From ancient Burma to modern Myanmar, the Southeast Asian country enchants travellers today as it did a century ago. From seeing the golden Shwedagon Pagoda glisten in the sun to taking in the temples of Bagan shrouded in morning mist – there’s something magical about Myanmar’s cultural landscape. Equally as special are the Burmese people. Home to a multitude of different ethnic groups, you’ll be welcomed by a friendly face, usually with patches of traditional thanaka paste, wherever you go.
Famous jurist Louis D. Brandeis once wrote ‘sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants’ to root our corruption. And for nearly a decade, sunlight spread through the streets of Myanmar, casting off a half-century of darkness brought about by the 1947 assassination of Aung San, and subsequent 1962 coup by General Ne Win. But dusk has set upon the nation of Myanmar. Old prejudices and predilections for authority now threaten to extinguish the new-found democratic values that had spread like wildfire. But, after having ignored the nation since World War II, now is not the time for the international community to forget again. Now is the time to witness the sun rise over Shwedagon Pagoda to experience the faith of the Burmese. Now is the time to see the rising sun evaporate the morning mist, revealing a plain of religious wonders in Bagan. Now is the time to cruise the Irrawaddy River to realise this country still flows forward.
We forgot Myanmar before. We forgot when Yangon (Rangoon) was the Pearl of the Orient, and Singaporeans studied the city as a benchmark for their own city-state. We forgot the Chin soldiers who fought, and died, for the Allies in World War II. We forgot that a country existed at the crossroads of India, China and Thailand.
Rediscover this awakening land and get in touch with our local experts in Myanmar today to learn more about our extensive range of unique experiences around the country.
Explore the sacred caves of Hpa-an on this two-day trip from Yangon. After a scenic drive to the mountainous Kayin State, visit four of the area’s spectacular limestone caves, including Bayint Nyi Cave and its natural hot springs, the thousands of Buddha statues at Kawgun Cave, the small lake inside Kaw Ka Thaung Cave and the massive Sadan Cave.
Besides exploring the famous Hpa-an caves, this trip includes visits to a Karen hill tribe village and a monastery, exclusively offered for Discova’s travellers, providing firsthand experience of the area’s local life.
Escape the city of Mandalay to smell the flowers at an orchid farm and listen to locals talk about their daily life. Take in the picturesque views of the countryside, hike through the forest to Shwe Hin Tha Cave and get a taste of the local specialties along the way – this daytrip to Yae Tagon mountain is an experience for all the senses.
Our team on the ground have incorporated stops at local food stalls which introduce travellers to traditional Burmese specialities, including green tea, tempura and tea leaf salad.
Get a taste of local life and visit a small village on Kyun Thiri Island. Travel by boat and oxcart to the farming village with colourful gardens and traditional stilt houses. Visit an ancient wooden monastery, talk to the head monk and learn about daily life on this unique island village before enjoying a home-cooked picnic lunch with a Burmese family.
Acting like a local school, a visit to the monastery gives Discova travellers the unique opportunity to make merit by giving a small donation and then receiving a special blessing by the head monk.
Capital City: Naypyidaw
Population: 53.5 million
Language: Burmese, officially. Indigenous languages like Kachin, Kayah, Karen, Chin, Mon, Rakhine, and Shan are also recognised regionally.
Currency: The official currency of Myanmar is the kyat (K). Cash is king, and few vendors accept credit cards. It’s possible to change money nearly everywhere in big cities, but the U.S. dollar is widely accepted in many tourist establishments, as long as the bills are crisp and unblemished.
Immigration policies to Myanmar can be quite strict, and visitors from everywhere but 7 ASEAN countries must acquire a visa before arriving. It’s possible to apply for a visa at a Burmese embassy, but it’s now easy to get an eVisa online. A tourist visa allows for a 28 day visit to Myanmar from the date of entry and cannot be extended. A visa must be used within 90 days of being received or it becomes void.
There are three international airports and three Thailand-Myanmar land border crossings that foreigners are allowed to enter through. It is advised to arrive through the same entry point as the one reported on the visa application.
Myanmar is a tropical country that experiences three primary seasons: cool, hot, and green. The coolest time of the year is between late October and February, while the hot season arrives with scorching temperatures in March, April, and early May. The heat brings the rain, which lasts from late May through early October.
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