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Seven reasons to take a cultural trip to Burma

A lifting of the tourism boycott means that Burma, also known as Myanmar, has become one of the
most fascinating destinations to visit in recent years. Stunning undiscovered landscapes, rich cultural
traditions and a wealth of spectacular sights make a trip to Burma a guaranteed holiday of a lifetime.

Colonial Yangon

Most visitors begin their Burmese adventure in this bustling city, formerly known as Rangoon. Whilst
it is no longer the capital, Yangon remains a commercial hub, the crumbling old colonial buildings
giving the city immense architectural charm. Busy markets, fantastic restaurants, the stunning
temple of Sule Paya and lush gardens of Mahabandoola are just a few of the city’s main attractions.

Spiritual Shwedagon Paya

Located around 3km north of Yangon, this temple complex is the spiritual heart of Myanmar’s
Buddhist faith. Sprawled over 14 acres, the immense golden stupa at the centre is the chief draw but
there are plenty of other shrines and Buddhist images to admire, including the four large statues of
Buddha at each of the entrances. Visit in the evening for the opportunity to chat to the novice

Magical Mandalay

Although parts of this city have been rebuilt since they were damaged in the Second World War,
Mandalay retains much of its charm. Regarded as Burma’s cultural capital, the city offers visitors a
chance to enjoy a wealth of native performing arts and shopping opportunities, including the
fascinating jade market. Walk up Mandalay Hill to admire the views at sunset or visit the Buddhist
complex of Mahamuni Paya to see devotees adorning the famous Buddha with gold-leaf.

Spectacular Bagan

Covering around 67 square kilometres, the area features over 2000 Buddhist structures, including
temples, statues and monasteries. Take a hot air balloon trip to admire the scene from above or
view the breath-taking sunsets from one of the many terraces. Highlights include the Ananda Pagoda
Festival in January.

Trekking in Hsipaw

Although much of northern Burma is off-limits to foreigners, trekking to the friendly village of
Hsipaw allows visitors to not only see the production of local crafts but also experience traditional
Burmese village life.

Peaceful Inle Lake

A trip to this stunning lake is sure to be one of the highlights of a cultural holiday to Burma. In
addition to soaking up the outstanding natural beauty, visitors can take a boat trip to discover the
stilt villages of the Intha people who reside at the lake. Watching them tend their floating gardens
and fishing the lake with their conical nets and distinctive leg-rowing technique gives a unique
insight into this fascinating way of life.

Fascinating Hpa-An

This riverside town is perfect for those who want to explore the wilder Burmese countryside. Trek
through the paddy fields to reach a hilltop monastery and explore beautiful caves filled with
Buddhist statuary.

With a wealth of fascinating sights and a rich cultural heritage to discover, a trip to Burma is sure to
be an unforgettable experience.