I first visited Myanmar in 1995 which was ‘Firewood Substitution Year’. I came every couple of years , or more often, between 2002 and 2012. Since then I’ve spent three or four months here each year.
A lot of the scenery is great, a lot – but not all – of the people offer a warm welcome, a lot of the food is fantastic.
This is where I write about some of what I am seeing and doing in Myanmar. No apologies for my views coming (as it is sometimes suggested to me) from an ill-informed, western imperialist, colonialist viewpoint; it’s an accident of birth.
Certainly no apologies for it coming from a quasi-democratic, liberationist, libertarian and particularly atheist viewpoint; that’s no accident.
I’ve not been everywhere of course but I’ve been as far north (2002) as Myitsone above Myitkina where the N’Mai Kha and Mali Kha join to form the Irrawaddy and Hkamti in Sagaing (2014). As far south as Kawthoung, Myeik and Dawei (2013 and 15/16) and to 25K beyond Bogalay into the delta region to visit a couple of places massively affected by Cyclone Nargis (2010). As far west as Sittwe (2013), Gwa and Thandwe (2002, 2013, 2015), north-east as far as Lashio (1995, 2013) and Taungyii (2015).
In between I’ve been to Yangon, Mandalay, Sagaing, Twante, Bago, Shwebo, Pathein, Ngwe Saung, Chaung Tha, Ngapali, Yeygi, Hinthada, Pyay, Paungde, Taundwingyi, Thazi, Meiktila, Pakkoku, Monywa, Mrauk U, Ye, Ann, Taunggok, Kalay, Falam, Hakha, Mindat, Gangaw, Saw, Kampetlet, Mawlemyine, Katha, Shwegu, Bhamo, Kalaw, Hta Man Htee, Mawleik, Homalin, Kalaywa, Kalaymyo, Lay Shee, Meiktila, Myawaddy, Taungoo, Tan Daung Gyi, Pyi Oo Lynn, Kyaukme, Hsipaw, Lashio, Kalaw, Aungban, Nay Pyi Daw, Nyaungshwe, Pekhon, Loikaw, Namti and, Namhsan (currently off limits).
Right now I’m in Myanmar again.
I’ve made great friends here, some of whom have since stayed with me at my home in the UK (it’s not so difficult if you want to make it happen). I make new friends on every trip.
If you’ve been to Myanmar yourself you will know what a special place it is. If you have been more than once you will know how fast it’s changing. If you’re interested in going, go soon. And then go again.
And please let me know if you come across anything worth seeing, anyone worth meeting, anything worth eating.
If you want to read anything I’ve previously written about Myanmar, particularly my 2010 trip which includes my trip into the delta and my first sight of water festival in Mandalay they are here.
Stay alert! Some of the information herein may be false. Please update me with anything you know has changed since the time of writing.