It’s a country of vast natural and cultural diversity

Myanmar is the largest country in Southeast Asia, sharing land borders with Thailand, China, Tibet India, Bangladesh and Laos. The scenery, therefore, changes between dense jungle, Himalayan mountain peaks and arid dry zones, with the main lifeline of the country being the majestic Ayeyarwady River, which runs for over 2000km through the country before uniting with the Chindwin and finally exiting in the Andaman sea. With such a large landmass, it is perhaps not surprising that there is a wide diversity of ethnic groups residing in Myanmar – 135 to be exact! Each of these ethnic groups has their own distinct cultures, customs, traditions, and – in some cases – their own language. You can find more than 111 different languages spoken across the country!

Myanmar is a tourist destination on the rise!

Once a country mostly shut off and shrouded in mystery, Myanmar’s doors are now officially open to tourists and it has quickly gained itself a name as one of the most attractive new travel destinations. The country formerly known as Burma lured an impressive 40.2% increase in visitors over the previous year with its countless glimmering pagodas and temples, breathtaking natural landscapes, and charming local life. But this large and impressive country is still largely unspoiled by tourism, meaning there has never been a better time to visit.

The food is underrated!

Myanmar’s cuisine is as diverse as its landscape and people, with influences from its neighbouring countries and its own unique flare. Each region in Burma has its own distinct style and flavours, and many meals come in a feast-like spread of different dishes which are often either robust, oily and spicy or subtler in flavour with the option of adding chilli on the side. Salads are also a big part of Burmese cuisine and feature some unique ingredients such as tea leaves or banana blossom. Like most Asian countries, rice is the staple carbohydrate, usually served up as rice noodles or as a delicious steamed side to accompanying dishes. Heritage Line’s Myanmar cruises pay homage to the local cuisine, offering guests an opportunity to try a full spread of regional specialities.

Tea is the national drink of choice

Nestled between tea-trading giants China and India, it would be almost impossible for Myanmar to miss out on tea culture, but what many people don’t know is that tea is also native to Myanmar. Myanmar has, in fact, being cultivating tea for just as long as any of the surrounding countries. The tea leaves are used not only as a drink, but are also fermented and used in food, and were even offered as peace offerings in ancient times. Myanmar is also famous for its tea shops, which play a large part in the history and culture of the country, with many rumoured stories and events reported to have begun inside a tea shop.  Many of these tea shops comprise of little more than a few small stools and short tables scattered around a hole-in-the-wall style café or stall, but rapid industrialisation inside the cities has given rise to new hybrid tea shops that feature somewhat more modern comforts.

The wildlife is nothing short of jaw-dropping

Myanmar’s grasslands, snow-tipped mountains, rivers, arid dry zones, and dense jungles provide every possible habitat for some of the world’s most fascinating and endangered animals such as the Irrawaddy river dolphin, Burmese tigers, leopards, wild boar, rhinos, pythons, crocodiles, river sharks and elephants. In coastal areas, the warm water and coral reefs provide home to a diverse range of marine life. It is possible to see whale sharks, reef sharks and manta rays in certain seasons.

Tempted? Our Chindwin and Ayeyarwaddy river journeys in Myanmar offer an amazing opportunity to experience the diversity and beauty that has captured visitor’s hearts throughout history. We’ve got a very special discount on our Burma journeys for a limited time only. Click here to find out more:
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