EXTRAVAGANT musicals, live theatrical shows, special effects, aerial acrobatics and more – Kingdom of Dreams may as well be India’s answer to Broadway
Thai authorities are putting a kibosh on Koh Phangan’s notorious debauchery, forbidding most of the notoriously loud and narcotics-addled parties that draw throngs of young Westerners – not to mention lucrative tourism revenuies – to the small, idyllic island.
WHEN I first came to Myanmar, also known as Burma, in 2009 it felt like a country frozen in time due to its years of isolation and stagnation. Indeed I recall penning an article for Jet Star, something along the lines of it being one of the few places left you could glimpse the Asia of old, one that existed some 50 years ago. And at that time, within the glittering modernity of much of Asia’s new sky rise cities, that was oddly appealing but also a rather simplistic perception.
FIVE years ago in Yangon you would have been hard pressed to find a block of cheddar cheese, an ATM, an English newspaper or any western brand. Today glittering sky scrapers, malls, art galleries and supermarket chains are as much a feature of the new country as the old.
The tourism industry has been booming recently, thanks to increased flights, ease of travel, and the government’s increasingly open attitude toward the international community. Ancient sites such as the temples of Bagan, Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda, and the archipelagos of Myeik are becoming priority items on more travelers’ Southeast Asia bucket lists, so much so that the Burmese government expects 2015 to be a banner year.
DESPITE Myanmar’s newly acquired status as the darling of the Asian circuit, there is still much about the nation that remains undiscovered. While renowned for its wealth of pagodas, unblemished countrysides, unspoiled coast, quaint festivities and great lakes, it’s also a country of history and has its fair share of fading ancient ruins and tumbledown structures that invoke the dynasties and grandeur of the past. Visiting these places could form part of an excellent itinerary.
ONE of the most controversial ‘tourist attractions’ in Thailand, the tiger temple has been the subject of debate for many years. This is what I found on my visit to the ‘sanctuary’, writes Ruchika Vyas
Places to stay
Hintok River Camp @ Hellfire Pass
Kanchanaburi, River Kwai, Thailand
The Chedi, Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai, Chang Khlan, Thailand