The Golden Land !
>> Description ? Also called the Land of the Million Temples, Myanmar is fast becoming a backpacker's favorite, thanks to its friendly people and great culture.
>> Why go there ? Count the number of temples and turn Buddhist / Exchange ideas with the interesting locals / Spend some money on the people / Chek by yourself the living standard of the population / Meditate / Isolate yourself from the tourist crowd / Breath authenticity / Relax / Grow opium in the South ?
>> Drawback ? The military regime and its full scale propaganda / The internet ban / The restricted areas : you are not allowed to see it all... / The tourists who spend money straight on the government / The bureaucracy / The entrance fees in big dollars / The need to fly to visit /
>> Cultural Highlights ? The great ruins of Bagan or Mrauk U / The ancient cities of Mandalay / Any discussion with any local / The colonial architecture
>> Natural Highlights ? Inle Lake / The beach of Ngapali / The wilderness around Pyin U Lwin / Probably the areas off access : mountains in the North, exotic beaches in the South...
>> How long ? One month is enough for a good circuit of the open area. More would not hurt...
>> Budget ? Count on US$7-10 per day for a correct room if you eat at food stalls. Then add the cost of the flight (from US$120 return from Bangkok).
>> Visa ? Required. Bangkok's Burmese Embassy is the best place to get the basic 28 days visa : B800 (US$20), ready in the afternoon.
>> When to go ? To avoid the crowd between December and February, I would recommend the hot season from March to May (most of the GH have air conditioning) or just after the rainy season from October.
Update (Nov 01) : the unofficial rate is now K650-700 per dollar (from K350). Most of the prices expressed here in local currency are therefore likely to have doubled.