There are not many beautiful places left in this world, where there aren’t a lot of tourists. And it makes sense; there is a reason places are crowded – because they are beautiful and great destinations to visit. If a place doesn’t have a lot of visitors, it’s probably not as nice. Very logic. Though there are still a few exceptions from this rule and Myanmar, or former Burma if you like, are one of those.
Being one of the world’s most secluded and isolated countries for many years it’s pretty obvious that things are a little different here. The former government didn’t want any interaction with other countries what so ever, whether it was about making business or letting foreign people visit. Some things they obviously could not keep out, such as importing cars and commodities like oil for energy. But besides that, this country has managed to run pretty much by itself. It can probably be discussed if that’s good or bad. It has been a dictatorship so democracy is pretty new here. Also, tourism is very new here. I struggle to find exactly when Myanmar opened their borders to visitors, but I’ve heard anywhere between 5-10 years ago.
With its rough history of dictatorship, isolation and civil war, it’s understandable that this country is poor, but I guess their future will be bright – or at least brighter. And for what reason? Tourism! Tourism and travel is a massive industry that’s getting bigger and bigger for every year, driven by peoples desire to travel and also by the fact that China (with about 1,4 billion people) are getting more and more people in the middle class which means they can afford to travel – and they eager to do so. So a lot of money from travelers will be spent in Myanmar from now on. It’s a beautiful and diverse country that easily is competitive to the other Southeast Asian countries like Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Here you have perhaps even more history, culture and architecture – in addition to paradise beaches which at the moment are so to say empty.
Once again, as so many times on my trip, I’m grateful coming from and living in Scandinavia. I would not say no corruption, but significantly lower, and there are also so many other things worth mentioning. Just to be able to breathe fresh air, have four seasons, no war and a social security system. Things we take for granted every day. The possibility to create your own life and pursue your dreams. A lot of research shows that if you are born poor (or rich) anywhere in this world, there is a big chance you will get poorer (or richer). In the western world this is just looser-mentality and an excuse for being lazy, but I do understand kids growing up in remote small villages here without electricity, education and contact with the rest of the world. They don’t exactly have the same possibilities as we do in the western world, where most people can get education and affect their life a lot more.
I’m not going to go into detail of where I went and what I did in Myanmar as I find those kind of articles extremely boring to write (and read). I prefer to tell my story, view, thoughts and anecdotes when I travel. Though, I can say this country has a lot to offer as a traveler. Amazing architecture, big busy cities, small cosy villages, paradise beaches and it’s very cheap and safe to visit. Since tourism is pretty new here the people are a lot friendlier than other countries, in my opinion. They don’t rip you off with higher prices, it seems like they just want to help you and make your stay as good as possible. And they smile, a lot.
After 6 weeks in inland Southeast Asia with about 35-40 degrees every day, I rounded off my Myanmar visit with 3 days at the ocean. There it was a little «cooler» with 30 degrees and a gentle sea breeze and of course the sea itself to cool down in. Sometimes things doesn’t always go as planned. I was supposed to go straight to Nepal to prepare for the trek to Everest Basecamp, but due to canceled flights I’m now off to Bangladesh for two nights and from there I will go to Kathmandu. Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is a so called «megacity» and it’s actually the 5th most populated city in the world and is said to be the most hectic one. Time will tell.