As Burma’s reforms open up politically and economically, so does it appeal among foreign tourists seem to rise. With visitor restrictions lifted and the country firmly in the international spotlight, tourism is taking off. One million people visited Burma last year and 15 percent increase in visits is expected in 2013.
In a further sign of the country’s growing tourist popularity, virtualtourist.com—a popular, free travel website featuring user-contributed travel guides—chose Burma recently as one of its “Top 10 Places off the beaten path” for 2013.
The Irrawaddy has put online a selection of photos of Bagan, an ancient city that flourished between the 9th and 13th century. Some 2,000 temples remain scattered among the arid hills of central Burma today.
Virtual Tourist travelers wrote about Burma:
Burma has been added to many travelers’ wish lists in the last year after the nation held elections and U.S. political leaders visited the Southeast Asian country.
While the destination just recently appeared on the general public’s radar, Virtual Tourist members have been traveling and enjoying the country for years.
In Rangoon, visitors will find the Shwedagon Paya known to be the most sacred of all Burmese temples with a golden stupa that can be seen from miles away.
Members did note that the complex is filled with things to do and see, and it can be a bit overwhelming so make sure to allow at least half a day to explore the site.
Farther north, the Mandalay division showcases some of the country’s other types of structures such as the teak temple and also hosts great views from atop Mandalay Hill.
Members frequently visited the temples and pagodas of Bagan noting that the Shwesandaw Paya is the best viewpoint of the temples and sunsets in Bagan.
The other nine destinations selected for Virtual Tourist’s Off the Beaten Path Top 10 are Chile, Norway, Romania, and Ecuador’s Galapgos Island, the Chinese city Shanghai, Sri Lanka, Iceland, Zambia’s Victoria Falls and Antarctica.