An insight into Burma

A look at a map shows that Burma is large – the 40th largest country in the world and the second largest in Southeast Asia. It is populated by over 58 million people of many different ethnic groups speaking many languages. The Burmans are the most numerous and have long been the most dominant. This dominance is reflected by the most used name of the country – Burma – which is an ancient colloquial form of the word "Myanmar". Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, and India on the northwest. One-third of Burma's total perimeter forms an uninterrupted coastline with the Bay of Bengal to the southwest and the Andaman Sea on the south. The country is rich in natural resources and natural diversity – mountains, rivers, bays, seas, forests, farmland and untouched views.

An untouched country: The positive side
Burma’s long period of inaccessibility has left it relatively untouched by the outside world. Landscapes, colorful cultural traditions and strong beliefs, architecture, and crafts are all refreshingly unspoiled. The manmade and natural sights of the country provide the traveler with genuine – and often unexpected – delight – but it is the graciousness and hospitality with which travellers are greeted that keeps people coming back time after time. The military government closed areas of the country to tourism but, hopefully, as the government changes, the country, as well as the politics will become more open and welcome more people to more places.

Burma is home to some of the major civilizations of Southeast Asia including Pyu and Mon. In 9th century, the Burmans of the burma-responsible-travelNanzhao Kingdom, entered the upper Irrawaddy valley and established the Pagan Empire in 1057. The Burmese language and culture slowly came to intertwine with Pyu and Mon norms. During this period, Pagan Kings adopted Buddhism as the predominant religion of the country. After Pagan's fall in 1287, several warring states emerged. In the second half of the 16th century, the Toungoo Dynasty reunified the country, and founded the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia for a brief period. In the 18th century, the Konbaung Dynasty restored the kingdom, and went to war with all its neighbors. The kingdom fought three wars with the British and was eventually annexed into British Raj as part of India in 1824.

The British rule brought several enduring social, economic, cultural and administrative changes that completely transformed the once-feudal society. Since independence in 1948, the country has been in one of the longest running civil wars among the country's myriad ethnic groups that remains unresolved. From 1962 to 2011, the country was under military rule and in the process has become one of the least developed nations in the world. The military junta finally dissolved in 2011 following a general election in 2010 and the subsequent inauguration of Burma's civilian government.


See some sample itineraries below: