Posted by: David Stewart | April 4, 2009

Myanmar capsule

My wife Deb and I just got back from 11 days in Myanmar (aka Burma) with a couple of days on either side in Thailand.  Some high points:

  • The hot season there, means almost no tourists, anyplace.  Yes, it was a bit warm, but I loved never needing to experience cold feet!
  • The trip was pretty cheap, since we use frequent flyer miles to get free tickets to Bangkok.  Food, lodging and transportation are all cheap there.
  • Although Myanmar has a government with a terrible human rights record, we were not hassled by the government at all.  No searches of our luggage, no presence of a “tail” like we had in our last visit in 2006.
  • People in the government or strongly connected to the military have a strong business presence. Airlines, hotels, restaurants.  But it’s possible to avoid almost all of these businesses and maximize all dollars with local people.  We did this as much as possible.
  • We had an interesting series of encounters with someone we suspect was a retired CIA agent. Or maybe not so retired.
  • The trip was about half relaxation and half adventure/exploration. For relaxation, we spent several days at an isolated beach resort swimming, sunning and reading.
  • For adventure, we took a boat trip through the jungle to an ancient capitol on rounded hills with old pagodas with twisty passages and ancient carvings.
  • Kids, everyplace, were incredibly friendly and interested. Usually calling out “bye bye” or “hello!”
  • It’s definitely a plus to travel with someone who speaks Burmese (my sister), you get treated differently.  But it might have been nice to go with English only.
  • As poor as they are, the people were not begging at all, except in one place where there are a lot of refugees from Bangladesh.
  • Almost no tourists, did I say that?

More photos and comments coming up.

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Responses

  1. The CIA agent sounds like a good story…

  2. Ah yes, the Company Man. Coming up in a future post! It was a great running joke for a good part of our trip.

  3. Just because you didn’t notice the tail…I didn’t notice mine until I had trouble with the gate!

    If you’re young (and separated by a small lake) the boys may even be so bold as to shout things like “I love you!”.

    *sigh* Now I miss Burma even more…

  4. What’s not to love? 🙂

    I was surprised at the number of women we saw with purple hair in Myanmar – hair dying appears to be big there. You’d fit right in!


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