The historic recent elections in Burma have begun to kindle new interest in adventurous travellers looking to explore this long-avoided corner of Asia. Full of lush landscapes, some incredible beaches and a rich history of Buddhism and temple building, Burma has gone unnoticed by the packs of Asia explorers, which means it’s an incredible find today.
While certain regions of the country can still be dangerous, you should be OK since the Government only allows you free and unrestricted access to certain approved areas - Tourists can visit Rangoon, Mandalay, Bago and Irrawaddy regions without restrictions. Other destinations are subject to limitations. According to the Burmese Central Statistical Organistion, around 7,300 British tourists visited Burma in 2010 (Burmese Central Statistical Organisation figures) – and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office have stated that most visits are trouble-free.
Your best bet is to take a tour with an established operator who works well within the rules set by government but also takes a more ethical stance towards helping locals. One recommended tour is the Travel Indochina ‘Burma Revealed’ package, a 13-day tour using local guides that lets you eat, shop and stay in the most ‘real’ way you can.
Visit Travel Indochina for more details. The small-group tours of up to 16 people leave in October, November and December 2012 and cost from £1,340 per person.
David Steinberg, one of the world’s eminent authorities on the region, explains the current situation in detail yet contextualizes it in a wide-ranging survey of Burmese history and culture. Authoritative and balanced, it will be standard work on Burma for the general reading public.
Now in its 11th edition, the most comprehensive guide to Myanmar (Burma) on the market returns with scenes of horse carts crawling past colonial mansions in a country isolation has preserved from modernity.