YANGON & MANDALAY
Yangon cackles with energy as greater connectivity to the outside world ushers in a new era of opportunity. In contrast, stately Mandalay retains Burma’s more traditional character— colorful local markets, numerous pagodas and gently decaying colonial architecture.
A unique culture has sprung up on the fertile banks of Burma’s “great lake.” The famed Intha leg-rowers fish its water, while villagers who live in stilted cottages tend their floating gardens, selling produce at vibrant markets that rotate through the local communities.
Two thousand temples, built between the 11th and 13th centuries and in various states of repair, cover the plain of Bagan. Explore the intricacies of each unique structure, some still used as working temples, by horse-drawn cart to best absorb this atmospheric UNESCO World Heritage Site.
KENGTUNG & PUTAO
Venturing into the far eastern or northern reaches of Burma, the adventurous traveler is rewarded with access to isolated tribal villages, seldom visited by outsiders. Near Kengtung, meet the friendly Akha, Lahu, Shan and Wa tribes, and near Putao, explore exotic Lisu and Rawang hilltribe villages.
Hidden in the jungle near the Bangladeshi border, journeying to the magnificent and little-known Buddhist ruins of Mrauk U is a delightful adventure. These ruined palaces and pagodas once belonged to one of the most spectacular royal cities of Asia, which flourished from the 15th to the 18th century.
SANDOWAY, NGAPALI & MERGUI
For miles of unspoiled sandy beaches, a visit to Burma’s west coast, near Sandoway and Ngapali is an absolute must. Farther off the beaten path is the Mergui archipelago, a collection of whitesand islands fringed with colorful coral reefs that make for wonderful snorkeling.