Why you should visit Burma now (before it’s too late)
I can remember watching the Top Gear Burma special a couple of years ago and thinking ‘wow’, and that had nothing to do with cars or Jeremy Clarkson, and a lot to do with the amazing country they were travelling through. Burma, on that TV show, looked like something out of the Lost World, it was stunningly beautiful, totally unspoilt, and somewhere I just wanted to jump on a plane to visit right there and then. I think a lot of people thought the same, because nowadays, Burmese tourism is on the up.
Also known as Myanmar, Burma has managed to cling onto the old Orient for a long time, but with tourism comes intrusion, and that means gradual westernisation. Look at Thailand for example, everyone wanted to go to Thailand once upon a time, mainly because it was so raw and beautiful, and yes, it still is beautiful, but the culture isn’t the same anymore, not unless you go off the beaten track. The difference with Burma, up until now, is that you don’t have to go off the beaten track to find authentic ways of life and culture, because it’s there in everything you see.
Is this about to change?
Personally, I think yes, which is why I am urging you to head to Burma now, before tourism changes this beautiful, unspoilt land into something less than it is now.
On top of this, the increased tourism drive means prices go up, and of course this is normal, because this is how the country makes its money through tourism; obviously travellers who know a thing or two will be familiar with heading away from tourist areas in order to lower costs and find real life, but that’s another story.
Increased tourism and increased prices mean that in time, although not yet, Burma may start to lose some of its authentic charm, and although this will be a crying shame, it seems to be the natural order of things when a country becomes more open to visitors.
The beauty of Burma probably lies in the fact that it is so mysterious and unspoilt. You will find countless beautiful temples, all intricately developed and carved, as well as beautiful natural sights too, such as the floating gardens at Inle Lake, or simply the huge green trees that seem to cover every single bit of spare space. Burma is natural and it is untouched, and right now it really is something amazing to feast your eyes on.
Head there now, before it all changes.
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