Visited December 2016
Myanmar is a fascinating place and I think it remains the least touristed destination in South East Asia. When the country was ruled by a military junta, Western governments discouraged their citizens from coming here. And until recently, large travel guide publishers, like Rough Guides, did not offer guidebooks for Myanmar. Even its domestic opposition asked foreign travelers to stay away, to avoid supporting a military dictatorship.
With the ongoing transition to a civilian government, this is rapidly changing and the tourist numbers are growing every year. So if you have an interest in coming here – do it soon. You will love Myanmar, no matter how you arrange your trip here, but more people benefit if you come as an independent traveler, instead of a package tour, including yourself.
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Notes from several trips in 2014, 2015 and 2016
For many people of my generation, the first thing that comes to mind when Ethiopia is mentioned is the horrible famine that ravaged the country in the 1980s, the worldwide relief effort, “Live Aid” and “We are the World”. While Ethiopia today is still very poor, it’s developing fast and is a much more prosperous place, than these stereotypes would have one believe. Furthermore, the country is wonderfully diverse and incredibly rich in history and culture, with some sites that truly are wonders of the world. But it’s greatest asset are the gentle and hospitable people who live here and make all visitors feel welcome and at home. When I first visited in summer of 2014, I immediately fell in love with the country and came back for a longer trip in 2015 with friends, and then again in 2016 for a photography workshop. I am sure I will keep coming back and I wholeheartedly recommend it to all travelers who value excitement and beauty over comfort.
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Notes from group visits in 2013 and 2016
No matter how popular Georgia is with travelers from the former USSR, the country is still one of the world’s best kept travel secrets and deserving of a much bigger reputation then it currently enjoys. I think there will come a time when all the world’s travelers will come to appreciate all the good things about coming here – the warm hospitality of the Georgian people themselves, the beautiful scenery, the ancient winemaking traditions and spectacular cuisine, the unique culture,art and architecture. In the meantime those of us in the know can enjoy all this with less competition.
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Highlights from trip in summer 2013
Sometimes all it takes is one picture. One day a photo of a beautiful monastery in a mountain setting showed up in my Facebook feed. The caption simply read something like “Mountain Monastery in Armenia” and I was hooked immediately. It just so happened a group of us had been planning a trip to Georgia for a few months and adding neighboring Armenia was a no-brainer.
Armenia did not disappoint. The country is fascinating and little visited by foreign tourists, yet some of its site can easily compete with much more famous tourist attractions worldwide.
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