Politics and Myanmar Travel The recent major political change in Myanmar has had an equally large effect on the amount of Myanmar travel occurring. On November 8, 2015, Myanmar’s election ended with a landslide victory for the National League for Democracy (NLD) and its champion, Aung San Suu Kyi. But if anyone thought the election was going to be the solution to Myanmar’s problems, they were sorely mistaken. As we know well, democracy is not an easy form of government, particularly in a country that suffered 50 years of military rule. The military still holds 25% of the parliamentary seats and controls key government offices, including the ministries of defense, home affairs and border affairs. The NLD has enough seats to choose the president, but Aung San Suu Kyi, although wildly popular, is barred from the presidency. Instead, she is the first State Counselor–a position similar to being a Prime Minister—but with serious limits to her powers. To survive, she must juggle serving her constituents, not antagonizing the military, dealing with economic and political pressure from foreign powers, helping make up for years of economic neglect and political repression, and managing expectations at home and abroad. This is not an […]
Myanmar’s rivers – the Ayerwaddy, the Salween, the Kaladan, the Sitaung and others – are interstate highways in Myanmar. The Chindwin is no exception. Myths and Mountains President, Dr. Antonia Neubauer just returned from an exploratory trip up the Chindwin between the towns of Monywa and Homalin, an ideal trip for the traveler who wants to get off the beaten track and yet spend the night in elegant comfort. Bordering on Northeast India and the largest tributary of the Ayerwaddy, the Chindwin rises in Kachin State and flows 750 miles generally south through Myanmar passing through forests and mountain ranges, as well as a 2,500 square mile sanctuary for the tiger in the Hukawng Valley. Along the Chindwin flourish fabulous teak forests, and locals discover amber, jade and even gold in drainage areas and surrounding mountain ranges. Despite the punishing mountainous jungle terrain to the west, the Chindwin has seen several invasions crossing back and forth over its waters, including an incursion in 1758 by King Alaungpaya of Burma to occupy the states of Manipur and Assam in India. The river was the graveyard for many of the boats from the famous Irawaddy Flotilla Company that were sunk during WW […]
A tour package through southwest Yunnan to Ruili, the border crossing into Myanmar, takes you through what is considered the most exotic part of China. The lush green rice fields provide a verdant contrast to the surrounding mountains. Then, after crossing the border into Myanmar at Muse, you find yourself heading to Yangon on part of the Old Burma Road, built with handmade tools in the late 1930’s.