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laos or myanmar

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1. Posted by chinx (Budding Member 53 posts) 9y

hi everyone!!!! i´m planing a trip in august and i ´ve got a doubt between laos or myanmar, any suggestions?
thanks

2. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Morally speaking, I would choose Laos.
Although, not morally speaking, both seem like fascinating countries. I would find it difficult to choose between them.

Mel

3. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 9y

Depends on how much time you have, but if you have at least 3 weekes to spare in the country itself, I would choose Myanmar.

4. Posted by Pati (Full Member 120 posts) 9y

I've never been in Laos but I can tell you Myanmar is amazing country and very cheap to travel around. Myanmar has Bagan Temples, if you are interested in ancients cultures you have to go there, Inle lake is also incredible!

Good luck!

5. Posted by ghostdog (Full Member 142 posts) 9y

Both are great, I spent a month in each. You definitely need time as travel is slow and painful (remember it's the journey...).

As for morality, if you spend consciously and try to avoid changing your money in FEC's(slip the airport person 5 $ and only change a little, change the rest on the street) you can minimize your contribution to the junta. Spend in local restaurants and buy your stuff from the markets. I personally believe isolation is not the answer the more that people see the country and its condition and the more the locals get exposed the others-the better. Myanmar is amazing and the local could use your $$$.

Laos is my personal fav in SEA.

Either way you are gonna love it!

6. Posted by Budai (Respected Member 506 posts) 9y

i dont think u need to change FECs anymore.

And i think isolation and ostracisation only leads to rogue states alienated form the international community. In this new age, i think soft power and diplomacy would prove to be a more effective device than isolation/sanctions, which has proven time and again to be a blunt negotiating tool...

Anyway, both places are intriguing, though i would pick Burma just to interact with the people which has gone through such political turmpoil. I not trying ot change your mind but i personally feel that you can always go to laos say 2 years later and things wont change that much, while in Burma im not so sure things will be the same 2 years later - and i hope it wont be the same. surely some democratisation is on the cards with ASEAN's pressure on her neighbour?

7. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Quoting itenerant

And i think isolation and ostracisation only leads to rogue states alienated form the international community. In this new age, i think soft power and diplomacy would prove to be a more effective device than isolation/sanctions, which has proven time and again to be a blunt negotiating tool...

I am not looking to argue, or to tell anybody not to go Myanmar, but I am eager to know more, about what it going on, so I want to ask u something itenerant. If we try to give the government, in Myanmar, as little as possibe, of our money, by shopping at the markets, and staying in particular guesthouses, what percentage of the money we spend would still goes to the government? With the visas and what we have not choice about might add up to a huge percentage. Isnt that just too disgusting? Wont a violent revolution eventually come about, if we dont put a squeeze on the government financially?

8. Posted by Budai (Respected Member 506 posts) 9y

I am not looking to argue, or to tell anybody not to go Myanmar, but I am eager to know more, about what it going on, so I want to ask u something itenerant. If we try to give the government, in Myanmar, as little as possibe, of our money, by shopping at the markets, and staying in particular guesthouses, what percentage of the money we spend would still goes to the government? With the visas and what we have not choice about might add up to a huge percentage. Isnt that just too disgusting? Wont a violent revolution eventually come about, if we dont put a squeeze on the government financially?

Hi Mel,

I think while the tourist dollars are significant as in they may support the regime, it is not the sole source of income for the regime. Deals with China and Thai companies, for example supplement this income. And how much of this trickles to the man on the streets - i think none. And in comparison, the tourist money is more likely to be passed on to the people. Thus, by stopping this flow of tourist dollars, one is more likely to affect, in my humble opinion, the masses, as a lot are employed in the informal sector that is hugely dependent on tourism, than the government. Im sorry if this sounds offensive, and runs contrary to Aung San Suu Kyi's wishes, but if i remember correct she did stated that visit us after the regime instated tourism year ( cant remember which ), as tourism conveys legitimacy to the government, but i see awareness, interaction with the outside world, and however little of our money going in to the people as a fair quid pro quo for legitimacy.

Afterall for Myanmar, legitimacy is afterall instated and conveyed by the military - tanks and guns and bullets, and not by the popular vote. Hence our not going is not and never going to change that and merely strangles the informal sector of the economy while leaving the government unaffected, as they do have alternate sources of income.

I am sorry if i appeared offensive, but that is merely my point of view. And of course that are others that are better and more correct than mine....

Sorry that was a long post, got carried away. If this appears like rambling, pls excuse me. My apologies

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 13, 2007, at 1:29 AM by itenerant ]

9. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

I wasnt offended, at all, Itenerant. ;)
Especially, since I dont know what to think of the whole thing, anyway. Politics is so complicated.
Thanks for your information

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 13, 2007, at 2:33 AM by Mel. ]

10. Posted by hamjunkie (Budding Member 62 posts) 9y

Myanmar was originally in my plans for travelling, it was only when my dad flipped (something you see VERY rarely - he's so mild mannered) and asked me not to go that i ruled it out but this all makes for very interesting reading.....

Sorry for being dense but- FECs....?
Also can you tell me if i was to decide last minute i did want to include Myanmar, do you need a visa and can i get it in India? Thanks