"More secret than Mecca and harder to access than Lhasa, there is, in the heart of the Burmese jungle, a small unknown city, whose fabulous resources have yet ruled over people for centuries: It is Mogok, the citadel of ruby.”
Singapore has come a long way. As the city-state prepares to celebrate its first half-century of independence next month, it’s hard for the casual visitor to appreciate that within living memory it was little more than an obscure port.
It is generally advisable not to trust touts, but the boy who approached me as I was waiting for my bag at the airport made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I’d arrived in Sittwe on the afternoon flight from Yangon, fearing I was far too late to find onward transport. Resigned to spending the night in Sittwe, I decided to throw caution to the winds when the boy at the airport offered me transport on a private boat leaving very soon for a reasonable price. Within 10 minutes I was on the back of a motorcycle heading towards the port, and at 4pm I was aboard a converted green wooden fishing boat headed for my destination: Mrauk Oo.
The image of balloons over Bagan could be at risk if the Ministry of Culture has its way.
Bikini-Clad backpackers posing for selfies with exotic-looking war refugees, tourists in Beer Chang vests clambering around on the heads of tired elephants and long-neck women being gaped at in “human zoos”: This is how the trekking experience across much of Southeast Asia has come to be known, and the reason why many travellers are now heading to Myanmar in search of uncharted landscapes and “unspoiled” hill-tribe villages.
What does the future hold for travel? Check-in by robot? Budget space flights? Virtual holidays? Flight comparison site Skyscanner offers a glimpse of what the future holiday experience could be like with its Future of Travel report. We’ve digested the findings and come up with a few ideas that we think would benefit the world of travel.
Every major city has a zoo, and Kuala Lumpur is no exception. Zoo Negara was known as “the zoo in the jungle” when it opened in 1963 in what was then a sparsely populated part of the Gombak district. It now finds itself sitting in the midst of a popular residential area, as years of economic development have led to the inevitable spread of the capital.
In a remote part of Kachin State lies Indawgyi Lake, the biggest lake in Myanmar and one of the largest in Southeast Asia. Every year, from January to March, 20,000 migratory birds from as far away as Siberia take refuge here for feeding and nesting, making this a top destination for bird watching.
DUBBED “the world’s most violent megacity”, armed muggings, carjackings and extortion are part of everyday life in Karachi, where political and criminal forces vie for ownership of the city. The result is a pervasive sense of fear – one that prevents many Karachiites from even leaving their own neighbourhoods, which are carved along wealth and ethnic lines.