Friday, 9th December 2016
The hidden delights of Burma
While many people enjoy heading to the busy, tourist-filled areas of Burma, there are always going to be those who like to discover something new that few people are aware of. Luckily, the country is full of these hidden wonders. In amongst Burma's busy towns and beautiful landscapes are a range of gems that most tourists don't know exist.
If you are planning a trip to Burma and looking to venture off the beaten path, here are some suggestions of places to visit. Be warned; some of them are difficult to access, which is often the reason why few tourists visit them. However, they are well worth it once you arrive.
While a lot of travellers have heard of the archaeological marvel of Bagan - a site containing thousands of Buddhist temples - far fewer are aware of its neighbour Mrauk U. This abandoned city was once the capital of an independent kingdom lasting from the 15th to the 18th century before falling into decay.
Visiting the hundreds of temples and pagodas is a fascinating experience, with labyrinths full of stone Buddhas and elaborate carvings there to greet you. You will probably have it mosty to yourself, as only around 5,000 people per year visit Mrauk U. This site is likely to become more well-known in the next few years, so get there now before the rush of tourists!
Maymyo and Hispaw
These two towns are full of everything you can expect from Bur
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Thursday, 8th December 2016
Burma is a destination for the whole family
Burma may well be a destination that you’re keen to tick off your bucket list, but don’t be put off the idea just because you have children. This corner of the world may still be developing its tourism infrastructure, but it is still colourful enough to fascinate young minds. The Burmese are a welcoming people and will fuss over your little ones and all the delights of nature will mean they have just as much fun as you do.
Cycle around Bagan
The temples of Bagan will undoubtedly be a highlight of your trip, but understand that it could be a long day for your kids. Save little legs by hiring bikes and using these to get between the pagodas more quickly. One of the best things about travelling with children is seeing things from a different perspective. It’s amazing what they notice that adults haven’t, so give them the opportunity to explore on their own terms and time to investigate sights at their level.
Boating on Inle Lake
Another top destination to visit is Inle Lake and kids will love exploring it on a traditional long boat. As well as the distinctive leg rowing that many adults wish to see for themselves, children are likely to be enchanted by the floating markets and the idea that vegetables are grown on the lake in unique little gardens. They are also sure to notice the houses built on stilts to counteract the rising waters, which show them how other people deal with common proble
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Tuesday, 29th November 2016
Burma's last remaining synagogue
When most people think about religion in Burma it is Buddhism that first comes to mind. And while that is the most common faith in the country, there are a number of other spiritual paths that people choose to follow. Among these is Judaism and although there is just one synagogue left anywhere in Burma, it’s a fascinating place.
The Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue can be found in downtown Yangon on a street lined with shops that don’t give any clue to their neighbour’s existence. There has been a synagogue on the site since 1854, but it was just built from wood and was replaced by a more permanent structure.
This current stone building was constructed between 1893 and 1896 and a small plaque at its entrance attests to this fact. Burma does not have a large population of Jewish people, but those who are still living in the country are mainly descents from Sephardic Jews who emigrated from Iraq generations ago.
In Burma’s colonial period, the country was a popular destination for Jews from parts of the Middle East and India. The British colonial government granted a plot of land for the synagogue to be built and permission was extended by the authorities when Burma gained its independence.
By the time the Second World War broke out, Burma was home to around 2,500 Jews, but the Japanese occupation, followed by many businesses being nationalised under independence in 1962 saw many leave. There are around 700 graves in a Jewish ceme
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Tuesday, 8th November 2016
Top highlights of Inle Lake
Inle Lake is one of Burma's most mesmerising destinations. Awash with natural beauty, this is a place that pairs picturesque scenery with a wealth of cultural interest. So, it is little wonder it proves so popular among visitors.
Located in the Shan State, the lake is approximately 13 miles long and seven miles wide. It is home to an exciting mix of floating gardens, stilt villages, markets and more, while the surrounding area has scenic hills perfect for walking, as well as famous attractions such as the Pindaya caves.
Here, we take a look at the top things to see and experience at Inle Lake.
Without doubt, natural beauty is one of the most attractive things about Inle Lake. Surrounded by hills, this vast, tranquil lake is a beautiful spot to relax and take in Burma's wonderful natural heritage. And the scenery is often enhanced by manmade attractions, including pretty floating gardens and impressive stilt houses.
The Intha people
Getting to know the Intha people is another highlight of any visit to Inle Lake. Living in stilt villages, the Intha are best-known for their unique one-legged rowing style, which they use to propel the boats that help them navigate the lake. Indeed, boats are the primary mode of transport here, and they act as everything from a way to get around to floating markets and a base for fishing.
During your time here, it's well wor
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Burma is positioned at number nine in Lonely Planet?s list of countries to visit in 2017.
The Bagan Archaeological Museum may not be as spectacular as the famous site, but it still makes for an interesting visit.