Once off limits to visitors, Burma is now very much on the map when it comes to welcoming travellers. Home to ancient temples, historic cities, spectacular monuments and untouched beaches, it is no wonder that Burma sits at the top of many a travel bucket list. Asia expert, Cherylle, spent a month discovering all it has to offer.
I have always been keen to explore Myanmar; its reputation for incredible temples and Buddhist culture have long intrigued me. So I jumped at the chance to spend a month there, exploring the famed temples of Bagan, the serenity of Inle Lake, the bustling city of Mandalay, and the gravity defying Golden Rock before relaxing on Ngapali Beach.
My whole adventure was enchanting from start to finish, every corner I turned delivered something even more spectacular than I ever expected. From ancient caves and stupas that lay undiscovered for thousands of years, to golden buddha statues that tell a million tales. Here are just a few of my highlights…
My first stop in Burma and what a place to start! The Shwedagon Pagoda has to be the most impressive temple I have ever seen.
Bagan has to be one of my favourite places in the world, over 3000 temples to explore each with their unique story and possibly the best sunset I have ever seen.
In Loikaw, I took a small trek to meet the famous long-necked women of the region, it was so incredible to sit with these ladies and listen to them talk about village life and how they live their daily lives.
Whilst in Mandalay, I saw Pāli being learned by the younger Buddhist monks as part of their growing journeys in life. This was a fascinating insight into the Buddhist culture of the country.
My trip to Golden Rock was exhilarating, I jumped on board a bus with about 50 locals, sticking out like a sore thumb with my bright blonde hair but nonetheless, everyone smiled sweetly as we wound and weaved our way up the mountain – I felt like I was on a roller coaster it was so much fun. When I first clapped eyes on the Golden Rock I was completely in awe, surrounded by monks and nuns. It was amazing to see the rock perched there and I am still left wondering how it hasn’t fallen. As the sun came down, the rock started glowing a golden hue, just awesome!
Finishing my journey on the beach was the best end to the trip, named as one of the most unspoilt beaches in the world, Ngapali Beach – pronounced napali – is a true hidden gem. There, I took a kayak to explore a neighbouring island, ate delicious fresh-as-it-gets seafood and went on lovely beach walks.
No matter what you are looking for in Burma, whether its fantastic food, culture, temples, beach, trekking, nature and wildlife, this country has it all to offer. With its colonial properties, British grave stones and hill stations all bursting with English charm, Burma is simply extraordinary and like nowhere else on the planet.