Myanmar, an intriguing land hidden from the world for so many years is revealing herself slowly to visitors. A country that tempts travelers with its rich culture, ancient temple ruins, golden stupas and warm welcoming locals.
As a curious travel addict I couldn't resist visiting to witness for myself the mystical wonders of Myanmar. Yangon, the former capital is the place where I lay my hat while on a mission to nail down the best of the best places to stay.
Amid the bustling streets, people and traffic there is a cool colonial vibe to Yangon and there is no better place to experience this than at Sule Shangri-La, the first stop on my journey. Situated in downtown Yangon in a pocket of calmness surrounded by huge colonial buildings, Sule Shangri-La impressed with its modern luxury and timeless class.
Venturing from the luxury confines of the hotel, strolling the area was enlightening exploring the street food vendors, shops and markets, discovering something new around every corner.
Next on the agenda is The Strand Yangon, a highlight of the trip, a true icon of the city that stands strong after so many years. There is something very special about this place, full of history and so refined. The legendary afternoon tea at The Strand is an exceptional experience, transporting you far from the reality of life just outside the door.
Another historic landmark on my hit list is Belmond Governor's Residence, a traditional teak mansion with a unique personality of its own. The gardens and pool are beautiful, and the proud peacocks strutting around say it all, this really was a home of noblemen and grandeur.
I took time from hotel hunting to seek out a local charity in need, the Mary Chapman School for the Deaf. Upon arrival, expecting to visit around 30 children, I soon discovered there were almost 400 students here. Impressed with the work and aware of the shortfall of basic needs Mary Chapman School for the Deaf is now one of the selected charities in the LuxuryHunt Give Collection.
A few surprise properties came my way while in Yangon, tipped by those in the know. Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon has a beautiful new lobby lounge and feels a world away from the hub of downtown in a leafy area by the park and famous Shwedagon Pagoda. The Loft Hotel Yangon also made the collection for its edgy hip design, not something you would expect to see here, almost feels like it is in the wrong place.
Before continuing to Laos, I soaked up the ambiance of the Bogyoke Market and headed to the famous Shwedagon Pagoda for an amazing sunset photo shoot. By the end of the trip I picked the five top hotels in Yangon to kick off the Myanmar collection and promise to return soon to discover more destinations in this intriguing country.