Getting Oriented

Myanmar (Burma) is Southeast Asia’s second-largest country (after Indonesia)—roughly the size of Texas. It’s bordered to the southeast by Thailand, the northeast by Laos and China, and the west by India and Bangladesh. Roughly a third of the country’s perimeter is gorgeous coastline along the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, a whopping 1,200 miles. Compared with neighboring Thailand, Myanmar’s coastline is undeveloped. A number of mountain ranges cut through Myanmar, running from the Himalayas north to south. The country has three rivers that are divided by the mountain ranges, and of them, the 1,348-mile Irrawaddy is the longest.

  • Yangon (Rangoon). The onetime capital of British Burma, Japanese Burma, and the country formerly and often still known as Burma, this is the country’s biggest, most bustling city.
  • Bagan. Along the sides of a dusty stretch of road, more than 2,000 11th- and 12th-century pagodas are waiting to be explored. Even with the surge in tourists, you can still find yourself alone among the stupas.
  • Inle Lake. Get a close insight into everyday life as you explore this picturesque lake by boat, stopping at daily markets, floating gardens, and golden pagodas.
  • Mandalay and Nearby. The dusty roads here belie Mandalay’s gems—the former royal palace, home to the last king of Burma, Mandalay Hill, and nearby hill station Pyin-U Lwin.

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