The first question to ask about travel in Myanmar is not how to do it, but whether you should go at all. In 1995 pro-democracy advocates, including Aung San Suu Kyi, called for a boycott of tourism to Myanmar. Since then the decision of whether or not to travel there has been a highly charged, highly personal decision. Gill Charton of the UK’s telegraph supports those who say “go,” writing of his travels in Myanmar and his discussions with Burmese who urge visitors to come. If you do decide to visit Myanmar, by all means take care to maximize the positive effects of your stay.
Once you decide to take the plunge, LonelyPlanet.com’s Myanmar-Burma page describes a visit to the nation as a series of powerful encounters with an ancient, struggling, largely isolated nation: “Contemplate 4000 sacred stupas scattered across the plains of Bagan. Stare in disbelief at the golden rock teetering impossibly on the edge of a chasm. Encounter men wearing skirt-like longyi, women smothered in thanaka (traditional make-up) and betel-chewing grannies with blood red juices dripping from their mouths — and that’s just the airport!”