Sited as the Crossroads of the Asian civilization, this great nation sits on a vast expanse that pans from the Andaman Islands, to the East of the Himalaya's. Burma as it was fondly know, invests in a rich historical past, showcasing to the world, a wealth of historical glory and the nuances of Buddhism. Breath-taking vistas, now beckon tourist from the world over, as Myanmar now goes out to the world to be explored.
The Capital City is Naypyitaw
Played host to one of the most prestigious ASEAN Summit (in the 25th year) in November 2014, the country gave to the world it's new capital, the city of Naypyitaw.
Naypyitaw indeed has a very small history. Work in the country's new capital resumed in 2002, just approximately 320 kilometres from the north of the old capital of Yangon. Yangon can be accesses using a state of the art 8 track lane highway.
Naypyitaw is just the new definition of 'organization'. It is like living the dream of not being stuck in heady traffic, and vehicles aimlessly blaring their horns unto your ears. The Buildings are strategically aligned by the rank in ministry and in accordance to the rank in the army too. This planned city also has a designated area for hotels (One can find every type of hotel here), and other form of entertainment. Even though Naypyitaw is the administrative capital it does not overlook the residential aspect. Shopping has not yet flourished in the region. Brands that exist in the older capital will still take a while to set foot in the new capital city.
The Burmese are big on the environment. Even in a newly planned city, the government has reserved a sprawling capacity for the zoological park, herbal gardens, and the Safari Park(sprawling over 200 acres of land). The zoological garden is home to over 450 species of animals, including a climate-controlled Penguin House. The Nagalaik Lake Gardens, that inaugurated in 2008 has a small water park along the Nagalaik Dams near the Kyweshin Village. The garden is fully equipped with water slides and fun stuff for kids to enjoy. The Uppatasanti Pagoda (worked on the lines of the Shedadong Pagoda), is another important place of worship, that cannot be missed. It Pagoda deeply roots the Buddhist faith. For the shopaholics the Mayoma Market is indeed the place to be.
Popularly known as Rangoon, the city houses a population of over 5 million people. The magnificent Shedadong Pagoda domineers over the cities skyline rendering a distinct Burmese flavour. The streets are filled with exotic arts and crafts. Along the city, the older architecture in the city is heavily influenced by colonial leanings. The newer rises that now dot the skyline are modern in origin. The city is scintillating and serves as a hub for buyers of precious stones. For all the foodies, it is fun to stir your appetite with some lip smacking Burmese Delights. Tropical trees and exotic plants dot the numerous gardens all over Burma. The city has amenities of a modern one; hence spoil yourself this holiday by indulging in some spa treatment.
For the numerous sites around the city of Yangon, do visit the ChaukHtatGyi Pagoda. This Pagoda is known for its sweet eyes Buddha. The Golden Rock is another marvellous Buddhist monument. It hangs precariously over the edge of a cliff over 1100 meters above sea level. The Karaweik Hall at the Kandavgyi Lake covers an area of 150 acres, and looks like liquid gold squirting deep red fire. The bird-shape, floating restaurant is the highlight of this park.
This is one very big city that is historically viable. It houses one of the most magnificent palaces of the Konbaung Dynasty. The Mandalay Hill is the most popular tourist destination in the city. The city is known as the cultural hub. The Royal Palaces that were destroyed during the Second World War has been restored in the recent years. One must visit these palaces when visiting Mandalay. Mandalay comes alive with monasteries and temples from this region. One can enjoy the Mandalay Regalia at the cultural museum. For some typical Burmese Leanings don't forget to visit the Golden Palace Monastry, that once belonged to King Thibaw.
Some other places worth visiting
Angkor Wat (The Cardamom Sanctuary) - It is matchless in its current state of preservation. It's sheer mightiness give insight on the pomp and luxury of a bygone era. Armed with the impressiveness greater than that of the Pyramids, an artistic uniqueness as intricate as in the Taj Mahal. The monument is an actual replica of the universe in stone. The construction is built on fine sand, and serves as an ode to Lord Vishnu.
As we wind up, don't forget to enjoy the delicious Burmese fresh water and seawater fish. Gorge on fruits and soak in Burmese tradition to the hilt. The littler destinations, of the like of Phnom Penh are seemingly majestic. This centre of administration houses the phenomenal the marvels of the silver Pagoda, housing the Emerald in the Palace Ground is a sure shot visit.
Getting there - One can avail Visa online on http://evisa.moip.gov.mm. Applicants can apply for e visas online, and pay using their Debit or Credit Card. Once the payment is processed applicants can print an approval letter, which will be available in 3 day. This is then stamped at the airport on arrival. Indian Passport holders can avail ON ARRIVAL VISA on the Yadong International Airport.