Since the transition of power from military to civilian leadership in 2011, Burma has become an increasingly popular destination to visit. And for good reason. The country, which is 90 percent Buddhist, is home to thousands of unique and dazzlingly ornate temples and holy sites. Visit one of the most sacred and spectacular in the capital city of Yangoon: the 350-foot-tall Shwedagon Pagoda is covered in gold and topped with a jewel-crusted spire studded with over 4,500 diamonds.
Outside the capital, see the many Buddha sculptures of Bago, before heading north to float over the 4,000 sacred stupas on the plains of Bagan in a hot air balloon, or glide among the water lilies on Inle Lake in a narrow wooden boat, expertly rowed in the traditional manner by a paddler balanced on one leg.
In Mandalay, the country's second-largest city, walk across U Bein Bridge, the world's longest teak footbridge, before enjoying a traditional meal with lephet, a tea leaf salad. Take an hour trip across the Ayeyarwady River to Mingun to see the colossal, though never fully completed, temple scarred by dramatic cracks from an 1838 earthquake, and visit the beautiful Hsinbyume Pagoda, ringed by white, waved terraces.
Wherever you choose to go, be sure to pack your camera.