Monday, August 21, 2017

Updated tourism guide hits shelves in Myanmar

It’s that time of year again! Is it Christmas? Thingyan? Your birthday? Even better: It’s time for the launch of a new edition of the locally produced Myanmar Hotels and Tourism Guide.

The format for 2013 remains basically the same as previous editions — the first half consisting of glossy pages packed with photos and basic cultural and tourism information, and the second half offering useful yellow-pages-style listings for tourism-oriented businesses throughout Myanmar.

Much of what was valuable in the past is still here, including chapters on history, handicrafts, sights in all states and regions, food and drink, places to go, and planning your trip. But there’s plenty that’s new to attract the interest of readers, including photos, editorial material, and more maps with more detail — you’ll never lose your way in Nay Pyi Taw again!

Updated information panels provide introductions to cheroots, the nine wonders of Shwedagon Pagoda, colonial buildings in Yangon and more. The “Things to Do” section offers new info on local markets, horseback riding and Yangon nightlife.

The “Planning” chapter provides updates on immigration and customs laws; restricted areas; banking, money changers and credit cards; and buying and renting phone cards. There are also recommendations for books to read about Myanmar.

Overall, the Myanmar Hotels and Tourism Guide 2013 is a very useful resource, especially the transportation schedules and the tourism business listings in the second half.

Some quirks remain: The visual presentation of the text in the glossy pages is utilitarian — readable but not beautiful. And the choice of cover image is again unusual: Last year the publishers went with one of those spurious posed images that are so popular in Myanmar.

This year marks a turn in the opposite direction, with the cover showing a refreshingly non-modelesque woman with faded thanakha on her cheeks, staring into the camera.

The subject seeoms to be of Pa-O ethnicity, but the shot is taken too closely to reveal much of anything about context, and therefore doesn’t say much about tourism or culture in Myanmar. But the publishers still have next year to get it right.

The Myanmar Hotels and Tourism Guide 2013 retails for K25,000 and is available at bookstores, supermarkets and souvenir shops throughout Myanmar.