Burma, or Myanmar as it is now known, is one of most fascinating destinations in the Far East, a country relatively new to tourism as a result of decades of isolation imposed by its military dictatorship. It is a culturally rich land with a long history and a diverse ethnic mix.
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Capital Rangoon (Yangon)
Flying time from London 15 hours
Official language(s) Burmese
Time difference +6.5 GMT
Visa requirements Available upon arrival, but must be arranged in advance for UK passport holders
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Located between Mandalay and Inle lake, Kalaw was a popular hill station during British rule and remains a peaceful place to relax and explore the surrounding countryside. At an altitude of 1,320 metres, it offers pleasantly cooler temperatures and is a wonderful place for hiking. Kalaw’s unique mix of ethnic hill tribe minorities with Burmese and Nepalese cultures, as well as an Indian influence that arrived with the British, gives it a quaint and charming atmosphere.
Relax at Ngapali Beach
Ngapali Beach is Burma's most famous and developed beach resort. The beach is a 3km, palm-fringed white sand beach on the Bay of Bengal's crystal clear water. Ngapali Beach still retains its fishing village roots and there are a few charming villages as well as some offshore islands that that can be explored.
See the sights at sunset
The picturesque scenery of Burma allows for even more impressive views at sunset. Take a boat onto the Taungthaman Lake to see the sun setting over the largest teak bridge in the world – the U Bein bridge. Watch the sun going down from Mandalay Hill over the city and Irrawaddy, or admire the glistening temples of Pagan slowly fading as the sun retreats. For another kind of view, you can also see Pagan at sunrise, watching the mists clear from above in a hot air balloon.
Cruise on the Irrawaddy or Chindwin
Embark for an adventure along the river, sitting back in luxurious surroundings while the landscape, lined with ancient palaces and pagodas, rolls past. Stop over at larger towns like Pagan, or head off the beaten track to small villages which are otherwise inaccessible, some of which specialise in pottery and others are packed full of monasteries and nunneries.
Marvel at the Golden Rock
Balanced atop a cliff and covered in gold leaf, the Golden Rock is an important pilgrimage site for many – and it is easy to see why. Admire the precariously perched rock, watch local monks swarm round in their brightly coloured robes, and appreciate the view from the top of the mountain of the countryside below.
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"For me, the most inspirational part of my holiday was the hot air balloon flight over Bagan - it was brilliant and I would encourage everyone to book this. Balloons over Bagan provided excellent service and the whole experience is one I will never forget.
Ms Karen Hendy
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Travel in the Far East
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