Why travelling in Myanmar ?
Political stability is recent, but the country is now making every effort to develop its infrastructure to welcome tourists under good conditions. The country is also trying to showcase its superb destinations to make travelers dream of new horizons. So why visit Myanmar today? We give you five essential reasons:
#Few tourists for an authentic trip: Myanmar welcomed 3.5 million foreign tourists in 2018, far behind Cambodia (6.2 million visitors), Vietnam (15.5 million), and Thailand (41 million). This relatively low number of visitors ensures those visiting the country an authentic experience away from mass tourism.
#Archaeological remains and religious monuments: the Burmese are imbued with belief and follow Buddhist worship. Bagan has just been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and visiting these vestiges is an unforgettable moment. Beliefs are still very much alive, and you will discover pagodas and palaces (such as the Karaweik in Yangon), all more sumptuous than each other.
# The diversity of the country: Myanmar is rich in its diversity of populations (135 ethnic groups are recorded) and landscapes. You will definitely not have a boring trip!
# The kindness of the people: All these populations, however diverse they may be, have in common to be particularly welcoming. You will make beautiful encounters during your trip. There are also far fewer scams in Myanmar than in other countries affected by mass tourism.
# Burmese cuisine: the country is also rich in its cuisine, with stunning flavors! Integrating ancestral cuisines of minorities and those of its neighbors in the Indochinese peninsula, Burmese cuisine knows how to create surprises for you. Try the “Burmese buffets” in street restaurants to appreciate the diversity of local cuisine.
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History of Myanmar
Myanmar (formerly known as Burma since the late 1980s) is the largest country on the mainland of Southeast Asia, sharing land borders with India and China, which makes it the most “Indochinese” country in Southeast Asia!
Like Cambodia, Myanmar was home to a great civilization, that of Pagan, which lasted more than 400 years from the 9th century AD. The site of Bagan and its 2,000 pagodas built on a massive plain bear witness to the grandeur and religious fervor of this civilization. The Kingdom of Pagan is now regarded as the first Burmese Empire, uniting the territory we know today. In the 13th century, the Indochinese peninsula was under the domination of two empires: the Khmer Empire and the Empire of Pagan.
After a period of fragmentation, two dynasties, the Toungoo and Konbaung, sought to create new empires, but each time they confronted other powers. In the early 19th century, the British Empire sought to extend its dominance in the region and relied on the Siamese Empire to do so. Following the so-called Anglo-Burmese Wars, they gradually took possession of the territories of the Burmese Empire. At the end of the 19th century, Burma became a province of British India until 1937.
During World War II, a movement of young independence fighters known as the “Thirty Comrades” decided to side with the Japanese in their war against the British Empire. Burma’s independence, under Japanese control and domination, was proclaimed in 1943 before an anti-fascist coalition drove the Japanese out of Burma in July 1945. Despite political rebellions and disagreements, the country’s independence was truly celebrated on January 4, 1948.
This was followed by several military dictatorships that terribly impoverished the country, even though Burma had the best infrastructure (health, education, etc.) on the eve of the Second Southeast Asian War.
It wasn’t until 2011 that the last military junta in power was dissolved and a slow process of democratization began. The National League for Democracy, led by the iconic resistance figure to the dictatorship, Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, entered parliament in 2015.
It is in this still very fragile context that the country is opening up to tourism and promoting its most beautiful destinations, such as Bagan. This site was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2019. This classification will, among other things, bring funds for the restoration of this amazing spiritual site.
Myanmar: How to prepare for your trip.
Preparing your trip to Myanmar involves asking a few questions:
When is the best time to travel to Myanmar? Definitely from October to the end of March. In fact, our tours are only operational during this period. During this time, you will avoid the scorching heat of summer and the monsoon rains (from June to October).
What about the visa? How can you get it? Entry to Myanmar requires obtaining a visa. This visa, valid for 28 days, can be obtained through the Myanmar immigration online portal or at the Myanmar embassy in your country.
What are the must-see sites? The temples of Bagan are a must-see, it’s the religious heart of Myanmar; Inle Lake, its fishermen, floating gardens, and peaceful rhythm; Yangon, its palaces, and Shwedagon Pagoda.
Three seasons mark this country with a tropical climate: the dry season from November to February, the hot season from March to May, and the rainy season from June to October. We advise you to avoid the monsoon season, which welcomes violent rains, often lasting for several days without interruption. It is during the dry season that you can fully and best enjoy all the destinations in Myanmar. It is also during this period that we organize our tours.
You will surely get to taste some of these very popular dishes in Burma: Laphet Thoke, a Burmese salad made from tea leaves (an ancestral recipe); Shan noodles, a simple plate consisting of rice noodles, chicken pieces, and peanuts; Mohing, the original Burmese curry recipe. Finally, you will see small stalls in the streets of the country serving the “Burmese buffet” – you can taste many curries!