[THE BENEFITS OF GIVING TOURISM A BREAK] As you are reading this, most of our favorite travel destinations might be rehabilitating on its own in the absence of tourists.

U Bein Bridge Myanmar
U Bein Bridge Myanmar (credits: me!)

We all have been seeing it in the news and social media: bluer skies because less cars are on the road, clearer waters because less to no people are at the beach, and animals in their natural habitats peacefully living their lives with no visitors.

Myanmar opened up its borders to the world (tourism-wise) very recently, early 2010s to be exact. Prior to that, it was hard to enter the country (in fact, even Southeast Asians needed a visa then despite the Visa-Free Agreement among ASEAN members states). I’ve seen Myanmar a few years after it opened up, and it is very evident that the Burmese people are happy to see foreigners visiting their beautiful country. Logistically, it’s still a pain to enter Myanmar — there are hardly any direct flights available, but once you’re there, you will be surprised how cheeeeap almost everything is (and how abundant this country is with delicious rice!!!).

On the downside, travelers like me or the late @anthonybourdain started worrying about the downsides of Myanmar’s opening up to tourism, as he mentioned in one episode of his show (I broke down @partsunknowncnn‘s Myanmar episode into a travel guide, I’ll link it on my Stories). Well, great things will always have their byproducts, right? But I’ll give it to Myanmar: it’s very authentically beautiful, temples and tourist spots are very well taken care of, and the food, oh dear. Fiesta.

On the photo is U Bein Bridge at Amarapura town in Myanmar which is popular for a stunning view of the sunset. It was a happy place — it’s where locals, tourists, and even monks hang out. U Bein Bridge may look like just another rickety bridge over a lake, but it was believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world.

Tell me: What do you think about giving travel destinations a break? And what do you think of Myanmar?

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