Escape for the Weekend

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Myanmar

Bagan and Mandalay; fantastic landscapes of the Irrawaddy River; leg-rowers of Inle Lake; vineyards in the Shan hills; sharks and corals of the Mergui Archipelago.

Myanmar, the complete official name is the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a country in Southeast Asia, located in the western part of the Indochinese Peninsula. The country borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. To the southwest and the south Burma has nearly 2 thousand kilometers of contiguous coastline along the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea. The population is 51 million people; the total area is about 679 square kilometers. The official language is Burmese.

Burma has a tropical monsoon climate with wet period from May to late October. The terrain of the country consists of central lowlands, surrounded by rugged highlands.

The national currency is the Burmese kyat. US dollars are also widely used. It is recommended to bring all the money one plans to use into the country in cash, and to use the credit card as a backup as there are rather few ATMs. The best places to exchange currency are at the airport, at the banks and at the exchange counters.

The name of this wonderful country with rich history is translated as “the Valley of golden pagodas”. In addition to friendly local people and palatable cuisine, Myanmar is proud of its culture, ancient buildings and lush green jungles, which are fraught with mysteries of Southeast Asia.

The most popular tourist destinations in Burma are Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay. In the vicinity of Prome there are the remains of ancient temples, medieval walls, fragments of pagodas, including the golden Shwedagon Pagoda. Only Yangon has more than eighty pagodas.

In Bagan there are more than five thousand perfectly preserved temples, stupas, pagodas – the evidence of its grandeur. In Mandalay you can also see many interesting old buildings, including Pagoda Tanbodhay, having the largest number of Buddha images (582,357).

The pagodas and temples are so stunning and so numerous in Burma that to see all of them you will need all your life.

After seeing the pearls of colonial architecture and joining to amazing Buddhist culture, you may want to be absorbed in the nature of Burma.

Take a multi-day trip on the Irrawaddy River, enjoy fantastic landscapes and relax listening the whisper of the waves; go hiking through Northern Myanmar to see the rural life of local people; watch a sunrise from a balloon above the temple plain in Bagan; go to Inle Lake to see famous leg-rowers; visit the vineyards in the Shan hills and taste the local wines; and bask in the sun on the tranquil beaches of Ngapali.

Airports

Mandalay International Airport (MDL), located 35 kilometers from Mandalay.

Yangon International Airport (RGN), the primary international airport of Burma.

Naypyidaw International Airport, (NYT), situated 16 kilometers from Naypyidaw, the capital of Burma.

Diving in Myanmar

One of the most popular diving places in Myanmar is the Mergui Archipelago, where you can find crystal-clear water, secluded islands and rich marine life, including barracudas, grey reef and white tip sharks, dogtooth tuna, whale shark, batfish, unicorn fish, manta rays and trevallies.

The best dive sites are Black Rock, covered with anemones and soft corals and teeming with manta rays and eagle rays; the Burma Banks, where you will surely meet sharks; Cockscomb Island with interesting openings in its limestone rock; Little Torres Islands with lots of various corals; Shark Cave with a 20-meter-long tunnel and walls and ceiling covered with bright sponges.

The diving season in Burma lasts from October to May. The water temperature is 26-30 degrees Celsius; the visibility is up to 50 meters.

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