The temples of Pagan (Wanderlust)
Blog Words : Wanderlust team | 04 April

The Wanderlust Guide to the best of Burma

Burma is back – waiting to beguile and delight. Here's your guide to getting the most out of this graceful, mysterious country

Whether you chose to call it Burma or Myanmar, this south-east Asian gem is truly an extraordinary country – its people, landscapes and culture are all unique. Travellers who visit Burma are welcomed by gentle, smiling people and some of the world’s most impressive monuments.

With creaking teak monasteries and temples of stone, gracefully ageing in a unhurried society, years of isolation have kept Burma an unspoiled gem.

 Bagan (Wanderlust)

Looking for inspiration?

Wanderlust Editor-in-Chief, Lyn Hughes, visited Burma just after the first (mainly) democratic elections were held and Aung San Suu Kyi invited tourists to return. She gives a detailed account of what the country has to offer visitors and what travellers can expect. It is the ideal place to start researching your trip.

If you’re looking to get off the beaten track and really connect with the Burmese, try Martin Symington’s guide to discovering the real Burma. His tips on dealing with the red tape involved in venturing ‘off the grid’ are worth heeding if you're planning your own itinerary. Make sure you check out Kellie Netherwood’s advice on travelling responsibly in Burma too: it's vital reading.

Fancy doing as the locals do and travelling by two-wheels? Katherine Sazdanoff names Burma’s top 3 bike rides. If wildlife is more your thing, Dr Ross Piper reveals the wildlife hotspots he visited to make the highly-acclaimed BBC documentary, Wild Burma.

More information

Discover the real Burma – Martin Symington

A golden future for Burma – Lyn Hughes

15 tips for responsible travel in Burma – Kellie Netherwood

Burma’s top 3 bike rides –  Katherine Sazdanoff

Discover wildlife in Wild Burma – Dr Ross Piper 

 Burmese Girl (Kellie Netherwood)

Burma’s secrets revealed

Wanderlust’s very own Phoebe Smith got to see a side of Burma that few tourists visit when she ventured south to the Myeik Archipelago. “On my itinerary there would be no sunrise over the misty forests of Bagan,” she writes. “No golden temples of Mandalay, no slow drift across Inle Lake. After a brief but obligatory encounter with the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon I had travelled south – as far south as you can go before you hit Thailand – to the border town of Kawthaung.” After reading Phoebe’s article, you’ll be adding it to your itinerary too.

Make sure you also read about her encounter with the Moken sea gypsies on the same trip where she was able to barter beer for an incredible feast of fresh seafood.

Martin Symington shares the five things he wished he’d know before visiting Burma. The Five Dollar Travellers reveal the best – and worst – aspects of backpacking through the country. And Naomi Duguid explains how to cook Burmese food.

Tuck in!

More information

In search of Burma’s hidden treasure – Phoebe Smith

Boats, Burma and Beyond – Phoebe Smith

5 things I wish I’d known before visiting Burma – Martin Symington

The best and worst of Burma – Five Dollar Travellers

How to cook Burmese food – Naomi Duguid

 Swedagon Pagoda (iStock)

Capturing it all on film

Burma has only been back on the tourist trail for a couple of years, and already the Shwedagon Pagoda has become one of the most photographed monuments in the world. Luckily, Steve Davey is on hand to tell you how to avoid the clichés and get a photo of this amazing building that captures its incredible beauty with originality and flair.

For inspiration, you might also want to check out the photos of Burma that our readers have taken...

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Getting shot of clichés: photographing travel icons – Steve Davey

Readers’ Photos

Burmese Bridge at sunset (Wanderlust)

Everything you need to know

Ready to start planning your trip? Our Burma Travel Guide is the perfect place to start. Make sure you check out the essential info page for Burma too, and Phoebe Smith’s guide to your first 24 hours in Yangoon so you can hit the ground running.

If you have a particular question, pop over to the myWanderlust forum where our knowledgeable community is ready to spring into action and share all that they know. Or check out the questions people have already asked about Burma. The answer to yours might already be there.

More information

Burma Travel Guide

Burma Essential Info

First 24 hours: Yangoon, Burma – Phoebe Smith

MyWanderlust Forum

Burma Q & A

Monks in a window (Wanderlust)

Ready to go?

Here’s a selection of fantastic tours offered by our partners. From hill tribe treks and cycling tours to intense wildlife and cultural encounters, there’s something for every taste and budget. You’ll find the full list of tours available here.

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Trip Finder can help you find adventures in Burma