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Burma ‘2015 Destination of the Year’, says TTG

A horse and carriage rest in front of a pagoda in Bagan. (PHOTO: Colin Hinshelwood/DVB)

Burma has been declared ‘2015 Destination of the Year’ by Singaporean travel magazine TTG Asia.

TTG Asia is a branch of the London-based Travel Trade Gazette, launched in 1953, and recognised as the oldest travel industry publication in the world.

Announcing the win, TTG Asia said:

“This destination registered the greatest growth last year, a hefty 50.7 percent, going by UNWTO data. [Burma’s] ancient cities and dazzling Buddhist temples have long fascinated the world, but until the end of military rule in 2011 it was seen as not yet ready to welcome the world.

Greater political stability and transparency and an orientation towards tourism in the years that followed, however, have boosted investors’ confidence. More hotels have been built, more travel agencies have opened, more cruise ships are calling, etc. – the industry is booming like never before and is bracing to welcome three million visitors this year.

Our Destination of the Year is an obvious choice – it goes to Burma.”

Of course, the DVB team have known all along just how diverse the country is, and are happy to escort you on a cross-country adventure taking in some of the top spots, as well as the not-so-well-known gems.

To help you plan your upcoming trip, take a look at the some of the must-see destinations in the world’s most sought-after location.

 

  1. How 777 steps & monkey poop led me to enlightenment

    Young monkey at Taung Kalat. (PHOTO: Samantha Hussey)

Before we decided to travel to Burma, several travellers told us stories of their trips to Mount Popa. Some advised us of how hot, dirty and smelly it would be; others warned us about getting your bag and possessions stolen by any of the hundreds of monkeys on the mountain. I’ll be honest, it didn’t sound too convincing.

It wasn’t until we reached the country and relayed our plans to our hosts and friends in Rangoon that their faces lit up when we mentioned our desire to visit the monastery at the top of Taung Kalat, near Mount Popa. It is, after all, one of the most famous pilgrimage sites for Buddhists and Burmese in the country, if not the world.

Read the full story here.

 

    2. DVB’s Top 10 tips for visitors to Burma

You’ve been to the Golden Land: you got up at sunrise to photograph the first light of dawn on Shwedagon Pagoda; you coaxed an Inthwa boatman on Inle Lake into showing you how to paddle with your knee; you’ve flown over the ancient ruins of Bagan in a hot-air balloon.

But this time, you’d like to discover something a wee bit different, to get off the “been there, done that” beaten track of Rangoon-Mandalay-Bagan-Inle-Ngapali. It’s time to discover those precious historical sites and natural wonders that the tour groups don’t see – the places that are still unspoilt.

DVB brings you our Top 10 Tips for Visitors to Burma 2014. But plan to head there soon – we don’t expect all these wonders to be on the list by next year.

Read the full story here.

 

  1. The ultimate Asian Highway road trip

India’s Daily News and Analysis recently mapped some of the must-see destinations along the upcoming India-Burma-Thailand stretch of the Great Asian Highway – with Burma getting four mentions along the way.

Bagan, September 2015 (PHOTO: Colin Hinshelwood/DVB)

This exciting trail, beginning in Delhi and ending in Bangkok, traverses rebel territories, rainforest and arid plains, mountain passes and historical cities. The journey, which DVB recommends only to be undertaken by the intrepid adventure-seeker in a sturdy vehicle, would take about a week, allowing for military roadblocks, border crossings, roadworks, and any number of unforeseeable chaotic escapades.

The route enters Burma from northeastern India at the Moreh– Tamu border crossing, runs 1,493 kilometres across the country, before exiting to Thailand at Myawaddy.

It will be open for travel in November, so plan your road trip now, and be sure to drop in on these top ten picks along the way:

Read the full story here.

 

  1. Trekking in the Shan hills

Hsipaw and the surrounding landscape is a beautiful destination, excellent for trekking, meeting local hill tribes and venturing off the beaten track. Though the area bears scars of a fractured and violent history, many locals are hoping its natural beauty will inspire tourists to visit.

“It’s a short cut!” exclaims our guide Nay Paing, as the narrow track wanders off down a sharp bank toward dense woodland, leaving behind sweeping tracts of farmed fields. The dappled leafy shade is a cooling respite from a burning afternoon sun, but every down has its corresponding up – which takes us scrambling up a vertical muddy hill and sweating madly by the top.

Read the full story here.

 

  1. DVB Roadshow: The magic of Inle Lake

    File photo of Inle Lake.

The team travels to southern Shan State to take time out on the beautiful Inle Lake, where we experience a day in the life of the In-tha, the sons and daughters of the lake.

Join us, as we again take you off the beaten track in Burma.

 

  1. Bagan named No 2 city in the world

The ancient Buddhist kingdom of Bagan in central Burma has been named the second greatest city in the world by the readers of Wanderlust Travel Magazine.

The famous complex of 2,000 temples and pagodas, built between the 10th and 14th centuries, lost out narrowly to the Laotian World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang in the “Best City” category of this year’s Wanderlust Travel Awards. Swedish capital Stockholm was placed third with Kyoto fourth, ahead of Vietnam’s Hoi An.

Read the full story here.

 

  1. PHOTOS: Sinsint waterfall and gothic ruin

A remote ruin brings a gothic air to the Sinsint waterfall, located in Pinlaung, a small town in southern Shan State.

Full picture gallery here.

 

  1. UNESCO’s newest biosphere reserve

Inle Lake, located in Shan State, covers approximately 490,000 hectares and is home to a wide variety of birds, fish, otters and turtles. This large freshwater body also serves as a farm to one of the ethnic groups in the region, the Inthas, who practice floating island agriculture, locally called ‘Yechan’.

Full picture gallery here.

 

 

  1. World-class aquarium to open in Rangoon

Touted as “the most anticipated tourist attraction in Myanmar”, a state-of-the-art aquarium is scheduled to open in Rangoon next year, after months of delays on the ambitious project.

Singaporean urban engineering company Surbana International Consultants Pte Ltd won tender bidding to manage the 18,200 square metre development, however Myanmar Aquarium Company will retain ownership. The Yangon City Development Committee will manage the external landscape.

Read the full story here.