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…

The Burma Cookbook: A feast for the eyes – and the belly

Myanmar food took centre stage when Robert Carmack and Morrison Polkinghorne’s The Burma Cookbook was named World’s Best Asian Cookbook of the year at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in 2015. We sat down with the authors to find out how their favourite dishes went from plate to page.  Over a decade in the making, and inspired…

Get hooked on hardcore prawn at Hein Seafood

Fresh seafood is one of life’s simple pleasures. There’s nothing like the feeling of the sand between your toes as you crack open the shell of a crab, the sound of the ocean lapping the shore a coconut’s throw away from your table. The traffic choked streets of Hledan in Yangon, on the other hand,…

Mahlzeit: Fantastisch German fare… in Myanmar

The Germans are good at many things: cars, beer festivals, World Cups, punctuality. They’re also the masters of hearty – albeit lifespan-slashing – food. So, when I heard about Yangon’s only German restaurant Mahlzeit, visions of smoked meats and pickled cabbage had me salivating in expectation. If you were expecting a Bavarian bier house with dirndl-clad…

The Brunch Society. They do brunch.

Naming a new restaurant is never easy. Of course, if you’re stumped for ideas you could just type the name of a popular 1980s high-school movie into a synonym generator. Job done. Located in the glitzy Sule Plaza near Shangri-La Hotel, The Brunch Society – to some extent at least – does what it says…

Wanna be a DJ? Give this class a spin

If you know your BPMs from your M&Ms, why not give Yangon’s first DJ school a spin? I’m not someone you’d expect to find in a DJing class: I own three pairs of Birkenstocks and, until recently, I thought Skrillex was a brand of cleaning product. Nevertheless, DJ KC – expert turntablist and teacher at United…