Discovering Myanmar Before Everyone Else Does

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Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar’s relatively recent shift from military dictatorship towards democracy has catapulted the nation onto the radar of a growing number of adventurous travelers. Though it has a relatively modest population of 53 million, the 676,000 square kilometer nation is actually larger in size than any of it’s Southeast Asian counterparts, except Indonesia.

Bangladesh and India sit to the north west, influencing exceptional curries and cuisine. Along the southern border, shared mountain ranges with Thailand provide stunning vistas. To the west, the Andaman Sea produces both a strong fishing industry and notable beaches. Not to be overlooked, the mighty Irrawaddy River (or Ayeyarwady River) runs over 2,000 kilometers from north to south. It supports critical trade routes and the occasional passenger ferry. Suffice it to say, there is a lot for intrepid travelers to explore in Myanmar.

Myanmar is a land of contradictions. Home to some of the friendliest people and stunning Buddhist temples a traveler will ever encounter. At the same time, deep seeded conflict between the government and monitory ethnic groups literally cuts off portions of the country from outsiders to see. There is incredible beauty in the palaces of Mandalay, temples of Bagan and picturesque floating villages of Inle Lake. All the while, there are massive poverty and sustainable development challenges, perhaps most evident in the Shan state or the economic hub of Yangon.

Whether you’re a history buff, temple junkie, photographer, foodie, avid trekker, or even scuba diver, an incredible variety of experiences await you in Myanmar. However, due to the rapid pace of development (and yes, it’s still classified as a developing nation), things are changing, and fast. Where there was once only a single ATM and no wifi, five star resorts are now being built and smartphones abound. For those with a thirst for adventure and tolerance for heat, we suggest you read up on Myanmar and book your flight soon. This collection of articles offers a taste of what’s in store for those who are willing to say ‘Mingalaba’’ (hello) to Southeast Asia’s last frontier.

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