Take a puff from a hand-rolled cheroot, walk along red-earth dirt tracks and come nose-to-nose with the most incredible wildlife species. Rural Burma (Myanmar), still for the most part terra incognito to many travellers, is an off-the-beaten-track that boasts unspoilt natural beauty and unrivalled hospitality.
The mountainous Chin State in the northwest, on the border of Bangladesh and India, is where you’ll come across the Chin tribe, who sport distinctive face tattoos. There, you can also step back in time to the British colonial rule – see historic architecture and lush green plantations where you can enjoy a good brew in the traditional teahouses. Visit the old colonial railway line in hilly Pyin Oo Lwin, which also has a good vantage point of the undulating countryside. Another colonial attraction is Kalaw – a veritable melting pot of cultures, with pagodas, churches and Sikh temples are found next door to each other. Backpackers will love visiting Hsipaw in the Shan State which has gushing waterfalls, natural hot springs and mini payas scattered inconspicuously around.
Exploring the countryside on your Burma holiday will also reward you with beautiful, pristine and diverse landscapes to trek through and wildlife including Asian elephants, clouded leopards, water buffaloes, the endangered Burmese brow-antlered deer, several species of bears, including the sun bear, and giant monitor lizards. There are also some spectacular historical sites to discover, not least Mrauk U – the centre of the medieval Arakanese kingdom, where you can walk around ancient monuments and sacred pagodas.