British colonial buildings remain, juxtaposed with vibrant markets and innumerable stupas as devout Buddhists seek to make merit. Broad infectious smiles will line whichever route you choose. Having been shielded from view by an oppressive regime for decades, little has been known of Burma and headlines have rarely been positive. As a rich melting pot of diverse ethnic tribes there have always been tensions, which have shaped an extraordinary past. We can still find heavily tattooed faces in the western Rakhine State, horse-back processions as boys enter the monkhood in Mandalay and it is not uncommon to stumble across a colourful Lisu wedding in the eastern Shan State.