms and elegant Burmese ladies adorned with yellow thanakha paste.

Young and old alike linger in teashops, gossiping, smoking traditional fragrant Burmese cheroots, dressed as they have for centuries in the traditional longyi or htamein.

Wherever you go you will catch glimpses of earlier times – real or imagined – but it is the hospitality and friendliness of the people of this “golden land” that is most striking – their tolerance of different religions and cultures, respect for each other and heartfelt smiles. It is this perhaps more than anything else that makes Myanmar the unique and fascinating country it is.

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