Burma, is as rich in culture and authenticity as it is in precious stones. It is a fabulous mixture of cultures with heavy Indian influences ties with local traditions and some Chinese influences. Friendly people and versatile scenery make this a great holiday location.

Burma’s largest city, Yangon is widely known for it’s eclectic mix of cultures and the fantastic colonial architecture that still exists there. Welcoming to tourists, it has a wonderful mix of a commercial and exotic feel. Walking down the typical streets, you will come across monks walking barefoot in burgundy robes in this Buddhist country of Burma. The best way to get around the city and see everything is by foot by bicycle. Be sure to visit the Bogyoke Aung San Market to while away a few hours looking at over 2000 stalls.

Mandalay Palace in Burma.

Mandalay Palace in Burma.

Burma’s second largest city, and former capital, is Mandalay. With a population of around 1 million people, this is the economic and religious hub of the northern parts of Burma. Recent years have seen a large Chinese influx showing mostly through the architecture and the infrastructure in the city centre. The hustle and bustle of the city is captivating but must see sights are Mandalay Hill (legend has it that Buddah had prophesised that a great city would be founded at it’s foot) and Mandalay Palace (rebuilt after the Second World War, visit the museum inside the palace walls for a great run down of the history). Elsewhere is Burma, the Ngapali Beach is a great spot of palm tree lines, blue sea coast line with plenty of bungalow hotels near the fishing villages.

Burma celebrates a number of festivals throughout the year and a well planned trip to coincide with one is a good move. April sees Thingyan, the start of the new year with water games and parades. May sees Bo Tree watering festival marking the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha with the watering of the Bo Tree. In September, the Regatta festival has great boat rowing competitions but November sees the best of all with the Tazaungdaing Festival of lights, lighting of hot air balloons, Kyi Ma No Festival, mischief making and Kahtein Thingan Offering Festival offering Kathina robes to Buddhist monks.

Whatever your reason for visiting Burma, shopping, culture, relaxation, festivals or otherwise, you are guaranteed to enjoy an experience like no other.