Whether you call it Burma or Myanmar, the state is a coastal one that has been under military control since the 60s. While its rich in precious stones, oil and natural gar, the country is more popular for the mishmash of culture (heavily influenced by Indian and Chinese culture), Buddhism and the popularly friendly, polite locals. Home to some of the earliest Asian civilizations, some areas in Burma are restricted and closed to foreign travelers, so while you will be able to travel freely in areas such as Barmar, there are places such as Kalewa and Indawgyi Lake that you need permits to get into. While you should head over for some shopping and eating, if you’re a fan of the spiritual, this is your one-stop destination. From temples and pagodas to historical sights and archeological ruins from early empires, there’s a lot to see. There are even beaches such as the soft white sands of Ngapali and a mystical pagoda called Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo to locals) that you must treat up the precarious hill to catch a glimpse of. The country, a former British colony, has been home to kings, queens, empire and has been inspiration behind books from authors such as George Orwell and our own Amitav Ghosh. It’s been a sight of civil wars and unrest, but is a relatively safe place for tourists to visit, filled with great food, lots to see, eat and shop for and a whole lot of culture. There are a lot of indigenous cultures, so when you’re there, you’ll be witness to a lot of the arts.
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