Last week I asked: When should you visit Myanmar?
There are very few places in the world where the culture has remained the same for years.
Myanmar is one of those.
But, now it is changing – too fast.
We have visited Myanmar every year for ten years.
There is much we love about the “Golden Country” but now we go mainly to enjoy Ngapali Beach.
It, too, is changing.
Now there are more hotels and many flights arrive every day.
We always stay at Amazing Beach Resort Hotel – it is Amazing.
It is located on a long, sweeping beach on the Bay of Bengal.
The sand is soft – never too hot to walk on and yet near the water’s edge it is firm for walking.
Originally, Amazing Resort was the only hotel on that beach but now there are others including a Hilton.
But they are way down the beach where it is rocky.
Why go to a beach where it is rocky?
This is the first year we have seen visitors other than those staying at Amazing Resort.
But, there were never more than three or four on any one day and not in the area of our hotel so there really was no impact.
Yangon, the former capital, is now a bustling city with traffic issues.
Ten years ago all the vehicles were old.
Now there are many SUVs and other new cars.
Motor bikes are banned in the inner city.
New hotels are going up but many people still dress in the traditional longee and some even put thanaka on their face for protection for the heat and sun.
Because the traffic has increased we now stay at Myanmar Life Hotel near the airport.
They offer free transfer, breakfast and have an awesome pool; plus, the price is reasonable.
Yangon has a new state of the art international airport and the domestic airport has been replaced with another slick new airport.
They even have a Burger King.
Fast food chains are finally showing up in Myanmar – there goes the neighborhood.
Ten years ago the people did not have electricity twenty four hours.
Now they do.
Ten years ago there was no internet, credit cards were not accepted, and everything had to be paid in pristine (right from the bank) USD.
Now there is internet everywhere.
We had fiber optic internet in our room at Amazing.
The changes are happening fast… very fast.
It is still possible to see some people from the many ethnic groups dressed in their traditional outfits.
Even though face tattooing is no longer done there are still women 60 or older who had their faced tattooed when they were young girls.
Some of the people still have neck rings as part of their traditional outfits.
Even young girls.
Not everything has changed.
The people are still very friendly.
English is common in the tourist area.
Myanmar was an English colony so many of the older people speak English and now the younger people are taught English in school.
The country is very safe.
Besides the golden temples there are many other things to see and do: hiking, homestays, diving, hot air balloon rides, river cruises, and more.
We really enjoy visiting shops where things are still made by hand – gold leaf, pottery, lacquer ware, weaving, and the like.
Planning a trip?
Take a Pandaw cruise on the Irrawaddy River, visit Lake Inle, and then relax at Amazing Resort in Ngapali.
Travel Trivia Tease™: Where can you find a reasonable beach stay in Thailand.
Look for the answer next week.
Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!