Officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, this is the second largest of South-East Asian countries and has borders with India (Arunachal Pradesh), Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. Burma has a long western coastline on the Indian Ocean and more specifically on the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. The country was home to a number of early civilisations, including the Burmans in the 9th century, and at around this time Buddhism became the predominant religion. The legacy of the many kingdoms and princely states, together with the influence of Buddhism, is that Burma has a wealth of fantastic archaeology, from the temples of Bagan to the amazing Schwedagon Temple in the capital, Yangon. Burma became a British colony in the 19th century, only gaining independence in 1948. Since then, the country's various ethnic groups have been involved in a succession of civil wars and military rule was imposed in 1962. The ruling military ‘junta' has had a shocking record on civil rights and for this reason the majority of travellers have avoided Burma on humanitarian grounds. However, in the last couple of years, the situation has changed. Reforms have been introduced, the pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest, a general election was held in 2010, the military junta was dissolved and a civilian government installed. As a result of this, Burma is now properly open to adventure tourism - and our advice is go now whilst the experience is fresh. As well as its ‘Golden Triangle' of popular attractions - Yangon, Inle Lake, Mandalay - Burma has the potential for trekking adventures in a number of areas, including north and east of the remote town of Putao. Adventure holiday options in Burma can be expected to develop considerably in the next few years.