They sat hunched motionless in the corner or sprawled on a mattress, eyes closed or gazing dully at nothingness. The Chinese dope fiends, emaciated, listless, abandoned – mannequins in Thailand's new Hall of Opium, a Golden triangle theme park in Chiang Rai.
A pina colada in my hand, Orwell’s Burmese Days resting open on one knee, I gaze out toward the low ridge on the opposite bank of the Ayeyarwady River as the sun sets over Bagan. Birds chirp, riverboat engines hum. Curiously the scene, almost stolen from Kipling, has its own live soundtrack heartily provided by Iron Cross – a rock band.
Myanmar tourism is to receive a boost from South Korea. Tourism officials from the two governments are in discussions over how to attract more visitors to Myanmar, as arrival figures for 2015 fell short of the 5 million target set by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
A new sunset viewpoint may be built in Bagan in an effort to relieve the strain on the ancient city’s temples.
Myanmar's short-lived steam train revival is already running out of puff. A weekly service for tourists was launched in Bagan in December 2014, but low demand forced the company behind the endeavour to switch to a charter service.
Some “limbo hotels” may get licences if international experts and government officials agree, the hotels ministry says. Owners of more than 40 hotels in the Bagan cultural protection zone, some of them still under construction, are waiting to find out if they will receive permission to operate.