Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon © specialkrb
Myanmar, also known as Burma and fondly referred to as 'the Golden Land' because of the abundant use of gold leaf on its temples and buildings, is a country with a rich diversity of culture and people. Its impressive heritage spans over three millenia, reflected in some of Southeast Asia's most abundant and opulently adorned temples. The majesty of gold-plated Schwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, the astounding temple ruins of Bagan, and the mystique of Mandalay are just some of the unique drawcards that earn rave reviews and repeat visits from those that enter Myanmar's well guarded borders.
Myanmar is situated along the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea and its northern borders stretch all the way up to the Eastern Himalayan mountain range. It borders India to the west, China to the north, and Thailand and Laos to the east. One third of Burma's perimeter is uninterrupted and undeveloped coastline.
This beautifully scenic country has a rocky political past. It was a British Colony from 1885 until 1948, and for the past three decades has been ruled by a military dictatorship. Many argue that tourism can open the country up to the international community and therefore help bring democratic change to Burma. Visitors are certainly encouraged to stay at privately owned guesthouses and to avoid government-affiliated enterprises.
Burma has one of the lowest tourist crime rates in the world, so travellers can relax in the knowledge that their trip will be untroubled. It is only recently making an appearance on the international travel scene due to its internal politics, but Burma's unspoiled beaches, incredible historical attractions, snow-capped mountains and jungle wilderness are all fast becoming an irresistible draw for the avid traveller.
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