‘This is Burma,' wrote Rudyard Kipling. ‘It is quite unlike any place you know about.’ Incredibly, more than a century later, Myanmar retains the power to surprise and delight even the most jaded of travellers.
Everywhere you'll encounter men wearing skirt-like longyi, women smothered in thanakha (traditional make-up) and betel-chewing grannies with mouths full of blood-red juice. People still get around in trishaws and, in rural areas, horse and cart. Drinking tea – a British colonial affectation – is enthusiastically embraced in thousands of traditional teahouses. You can still drift down the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River in an old river steamer, stake out a slice of beach on the blissful Bay of Bengal, or trek through pine forests to minority villages scattered across the Shan Hills without jostling with scores of fellow travellers.
Best of all you'll encounter locals who are gentle, humorous, engaging, considerate, inquisitive and passionate – they want to play a part in the world, and to know what you make of their world. Now is the time to make that connection.