Planning on going there sometime in Feb from Bangkok. Need some advice on the current tourist situation, and also could do with hookin up with someone whilst over there.
Are there many Tourists? I'm In North Laos at the mo and no book shops have a guides so I'm a bit short on facts...
Any comments would be appreciated.
I was there in June of 07. It was an amazing place! I am very happy I went, as it was like no other place I had been in Asia. If you PM me, I will suggest a guide for you. I would go back in a heartbeat. There were places that defied any expectation and a culture rich in history yet horribly oppressed. The Myanmar I saw won't be around forever and like many places in Asia, will be forced to change. I would follow good travel precautions. Stay away from protests and gatherings. Especially in Mandalay and Yangoon.
i was in there in december 05, and it also struck me as one of the most beautiful countries in SEA. As for the situation now, i met a French couple in Laos (last month) who just flew in from Burma, and they said the situation is pretty much back to normal.
Definitely less tourists go to Burma, but there still is a significant tourist presence esp in Mandalay, Bagan area.
My wife and I had three wonderful weeks in Burma/ Myanmar. The best holiday we have ever had. Organised by a Burmese travel company. We visited Yangon, Bagan, MtPopa. Kalaw, Taunggyi, Inle lake, Keng Tung, Mandalay and Lashio. People are very friendly, the hotels were first class and the food superb. Everything was so clean. We are going back this year for our third trip to Myanmar.
Now is a good time to visit. The weather is starting to heat up a bit earlier than usual but it is still not to bad. We even had a rain on Monday, the first since October. It cooled things down for a while but was quite muggy when the sun came back out. There are not many tourists in Yangon at the moment and I haven't heard of a protest in months. There was a bit of a natural gas shortage a few weeks ago but I think that has passed now. It did cause the Nagar glass factory to shut down thier furnaces for a week though. I haven't made it up to Bagan in months but Inley Lake is beautiful right now but a bit on the cool side if you are used to the heat of the delta. There are so few tourists that it has made the vendors at some of the attractions a bit more vocal than is normal for here and they tend to be more persistant than in the past. It is still one of the most unique and beautiful countries in SE Asia and not to be missed. It is also a place that will fit into almost any budget from backpacker to 5 star. A little advise, don't change money at the airport, they give less than half of what is available on almost any street in downtown Yangon. Enjoy your visit and let me know if I can answer any more specific questions.
I was there for two weeks last month (in December, actually) and things are indeed back to normal; well, as normal as it gets. This was my 7th trip there in the past 3 years, but the first since the trouble back in September. So, I didn't know what to expect in terms of people's behavior. But my friends over there were fine and still took me places, invited me to their homes, and were not afraid to talk to me. Other people on the streets and in teashops and restaurants also approached me and started conversations (although nothing political; some things don't change). All of this goes against conventional "wisdom" (at least a lot of the stuff you read in the press) that local are living under a cloud of fear and won't talk to foreigners. I find that is NOT the case over there; not now and not in the past. The Burmese people are among the kindest and most hospitable people I've ever met, and there are many wonderful places to see in the country. Please go and visit: the people need both the financial and moral support that tourists can give them. With the dropoff in tourist numbers the past few months, it's more important than ever for tourists to go and visit. To dispute another common myth: you CAN do a lot to help locals without a lot of your money going to the government.