Bordering India, China and Thailand – the country, formerly known as Burma is having its moment in the spotlight. Your knowledge about the country may be slim, and yet it will soon become a land you are incredibly intrigued by. As Rudyard Kipling famously said, “It’s quite unlike any place you know about.”
A history of censorship and military rule dominated the country from 1962 to 2011, and has left the country as the poorest in Asia. Despite being the world’s largest teak exporter; a major supplier of rubies, pearls, jade and sapphires; and controlling massive offshore oil deposits, the Burmese people and its ethnic groups don’t have access to this wealth. Corruption is rampant among the military; in fact the country barrels out large-scale trafficked heroin, of which it is a major exporter. Anti-human rights continue to be its major issue, as offensive military actions are still taking place against ethnic minorities, despite its movement toward a free society with lifted media-censorship and the release of imprisoned “anti-government” civilians (most notably the Noble Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi – known to many as “The Lady”).
But this is not our story, only the backdrop for the hope we will discover through this Global Series. For within a country of lost hope, are a people with what seems to be now as… anticipation.
The Real Story That Should be Told
As the country opens up sections of its borders to internationals and creeps slowly toward advancement of human-rights, its civilians cautiously wait with encouraged hearts.
Creativity, formed in the shadows during times of censorship, is slowing coming out into daylight for all to see. It’s an exciting time for the world as we wait along with them to witness what the government will allow. And yet, there is room for failure as the country opens up its economic floodgates to the rest of the world, who want a piece of this creativity and captivating culture.
Myanmar is a smorgasbord for the senses. Its people, who were isolated from the world for so long, are a time capsule of authentic Theravada Buddhist culture that the western world is delighted to partake in for their vacation enjoyment. Travel magazines are going crazy over the country right now with new access to its glittering gold pagodas, exotic cuisine and unspoiled South Asian flare that make for the perfect “adventurous trip” for their high-end clientele seeking exclusive, first exposure to the culture. Condé Nast Traveler describes it as, “The last chartered frontier.” In a December ’14 issue featuring Myanmar as the Destination of the Year, Travel + Leisure states, “Go before everyone else does.”
Welcome to the Myanmar Global Series
There is a lot to be learned, and even more to be done at this time of booming tourism in Myanmar. We will talk about it all in this Global Series.
Expect, a dazzling look at the people’s lives here, the troubles they face, their massive creativity, and how we can enjoy all of this as travelers in a responsible way that does not interfere with Myanmar’s current improvements. We as travelers have the power to vote with our choices here – let’s see what those are, and how we can do good while seeking new adventurers in “The last chartered frontier.”
Come back next week as we delve into this fascinating place and discover how we can Journey Beyond the Bucket List in Myanmar.
“My top priority is for people to understand that they have the power to change things themselves.” ― Aung San Suu Kyi
Feature Photo Credit: Thinkstock/istock/platongkoh