What started as a really vague idea spurred by "too cheap to pass up" airfare has turned into us leaving in about a week for Myanmar. Or Burma if you please.
Although it is hoped that democracy is emerging in this country ruled until recently by a heavy handed military dictatorship, recent events in the Northwest state of Rakhine have shown how fragile the balance of power is. The ruling National League for Democracy and its leader Aung San Suu Kyi, have been highly restrained during what appears to be an ethnic cleansing campaign executed by the military against Rohingya Muslims who although living there for generations, are seen as illegal immigrants. Hundreds have been killed since last fall and nearly 100,000 have been forced to flee as the military continues their crackdown. The events have illustrated that Aung San Suu Kyi may not have as much influence over shaping the future of the country as was once hoped. That and "someone" assassinated a prominent NLD lawyer at the airport last week. He was working on a draft of a new constitution that would limit the military's power.
Despite these recent and ongoing events, Myanmar has opened itself to tourism in the last few years. Although much of the country is off limits, there is a decently developed "triangle" of sights that we intend to see. Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake, Ngapali, Mrauk U, Yangon. Well away from trouble but hopefully close enough to gain some understanding of this amazing place. And maybe score some good street food
Rough map of our planned route: