The Hottest New Travel Destination Of The Year – Myanmar
- Team Indiana
‘One destroys not a thing of beauty wantonly.’ It is precisely however, what humanity has done. The pockets of wonder, which make every country unique, are slowly being trampled under travellers’ feet. An exception is Myanmar. For Burma, as it was formerly known, the words Rudyard Kipling wrote surprisingly still hold power – it is a land unlike other. The Land of the Golden Pagoda still has a sense of hospitality. It still resonates with the warmth of a welcoming place. It is still untouched by the effects of mass tourism.
Under the aegis of military rule, the country had spent half a century being isolated and secluded from the world. Today, threads of change are being woven in, but its authenticity remains preserved. A lone explorer can walk down a city without being besieged with the sights of shopping malls and highways. A group of travellers can traverse through towns and villages where lives are still connected to nature. A pair of travellers on vacation is as likely to get a horse cart for transportation as a taxi.
This is why the land where monks are revered more than rock stars has become the hottest new travel destination. Myanmar is literally the tourism equivalent of the Gold Rush. For the impatient generation shaped by the smartphone and the intrusive rise of social media, the region offers an insight into that elusive feeling of devotion. The 4000 stupas, build about 800 years ago, that are scattered across the plains of Bagan are a testimony to the dedication of the inhabitants to their culture, religion, and work. Somewhat similar to Machu Picchu & Angkor Wat, the skilled labour of the stupas can only be genuinely appreciated via a hot air balloon ride. Offered during dawn, one can look down and across a dramatic landscape of centuries-old temples while gold and red-robed monks shuffle about offering their morning prayers.
Yes, the ancient towns of the motherland are called home by over 120 varied ethnic factions, but the evidence of modernity is very much visible in vibrant cities like Yangon. On the one hand, the Shwe Dagon attests to opulent and glorious traditions of the country with its stunning gold stupa that is studded with rubies and diamonds. On the other hand, the high rises and eateries that make the city a commercial hub equally dazzle the eyes.
If the serene architecture of the almost 100-metre tall Buddhist shrine that allegedly holds eight hairs of Gautama Buddha, which he donated, doesn’t enthral you, then the floating gardens of Inle Lake definitely will. Entire villages and cultures are based on stilt houses that rest atop a sparkling freshwater lake.
There has been a drastic rise in the number of visitors to Myanmar in the past two years. It is partly thanks to the people of Burma, who are considered by travel aficionados as the gentlest in the world and partially to the renovated iconic Flotilla Company vessels that are now run as luxury cruises along the Irrawaddy River and further off.
At Indiana Travels, we believe that vacations, trips, and breaks should not be overwhelming. They should offer the simple pleasures of travel and Myanmar, at its heart, is still brimming with it. The nation is on the cusp of change; modernity is in its nascence. There will never be a better time to experience it than now.
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