We think the best way to get a true sense of Myanmar’s geography is to get above it, preferably in a hot air balloon. Time your adventure to coincide with sunset, and you’ll see ancient pagodas and temples begin to appear out of the trees, cast golden in the light.
Much of Myanmar’s beauty stems from its Buddhist beliefs. In this once secret land, you can now stand face-to-face with the world’s largest reclining Buddha statue in Bago, bedecked in gold and lost to the jungle for over a hundred years. Or visit the numerous monasteries where pink-clad monks perform spiritual duties.
Head to Yangon in the south and stand in awe at the foot of the Shwedagon Pagoda. This imposing beacon, adorned with gold and thousands of diamonds, is the holiest of all places in Myanmar. Enter with the bustling crowds of locals as they wash the statues and discover a wealth of colourful temples and shimmering columns.
Drift lazily in a traditional longboat down the Ayeyarwady River where the scene has been frozen in time – tiered pagodas punctuate the skyline, stilted houses line the riverbanks and teak oars cut through the water as they have done for centuries. Life here seems untouched by modernity, and the local Intha people go about their day, travelling across the water with their unique way of operating their vessels known as leg rowing and weaving their silk, as they always have.
Myanmar might be beyond the reaches of time but, thankfully, its wonders are now visible to Western eyes.
When to go
For the best weather we recommend visiting between October and March. May to July brings the heaviest of the monsoon rains so avoid them if you can.