11 Best Countries For Americans To Hit By The End Of 2016


Why you should go: One of the world’s greatest gems largely unexplored by tourists, Myanmar has all the beauty, history, and centuries-old temples of its more-visited neighbors Thailand and Cambodia. But for now at least, it still has the feel of a place globalization forgot, visited almost exclusively by the adventurous backpacking crowd. The country’s first highlight is hitting street-food stalls to eat the Burmese national dish, mohinga – a complex, fish-based noodle soup that works for any meal of the day. The main draw – aside from the rarity and cultural immersion of being there in the first place – is getting to the rugged, mountainous north, or to the extraordinary archaeological region of Bagan. Home to the world’s greatest concentration of 10th- and 11th-century Buddhist temples, Bagan also has the perfect climate for hot-air ballooning. A sunrise or sunset balloon trip over the temples is one of the most spectacular and exhilarating views in the world.

Why you should go right now: Only in the past five years has Myanmar really opened its borders and society to outsiders, as a mostly democratic, mostly civilian government has replaced half a century of military rule. The country has already changed dramatically and the window is closing to see the place in its current under-touristed form. The trappings of easy tourism are still new: reliable Wi-Fi, cell coverage, new cars (and traffic jams), and tourist-oriented menus and markets. A few years ago, with most of the country closed to outsiders, even the major cities gave visitors the sensation of being watched by the government. Today, most of the country is open and welcoming the world, so hurry up and get there before the tour buses arrive.