Uncover Burma’s Cultural Treasures

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For many years, Burma’s ruling class had shunned the world, as the former military regime kept tight controls on its people, earning condemnation and sanctions from the global community. Recently however, this has changed in a dramatic way, as the generals that had formerly ruled with an iron fist realized that they could no longer disregard the will of their citizens to decide their own destiny, stepping aside to allow democracy to run its course.

This turn of events has opened up the country, prompting many of the world’s major nations to drop their blockades to trade with this underdeveloped Southeast Asian nation, and for many of the world’s traveling public to let go of their opposition to going to Burma, as the outrage that had triggered their self-imposed travel ban departed with the regime that triggered it.

It is this last point that has led to a massive increase in tourist arrivals over the past few years to Burma, and no doubt, you might be thinking of joining the flood of visitors into the region. If you do decide to make the trip, there are many cultural treasures that await you in the nation that is also known as Myanmar.

Here’s several to be aware of during your time of the Burmese travel trail…

Shwedagon Pagoda

After arriving in Burma’s largest city Yangon, you won’t have to go far to experience the first of many cultural wonders that you’ll experience during your time here. The Shwedagon Pagoda is a series of massive Buddhist stupas covered in gold leaf, and is considered to be the most sacred site in the entire country. It is where five lotus buds, it is told, popped up at the beginning of time to foretell the coming of five Buddhas, of whom the last one was the fourth.

Mandalay

While there is no one site that stands out as the marquee attraction in the northern city of Mandalay, it is a centre of learning for Buddhist monks, and thus, a great place to connect with this peaceful religion. The Royal Palace used to be where Burma was ruled back in the days when it had a monarchy, while the countless pagodas and temples within the Mandalay zone complex will impress you with everything from the world’s largest iron Buddha image, to a complex with 729 white stupas that contain fragments of an ancient holy book, to a monastery that survived the ravages of World War II in all its teak wood glory.

Bagan

With unimaginable amounts of brick Buddhist temples, some in ruins, some still standing, Bagan is home to the world’s largest concentration of temples. Get an elevated view and scope out the view for yourself with a DLSR camera, and you will wonder in amazement how more people don’t know about this wonder of the world.

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