The president of Burma, Thein Sein, is in the United States and will visit the White House today. This is significant because it is the first Burmese leader to do since since 1966 . President Obama’s visit to the Southeast Asia country in November was the very first by a U.S. sitting president!
Because of this new relationship, Burma is a hot ticket for travelers these days!
Decades long sanctions have been lifted against Burma – so travelers are clamoring to visit the region before it is overrun with American fast food chains. (Warning though – some don’t agree with the sanctions being lifted and argue that Burma still has a lot to do in the way of human rights and preventing ethnic violence.)
American businesses are dying to get a piece of the 60 million Burmese…. and change is coming fast. In the two years that the civilian govt has been in place and some sanctions lifted, Ford is opening a car dealership this summer, Coca-Cola will be on the streets, and Hilton is working on a hotel among other things
So now is a good time to go if you want to see it while still pure. But – just know, the infrastructure is pretty primitive compared to other Asian countries.
I visited last year…. and blogged about it. But Burma is still a hot topic and I wanted to post again, because you will surely be hearing more and more about it – especially with the president of Burma in the US today.
I was lucky enough to travel around Burma by sailboat along the coast and through islands.
I never saw another tourist, and there are very few hotels.
The water was beautiful…
and we encountered many local villages on the water…
and local fisherman to whom we brought gifts.
It was a trip of many water sports.
But you can also visit by land. It is a spiritual place, with many temples.
Burma is not the cleanest of countries… and hotels aren’t four star by any means. But strangely enough, you are still required to take off your shoes upon entering some temples.
The markets revealed the low standard of living.
Most tourists visit the magical town of Bagan in the Mandalay region…. known for its more than 2000 spiritual temples. I’d like to go there some day. And, if possible, before there is a Starbucks on every street corner. But change is a coming… and fast!
I wouldn’t bring my kids because I can’t say I would feel comfortable in a medical emergency. I’d highly recommend an organized tour if you want to go. They are more and more available – another sign of the times in Burma.