Myanmar- The Golden Land
One of the largest countries in S.E. Asia and one of the most under-discovered, Myanmar is a land of astonishing natural beauty ranging from snow-topped mountains, pristine beaches, exquisite golden temples, archeological ruins and endless smiling faces, which can be viewed from hot-air balloons, the backs of elephants or when cruising down the Irrawaddy River.
Who Should Go?
Everyone who always wanted to visit this mysterious country but chose to wait until the political sanctions were lifted. Don’t dawdle because since the elections in 2012 tourism has already increased 30 % over 2011 and it’s only going (way) up from there.
As you might expect, hotels are springing up throughout the country to handle the influx of tourists. A new hotel zone has been given the go ahead in Inle Lake. Many historic state-owned buildings in Yangon are being offered to the highest bidders to convert into hotels. In the meantime, one fabulous option is to book Orient Express’s Orccaella new Irrawaddy River cruise, which runs for 3-11 nights between Yangon and Bhamo.
Although many of the 5 star hotels here are not on the same level as luxury hotels in neighboring countries, there are some stand-out options, such as The Governor Residence in Yangon. This colonial mansion, reminiscent of a bygone era, simply oozes romance, with tropical teakwood furniture, lazy fan-cooled verandas and extensive gardens dotted with lotus ponds and a fan-shaped swimming pool
There are branches of The Green Elephant in Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay, all of which serve scrumptious Myanmar food using traditional recipes interpreted in a lighter, healthier manner. Be sure and try the Laphet, a tea leaf salad.
Shopping at Inle Lake is a quite a bit different from driving to the nearest mall. Instead they have floating markets present in every village. The lake is often jammed with boats, filled with sellers hawking their wares. The market operates on a five-day rotating schedule, constantly changing location, so it’s best to check this out first with your concierge.
-You’ll never forget a sunrise or sunset, hot-air balloon ride over the Bagan temples-complete with champagne
- A visit to Inle Lake, renowned for its unique leg rowers and their bouncy floating-island villages.
Perfect for pairing with “green eggs and ham” is Myanmar's 'Green' Beer produced by the Mandalay Brewery Factory. It gets its green color from adding Spirulina, a micro-algae full of healthy antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It’s also touted for its anti-aging properties!
For more info:
Myanmar Tourism www.myanmartourism.org
Luxury travel help: For more info on Myanmar or any other luxury trips to ASEAN countries both of these upscale outfitters offer unique experiences with authentic adventures you’ll never forget: Diethelm Travel Group and Hanuman.