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Tasting luxury in Burma before the crowds arrive

It is difficult to find a country to explore these days. The world has become a smaller place with easily available flights to every corner, but some nations have yet to become regular tourist destinations. Burma is one such place. The country in Southeast Asia is one of few that still offers a bit of mystery. It is an exotic, far-flung land with treasures of all kinds to be discovered, but they won’t be undiscovered for long. Travellers are quickly becoming aware of Burma and it will only become more popular and more visited, so it’s wise to explore while you still can. And if you prefer luxury travel you won’t be disappointed either, with a plethora of fabulous places to stay, in incredible towns and cities that you may never have heard of. If you really are considering a luxury trip to Burma, these locations might whet your appetite further: Bagan This is one of the richest archaeological sites in Burma, with over 5000 ancient monuments spread over an area of just 26 square miles. Bagan is a traditional centre of Buddhist practice and philosophy and an incredible place to see. Bagan Bhamo Not far from the Chinese border in the state of Kachin, lies the river trading post of Bhamo. The area is surrounded by striking mountain ranges and there are daily markets here, offering a multitude of exotic items. Hsipaw Hspiaw is an excellent spot for sightseeing, and a ride on the scenic local railway comes highly recommended. The train takes you over the famed Goitek Viaduct, over an immense gorge. This means fantastic views that you won’t forget. Hsipaw Mandalay Mandalay is a much more urban, bustling part of Burma, and generally speaking a modern Asian city. However, it is still strewn with many wonders from halcyon days, when it was a hub of commerce between Burma, India, China and Thailand. Take a stroll along the Irrawaddy River and make sure you see the wonderful Mandalay Palace. Mandalay Ngapali Beach If it’s a tropical paradise that you’re searching for, then Ngapali Beach is the place to go. In the southern state of Rakhaing this two mile stretch of white sand, fringed with palm trees, is the location for a luxury beach break. Ngapali Beach Yangon (Rangoon) The former capital of Burma took the name Yangon in 1989, casting off its colonial title of Rangoon. It is the largest city in the nation and very important commercially, despite the official capital city now being Nay Pyi. Much of the city was damaged in the Aanglo-Burmese War in the mid 19th century, but it is still home to scores of Buddhist shrines, sites of national importance and thriving Burmese culture. Yangon These are just a few of the many locations in Burma that are well worth visiting. They offer everything from hostels to high class hotels and restaurants, so you can be as comfortable as you like as you explore this ancient world. Just do it before the crowds arrive! James Jayasundera is Founder and Managing Director of Ampersand Travel. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

James Jayasundera

James Jayasundera is Founder and Managing Director of Ampersand Travel in London. Ampersand Travel is an award-winning tour operator specialising in tailor-made holidays to Asia and Africa. James was raised in Rome by a Sri Lankan diplomat father and British mother, and from an early age he was travelling throughout the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Although he loves comfort, he is not blinded by five-star luxuries – the Ampersand motto is “luxury is in the experience” and it is that indefinable quality that makes something special which James is always on the look-out for. James founded Ampersand Travel in 2003, and since then the company has developed an excellent reputation for in-depth knowledge of its destinations, candid and impartial opinions on hotels and locations and a formidable network of contacts within the industry and its destinations.

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  1. Good suggestions James – we didn’t get to Ngapali beach or Bhamo on our short trip but I agree with the others. Burma is My favourite recent destination. Highlight was Hsipaw – just so special and if you can get to see the Shan palace it is such an interesting and personal story. I definitely agree with the suggestion to take he train over the viaduct – but don’t expect comfort! I would recommend a bit of a river cruise. It doesn’t need to be a long luxury one – a 2-night journey on one of the local company vessels is a great experience. We had a relaxing and interesting journey from Bagan to Mandalay with Pandaw. Didn’t see much of Mandalay but the hospital there did a good job with my broken wrist when I fell!!

    Can’t wait to revisit and get further under the skin of this beautiful country and it’s charming people. And I agree now is a great time to go. The infrastructure is improving, there is a good range of hotels and it’s not yet on everyone’s map.

  2. Burma is a great travel destination. Not too busy at the moment, but has some amazing places to visit. Travel there often from my home in Chiang Mai.

  3. I agree, it is important to find places BEFORE they become tourist destinations! This is how I make many decisions on my travel. It is a cultural shift in travel that more people are seeking this out so it is getting harder and harder. Thanks for highlighting wonderful Burma!

  4. we were in Myanmar in 2009 and there wasn’t even mobile phone reception. It was a beautiful place. One of my most memorable holidays.

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