Burma, also known as Myanmar, is bordered by China, India, Laos and Thailand, with the Andaman Sea on the south coast completing her borders. The country has many natural attractions, an absorbing history and five-star resorts, making it an ideal location for the intrepid luxury traveller. From temples of dazzling gold to commanding mountain ranges covered by lush rainforests, a luxury holiday in this land of outstanding beauty will captivate you entirely.
Yangon (also known as Rangoon) is the country's largest city and the former capital of Burma. Located in the south and home to the international airport, this is an ideal first stop on a Burma tour. The fascinating city is famed for its golden pagodas and no trip here would be complete without a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda; a sacred Buddhist site which is some 2,500-years-old. For authentic souvenirs and beautifully crafted antiques, try your hand at haggling at the vast Bogyoke Market, with its cobbled lanes and British colonial architecture.
Burma's second largest city, Mandalay, is located on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River towards the north of the country. The treasures of this city deserve to be sought out, and you'll find pagodas and monasteries hidden within the sprawl of winding streets. Wander around the recently restored Royal Palace, or take in the scale of the city from the top of Mandalay Hill, the views from which are worth the 760 foot ascent by covered stairway. Another 'must do' whilst here is a visit to a night market; a vibrant and culturally rich experience.
Beyond the country's sprawling cities a host of charms await. The temple town of Bagan is a real highlight. To take in the true beauty of this sacred area we recommend a hot-air balloon ride at dawn when hundreds of majestic golden pagodas rise out of the morning mists. Away from the towns entirely, Burma's untamed natural beauty awaits. As a destination still largely off the regular tourist trail, the beaches of Burma are largely unspoilt, with some offering picture-postcard perfection. To the north, dramatic mountain ranges, vast lakes and virgin rainforests provide a magnificent setting for those seeking the ultimate adventure.
As well as British, Chinese and Indian influences, Burma has over 100 indigenous ethnic groups living within its borders, so a tour of the country will encounter many multifaceted cultures and unique ways of life. The cuisine is also more diverse than you may imagine. Traditional tea rooms abound and are certainly worth a visit, while tasty meals of noodles, curry or salad are often accompanied by tantalising side dishes of lentils, fresh vegetables and exotic herb dips.