Myanmar Travel Destination


Myanmar has become the hottest tourist destination in Southeast Asia since it opened up to the west and started government reform and restored diplomatic relations with the west, and is on everyone’s “to do” travel list these days. The country has a wealth of beautiful sights, both cultural and physical, and still retains a fresh untainted look for visitors due to being undeveloped as a tourist destination for so long, with incredibly friendly locals and warm hospitality. Get there now while it still has this charm, and visit the magical spots of Bagan and Inle Lake, or perhaps even further afield, such as journeys to the hill tribe areas of the Chin State or Nagaland.

Bagan is the former ancient capital of the 9th-13th Century Pagan Kingdom, and its legacy is that of thousands of beautiful temples and pagodas rivaling those of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. These days, you can enjoy Bagan in breathtaking style, as Kept Secrets can get you high above the ground, soaring over the temples in a sunrise hot air balloon, or sunset champagne flight if you so prefer. You can also survey the scene from water, relaxing on a private Irrawaddy River cruise and enjoying the rural Burmese countryside. Nearby must visits include magical Mount Popa, a mystical monastery that sits on the peak of a photogenic mountain top.

Inle Lake is a mesmerizing and unique place. Set amidst mountain scenery in the Shan State, this large lake hosts endemic species of plant and marine life, and is home to the Intha people, whose men are famed for practicing a one legged rowing technique of their small boats, which allows them to see over the floating plants and reeds that dot the lake, as well as keep their hands free for fishing. Here, you can travel by private boat throughout the backwaters and canals of the lake, which are the scene of flourishing cottage industries such as silk weaving and cheroot (cigar) rolling, along with floating fruit and vegetable gardens. There are also ancient temples scattered around the lake to visit, as well as meeting the Pa-O ethnic minority hill tribe that inhabits the mountains surrounding Inle.

Made famous by Kipling’s “On the Road to Mandalay” poem, Myanmar’s second city is home to the U Bein Bridge, the longest wooden teak bridge in the world, and the riveting Shwei-In-Bin teak monastery, as well as the restored Mandalay Palace, home to Burmese kings throughout the ages. Mandalay sits along the Irrawaddy River, and you can have a luxury cruise from here to Bagan, as well as visiting the local Hsinbyume Temple and Mingun Bell, built in the early 1800’s and part of the ancient Burmese dynasty of kings.

Formerly known as Rangoon, Yangon is Myanmar’s largest city, and a mix between remnants of the British colonial vestiges and an emerging Asian modern capital. Besides being the main entrance and exit point into the country, Yangon is the site of Shwedagon Paya, the most important temple in the country, and one of the most powerful sights in Asia, completely covered in gold and attracting devout pilgrims for worship at all hours of the day. You can stay here in the colonial gem Strand Hotel, made famous by Graham Greene and W. Somerset Maugham, and still going strong as a luxury property today.

Much of Myanmar is still unexplored, and Kept Secrets can get you to some of the harder to reach locations, such as Mrauk U, capital of the ancient Arakanese Kingdom and architecturally rich in temples, somewhat akin to a Bagan without any of the crowds. Other untouched spots include the Chin State, famed for the Chin women and their full face tattoos, or Nagaland, where the Naga tribes still wear their ornate costumes and headdresses for their annual festivals. Kept Secrets can get you to all of Myanmar’s most hidden spots.