Thilawa (Rangoon), Myanmar
Also known as Yangon, Burma’s former capital is a city of nearly five million people. Throughout its history it has been populated by a shifting mix of native Burmese and other Asians. Thanks to its long occupation by the British, it is also home to the largest concentration of colonial-period buildings in Southeast Asia. Today it is predominantly Burmese, and is still the commercial and (unofficially) political center of the country. Extended stays here allow you to explore the city’s most famous highlights, such as the towering, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, the National Museum and the truly huge reclining Buddha statue at Chauk Htat Gyi, plus participate in overnight excursions to the archeological riches of Bagan, with its 2,000 pagodas, temples and monasteries, or the cultural and artistic capital of Mandalay. Other options include a visit to a rural village, the Shwedagon Pagoda by night, a dinner performance of traditional Burmese dance and a day trip to the ancient Mon capital of Bago.