Closed to international travel for decades, Myanmar has recently opened its borders to visitors from all over the globe. Now is an excellent time to experience this culturally vibrant and geographically enthralling country. Following are four don’t-miss things to see while traveling to Myanmar.
The Irrawaddy River Dolphins
This unique species of dolphin that lives in the mouth of the Irrawaddy River is closely related to killer whales. Although populations of this species have been dwindling for decades, wildlife biologists have noticed hopeful signs recently, such as the discovery of 6,000 of the dolphins in nearby Bangladesh and in the waters of the Bay of Bengal. These dolphins are famous for helping local commercial fishermen meet their daily catch quotas by herding schools of fish toward the boats.
Pyin Oo Lwin
Even if you’re not a culinary enthusiast, you’ll love the fruit products such as jams and wines that have put Pyin Oo Lwin on the must-see list of most modern foodies. The architecture is stunning as well, and plant lovers will be enthralled by the floral paradise of the century-old Kandawgyi National Gardens. With over 480 species of flowering plants, a butterfly museum, swimming pool, aviary, and 483 acres of well-tended grounds, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get lost in enchantment.
Ngapali Beach is a quintessential tropical paradise featuring almost two miles of sparkling white sand and palm trees against the classically Andaman azure sea. Although modern luxury resorts are becoming commonplace on the beach, the area still retains the local vibe of an authentic fishing village. The fresh seafood alone is reason to pay Ngapali Beach a visit. Despite the current boom in construction in the area, there are still plenty of private and semi-private spaces on the beach where you can relax under the palm trees.
A visit to Myanmar isn’t complete until you’ve experienced at least one of the country’s rural outposts. Hsipaw is an idyllic community that hasn’t yet been discovered by mainstream tourists. However, with its intriguing history as a former Shan royal city, that could change now that Myanmar is an available destination for international visitors. For now, though Hsipaw offers a laid-back vibe in a setting of extreme natural beauty. From waterfalls, vibrant sunsets, verdant green agricultural fields, wild forested hills, and ancient Buddhist palaces, Hsipaw offers visitors into a world that’s traditionally been closed to outsiders. Be sure to visit the Hsipaw Central Market for an authentic look at an old-school tribal trading post where you’ll find many things, including the region’s delightfully diverse and delectable foodstuffs.