Myanmar, once known as Burma, is Southeast Asia’s second largest country. Its tumultuous history has prevented it from fully developing, leaving it unspoiled and making it a real gem of a travel destination in this age. Its shift from the military government to a civilian democracy in 2013 ends the long years of isolation to the international community. It signals what the world has long been waiting for; it is now ready to interact with the world.
For the world travelers still looking for a pristine destination, the best time to visit Myanmar is now. Ann Abel explains why in this Forbes Life post Why Myanmar Belongs On Your Travel Wish List Now. Abel recounts its blessings:
… Burma was once the richest in Southeast Asia, thanks to its plentiful natural resources from rubies and sapphires to rice and teak…
… The country is still rich in minerals—gemstones and jewelry are spectacular, to say nothing of the gold-covered and jewel-encrusted pagodas.
… It’s rich in beauty, both natural, like the morning-misted shimmer of Inle Lake, and manmade, such as the glass mosaics that sparkle like kaleidoscopes inside temples.
… It’s rich in spirituality—most people are deeply Buddhist, with a bit of animism and astrology mixed in…
… it’s rich in the warmth and generosity of those who live there.
… it’s rich in intrigue, as places are during times of transition. “There is no greater reward than discovering a nation as it opens up to the outside world,” says Edward Granville, a travel specialist …
The Simon Richmond of the Lonely Planet introduces Myanmar with why it is best to visit the country now:
Now is the moment to visit this extraordinary land, scattered with gilded pagodas, where the traditional ways of Asia endure and areas previously off-limits are opening up.
This feature on Myanmar enumerates the reasons why traveling to the Southeast Asian country is best done now.
It is “surreal & traditional”:
The country boasts of more than 100 ethnic groups. These ethnicities offer you a “living edition of the National Geographic, circa 1910!” At this age, there is nowhere in this world you can have that kind of cultural experience. People are still garbed in traditional clothes and they still move around by trishaws or horse-drawn carts.
It is a destination that still offers “simple pleasures”:
The world is far from extravagance, luxury and indulgences. Rather, your travel experiences will be made exciting by re-experiencing the simple offerings of life – cruising on an old steamer along the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River, basking on the beach or swimming in the pristine waters of Bengal Bay, or hiking through pine forests and visiting ethnic settlements across the Shan Hills.
Experiencing the “ethical dimension”:
With over 100 ethnic tribes and with thousands of Buddhist temples, pagodas and stupas (a place of meditation for Buddhist monks and where relics called ‘?ar?ra’ are kept) around the country, be ready to be awed. Notable ‘finds’ are the ‘winking wonder’ of Shwedagon Paya, the 4000 sacred stupas across Bagan, and the Golden Rock at Mt Kyaiktiyo.
Richmond says the biggest reason to love this country is its charming and warm people who are eager to reach out and be part of the world once again. They are the real gems of Myanmar. But, a lot of things will soon change. Both Abel and Richmond are apprehensive that as the world rushes to Myanmar, the very reasons why this country is a magnet to the world tourists will be lost. The mad rush has started; it is time to pack your bags to get the best of Myanmar.