Destination: Burma (Myanmar)

Will Aun San Suu Kyi’s Election Victory Spur Travel to Myanmar?

Indeed, the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s election to a parliamentary seat “may further fuel demand,” reports Jayne Clark at USA Today.

But then, travel to the country formerly known as Burma was already on the rise, thanks in part to a growing sense of optimism that positive changes are afoot in the country.

Tourist arrivals rose by 20% in 2011, according to the Myanmar Times, though the 816,000 tally is dwarfed by the 19 million tourists who visited neighboring Thailand.

A number of U.S.-based tour operators are for the first time offering tours to the once-reclusive nation. Demand for Overseas Adventure Travel’s Burma tours is so great, the Boston-based company has increased its 2012 departures from 40 to 61 and is hoping to schedule more.

At any rate, it’s good to see.

Interview with Henry Rollins: Punk Rock World Traveler

Jim Benning asks the musician about his new book of photographs and how travel has humbled him

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From Mandalay to Timbuktu: Great Names, Lousy Places

Mandalay. Photo by Stefan Munder via Flickr, (Creative Commons)

In an excerpt from his new book, “The Tao of Travel,” Paul Theroux recalls a number of places that just didn’t live up to the romance evoked by their names:

Mandalay: an enormous grid of dusty streets occupied by dispirited and oppressed Burmese, and policed by a military tyranny.

Tahiti: a mildewed island of surly colonials, exasperated French soldiers and indignant natives, with overpriced hotels, one of the world’s worst traffic problems and undrinkable water.

Timbuktu: dust, hideous hotels, unreliable transport, freeloaders, pestering people, garbage heaps everywhere, poisonous food.

I was always drawn to Kuala Lumpur because of its name. I loved just saying the words, and I loved the way they sounded. I loved the way they evoked lumpy koala bears, or something even more exotic that I couldn’t even begin to imagine.

When I finally went there, I was initially underwhelmed. The Petronas Towers are impressive, but they’re not lumpy koala bears. After exploring the city for a couple of days, however, getting lost in Indian neighborhoods with sari shops and aromatic cafes, and even spending a couple of hours in an elegant old theater watching a Bollywood movie I couldn’t understand, I decided Kuala Lumpur had its lumpy charms.

Ever gone to a place that didn’t live up to its great name? Or that did?

World Travel Watch: Traffic Restrictions in Italy, Conflict on the Thai-Burmese Border and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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World Travel Watch: New Warnings for Mexico, Golf in Cuba and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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Must I Get ‘Off the Beaten Path’ When I Travel?

Vagabonding traveler Rolf Potts answers your questions about travel and the world

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Photo You Must See: Balloons Over Bagan, Myanmar

Photo You Must See: Balloons Over Bagan, Myanmar REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Hot air balloons drift over the temples of Bagan, the ancient capital city of Myanmar.

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Finding Trouble in Asia: Let Us Count the Ways

Finding Trouble in Asia: Let Us Count the Ways Photo by kwanz via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Is it me, or has it been a surreal few months for Americans in Asia? Guidebook writers and State Department travel monitors, take note: a few new travel “don’ts” have entered the lexicon. To recap, here’s what we know not to do next time we journey East.

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Travel Writing as a Political Act

Travel Writing as a Political Act REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Lonely Planet writer Robert Reid explores the role of travel writers in a complex world

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Yangon, Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Devotees crowd the Shwedagon Pagoda during the Kason watering festival in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)

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Eight Great Family Travel Stories

Eight Great Family Travel Stories iStockPhoto

To mark World Hum's eighth anniversary, we've collected eight favorite travel stories from our archives that explore the family vacation in all its forms

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Eight Photos to Inspire Wanderlust

Eight Photos to Inspire Wanderlust REUTERS

Indulge your armchair traveler. We've gathered eight wanderlust-inspiring travel photos from around the world.

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Pyinsalu Township, Myanmar

Pyinsalu Township, Myanmar REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

A fisherman uses palm leaves to sail the Pyanmalot River in Pyinsalu Township located in Myanmar's delta region.

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Six Great Women Travelers in Asia


March is Women’s History Month, so this seems a good moment to call out a few of history’s great women travelers. Because so many 19th- and early 20th-century adventurers found themselves drawn to Asia, I’ve narrowed this list to women who made their mark on that continent, fording the Indus River or crossing the Tibetan Plateau, in defiance of social norms and often at great risk. These are the women I wish I’d been in another life. Herewith, my top-six list of the most intrepid Western female travelers to take Asia by foot, camel or donkey.

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Morning Links: A Wordy Map of St. Petersburg, the Joy of L.A. Traffic and More

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