Myanmar and Burma are the same. They are just one enchanting Southeast Asian country with tens of pristine white-sand beaches and hundreds of ancient temples and pagodas. Learning how to get around Burma means getting around Myanmar cities and regions such as the following.
The city of Yangon is found in the lowlands region of Irrawaddy Delta. Formerly and more popularly known as Rangoon, the old capital, Yangon is still the largest and most economically and commercially important Burmese city. The city is littered with picturesque colonial structures and ancient temples. Another major city is Mandalay located in the central region of the country. It is a cool town on a hill with several historical and archeological treasures. The Western region is very picturesque for its mountains and lovely beaches along the Bay of Bengal. The northern and eastern regions, on the other hand, are home to many ethnic tribes and have not really been developed for tourism. Meanwhile, tourists make their way to the southern regions near Thailand to visit enchanting offshore islands.
Other than Yangon and Mandalay, the major Burmese cities are Naypyidaw (the new and current capital), Bagan (an ancient city that is best known for its centuries-old temples and pagodas), Kawthung (a beach town that is as lovely as Thai beaches), and Pyin U Lwin (cool highland town; former British colonial hill station).
Each of these cities has its own unique tourism appeal. The country exudes Eastern mysticism and extreme relaxation, which is why not many people mind enduring Myanmar’s muddy and potholed roads leading to its major attractions. The country is lacking in infrastructure, economic promise and political stability. Tourists are not allowed to see many parts of the country. There are restricted areas that have not been seen by the world, and who knows what natural wonders and beauties are still kept secret somewhere in Myanmar. For now, visitors must settle enjoying the places that are open to international tourism.
When getting around Myanmar by plane, tourists may book a flight with Air Bagan, Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways and the state-run Myanma Airways, which is least preferred for its poor safety record. Getting around Myanmar on land means driving through unpaved or poor quality roads; even some parts of the main highways have potholes. Although not in perfect condition, the roads leading to main tourist attractions are quite safe. Burma drivers are not as unmindful to traffic rules as those in other Southeast Asian countries. Major road accidents and fatalities are common during the night, and so motorists must take caution, and if possible avoid night trips.
Another form of transport is by train but the trains are old, slow, rickety, dirty and often delayed, although the trip from Mandalay to Pyin U Lwin is very picturesque. Getting around Myanmar by boat is also quite picturesque on board state-run or privately own river ferries.
Finally, clearly the coolest, most economical and most memorable ways getting around Myanmar is by bike or on foot. The best way to see the ancient attractions in Mandalay is on a bike rental, although biking is prohibited in Yangon. Walking is still the best way to really see a city. It allows tourists to visit and try out several stores and food joints. Pedestrians in Myanmar should take extra condition, though, since drivers do not normally yield to pedestrians even on designated pedestrian lanes.