Myanmar (Burma, until recently), is the westernmost country of Indochina, a large and mostly hot country. From great snowy peaks of the Himalayan north, where it borders on China and India, three great river systems (Ayeyarwady, Salween and Sittaung) run southward and form a landscape of hot, dusty but fertile plains between mountain ranges running in north-south direction. To the east, the Shan Plateau is home to a multitude of tribes: the country’s ethnic diversity, while one of its glories, is at the heart of some of its troubles, fighting and inherent instability. In the west and south, bordering on the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, are a long, pristine coastline and multitude of islands are just waiting to be wrecked by tourism, plains and river deltas.
Myanmar has a long and fascinating, if excessively complicated, history of competing powers and successive, sometime glorious but often short-lived kingdoms. Its plains and hills are littered with religious and historical marvels, from the wonderful temples, stupas and other monuments of Bagan and Mrauk U to old capitals such as Ava, to the pilgrimage oddities of Mount Popa and Mount Kyaiktiyo.
Despite their depressing recent history of stupid, wasteful socialist and then military rule and at times vicious oppression, as well as warfare with dissident tribes in the east, the locals are (to foreigners, at least) sweet and charming and incredibly unspoilt. The hill tribes of the east and north live tough but still remarkably unchanged lives, with huge diversity from village to village, let alone between valleys.
To go or not: until recently, there were major issues with visiting Myanmar, as a result of the money and affirmation that the regime receives – with counter-arguments to the effect that money to the desperately poor locals and foreign contact is more important. These were well put in the 2009 Lonely Planet. But, with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the dabate has for the time being changed; she cautiously welcomes visitors coming to Myanmar.
Myanmar isn’t (as at 2013) an easy country to get to or travel in, although much is changing, and quickly: modern cars and lorries are now to be seen and flights are increasing, although the road system remains appalling.
So, Myanmar has things to fascinate everyone, children included. The variety of travel and tours you can make in Myanmar is as a result huge.