Myanmar is a golden land of majestic temples, pristine nature, and passionate people who love to share with the rest of the world the traditional values that are so important to them.
Myanmar is unlike any other land that you have been to before. As the people try to catch up with the modern age, some of the best parts are still frozen in time.
More than 2,000 ancient temples are scattered all over Bagan while the cultural capital of Yangon is home to the 2,500-year-old majestic Shwedagon Pagoda. You can walk in the footsteps Buddhist pilgrims as you visit the incredible Golden Rock perched precariously on top of Mt. Kyaiktiyo while Shan state offers idyllic experiences of nature from trekking through the Shan Hills to admiring the magically serene Inle Lake.
Myanmar has four international airports with the primary one being Yangon International Airport which is served by many Asian airlines, making the country very accessible by air. It is only recently that you could enter the country overland from Thailand, China, and India, though special permits, visas, and guides are sometimes required.
Myanmar has a predominantly cash economy but the usage of credit cards is gaining popularity and they accepted by major hotels and restaurants. The official currency is kyat but some establishments accept perfect and unfolded US dollars too. ATMs dispensing kyats are available in major cities and airports but might be hard to come by in villages. Be sure to only use official banks and money changers for currency exchange.
The official language in Myanmar is Burmese but being an ex-colony of England, it is rather easy to find locals who speak a decent amount of English, especially in big towns and tourist areas. However, you can expect almost no one to speak any English at all in small villages and rural places.
Myanmar has a tropical climate with the monsoon season falling on the months from May to October, rendering some roads impassable especially in the wettest months from July to September. The best time to visit is right when the monsoon ends from November to February when temperatures are relatively lower with fewer showers. The country can sometimes get extremely hot from March to May particularly drier regions where the temperature could be over 40°C.
Made up of an eclectic variety of dishes with influences from neighbouring countries like Thailand, China, and India, Burmese food can be a bit of a mystery to the rest of the world. Usually made with fresh local ingredients, Burmese cuisines seek a perfect balance between salty, sour, bitter, and spicy with white rice or noodles as the base. Though often less spicy than the notoriously fiery Thai dishes, Burmese food can certainly hold its own in the flavour department with a delightful collection of various noodles, curries, and delectable salads.
Traveling in Myanmar
Your options for traveling within Myanmar is as many as it is varied, from choices of getting around by air, land, or water. There are many airports in the country with a few domestic airlines to choose from. Major towns are connected by road and railways though the journey could be painstakingly slow and uncomfortable. You can also get to certain cities through local pirogues or luxury cruise ships.
For traveling short distances within major towns, taxies are cheap and tuk-tuks even more affordable. Motorbike taxies are available outside of Yangon since it is illegal there, but there are safety risks attached to it.
Being a nation that has opened up to tourism just recently, Myanmar is a new exotic destination that can both confuse and amaze you. Even when it can get daunting at times, the country is brimming with so many cultural and natural wonders that make it certainly worth exploring.