Myanmar Ranked Visit List no. 3 in “The 45 Places to Go in 2012” by New York Times

Back on the tourist map after being off-limits for years. The New York Times’ article last week on “45 Places to Go” which noted the country’s “world-class boutique hotels and deserted beaches.”

With renowned cultural treasures, world-class boutique hotels and deserted beaches, Myanmar has long been high on intrepid travelers’ wish lists. For years, though, heeding calls by the pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and others, many stayed away in protest of Myanmar’s authoritarian regime.


Now, however, this is changing.

Since November 2010, when Myanmar’s rulers held nominally free elections and released Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi after 15 years of house arrest, the boycott has been lifted and Myanmar is set for an influx of visitors.

Because the country has been so isolated, the deeply Buddhist “Land of the Golden Pagoda” resonates with a strong sense of place, undiluted by mass tourism and warmed by genuine hospitality. Travelers will find atmospheric hotels and a network of well-maintained regional jets serving the main sites. (Keep in mind that visas are still required and that the economy remains largely cash-based.)

But locals are aware of the potential downside of tourism as well. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has called for sustainable development and “trickle down” tourism where dollars will do the most good.

With these goals in mind, nestled along the banks of meandering Lake Inle in eastern Myanmar, the ViewPoint eco-lodge combines’ locally sourced materials with individually tailored activities supporting the local economy (like garden-to-table lunches at an island village house).

Similarly, in Ngapali Beach — a pristine swath of coastline on the Bay of Bengal — the Amara Ocean Resort ratchets up the om factor with a hand-built spa. The resort finances relief projects in the Irrawaddy River delta.



source: NY

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