A beautiful and culturally rich country cursed for decades with a brutally oppressive regime, Myanmar has in recent years been making headlines for its tentative steps towards democracy.

Following the removal of a fifteen-year tourism boycott led by the National League for Democracy (Myanmar's leading political opposition party) tourist numbers have swollen. It is now the perfect time to discover Myanmar's glittering golden stupas, bountiful rice fields, enigmatic ruined temples and picturesque mountain paths. Most memorable of all, though, are the encounters with people eager to introduce foreigners to their country and their culture. What remains to be seen is whether today's modest political reforms translate into lasting change.