1. Now is a good time to go to the nation surrounded by Thailand, India and China. Recent reforms moving towards full democracy and the opening up for tourism means you can be one of the trailblazers.

  2. Next tip is when to go. Not in the monsoon season, or in the heat wave before the summer rains. Plan on going between November and March, when the temperatures are cooler and there is no or little rain.

  3. Figure on spending around 10 days to two weeks in Myanmar to make the Big Four destinations – Yangon, Mandalay, Inle Lake and Bagan. Transport apart from internal flights is slow, roads are rough, train tracks warped, boats take all day.

  4. Get your visa in advance, as there is no visa-on-arrival except for business travelers into Yangon. Myanmar tourist visas are issued at embassies and consulates around the world, or in Bangkok at the Myanmar consulate (two days service).

  5. How to get there. Currently you must fly in to Myanmar. Most visitors get flights in from Bangkok, Singapore or Kualar Lumpur. It is possible to go overland from China's Yunnan province, but you need permits and it is expensive.

  6. Leave behind your mobile phone and laptop. Your cellphone won't work in Myanmar, and few places have wifi. While there are internet cafes with slow connections, enjoy being 'out of contact' for a short time. Write a journal instead, or talk to fellow travelers or locals.

  7. Bring all your funds in USdollars. Make sure all your notes are recently minted, unmarked, uncreased – basically in perfect condition as if they were printed yesterday. Half you need for hotels and transport, the other half you convert into local currency.

  8. With no ATMs and nowhere to cash traveler's cheques, head to the new government currency exchange in Yangon where half a dozen banks will exchange your USdollar (or Euros or Singapore dollars) for the local kyat. Currently 1US$ = 815 kyats.

  9. With bricks of local currency and some USdollars, make sure you don't miss Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, the one-legged boat paddlers on Inle lake, the temples of Bagan, and the ancient towns around Mandalay.

  10. Book in advance, particularly if you visit in the winter, the busy season, where some accommodation and activities are totally booked out in advance. Use a travel agency like Slow Burma Travel or phone when you arrive to secure rooms. Also be aware that prices have increased up to 50% in the last year, so don't rely on Lonely Planet prices.

  11. Support local communities by staying in family-run guesthouses, eating where locals eat and staying away from the bigger tourism operators who have links to the former military regime.

  12. Respect locals and their culture. Pay particular attention when visiting pagodas and temples – dress modesty (no shorts, no skimpy clothing). And before you snap people's photo, ask first, or at least engage with the subject. Myanmar is not a zoo.