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In the South/West, it enjoys the same beaches and Andaman Sea which has made its neighbour Thailand such a tourist hotspot - but it has a fraction of the visitors. It boasts the majestic Ayeyarwady River which starts in the Himalayas, cuts through richly wooded hills and down into a wide fertile valley which possess some of the most extraordinary and extensive temples and pagodas in the world. As it spills via a delta into the Andaman Sea, it is extraordinary that the journey of a river of its size and celebrity has taken place in one country.

The main cultural draw are the Buddhist temples and pagodas around Bagan and Mandalay and the extraordinary gold Shwedagon Paya in Rangoon and they do not disappoint but the further off the beaten track, the more the country surprises: hill tribes and cultures spill over as they have for centuries from neighboring India, China, Laos and Thailand. The years of isolation and the concentration of wealth in a ruling elite have meant that the economy and infrastructure has been only partially developed despite the rich natural resources of teak, oil, gold and many other minerals. But the people you meet are amazingly open, friendly, proud and unbowed and tourism is still in its infancy.