Country of Burma now known asLand Burma now known as
Burma (Myanmar) Questions & Answers then and now
In the past, the well-trodden road characteristic of Central-Southeast Asia was made up of four states. Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia were the way for many newcomers to Asia, who all travelled by road on a relatively easy approach. Today there is another Myanmar, also known as Burma.
The first Myanmar was opened to the public in 2011, but for six years many things have been changing. In 2012 I went there and on my journeys I encountered a group of TWO West German backpack tourists, mainly local tourists. I was traveling with a boyfriend, but even then it was seldom that someone dared to jump on the trodden track.
Burma is not your usual destination for the remainder of Southeast Asia in regard to the welfare community, which is designed for travelers. It was fascinating that many of those I had talked to in Asia this trip had almost always included Myanmar in their itineraries. It would be possible to ask any of these guys what their experience was, but it would take a certain spirit to finally make me connect with travelling.
It is a spirit so keen on the oddities and the unfamiliar end of the journey that it corresponds to my own destinations. It was Emma Ray Steuer who chose to go to Myanmar in 2017, so I chose to report on the difference between my experiences in 2012 and her experiences in 2017. So, you know I've been following your recent trips to Myanmar quite closely, can you summarize your experiences?
I' had an amazing break in Myanmar! Although I am sure there are many more backpacker tourists than in 2012, it is still much less satisfied with the tourist industry than any other country I have been to in Southeast Asia, which has made it a much more genuine and original travelling adventure for me.
Although Myanmar is becoming increasingly tourist and more and more travelers are hopping on the boat to do some of the traditional trails, the trek was still much better than in other lands, with fewer Westlers nearby, great host families in country towns and astonishing leaders. When I went to Myanmar, it was a different place.
At the beginning of my journey it was hard, because there are not so many single backpack tourists and most of them drive different itineraries. But although I often only spent a few days with others, I would meet many travelers who had a very similar attitude to mine, and they were thrilled to get the most out of traveling.
There were no Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake lodges in 2012, are there any now and what are the name? Ostello Bello is the name of the major pipeline that opened during the year, and I think she has really learnt to capitalise on the new backpacker flow in Myanmar.
Remaining at her new home in Nyaung Shwe (Inle Lake), I had a great day doing free rooftop yoga, cycling with her co-workers to the nearby vineyard and bonding with other people. Although not so much money left, it is still quite high for Southeast Asia. Bagan, Inle and other places are generally more affordable and cost at least $15, but if you browse Agoda and Booking.com or just run around the city, you can definitely find less costly choices.
Bagan, for example, is probably the most costly place to stay, but I found a New Bagan cot for only $10! Just mention Bagan, apparently there's a whole hot-air baloon madness, right? Yeah, they' re going nuts for those hotshots! Even though I'm sure it's an unbelievable way to see all the remains there, actually going on a $400 ballooning trip is a hefty $400, so most packers (including me) go straight to various hangers and monitor from a distance.
It' really been a great experiance to find a place that isn't too full! Now you can motorcycle through Bagan to see every sanctuary? Yes, while the state does not allow normal motorcycles in Bagan, they have begun to hire out e-bikes or electromotorcycles. Like most other places in Southeast Asia, you can take a bus back and forth between towns via the Youth hostel or a tourist office.
Okay, we had to blend in with the natives back then, which was a great one. Talking of indigenous influence: Are the Myanmar tribe still the most friendly in the run? From at least the lands I've been to, the Myanmar tribe still seems to be the most friendly!
There were no manifestations myself, but I think they were very nervous when I was there. However, I believe that travellers are protected from much of the conflicts in the countryside, as many areas are totally isolated from them. Are there any trade marks in and around Myanmar?
Really, I haven't seen many common trademarks, not even in Yangon! Anything else'Western' about Myanmar you want to say? Particularly in more touristic areas in Bagan and Nyaung Shwe there was more westerly eating than I had expected. All in all, however, I think they are still very isolated from Westernisation, which was part of why I love Myanmar so much - it has stayed genuine and faithful to Burma's civilization, despite the growth in tourist numbers.
So what was your most unusual one? The most unusual and probably my favourite part of this journey was my stay in Hsipaw, where more and more travellers began to go hiking in the uplands. There I stayed a whole 5 nights, inclusive a hike, and had a crazy day to move through the landscape and stay with the towns.
It was also the first hitchhiking with a huge 16-biker! Many first ones during my stay there, and Hsipaw really showed me another side of Myanmar, off the well-trodden paths. Well, thanks to Emma, you're experiencing it! Will you return to Burma and if so, where and why?
I' d return to Myanmar in a stroke. Burma is a huge land and after less than a months stay there, I need to see so much more! Trips to Myanmar? Do you need to take out tourist health cover? Covered2Go is one of the top-ranked UK tour insurers and offers cover for all types of activity and situation.
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