Burma travel stories

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  • Exploring Yangon's stalls

    Exploring Yangon's stalls

    Downtown Yangon (Rangoon) is known for its crowded, friendly streets, packed with vendors and teeming with life. But as in much of the rest of the country, development and tourism is rapidly transforming the city. The latest change: street vendors are to be banned from October. So enjoy the street life while you can!

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  • MyME Yangon

    MyME Yangon

    If you've been to a teashop in Burma (Myanmar), you've probably been served by young kids who work every day of the week for well over 12 hours a day. Many will never attend school, missing out on an opportunity to improve their outlook in life. The myME Project tries to change this by taking the classroom to them.

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  • Where to stay in Yangon, Burma

    Where to stay in Yangon, Burma

    If you’ve been hearing tales of Yangon’s crazy hotel prices, take a deep breath and relax. It's true that accommodation in Burma (Myanmar) is pricier than in neighbouring countries -- we like to say you'll generally be paying double Thailand rates for half the standard expected in Laos. While that's not always the case, it often is and Burma and the commercial capital, Yangon, are both home to some breathtakingly overpriced dumps. But things are changing.

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  • The Kalaw to Inle Lake trek

    The Kalaw to Inle Lake trek

    "About one hour," says our guide, navigator and companion over the last three days, Aung Myu Htoo. This time, he blurts it out with a half-cocked smile, knowing that his rubbery time estimates have become a bit of a running joke for our group of seven as we walk from Kalaw to to the base of Inle Lake in Shan State, Northern Burma (Myanmar).

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  • Nat Pwe in Taungbyone, Burma

    Nat Pwe in Taungbyone, Burma

    The week-long Nat Pwe in Taungbyone is the largest spirit festival in Burma (Myanmar), with tens of thousands of people attending the week-long celebrations around the full moon in August. They come from far and wide to pay tribute to two of the widest known Burmese nats, or spirits, hoping to gain good luck, let loose and watch the ceremonies, performed most often by transvestites.

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  • Where to stay in Bagan, Burma (Myanmar)

    Where to stay in Bagan, Burma (Myanmar)

    For first-time visitors to Burma (Myanmar), Bagan is a must-see destination. Spread across a vast plain, hemmed in on two fronts by the Ayeyarwady River and home to thousands of monuments, it's an evocative and fascinating place to explore, whether for two days or 10. While some of the monuments are fabulous, the accommodation is generally less so. Spread across three towns kilometres apart, it can be a little difficult for travellers to initially decipher. Here's our primer on the best places to stay in Bagan, for both budget and the more upmarket traveller.

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  • Should you go to Burma (Myanmar)?

    Should you go to Burma (Myanmar)?

    So we're just back from our first trip to Burma/Myanmar -- a trip we waited 20 years to do. While we had hoped to come away with a clear view that you, too, should visit Burma, we still think deciding to travel here remains a very personal choice requiring careful research and consideration.

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  • Helping the Karen of Burma

    Helping the Karen of Burma

    It was a frigid winter day in the US state of Vermont when I first met with a recently resettled refugee family back in 2008. The resettlement program had told me they were Burmese, so I was confused when only one 17-year old family member could understand what was written in an English-Burmese phrasebook. I soon learned how they were part of the ethnic Karen minority, displaced by the world's longest-running civil war.

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  • Eating in Burma

    Eating in Burma

    Thailand has pad thai and tom yam; Vietnam is known for pho; so what dish puts Burma on the culinary world map? With a wide range of cultures and ethnic groups all living in the same area plus a history of being colonised, food in Burma is sometimes hard to pin down and categorise. It's not uncommon to hear about people eating Indian naan bread for breakfast, having a Burmese salad for lunch, then finishing the day at a Chinese restaurant -- all the better for you, the traveller, as you have a wide variety of food to consider. Here are some common choices that you may see on your trip to Burma.

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  • Transport in Burma: Getting around the city

    Transport in Burma: Getting around the city

    The trusted taxi. Always there, always taking you to where you want to go on time, and almost always the easiest choice when you're trying to cross the city. Because it is so easy, though, it quite often ends up being a crutch for most travellers in Burma. Fortunately though, it doesn't have to be this way. Burma's cities provide a plethora of colourful and interesting ways to move about. So skip the taxi and try some of these ways of getting around the city.

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  • Know Before You Go: Burma

    Know Before You Go: Burma

    Burma. Just the name conjures up all kinds of images, from glittering, golden pagodas, to despotic, totalitarianism regimes. It's a land where people regularly rub ground-up tree bark on their faces and drinking sweetened tea is not a snack, but a way of life. Before you visit this enigmatic land, you should know a number of logistical details.

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