Imagine a country of stunning landscapes. Snow-capped mountains, lush tropical forests, magical lakes, mighty rivers, and untouched beaches. Add in glittering pagodas, elegant buildings, and archaeological sites, and the image you have is of Myanmar. For decades, Myanmar isolated itself from the world. Formally Burma, the country endured a torrid history. Empires rose and fell. Military dictatorships came and went. Foreign tourists were forbidden from entering Myanmar. All that changed in 1992 when Myanmar opened its door to visitors. Finally, “The Golden Land” is waiting for intrepid travelers to explore its beauty and tranquility.

01Shwedagon Pagoda

shwedagon pagoda yangon myanmar Mlenny / Getty Images

Towering above Yangon is the oldest Buddhist pagoda in the world. No trip to Myanmar is complete without visiting the magical Shwedagon Pagoda. The huge central stupa is covered in real gold and topped off with rubies and diamonds. It’s a truly dazzling sight to behold. Legend has it that entombed within Shwedagon Pagoda are eight strands of hair from the head of Buddha himself. This 2,500-year-old building has survived wars and political turmoil to remain a symbol of pride for the people of Myanmar.