ABOUT Burma (Myanmar) sits at the crossroads of Asia’s great civilisations of India and China, and looks out onto the vast Indian Ocean next to Thailand. One of South East Asia’s largest and most diverse countries, Burma stretches from the sparkling islands of the Andaman Sea in the south right up into the Eastern Himalayan mountain range. To this day Myanmar remains one of the most mysterious and undiscovered destinations in the world. A land of breathtaking beauty and charm yet only recently emerging into the modern world. What can the casual visitor therefore expect upon arrival, and why should one embark on such a journey in the first place? Myanmar offers all the traditional delights of Asia in one fascinating country. Virgin jungles, snow-capped mountains and pristine beaches, combined with a rich and glorious heritage spanning more than two thousand years. Spectacular monuments and ancient cities attest to a vibrant culture that is still home to 135 different ethnic groups.

Wherever you go in Myanmar, whether it be cruising down the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River in style, drifting over the ancient city of Bagan by hot air balloon, or searching for that elusive tiger on the back of an elephant, there is always a feeling of adventure. With two modern internal airlines upgrading and expanding their networks, new and exciting destinations off the beaten track are gradually being opened. From mountain trekking and rafting in the far north to world class diving in the Mergui Archipelago. But above all, Myanmar offers the warmest welcome in Asia.

CLIMATE Burma has three seasons, the cold season--October through February, with average temperatures of between 20-24'C. The hot season--March through May with average temperatures of between 30-35'C. The wet season--June through September with average temperature between 25-30'C. Yangon normally receives early morning and afternoon showers while rainfall in Bagan and Mandalay is very low. The weather around Inlay Lake and Shan State is quite pleasant all year round, but cold at night from December to February. Myanmar can be visited all year round.

BEWARE There is a high threat from terrorism. If you are visiting or are resident in Burma, you should exercise caution in public places and ensure that you are comfortable with, and regularly review your own and your family's security arrangements. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. There are no accurate crime statistics, but anecdotal evidence suggests that muggings, burglaries and petty thefts in Rangoon have increased as the economic situation has deteriorated. Expatriate homes and hotels have been targeted in the past. You should take extra care of your belongings. There have been occasional instances of violent crime against foreigners. Take sensible security precautions at all times. You must exit Burma at the same border crossing from which you entered, and Burmese immigration officers may request to hold your passport until your visit is complete. Do not attempt to cross any border illegally or enter restricted areas without the appropriate permissions from the Burmese authorities. The Ministry of Hotels, Tourism and Sport maintains a list of approved destinations. Tourists can visit Rangoon, Mandalay, Bago and Irrawaddy regions without restrictions. Other destinations are subject to limitations: access by air or train but not by road. Queries on permission should be directed to the Burmese authorities. Be particularly vigilant if travelling to border areas. .

Land mines also pose a threat in conflict areas. You may only go to officially designated tourist areas. You need prior permission from the tourism authorities for treks to remote parts of the country. However, tourists have experienced difficulties with the authorities even after obtaining such permission.