Why you should say no to orphanage tourism

Orphanage tourism is on the rise in Myanmar, but although it might seem like the right thing to do, visiting or donating to orphanages may be causing children more harm. On a recent tour of Dala, across the river from Yangon, our trishaw driver stopped suddenly outside a small, ramshackle building. From inside, we could…

A river cruise adventure on the Chindwin

Running from northern Kachin State to the Ayeyarwady, the Chindwin River carves its way through picturesque mountains and mist-shrouded forests. A river cruise offers a close-up of village life on the water’s edge. The majestic Chindwin River, fringed by misty forests and towering rocky crags, stretched before me. The blue sky of the afternoon gave…

The high life: Ballooning over Inle Lake

The stilted villages and Intha leg-rowers of Inle Lake are used to sell Myanmar all over the world. But Inle is fast becoming a victim of its own celebrity, with hordes of tourists motoring up and down the lake in noisy longboats, pushy souvenir touts and unrelenting calls of “You want boat trip?” turning the…

Off the beaten track on two wheels

As we haul our bikes out of the boat and scramble up the riverbank, I suddenly become aware of a sound I’ve never heard before in Yangon. Silence. I stand, entranced by the stillness for a few seconds, my reverie interrupted only by the sound of the breeze whispering through the rice paddies. We’re less…

Good morning Vietnam at Golden Pho

With the exception of a few “exotic” street vendors – who caused outrage in Yangon a while ago when it was discovered they were serving dog meat – Vietnamese pho has become a popular respite from rice in recent years. A trickle of new Vietnamese restaurant openings are doing a roaring trade – particularly among…