Burma, now known as Myanmar, is one of the most fascinating and beautiful countries in Southeast Asia. Its a country rich in natural resources offering incredible landscapes, some truly breath-taking man made edifices, like the temples at Bagan or the shimmering golden Shwedagon, and the warm and friendly people.
An enigmatic land of golden pagodas and mist-shrouded jungle, Burma was once described by Rudyard Kipling as a place ‘quite unlike any...you know about’. Isolated for years by the outside world, it remains an enigma to many, but those that enter will discover a timeless land of colonial elegance and Buddhist tradition that has changed little over the intervening years.
There is an array of accommodation to choose from in Myanmar. The majority of choice is for larger hotels but as tourism develops there are an increasing number of smaller, more boutique style places and those with a difference that go that extra mile to complement their surroundings.
Mandalay does a nice line in contemporary international luxe, while amongst the faded Colonial facades of Yangon, polished classics like the Strand, Savoy and Traders offer guests the diplomatic grandeur - and afternoon tea on the lawn - once favoured by Orwell and Kipling. These hotels provide a wonderful historic insight into bygone times with beautiful rooms and suites decorated to take you back to the colonial era of Burma with their teakwood floors, hand carved wood frame beds and wonderful antiques.
At Inle Lake, many of the hotels are built on the shore with magnificent views across the water but the Shwe Inn Tha is actually built on the lake with the main restaurant built on stilts and so jutting out over the water and many of the rooms also on stilts with the lake beneath you and all around! These hotels are a great base from where one can experience the tribal village life and vibrant Buddhist culture that thrives on Inle’s fertile shores.
To the north, the Shan State’s green mountains and pastoral plateaux are home to farming tribes, with home-stays and wilderness trekking to tempt all abilities. Far down south, adventurous divers can learn from the ancient sea-dwelling Moken tribe, known for extreme free diving and instinctive knowledge of the ocean.
In Bagan, the Aureum Palace Hotel is actually set within the Bagan Archeological Preservation Zone and so the views from your suite can be utterly magical over the ancient pagodas of the Kingdom of Bagan.
At Ngapali Beach the Sandoway Resort has cottages directly on the beach and look out across the turquoise and pristine ocean! The rooms have no telephones or televisions and your drinks are kept cool by ice buckets provided twice daily to avoid the whirring of a fridge. It is idyllic and utterly tranquil!
Finally we would highly recommend a trip down the rivers of Myanmar in the gorgeously luxurious Sanctuary Ananda with its enormous luxury suites, gym and spa and choice of indoor or al fresco restaurants and bars or even the Road to Mandalay which belongs to Orient Express and offers three day, four day and one week cruises.
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
Nicola Shepherd, founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, organises unusual trips for HNW and UHNW clients ranging from birthday parties at an Indian Maharajah's palace to reliving Sir Vivian Fuchs's 1950s expedition to the South Pole. Citywealth caught ...
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