Perhaps better known by its old name, Burma, this is a country that conjures up the romanticism of colonial days, the beauty of an ancient civilisation’s architectural legacy, and more recently, harsh oppression by a military regime. We had four weeks to explore. Here's our brief guide to the highlights of Myanmar.
We take a three day trek through the remote highlands bordering Laos and China as part of a UN funded sustainable tourism project. It's a part of Laos that largely managed to ignore the 20th century, which is exactly why we're there. We stay with Akha and Black Thai families, sharing their accommodation and, sometimes unfortunately, their diet.
One of Japan's oldest festivals, Kyoto's Aoi Matsuri came around in May. It dates back to the 6th Century, when legend has it that offerings to the gods bought relief from fierce storms. Today, around 600 people parade through the streets in Heian period costume, visiting the Shimogamo and Kamigamo shrines. They wear the hollyhock flowers that give the festival its name.
Possibly the most important date in the Quechua calendar, Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun is celebrated at the winter solstice. The week long festival culminates in a ceremony at Sacsayhuamán, the Inca fortress that overlooks the city. In Inca times it was presided over by the Great Inca, the descendant of the Sun. These days it's an elected representative.