06 Oct Land of palaces, pagodas & rubies
Myanmar is one of the last countries of Asia which is still largely unexplored by western tourists. Located between India, China and Thailand, the people of this enchanted land have developed a culture which has endured invasion and change by absorbing and taking the best from those around them and creating their own style and flair. Visitors to Myanmar will find much to discover and experience – from pristine natural regions to golden pagodas to relics from an ancient past. Some of the popular destinations include Old Bagan, an ancient city with over 2000 Buddhist sites; Yangon, a commercial hub and a city with many Buddhist pagodas and colonial architecture; Mandalay known for its palaces and pagodas; and Inle Lake, a picturesque Buddhist heritage destination.
Rubies from Myanmar or Burmese rubies are the finest in the world with colours ranging from pink to the much sought after pigeon blood red. Ruby, jade and other gemstones form an important part of exports out of Myanmar. The most famous area for Burma Rubies is the districts around Mogok in northern Burma and at Mong Hsu near Mandalay. According to industry estimates, Myanmar accounts for more than 90% of the global trade by value in rubies and is also the top producer of the most expensive variety of jade. However, civil rights violation issues have sometimes hit international trade in Burmese gemstones.