After decades of brutal misrule, “Burma” is undergoing something of a renaissance. Dense jungle, exotic wildlife and a spiritual heart are just some of the attractions which lie along this stretch of coastline, which also happens to be home to some of Asia’s most breathtaking sights. Getting there involves a 4-hour jeep ride through winding jungle roads from Thailand’s resort of Phuket to Ranong, and this journey is an experience in itself. Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Mandalay” depicted a young British soldier’s yearning for Asia’s exoticism – compared to the dampness and coldness of the climate and convention back home. As Myanmar tentatively opens its doors to the world, this land is as beguiling as ever. The Mergui Archipelago consists of 800 deserted islands which make up a 14,000 square mile yachting paradise. This area is totally undeveloped – challenging in some ways, but most of today’s larger yachts are self-sufficient enough to ensure total comfort for at least a week or two in these isolated parts. The reward is white beaches backed by palm trees and dense jungle, and the possibility of not seeing a soul apart from the odd fisherman. With only a handful of diving boats allowed access each year, the marine life is pristine. You’ll have it all to yourself.

Why not take a hot air balloon over the ancient city of Bagan, take an elephant ride through the jungle in search of the elusive tiger, or kayak through shallow lagoons, jungle canopies and mangrove channels.

While visiting, be sure to visit the golden Shwedagon Pagoda, one of Asia’s most amazing Buddhist shrines and keep an eye out for the very shy Moken Sea Gypsies.

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