Journey to Myanmar
Decades of military rule kept Myanmar off most travelers’ lists until a few years ago, when the regime began to loosen its grip. But many problems remain. In the past few weeks, thousands of Rohingya — a Muslim minority — have fled persecution in western Myanmar. The situation has escalated into an international emergency and underscores Myanmar’s poor record in dealing with ethnic minorities. Tourists are kept away from areas of conflict, so most visitors to Myanmar will not see the full picture. But after years of isolation, the country is now more accessible than ever, and travelers can experience for themselves what life looks and sounds like in this complex nation.
The ruins of Bagan are remnants of the Kingdom of Pagan, which peaked between the 11th and 13th centuries and united what would become modern Myanmar. Thousands of Buddhist shrines and temples stud the heat-shimmering plains. A few of the monuments are as big and grand as cathedrals, while many are smaller and shoddier than sheds. Inside each, a Buddha sits in shadow.
By Scott LaPierre, Elaina Natario, Russell Goldenberg, Gabriel Florit