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MOST countries in Asia have a local version of a rickshaw, an affordable and efficient two or three wheeled form of transport for anything from tourists to goods. The word itself comes from the Japanese word jinrikisha, meaning human powered vehicle, although today they can be hand pulled, cycles or even automatically powered by electrics, solar or fuel (natural gas, two and four stroke).
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.
TRAVELERS have long been flocking to Asia and explore the continent, partly because there’s so much to see. From vast countries such as China and India to island nations like the Philippines, you could spend a lifetime travelling around this region, taking in its beauty. That said, of all the things that come to mind when you think of Asia, wine is not one of them.
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.