Take to the skies of Myanmar, and experience the true flavour of this astonishing country from a different perspective! Feel surreal as you float across thousands of temples in Bagan during sunrise. This is probably the only way to appreciate the sheer scale and beauty of the temples in this region.
As your rower guides you through the canals, among the stilt houses and floating gardens of the Intha people who live on the lake, the setting sun will provide an atmospheric light for some memorable photos.
The “Land of the Golden Spires” is literally packed with pagodas, temples and stupas – conical or burial mound-type structures, filled with relics, jewels and offerings to Buddha.
Shopping at the zei (markets) can be fun, educational and a chance to interact with the locals. There are two kinds of markets; the permanent daily markets often held in a covered building, where every vendor has his or her own shop front or the weekly markets which take place in small towns. These markets are more interesting from a traveller's perspective as they attract vendors from throughout the region and tend to be more colourful affairs spread over open ground.
Burma’s isolation encouraged self-sufficiency – and this has extended far beyond food and fuel. Burmese craftspeople are astonishingly skilled and resourceful, with no power tools or machinery to aid their art. Workshops can be visited around the country but Inle Lake is the artisan hub. There is a craft here for everyone – from the cheroot cigar rolling and silk weaving, to silversmithing and gold leaf pressing.
The national game chinglone, is played in teams of six, and the object of the game is to keep a cane ball in the air for as long as possible, using any part of the body except the hands. Burmese boxing is another popular sport.
It is very tasty and distinctly different from neighbouring cuisines. At the right eateries and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised with an array of little plates and bowls, each containing something delicious.
The most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar, the Shwedagon pagoda is a sight/site to behold andeasily dominates the skyline around Yangon.
The journey becomes the destination in Burma. Explore the countryside on foot, by bike and even by horse and cart, while the lakes and rivers are ideal for calming cruises and long-tailed boat rides past villages, fishermen and floating markets.
Attend scheduled nightly performances of Myanmar's traditional dance, marionette theatre or anyeint (comedy) in Mandalay. Look out for performances during religious festivals, weddings, sporting events and funerals – sometimes they last for an entire night, and include nat pwes, an event which pays homage to the spirit world.
Here are our hand-picked selection of the top 13 experiences in Myanmar:
Walk into a huge market, where dozens of vendors have their jade in various stages and grades of presentation available for sale. The market is not frequently visited by tourists, and generally serves as a local source of the product. Myanmar jade is generally regarded as the best in the world!
The festival in April marks the end of the hot, dry season and ushers in the new year. It’s a celebratory time, and get ready to be doused with cool water by giddy and well-intentioned locals. Thiss cleansing ritual helps realize the promise of the new year.
Outside Sule Pagoda, visit a palm reader or buy a few of the little doves anxiously trapped in cages, waiting to be liberated. It’s a Buddhist practice based on the idea of earning merit by setting free captive birds.