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Myanmar: A Nation Preserved in Amber

National Geographic Adventure picks the 25 best new outfitted trips.
Text by Bonnie Tsui  


Japan  |  Myanmar  |  Tajikistan and Afghanistan  |  Thailand  |  Tibet

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Go Active
Known as Burma before a long-standing military junta came to power in 1989, Myanmar is a country stuck in the moment: a pagoda-dotted landscape peopled with Buddhist monks clad in lungis (robes) and covered in thanaka paste to protect their skin from the sun. Myanmar has opened and closed its doors to international travelers for the past two decades, so tourism—one of the few businesses from which locals can profit—is limited. With its 2008 trip, Country Walkers is the sole operator offering a trekking-only itinerary exclusively within the state. Traveling with care, says guide Rachel Baker, helps ensure that your dollars benefit the local people, not the regime. A top-rated trekking outfitter, Country Walkers arranges trip logistics through privately owned local hotels, restaurants, and transportation companies. The ten-day trip includes stops in remote villages and monasteries reachable only by foot, enlisting local guides from Yangon (Rangoon) to facilitate visits to areas that are otherwise inaccessible. You'll be invited into villagers' homes to participate in Buddhist rituals, share a cup of tea or a meal, and try your hand at weaving or carving. Some parts of the country have only recently been opened to tourists, including the high hills and jungles surrounding Inle Lake, where fishermen work the tranquil, glassy waters. You'll travel by flat-bottom fishing boats to floating gardens and lakeside inns, and climb to ancient monasteries and empty temple ruins.

Vitals

Outfitter: Country Walkers (www.countrywalkers.com)

Price: $3,898

Length: Ten days

Departs: February, December

Japan  |  Myanmar  |  Tajikistan and Afghanistan  |  Thailand  |  Tibet

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