GMT + 6½ Hours
In 1898, Rudyard Kipling wrote that Burma (also known by its official name, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar) was 'quite unlike any land you know about'. Little has changed, and Burma's secluded unspoilt beaches, enchanting fishing villages, ancient temples and colourful cultures lie in wait to be discovered.
This undiscovered landscape is framed by endless green hills that cocoon vast fertile plains and mighty waterways, chief among them the great Irrawaddy River. Sharing borders to the west with India and Bangladesh, to the north with Tibet and China and to the east with Thailand and Laos, Burma has for millennia bridged cultures from across Asia.
Best time to visit
Burma is best visited October to May thus avoiding the monsoon rains that can make the summer months very wet. Northern and upland regions of Burma can be considerably cooler than the coastal and delta regions, including Yangon, where average temperatures are 32°C.
This diversity of regional influences, along with a century of imperial colonialism, has shaped the country into a cultured destination that always captures the hearts of adventurous travellers.
Natural wonders abound throughout Burma. Evocative Mandalay and Rangoon (Yangon) exude faded colonial charm and the people are welcoming and engaging. Buddhist spirituality - always at the heart of Burmese culture - is evident from the abundance of temples and pagodas, including the quite remarkable Kyaiktiyo Golden Rock Pagoda which bears clear testimony to the nation’s devotion.
Holidays in Burma Highlights:
• Golden Rock, Kyaiktiyo
• Contemplate at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon
• Visit the Inle Lake floating market and observe village life
• Celebrate at a full moon or pagoda festival
• Cross the teak U Bein Bridge, near Mandalay, at sunset
• Cruise to Mandalay from Bagan
• Relax on Ngapali’s unspoilt beaches
• Allied war graves near Htauk Kyan
Burma remains an undeveloped and controversial destination to visit (see below). But Burma also offers something unique and authentic, something potentially challenging but always deeply rewarding.
Burma - The Essentials
• Refrain from asking political questions in inappropriate situations
• Don’t point your feet towards people
• Take off shoes and socks and wear long trousers (gentlemen) or long sleeves and a long skirt or trousers (ladies) in temples, monasteries and pagodas
• Tipping is widely acceptable in tourist areas and bargaining is a way of life
Hot Topic - Ethical Travel to Burma
Recent political changes in Burma have moved the destination into the spotlight and positive news resulting in the most radical changes in the country after almost five decades of military dictatorship are bringing hope for economic development and a better life.
Wanting to help the Burmese people and after much deliberation, Kuoni has decided to offer a programme of small group and private tours. These are designed specifically for cultural travellers so that they may discover Burma, its people and way of life.
These tours are run in partnership with local, private sector operators and avoid, wherever possible, government-run companies and organisations.
Other Similar Destinations
holiday in Thailand, Sri Lanka or Malaysia.
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Travelling through Burma offered us a glimpse at a destination unique and unspoilt by mass tourism. The people are very friendly and deeply dedicated to their Buddist beliefs. Bagan and Mandalay offered us the opportunity to see the very best temples and ancient sites - the most impressive we've seen across all of the Far East.
If you like to get under the skin of a destination and like to experience life at a slower place Burma offers all this in abundance. Our highlight was when we hired a horse and cart driver for the day to see all the temples in Bagan. It is idylic!!