Just as we are getting ready for a southern Thailand trip, Derek Tonkin sent this about vacation travel in Myanmar. I think the tide is turning on tourism to Myanmar. In the recent past you might have been viewed anywhere from politically incorrect to a supporter of a brutal military government if you decided to take a vacation there. Derek refers to a quote from a recent Times Online article about whether you should travel to Myanmar:
“No, said Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s courageous opposition leader, in the 1990s when the junta began admitting tourists because it was so desperate for foreign currency.
Yes, with certain provisos, said every diplomat, aid worker, opposition politician, monk and Burmese citizen that we questioned. Circumstances have changed, they argued.”
Note that Aung San Suu Kyi made her statement in the 90’s. It is less certain what her opinion would be at this time.
Two years ago at this time Sue and I spent nearly a month there on two separate trips. One of these lasted 14 days and cost us $910 each. Ordinarily from the U.S. you would pay an additional $1200 + $250 for round trip flights to Bangkok and from there round trip flights to Yangon. It would have been $720 if we could have gotten our group of seven up to ten people. This included our guide, tour bus all the time, one in country flight, boat transport on the river, various horse carriages, etc. It also included breakfast. The other meals were great and did not cost much.
In include a few pictures from that trip out of thousands. I just could not stop. Here is a video of a wedding we crashed south of Yangon. Our guide just happened to see it in a village square as our bus was passing by. They had no problem with us except that we had to stay for pictures with the bride and groom and their families.
The Ultimate trip? Sue and I have traveled to many places and had some great times. I cannot place any of those trips above that one. It’s easy to go. You can get a round trip to Bangkok on any of the internet ticket sites. If you cannot get the Bangkok to Yangon flights easily from the U.S. you can try through the Bangkok agency that I use. Ask for Bill. Finally, to arrange the travel in Myanmar I recommend Exotissimo in Yangon. I would not be surprised if the agency mentioned in the Times article uses Exotissimo for their Myanmar arrangements’.
While you will not need to get a visa to get into Thailand you do need one for Myanmar. Ask Exotissimo about their visa on arrival service. At fifteen dollars it is the only way to fly.
I encourage you to go. I do think the tide is turning. At present, in tourist terms, Myanmar is “unspoiled”. Translation: the economy is so bad and the people so poor that there has been little new construction since the British left after WWII and the people still live like they did hundreds of years ago. Enough tourism and engagement with the West will probably raise the economic level and allow for a bit more of a modern life style. Like maybe some medicine when their children get sick.
It is a great time to come to Myanmar. Help us spoil it.