Visited in December 2016
I didn’t fall in love with Mandalay at first sight. In fact, after the beauty and mystique of Bagan, my very first impression of this 19th century city was one of disappointment. It’s flat, dirty and noisy, most of the buildings are nondescript and its highlights are hidden in plain sight. Yet the city grew on me very quickly and finally won me over. Now I think back on it as a major highlight of my visit to Myanmar and hope to come back one day.
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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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