Saturday, August 15, 2015

Should You Visit Myanmar During the 2015 Election?

Tourism experts in Myanmar are predicting a significant drop in the number of tourists during high season, 2015/16.  That's normally November - February, which is also the time for the best weather in Myanmar.

An historic election is scheduled to be held in early November, 2015.  That seems to have created concerns about visiting the country during that time.  The government has already started hiring additional police to start in September to help guard against any violent protests or activities.

I can't predict the future but am not concerned about being here during the election.  I do plan to be cautious.  I don't discuss local politics.  I don't go near rallies or large crowds.  I am keeping up my normal routine, visiting the local stores, restaurants, markets and pagodas.  To this point, there has been absolutely no problems that I've encountered.

The other expats and I have a game we play when out and about.  It's based on "slug buggy", an old game in which you punched your companion in the arm every time you saw a VW bug.  In Mandalay, we punch each other every time we see a foreigner (not one of the expats who lives here).  It's a frenzy of punching and giggling when a tour bus drives past.

I hope you'll keep an eye on the news and not just automatically cancel your trip to Myanmar.  It's a beautiful, amazing country and the burgeoning tourism sector needs your support.  Plus, without you, I don't get to punch anyone.

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