Off the Beaten Track in Myanmar
As Myanmar continues to modernise, the trappings of globalisation are becoming more noticeable, especially in major cities such as Yangon and Mandalay. However, the countryside remains blissfully free of such distractions. Destinations like Rakhine and Chin States in the west and Kachin in the north see very little footfall and reward explorers with rugged scenery and unforgettable experiences.
Kaladan River, Myanmar (Burma)
Cattle herders on the alluvial plains that make up the banks of the Kaladan River on the way to Mrauk U from Sittwe in Arakhine State, Myanmar. Scenes of local people engaging in the same activities they have for hundreds (if not thousands) of years are common on the boat ride up the Kaladan River from the regional hub of Siitwe to the ancient Arakan ruins of Mrauk U. Very little has changed since ancient times with almost nothing in terms of modernization evident, which is perhaps a good thing since everyone you encounter on your journey has a a ready smile and a wave to offer!
Katha, Myanmar (Burma)
The small riverside town on the Irrawaddy River was the model for Kyauktada in George Orwell’s novel Burmese Days. Squint your eyes and you can imagine how things were in the era when Orwell resided here. There’s not much in the town itself, but it makes a pleasant pitstop for a couple of days between river rides.
One of the most accessible destinations in Chin State, Mt Victoria (Nat Ma Taung) is also one of the most alluring spots in the country. The mountain itself is, at 3053metres, Myanmar’s second highest and it stands amid a beautiful national park that is a prime spot for birdwatching. Try to visit in November when rhododendron season is in full swing.