With fewer tourists and refreshing periods of rain, it’s a good time to explore Burma by foot. How is the tourism industry being helped and what is so great about Rangoon? And how can you help getting solar energy to the poorest family in Burma?
Let us know if there’s anything else you heard or read about Burma that could be of interest to our readers!
Burma by foot
Now that rain is falling regularly in Burma, traditionally less tourists will come and visit. However, here you’ll find 5 reasons why this is really not such a bad time to visit. The last point especially makes it very interesting to see more of the countryside and go trekking. We found some good suggestions in the news last week.
Kyaingtong will make for a great trekking experience if you’re looking for a seemingly remote outpost.
The Myanmar Institute for Integrated Development (MIID) in partnership with local community groups, has mapped 20 new heritage trails in the Danu Self-Administered Zone (SAZ), in Shan State, in an effort to jumpstart tourism in the region. You might find Charlotte Rose’s experiences hiking one of these trails inspiring and want to do this yourself.
Another sight you’d might want to visit in Southern Shan State is the Sinsint two-tier waterfall with it’s remote ruin. If you’d like to visit the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (aka theGolden Rock), here are a few tips before you go.
Finally, more border-crossings between Thailand and Burma are opening and enable more travellers to cross the border by land instead of having to fly. The latest planned crossing is in Kayah State, where a bridge is being built across the river to facilitate both more tourism and business.
Supporting the tourism industry
A proposal for a new tourism law is planned to be proposed later this year. Some of the proposed changes are on the fees to be paid upon infractions of the law (currently a fee of $USD 5!), giving provincial authorities more power over tourism development and simplify the process of getting government permissions.
Although the government has said to plan to share this proposal with local tour operators and international organisations before it gets submitted, some criticism is already rising that no such thing is being done. One tour agency is being quoted saying: “The private sector wants to work with the ministry to ensure the law is up to international standards. We want to know what is in the draft before it is formally submitted to parliament, but the ministry hasn’t shared it with us yet.”
At the same time, Burmese consulting firm HamsaHub is organising an innovation competition funded by the UK government. This competition is aimed at assisting hoteliers and other local operators by developing new ways of catering for an increasing number of foreign travelers.
He also raised a downside and this won’t come as a surprise: the traffic congestion. On this note, a new initiative has been launched that could potential help diminish some of the congestion: A taxi sharing app called ‚Hoho Dede‘ that allows people to share taxis if going in the same direction or to the same destination.
Let there be light
When travelling a month through Burma, photographer Ruben Salgado was shocked to find that most villages were in the dark after sunset and found out that only 26% of the population have access to light. After seeing some households with solar panels he saw the difference light can make for people. After he did his project ‘Solar Project in Myanmar‘ which was covered by Time magazine amongst others, he was overwhelmed by people contacting him how they could help.
He and Karin Hohensinner now teame dup with non-Profit organisation Pact and have started a campaign ‘Let there be light Myanmar‘ to spread more solar panels to more families in Myanmar’s Dry Zone (one of the poorest parts of Myanmar). They are trying to raise USD 25,000 in order to supply high quality solar home lighting systems to 250 family households.
In case you’d like to support this project, you can contribute here on their crowdfunding page: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-there-be-light-myanmar#/story
Thank you for following our blog! If you have any questions or comment, please get in touch with us! You can do this through the comment box below or through any of the options here. Also if you come across any news, articles, videos or other information that can help us assist people visiting Burma in a more responsible way, please don’t hesitate to share these with us!
Don’t forget to like or share us via the buttons below!