Myanmar as you’ve never seen it before

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    Myanmar as you've never seen it before
    Myanmar as you've never seen it before

    Tourism in Myanmar is still in its infancy, yet this fascinating nation enthralls like no other in Southeast Asia. There’s no wonder why. With its glittering stupas, placid rivers, temple-studded plains and – above all – warm, welcoming people, this is a country that it’s hard to forget in a hurry.

    Myanmar as you’ve never seen it before

    Myanmar as you've never seen it before
    Myanmar as you’ve never seen it before

    We’ve just published our first ever guide to Myanmar, but we’re not the only ones captivated. Film-maker Ben McNamara recently toured Myanmar with Intrepid Travel and produced this beautiful, dreamily-shot film.

    Myanmar – The Golden Land shows the country through Ben’s eyes: “Warm smiles, gentle greetings & beautiful sights.” It’s our pick of the week.

    The friendliest country in the world

    Whether it’s a smile exchanged with a stranger, a quick chat with a tuk-tuk driver or a night out on the town with a group of newly made friends, interactions with local people often shape our view of a whole country. So which places offer tourists the warmest welcome? This list counts down the friendliest countries on Earth, as chosen by our readers on social media sites.

    A travel photographer’s dream

    Myanmar as you've never seen it before
    Myanmar as you’ve never seen it before

    Having visited Myanmar (Burma) a number of times since 2004, travel photographer Stephen Studd says it’s one of the best places he’s photographed in years. In this video he explains why Burma is so photogenic, and shares his travel photography tips below.

    Owner and tour leader of Digital Photography Holidays and with 24 years of experience in the industry, Stephen spends most of his time taking keen amateur photographers around the world, from Paris to Cambodia, helping them get the best our of their cameras and their trips. Here are his top five tips for capturing the best shots of your trip:

    • Lighting is key: dawn and dusk are what we call the golden hours in photography, they give the perfect light for a stunning photograph.
    • Good equipment is essential: while you can capture beautiful places on an iPhone these days, it can’t beat having a good DSLR and a range of lenses. My favourite is a Canon 24-70mm.
    • Make use of a tripod: for landscapes, my camera is almost always on my tripod for steadiness and straightness.
    • Use the rule of thirds: this means that if you place the main point of interest in one of those thirds, the eye will naturally be drawn to it and it makes the picture more visually pleasing.
    • Be culturally sensitive: you have to be aware of local customs and traditions, particularly when you’re photographing people – it’s important to ask permission before taking a portrait.