For decades it remained closed and isolatedcrushed by a military dictatorship, a pariah state cited only for violations of rights and its symbols of the struggle for freedom as Aung San Suu Kyi. The result is that for too long there has been more talk about social problems rather than what see in Myanmar and tourism has turned far.
So much so that in the 70s they arrived 1500 foreigners per year. But for some time the borders have openedthe elections have become free and what for many is still there Burma has begun to grow from an economic point of view, attracting tourists fascinated by a destination different from any other: a cocktail of cultures, history, flavors and mysticism which explains why tourists are almost there now two million. And destined to grow.
Stupes, ruins, jungles and rivers: the thousand things to see in Myanmar
This destination of the South East Asia in fact it reserves the surprise of an incredible variety of attractions: golden stupas tall as skyscrapers, ancient ruinsmeeting with populations living on the hills with millenary cultures, jungles apparently unexplored but also placid expanses of sand in the sun a few steps away from the slow swarm of legions of monks that color cities made legendary by the pages of writers such as Rudyard Kipling And George Orwell.
Ruled by a very rigid military junta, Burma was closed to the outside world for nearly sixty years. When it was finally decided to loosen control travelers were initially limited to a handful of places: i magnificent temples of Baganthe floating villages of the Inle lakethe monasteries of Mandalay and Yangonthe former capital, with its colonial vestiges and its imposing pagodas.
That was before. With the end of the eye-catching travel check, travelers queue up to discover the beauties to see in Myanmar, fascinated by the idea of peeking through a crack that has remained open over time as if it were theAsia before the tourists arrived. The same people who discover a fascinating culture pervaded by a sense of welcome, even if still suspended between tradition and modernity.
THE monasteries they are the foundation of Burmese society and despite the rapid expansion of the life of Yangonincreasingly westernized, nothing and no one forgets the rituals and precepts of Buddhism. Everywhere the sense of devotion is tangible and above all in front of the imposing Shwedagon Payawhich dominates Yangon like a huge pillar of gold.
Things to see in Myanmar, a country with many faces
As Myanmar opened up to the outside world, travelers went beyond the triangle Bagan-Inle-Mandalay, visiting peaceful outposts such as Kalaw, Hsipaw and Kengtung and trekking in remote tribal villages. Small groups of enterprising also reach the jungles of the north or the rain-filled ports of the south and the west trying to discover the other side of the things to see in Myanmar that even creeps into a small area of ’Himalayaaccessible remotely Putao in the far north.
All this while the mighty river Irrawaddy meanders like a meandering Burmese python, offering some of the most evocative experiences of river trip in Southeast Asia. In short, nature and history, religion and the desire to change: the starting point of every traveler who arrives here is certainly the infinite multitude of temples of Began even if many feel more enraptured by the surreal experience of the floating villages of the Inle lake. The city of Mandalay attracts visitors with its scenic surroundings, the royal palace complex and the Mahamuni Buddha.
The coast of Ngwe Saung attracts those seeking relaxation by offering unexpected white beaches and a nature that mass tourism has not yet damaged, but often not even touched upon. The amazing Shwedagon pagoda then leaves you speechless with its golden domes, as if it were a devoted sentry who towers over the city of Yangon. Finally, do not forget in the list of things to see in Myanmar there are always crowded and colorful markets. A fun way to try to get in touch with a people and a world that smiles and that wants to know who comes from afar.
Things to see in Myanmar: a dip in what was once the capital
Yangonwhich many insist on calling Rangoon it is the largest city in Myanmar and its economic and cultural center. And until 2006 it was also the capital. The city was occupied by the British in 1852 when it became the center of the Burmese Raj. The consequent influx of traders, diplomats and the wealth that followed them was the spring that determined its development; the legacy of those times is evident in the decadents colonial buildings which lie along the Rangoon River and towards the city center.
The city offers many attractions that must be explored with patience and endure the traffic and humid climate. But the charm also arises from the contrast between monks dressed in orangeneon signs and spiers of golden temples sprouting over the roofs of concrete houses of Asian ugliness. Beyond the golden pagoda of Shwedagon the market is not to be missed Bogyoke Aung San and the colonial quarter around Sule Paya.
Exploring the lost cities of Mandalay
Founded in 1857, the ancient royal city of Mandalay it is not as old as one might imagine but the historic center inside the walls is full of palaces, stupas, temples and pagodas. Everyone can visit it at their own pace but priceless is a walk up the hill at sunset where you will easily be approached by young monks proud to be able to use the four words of English they know. You smile and then go to pay homage to the Buddha image encrusted with gold leaves inside the Mahumuni pagoda.
The surrounding hills are full of legacies of ancient times. Sagaing welcomes those who arrive with the expanse of pagodas in while a Inwa you go to see the famous monastery built in teak wood in the 19th century. So go shopping: the markets offer everything, come on jewelry to furniture decorated, from lacquers to objects covered in gold leaf. And to get around, don’t worry: a motorcycle taxi will take you to the next market.
Among the areas to see in Myanmar there is certainly the amazing archaeological site of the ancient Bagan citydotted with the remains of approx 2,000 temples, pagodas and stupas, mostly dating back to the 11th century. One of the most fun ways to visit the temples is by bicycle: also because there are convenient dedicated tracks. The large extension means that tourists do not crowd the area and therefore it can happen to be alone in front of a pagoda.
Feeling as if you were discovering it first. The sunset is then a magical moment when locals and visitors head to the higher temples to enjoy the sunset over the stupa-dotted plain. And for those who want more, you can too fly over it in a hot air balloon.
Life on Inle Lake: houses and temples on stilts
Finally, another place that cannot be missing in the guide of things to see in Myanmar is the Inle lakesurrounded by steep green hills where over 70 thousand people they practically live on the lake. Whole villages rest on stilts surrounded by water and the similarity with Venice is evident. The men adapted a unique way of rowing, wrapping one leg around an oar and hanging over the other to have their hands free to cast nets. Those who come from outside can rent a boat and and wander among floating markets and shops where silks and jewels are produced. And of course there is also an impressive wooden temple. That too is on the water. But in Myanmar the wonders after a while you will no longer notice.