The current reputation of Myanmar – or Burma - is without doubt, largely attributed to the fact that it was closed to all outsiders for such a long time. Visiting a country that is beginning to open up to tourism the Lonely Planet guide seems to be every foreigner’s bible and if you don’t have anything else you might become a devotee as well.
It is not easy to get the “big four” into one trip. The big four I refer to are:
Yangon – Bagan – Inle Lake – and Mandalay.
Best you book everything in advance from flights to hotels, which isn’t as easy as in other countries. I did it the hard way and used only local buses and got my overnight stays always in a last instance when I arrived – it turned out quite pleasant for me but it surely not the usual way for everyone.
One good advice will be to be patient! The transport system isn’t as efficient as in any other places you might know. Just slow down and relax. If you are not as hectic as many visitors and just stay at a local tea house, slurp the incredible sweet tea - you will notice and come acquainted with the smiley, friendly and laid-back people.
Visiting Bagan you will find a terrain of barren mountains and red earth. At first it seems not very impressive, but suddenly a myriad of temples and stupas begin to appear. They look like they’ve grown from earth itself and not constructed by men thousand of years ago.
Inle Lake another most thought of place is one of the best to trek in Myanmar because it provides you with unbroken mountain views, a crystal-clear margarita-cool lake to dip in, and a part of Southeast Asia that you might think existed only in your imagination.
Poetic though the name may be, Mandalay is a modern city, actually the second largest in the country. The dusty streets sprawl east of the Ayeyarwady and south of Mandalay you’ll find a stupa-studded hill looming over the flat cityscape. But for most the real attractions lie beyond the town in the nearby ancient city of Amarapura. There is a bridge more than a mile long and built only with Burmese teak. The bridge is named after "U Pein" who started the work.
Going to Yangoon the stunning Shwedagon Paya is the centrepiece of the city, a gleaming golden stupa visible from all over town. Closer to the waterfront, downtown Yangon is a warren of historic streets which are concealing some of the best British colonial-era architecture in the region.
Go there and have a good time, good food and a drink of the local beer.