The political situation in Burma, officially known as Myanmar, has long made it a questionable destination, but the government has shifted in recent years and this amazing country has been fully sanctioned for travel. And what a rare opportunity it offers for those wanting to explore in peace, because hordes of tourists have yet to arrive. The people of Burma are gentle and charming, eager to engage with visitors and the world at large. The ancient wonders of “The Golden Land” are still intact here, and Western travelers—even the most seasoned—will be dazzled. An intriguing mix of British, Chinese and Indian influences are at work here. This is a land of revered Buddhist holy men, of gilded pagodas and the stilt-house villages of Inle Lake. Cruise on the Ayeyarwady River, taking in everyday life along the banks all the way to Bagan. Once there, ascend in a private hot air balloon to soar over more than 2,000 pagodas, stupas and temples dotted across the golden plains. Venture further afield to see the medieval ruins of Mrauk-U, the natural splendors of Putao and the tribal people of Kengtung. In the capital of Yangon (formerly Rangoon), streets lined with colonial architecture boast outdoor food vendors and open-air markets selling the sparkling fresh produce, herbs and spices that anchor the country’s bright and flavorful cuisine. With its many charms, there’s no wonder this is the land that so beguiled Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham.