From the Mahamouni Buddha in Mandalay to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, old Burma is a feast for the soul. “The Shwe Dagon,” wrote Somerset Maugham in 1930, “rose superb, glistening with gold, like a sudden hope in the dark night of the soul.” The ancient city of Bagan, which had over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monasteries at its zenith, dates back nearly a thousand years. Buddhism came to Burma in the second century BCE from Southern India and is still the bedrock of religion in this emerging country. If you want to discover Southeast Asia from a bygone era, visit Myanmar now and stop in at the Strand. The 1911 edition of Murray’s Handbook for Travelers in India, Burma, and Ceylon stated the Strand was the “finest hotel east of Suez”.
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