Burma Tourist MapMyanmar tourist map
Burma has only recently opened up to tourism, and there are many places to visit off the well-trodden paths. Getting a Myanmar visas in Bangkok is amazingly easy when you know where to go. Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the former Myanmar capitol, is rich in historical and cultural heritage.
The Inle Lake is a vast area, and the fact that you have to buy a yacht everywhere means that some kind of design will make for a much better one. The Gokteik viaduct is a magnificent railroad over 100 meters above the surface and almost 700 meters long and was constructed by the British.
Away from Mandalay's vibrant urban life are three of Myanmar's old capital cities - Amarapura, Sagaing and Inwa - which can be reached in one go and include the U Bein Bridge. Discover the many sides of the Irrawaddy Riviera from the Orient Express' Road To Mandalay cruise ship, from the stunning old Bagan Temple to the historical Mandalay.
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Myanmar: Is it tourist season to return?
Myanmar, the biggest, most varied and least known nation in Southeast Asia, is back on the tourism landscape after centuries of insulation. The city attracts with breathtaking sanctuaries, majestic scenery and time-distorted folk cultures - but the significant ethnical upheavals that still afflict parts of the land cannot be overlooked.
If so, what is the best way to make sure you and your hosting guests get the most out of your stay in the state? Here the co-author of The Rough Guide to Myanmar, Gavin Thomas, tells you what you need to know before travelling: Myanmar has disappeared off the road for so long.
The National League for Democracy, headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, called for a tourist ban on Myanmar in 1996 in protests against the austere army rule that ruled the land then - and to deprive it of much-needed external funding. The majority of would-be tourists and travel agents abroad accepted the call to leave the land until the return of democrická.
Myanmar has rescinded its 2010 blackout, and its surprisingly swift restoration of democratic rule - with an NLD administration voted in in 2015 in the first free and just election in half a millennium - has gone more quickly and quietly than anyone could have imagined. There are still significant ethnical disturbances in isolated areas of the countryside, with sporadic battles going on between the regime and the Separatist Shan and Kachin.
While most Rohingya family have lived in the land since the Colonies, the authorities regard them as irregular migrants and insist that they return to Bangladesh. All hope that the Rohingya would find equity under the new NLD administration was also quickly dashed. In fact, the Rohingya could reasonably demand a tourist ban on the land to demonstrate against their violent handling under Aung San Suu Kyi - a violent irony of what happened in the years she fought against state repression and atrocities.
A lot of businesses (including top hotels, large banking and airlines) have ties to the old governing Burmese regime, although they also make a living for many of Burmese people. With this in mind, the picture in Myanmar is no different from that in many other Asian states. In Asia, as always, the first rules of sustainable travel are to remain locally, dine and buy locally.
You should prefer to stay in one of the hotel accommodation and cafes rather than in large hotel establishments and their fine dining and mementos. Traveling by coach or suburban ferry is also better than a touristic trip or flight - almost all carriers in the land have armed connections (although it is difficult to prevent reaching some goals by air travel, admittedly).
In spite of the increase in the number of tourists, the vast bulk of tourists go to only four places: Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake - in a land larger than France. Getting to places that other non-nationals don't go to will help disadvantaged municipalities to benefit from liberalisation and the growth of the tourism sector.
Making a stop on the way to Bagan or Mandalay in places like Pyay, Meiktila or Taungoo provides a captivating flavour of Burma's daily routine away from the world. The encounter with the famed women of the Kayan people in their traditional heart around Loikaw is far more worthwhile than the staged "long necks encounters" on offer to visitors at Lake Inle.
Burmese are among the most inviting individuals on earth, and interaction with them is one of the great joys of traveling in Myanmar. However, keep in mind that if you go off the well-trodden paths, you could be one of the first aliens the locals have ever seen. With this in mind, you are something of an embassador for the tourist industry, and any impoliteness, vulgarity or lack of sensitivity on your part can leave a permanent negative impression.
The Burmese are relatively old-fashioned. Burmese are still deeply Buddhistic today. Burma is one of the most mineral-rich nations in the hemisphere, with vast amounts of gemstones on offer - but be warned that many of them come from state mining and the laborers work in horrific working environments.
Above all Birman ese Rubins and local won to Avoid. Also, the electrical supply is valuable, and much of the land is still without electrical current - turn off the light when you are out. Myanmar or Burma? Myanmar's use (as the general re-named the land in 1989) of the old Burma name ( "preferred" by the NLD) was a very loaded topic during the generals' time and the years of Aung San Suu Kyi's detention, but it no longer arouses the passion it once had.
Practically all Burmese call the land Myanmar, although it does not bother anyone if they call it Burma. Discover more of Myanmar with The Rough Guide to Myanmar.