Myanmar, formerly Burma and officially known as The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, shares its borders with India, Bangladesh, Laos, China and Thailand. Myanmar is the same size as France and England combined, and is one of the largest countries in Southeast Asia. In a straight line, the country stretches 2000 km from the Tenasseri Peninsula in the south (towards Thailand) to the Himalayas in the north and borders the Chinese province of Yunan, Tibet and India.
What was known formerly as Burma thus occupies a fairly central position in Southeast Asia, which may go some way towards explaining the growing interest the English and other colonial powers had in this country. They were to play an important role in the country´s history.
You won´t find throngs of tourists crowding out the many places and attractions that are worth visiting in Myanmar. Bagan and Mrauk U are home to many f the country´s religious (Buddhist) ruins, temples, and statues. Beautiful Inle Lake, at a height of 220 meters in the eastern mountain range, is famous for the different, local tribes who live there, many of them ethnic in origin. Today, they still live off the fish they catch from their large rowboats.
Up towards the north in Myanmar, where the Himalayas begin, is Mt. Khakaborazi (5881 meters), the highest peak in Southeast Asia, rich with flora and fauna. It is quite a contrast to the Mergui Archipelago that consists of more than 800 pristine islands! Myanmar is blessed with a long, unspoiled coastline of white sand beaches such as Ngapali and Ngwesaung. If you are searching for relics of the former monarchy, look no further than Mandalay. It is full of art treasures from that period. Yangon (formerly Rangoon), on the other hand, is full of buildings from the colonial era with the most beautiful gardens to go with them from the same period. The majority of the population lives in an area known as the Great Central, a belt of land 960 km. wide.
TJ writes “They say there’s no time like the present, but that has never been more apt than now: it’s a golden moment for travel to Myanmar, often referred to as Burma. The country is opening its doors, and a joie de vivre is permeating the land. At the same time, there is a palpable sense that sweeping change will ensue.
A trip to Myanmar can now access areas that have been isolated from the outside world for decades.”