Destinations

Myanmar tourism takes off!

Amy Bryant

New improvements to Myanmar’s infrastructure, have energised its’ status as a sought-after travel destination.

After years of isolation, Myanmar experienced a boom in tourism in 2013, and the country was consequently overwhelmed with more visitors than its infrastructure could handle. There were not enough guides, hotels were fully booked and prices sky rocketed. Although the country never failed to amaze with its brilliant pagodas, spectacular landscapes and friendly people, the experience left many travellers with a bitter taste in their mouth. Fortunately, all of that has changed and 2017 looks to be the year when Myanmar tourism will finally embrace its potential.

Thanks to an influx of investment, there are more than enough hotel options, hundreds of additional licensed guides and dramatic improvements in general infrastructure. Prices have also dropped making Myanmar once again a great value-for-money destination. Tempo Holidays, the tailor-made specialists, have a range of tours to help you experience the now flourishing destination.

Water village on Mabul island, Sipadan, Borneo Malaysia

 

Below we outline some of the improvements visitors can expect:

Hotels- Once the biggest headache for travellers- and travel agents- there are now plenty of hotel options in Myanmar. The main destinations of Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake and Yangon offer a range of options from budget hostels to luxury boutique hotels. Smaller destinations such as Hpa An and Hsipaw have also welcomed new, stylish properties.

Transportation- The government has slashed the taxes on car imports dramatically in recent years, making modern vehicles much more affordable than in the past. Recent model, air-conditioned vehicles were once considered a VIP upgrade but are now a standard inclusion on tours. Road conditions have improved and overnight buses with ‘business class’ are a comfortable option for budget-conscious travellers.

Options, options, options!- Myanmar has many more options now to suit every traveller. Loads of new restaurants have opened in the main tourist destinations, from fine dining steak houses to Lebanese taverns. And for those seeking to get further afield, the government has lifted travel restrictions on many places. Mogok, famed for its rubies and mountains, Loikaw, with its fascinating hill tribes, and the rugged northern Chin State are just a few of the areas recently opened.

Communications- Gone are the days of the 3000 USD SIM card. These days visitors can pick up a card for around 1USD that not only offers great coverage for domestic calls but also 4G wifi. Internet has improved in the main cities and is now accessible in rural areas. Although not as fast as in Australia, the connection is still sufficient for emails, browsing and posting selfies on Facebook.

temples in Bagan, Myanmar

Prices- Thanks to increased competition and lower operation costs, prices have started to drop in Myanmar. Although still slightly higher than Vietnam or Cambodia, Myanmar delivers great value for money- and at a much lower price than a European holiday!

Visitors have started trickling in, revelling in the improvements, but with the tourism industry still in its infancy it’s still possible to immerse yourself in authentic Burmese culture, untainted by Western influence. It is estimated that only 300,000 tourists will visit Bagan in 2016. Compare this to the 2.7 million at Angkor Wat and Myanmar will seem refreshingly quiet!

Visit www.tempoholidays.com or call AU1300 362 844 to book your next unforgettable and authentic adventure.


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