Most of northern Myanmar is closed to foreigners, largely due to the history of conflict between the army and ethnic militias in Kachin State. It most recently flared up in 2011 and the army has been accused, with good evidence, of atrocities including the torture and extra-judicial killing of civilians.

For tourists, this has meant some additional travel restrictions (such as blocking land or water routes to Myitkyina). Those parts of the north that can be visited, however, are safe and offer some of the country’s best opportunities to spend time with local people. One way to do this is to take a boat trip on the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River north of Mandalay around Katha and Bhamo, where long journey times and a scarcity of foreigners make it easy to get a sense of provincial life. Heading northeast from Mandalay instead, towards the Chinese border, treks from towns such as Hsipaw into the forested interior offer up the opportunity to stay in ethnic minority homes in traditional mountain villages.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Myanmar (Burma) features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

In Buddha's footsteps: 15 evocative pictures of faith in Myanmar

In Buddha's footsteps: 15 evocative pictures of faith in Myanmar

Buddhism has ancient roots in Myanmar, and its influence is all pervasive – arguably more so than in any other Southeast Asian country. Everywhere you go you …

28 Oct 2016 • David Abram insert_drive_file Article
12 photos that prove Myanmar (Burma) is most beautiful at sunset

12 photos that prove Myanmar (Burma) is most beautiful at sunset

Sunset is one of our favourite times of the day – it's an excuse to sit back, drink in hand and take in the scenery, whether you're high above your favourite …

23 May 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
9 tips for backpacking Myanmar (Burma)

9 tips for backpacking Myanmar (Burma)

In 2011, after 15 years of a tourism boycott to avoid aiding the oppressive military junta, Myanmar opened its doors to visitors. The country, now with a democr…

16 May 2016 • Helen Abramson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month