Having never travelled solo and never visited a country that has a totally different culture to that here in the UK, I decided to throw myself in the at deep end and booked myself two weeks in Myanmar (or Burma as it used to be known) in November 2015.
I spent my time there visiting the main tourist hotspots - Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake. Two weeks just wasn't enough time though - there was so much to see and do everywhere I went.
Yangon (the former capital) offered a great insight into city life and you could immediately see how quickly the country is changing as it opens up. Brand new towers where being constructed everywhere - right amongst the old colonial buildings, beautiful green parks and Buddhist temples & pagodas such as Shwedagon Pagoda.
The ancient city of Bagan was just magical. There are well over 2,000 Buddhist temples and pagodas to explore in the Bagan plains - some of which you can climb to get beautiful views at sunset. Hiring an e-bike to get around the dusty dirt tracks meant discovering places the tourist busses miss.
Mandalay is the second largest city and is the economic and religious hub of upper Myanmar. Climbing the 790ft Mandalay Hill was well worth it for the amazing views over the city at sunset. It is also home to the worlds oldest and longest teakwood bridge - U Bein Bridge.
Inle Lake located up in the hills of the Shan State is the highest and second largest lake in Myanmar. Taking a boat trip around the lake to see local life was fascinating - and combined with the gorgeous backdrop of the Shan countryside made it one of the most beautiful places I've been.
There is so much I could say about my experiences - from the sights & smells of everywhere I visited to the amazingly welcoming Burmese people - it's just too much to put into a blog post - so feel free to ask me questions via Twitter (@gbuckingham89).
Please check out the photos from my trip on Flickr:
- Myanmar Photos: Yangon
- Myanmar Photos: Yangon Zoo
- Myanmar Photos: Bagan
- Myanmar Photos: Bagan to Mandalay Ferry
- Myanmar Photos: Mandalay
- Myanmar Photos: Inle Lake
Or watch some short video clips on YouTube: Myanmar travel video clips.