The Golden Experience
Most travellers to Burma, especially on the upscale end, rarely stray off the beaten path of the four most popular destinations: Mandalay, Bagan, Inle, and Yangon. They are fantastic locations, and have the best hotels and most modern services, as well as lots of amazing things to see and do. However, for those willing to get off the beaten track, there is an amazing opportunity for further exploration into Mon, Kayin and Hpa An, located in the east of the country, bordering Thailand. Here there are some wonderful new hotels, like Hpa An Lodge (though others lag behind this frontrunner), which we loved, and hopefully soon a few more to follow suit.
I had the privilege to spend a few nights out this way. It was a bit of a culture shock, especially as I arrived at the beginning of my trip. My phone didn’t work, internet was almost nonexistent, and even power would repeatedly fluctuate, sometimes off for hours at a time. All of this is worth it, though; the eastern part of Myanmar is a truly authentic and magical destination. Huge limestone mountains jut into the heavens, beautiful sacred caves abound, and the best part about many of these spots is that you probably won’t see other tourists. The incredible (and incredibly well-balanced) Golden Rock and the sights of colonial Mawlamyine are also not to be missed, and the train rides, kayaking, and stops in hidden villages make roughing it worth every minute. If it’s an adventure you’re looking for, we can help you find it.