Burma is definitely worth a visit. I have gone there 3 times, once in 1975, once in 1982 and once in 1991. These were the days of one week visas only plus one could only visit Rangoon, Mandalay, Pagan, Maymo and Inle Lake in the Shan States. Burma, at that time was very primitve (backward) but the people were quite friendly though desperately poor. I had one flight attendant from the Kachin State ask me to marry her to get out of the country, and one manger of a posh hotel in Rangoon who wanted to get him out of there.
At that time, one brought in a bottle of Johnny Walker Red, 555 cigarettes, Johnson's baby powder and ball point pens. Normally, you were stopped at the Rangoon airport by high-ranking army officials and offered enough money in kyats to pay for your trip. Sometimes you could make more by holding onto your stuff and selling it in Mandalay.
With all of the Chinese investment in Burma, I would think things have changed a lot. Mandalay was a quaint Burmese city before, now I have heard it is a Chinese city.
Now you can venture into the Shan, Kachin and other states. The reason why Mae Sai and other places in the Shan State will have a familiar feeling to it is that they are populated by Shans, who are Tai Yai. Their language and culture is the same as northern Thailand. The region used to be under the control of Chiang Mai for many centuries. By the way, the sip-song-panna region of Yunnan, China and the Ahom area of Assam in India are also culturally northern Thai.
The people were very friendly. I expect Burma to open up in the near future, and it would be fertile ground for retirement. For the moment, however, don't treat the women there like you (many farang ex-pats and tourists) do in Thailand.
The Shwedagon and Sule Pagodas are must sees in Rangoon, and Pagan is great for history. Go to see the 'tit' pagoda in Sagaing, across the river from Mandalay. Maymo is a former hill resort for British civil servants and is still serviced by horse-drawn stagecoaches.
'pho yu pho kin'