Will Burma Become A New Eastern Tourist Destination?
Is Burma Set To Become The Next Eastern Tourist Hotspot?
Could a change in government mean that Burma will become the latest hotspot for travellers to the East?
Although many may consider it an unlikely destination for a holiday abroad, Burma is growing in popularity. This is due largely to the pioneering backpacking fraternity who have unearthed some of the country’s hitherto unknown charms, and now the rest of the tourist industry is catching on fast.
This stunning country looks set to become more accessible than ever as the government has recently changed from military rule to democratically elected party. These elections were the first to be held here since 1990, and the newly elected National League for Democracy gained around 80 per cent of the hotly contested seats.
The NLD’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has promised changes for the desperately poor people of Burma, and it is hoped that tourism will pave the way to a brighter future for the Burmese.
What Does Burma Hold For The Traveller?
Burma in its current form will not appeal to everyone, but for those who are a little more adventurous and looking for something more than the ubiquitous beach and beer breaks, there are few better destinations. From lively cities such as Mandalay and Yangon (formerly Rangoon) through to the lush, thick jungle that plays home to some of the world’s most astonishing wildlife, there is never a dull moment here.
The Chindwin River weaves its way through the country, taking you deep into the Buddhist heartland. Each town here has its own smiling Buddha to greet you, and the adjoining pagodas are generally whitewashed or gold in colour. However, in the larger cities across Myanmar, the shrines are commonly adorned with far brighter colours in order to outdo their neighbours. Even flashing disco lights are not uncommon as they do battle for the gaudiest of tributes to the Nepalese sage.
It’s All About The Locals
If there is one thing that stays with visitors to Burma far after their trip has ended, it is the people. They are commonly engaging and the language barrier is not enough to stop them from trying to make conversation with any visitors to their part of the world.
As is so common in poor and underdeveloped countries, hawkers abound. However, you will never be sold to in a less offensive manner as you will in Burma. Their ever-cheerful demeanour will charm the kyat (the local currency here) from your pocket whether you like it or not.
International flights to Yangon, Nai Pyi Taw and Mandalay are available, but be aware that you will likely have to transfer at Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.
Discounted tickets are available online for those who are prepared to book in advance and there are especially good deals on offer if you choose the budget airlines that operate in the region for the final leg of your journey.
As with any foreign trip, travel insurance is strongly advised (always check that your broker covers the country you are visiting), and it’s also wise to check on the current security status before making any travel plans. You can find out more on the Foreign Office’s website.
So, if you have a little adventure in your heart and a love of good people and culture, a trip to Burma may be just the holiday you have been looking for.