“Limbo hoteliers in Bagan want justice, they say. They are complaining that shifts in the application of the law are preventing them from making a living. At a “forum for justice” convened at Gracious Bagan Hotel on May 14, representatives of the 42 hotels caught in the legal crossfire demanded the right to take in guests.
Although the Persian Gulf country is found just south of the famed emirate, it boasts no glittering skyscrapers. Instead, low whitewashed buildings skirt the coast of Oman's capital, Muscat, its sole tall edifices the colourful minarets of mosques. Five times a day, the call to prayer is broadcast from each – and there's not a supercar in sight.
For more than 100 years, Naw Hsergay’s family lived in the same colonial-style home, passing it down from generation to generation. And then last year they decided to throw open their doors to visitors.
Unlicensed tour guides could end up behind bars for three years, the government has warned as it launches a crackdown against them. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism says the illegal guides are undercutting trained and licensed guides and depriving them of income. Citing the recent landmine blast at Kyaukme, Shan State, in which two foreign trekkers and a local guide were injured, some experts say the lack of training could be dangerous.
Tourism Minister U Ohn Maung has launched a 100-day program to boost community-based tourism in six destinations. The aim is to relieve pressure on overcrowded sites like Mandalay, Bagan and Shwedagon Pagoda, while bringing more benefits to local communities.
In India, where I grew up, I was never considered vegetarian enough. I do not eat fish or meat, but I do eat eggs, which meant outing myself as a “non-vegetarian” when someone asked if I am “pure veg”. But over three decades of being vegetarian, I have learned the hard way that there is no universal definition of what a vegetarian is.
Khin Myat can’t contain her excitement. The aspiring travel writer seems to have limitless ambition when listing the countries she hopes to visit. There’s only one problem – as a Myanmar citizen, Ma Khin Myat holds one of the most restricting passports on the planet.