DON’T FORGET YOUR CAMERA WHEN VISITING MYANMAR!
It’s true to say that Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is a country in transition. Today this beautiful south east Asian nation is on the threshold of great change and finally it’s people have the opportunity to join the modern world. The change in regime, the release of Aung Sung Suu Kyi from house arrest and the relaxation of international and economic sanctions imposed, have had a positive effect on visitors in the recent years. However, there still is one major stumbling block for many potential visitors and that is the current plight surrounding the Rohingya people.
Who are the Rohingya? Over one million Rohingya people live in Myanmar and they reside predominately in Rakhine state, where they have existed uncomfortably alongside Buddhists for many decades. Rohingya people are Muslims, descendants of Persian or Arab traders, who came to the country generations ago and they speak their own language, similar to the Bengali dialect of Chittagong in Bangladesh. Sadly, they are seen by many in Myanmar as illegal immigrants and they suffer severe discrimination. In fact, the government treats them as stateless people and denies them citizenship.
What’s the problem? Every day in the news, we now hear stories of tens of thousands of Rohingya fleeing across the border to neighbouring Bangladesh, to escape the violence and tension in the Rohingya state. It’s hard to know exactly what’s happening but one thing is clear…people generally don’t move in such large numbers unless there is a reason!
Jonathan has just returned from a whirlwind 7 days/ 6 nights tour of Myanmar and he simply loved it. A land of so many sights, sounds and smells. 7 days was not enough and he would recommend at least 12 – 14 days… or more if time permits.
Myanmar’s key highlights tend to include Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake. Yangon, once known as Rangoon is the country’s largest metropolis and home to the awe-inspiring Buddhist monument of Shwedegan Paya. Mandalay, further north, is the cradle of Burmese arts, culture and civilisation. Bagan is famed for its 3,000 + temples dotted across 26 square miles and Inle Lake is renowned for its floating gardens and villages, based entirely on the water.
Discover the faded grandeur of numerous historic palaces, stumble across abandoned temples, trek to remote hill tribe villages or sail along the Irrawaddy. Myanmar is truly an intrepid explorers dream and you really have to go now ….before it becomes just another globalised nation. Oh, and don’t forget to take a decent camera!
Tour East…Select Representation’s destination management company partner in Myanmar, works very closely with a number of reputable tour operators to bring you close to the action. Please do not hesitate to contact us to find out more.